Monday, 9 November 2009

A wish for a simpler life...

Well, I have finally come to terms with my pregnant state. It only took four months to accept it and become even happy about it and so I am really glad (not to mention relieved) about that.

But now, we have a few logistical things to consider.

Our clinic does not particularly recommend having your baby in Kazakhstan. They couch everything in very diplomatic terms, but when the opening sentence from your doctor is:
"Now, the thing you should remember is that you won't find the sort of facilities here that you are probably used to for having your baby," you start to wonder what it is going to be like. I have had babies in Brazil, Hong Kong and Seoul and so I am not exactly "used" to anything. But last year's miscarriage was not great (even though it was the best you can get here) and I have serious heebie jeebies about doing it all here. Even if it might be easier for others around me (kids and husband).

Another girl I know who had her first baby here described it as "a nightmare, the worst thing that I have ever done." And someone else I know, who had her first baby in Almaty last year (so she had no idea what it could be like), thought it was OK. When I probed a little further I realised that it had been pretty tough for her as well, but she just hadn't known because she had never done it before!

And after my miscarriage last year (see my Gynacologia! Gynacologia! post of last October) I have to admit that I would not be going to hospital to have this one feeling relaxed and I have recently heard enough medical scare stories to put you off even visiting a doctor's in Almaty, or in fact, anywhere in the former CIS. Admittedly, I do not yet know the full intricacies of Kazakh birthing options, but I can't believe that practitioners here use the latest best practice, and in the awful event that a new born needs serious medical support, well, that is simply not available. Fabulous neo-natal care is not available here.

And all this considered, husband and I are thinking that perhaps it might be better for me to go to the UK to have this one. Which leaves a few other things to sort out:

1. What to do with the other three children we already have?
2. Where to stay if I do go back to the UK - we sold our flat recently so we are homeless. Stay in a hotel? Rent a flat near the hospital? It will most likely be central London (where our health insurance works with various hospitals) so not cheap.
3. When would I have to go back? We have to work on the assumption that everything will be straightforward, in which case I can fly at 36 weeks. But if anything gets complicated, then life will take a stressful turn.
4. When will husband come back to make sure he is there for the birth - I don't fancy doing it entirely myself, nor do I like the idea of asking even a close friend in to see me grunting away in labour! I may have to schedule a caesarian.
5. Will we ask my parents to come out to Kazakhstan and help with the older kids? For how long? Could they leave my aged grandmother for weeks on end? No. My father may be having treatment for an illness in which case, they will of course, be engrossed in that.
6. Will we bring all the kids back to the UK when the baby arrives (neither husband nor I like the thought of leaving the oldest kids on their own in Kazakhstan without either parent). To stay where?
7. What about MIL? Sister in law will have just had her 2nd baby and so is probably relying on her own mother to be around to help out. I would feel bad to interfere with that.
8. How will the kids be without me for weeks on end? Maybe six or seven weeks by the time I have the baby and get its passport and visa for Kazakhstan.

All in all, trauma.

You can add into this heady mix of questions the fact that my husband will be in his "busy" season at work which usually means working 18 hour days for him, and the fact that the kids have a 10-day half term a week before my due date. Oh yes, and our eldest daughter will have her 9th birthday on the 12th March (my due date is the 4th or 5th - my birthday is the 4th as well!). It is all complicated.

I could stay here. But I just don't fancy it. Should anything go wrong, we are not sure that the medical care will be adequate to save me or the baby. So no matter how much it costs, how complicated it all gets, I think we will go to England.


  1. We keep um-ming and ah-ing about whether to have another baby and it is precisely these issues that have kept it in the um-ing and ah-ing stage. It is such a tough call. You will make the right decision for you though, but the logistics are going to be complex! Good luck. x

    PS - could I use this on the expat mums site?

  2. I was in a similar place. In the end the best advice i was given was to spend the money. Take the whole family. Rent a nice apartment - walking distance to the hospital. If you carry small and the pregnancy goes well leave as late as possible (after 36 weeks - i left at 38). Go first and have a gf be with you. Have your hubby come the day before the due date with kids. Arrange for friends to be with you if mom or in laws are not available to help with kids. Relax. It is only money. Come back to Almaty as soon as you can and heal in your home.

  3. Not exactly an easy call, but maybe it would help to think about the two most important things - your health, and the baby's health. While it wouldn't be great for the rest of the family to be without you for up to six weeks, that's got to be better than the other worst case scenario, something going badly wrong and you not being somewhere you can deal with it? It's all about the baby really, isn't it? The rest is just detail. Best of luck, honey, and hope bump growing beautifully.

  4. Hey Brit IB, It is a bit complex, but I am sure we will get there in the end. I went on reproductive strike after our second child and now we have a big gap between the two (which has been a factor in deciding to go for 4 rather than stick with 3 - so that we have two sets of two close together). Watch out for big gaps, and remember the longer you leave it, the longer it is until you are done being pregnant. Bring on the Bollinger when ths one is out, I tell yoU!

  5. Thanks anonymous. I think you are right, throw some money at the problem and it will surely be less traumatic. Afterwards we wont even notice.

    Angel: looks like my blissful plan of weeks in London are not going to happen. Most likely be Dorset where more child care available for our littlest one, who I have decided it would be too long to leave her here in kaz. And also too much for super nanny who might have nervous breakdown doing everything by herself. Will use the services of super granny instead.