My Nisseki hospital stay
After being admitted to the hospital on April 7th, and then giving birth there on April 8th, I went on to stay 3 more nights at Nisseki hospital (April 9, 10 and 11th) before being discharged on April 12th.
Each day at the hospital was planned out in advanced, and I received a copy of my `schedule` soon after giving birth to Aiden.
Each morning at around 6-7am, a nurse would come in and check on me (blood pressure, body temperature) and the baby. I had to write down everything that Aiden did each hour (pee? poo? drink? have a fever?) in a special diary and show it to the nurses whenever they asked.
At 7am, I was brought breakfast, which consisted of fish, rice, miso soup, milk and one kind of side dish (vegetables).
At 9am a doctor would come and examine me and each day, Aiden was taken into the nursery for his checkup, allowing me some free time to take a shower.
Twice during my stay, the new mothers gathered in the `day room` at around 10am to receive information on taking care of a newborn. On one occasion we watched a demonstration on bathing baby, and on the other, we learned about birth control post-baby, breast care and other important information about our bodies.
At 11am, the O-Cha lady brought hot tea around all the rooms, and then at 12, lunch arrived (soup, rice, salad, main and vegetable juice - with a small sweet snack to eat later).
In the afternoons, visitors were allowed, and sometimes Yoshi`s mum stopped by with sushi, puddings and other delicious snacks from the Kintestsu department store (near the hospital). The rules regarding visitors were a little strange; the mother, father, grandparents and siblings of the new baby were allowed in the mother`s room, but all other visitors were not. If other visitors came, they could look at the baby through the windows of the nursery, and talk to the mother in the `day room`, but thats all. My poor little sister wanted so badly to visit us, but the limited visiting hours and strict rules made it impossible!
Dinner was served at 7pm (after another O-Cha delivery at 6pm), when all visitors were directed to leave, and then we had a few hours of free time, before lights-out at 10pm.
On my last day in the hospital I was served a special dinner of tai (seabream/snapper), sekihan (red rice) and other celebratory Japanese dishes. It was really amazing, but meant to be shared by mum and dad, which meant it was way too big for me to eat alone. Sorry!
I am not sure about other hospitals in Japan, but I guess that my experience was pretty similar to other new mums in Japan. Some private clinics have patients stay much longer, but Nisseki is a public hospital (Osaka Red Cross Hospital).
I was really satisfied with the service and care, and would not hesitate to have another baby there in the future, but the whole experience was a little strange, and something I don`t know if everyone would enjoy.
Basically there is no privacy at all, and I quickly had to get used to different faces popping into my room at all hours asking me to demonstrate my breast-feeding technique, asking if I had a bowel movement that day or any other possible question you could imagine! I definitely had to leave my modesty at the door! None of the staff spoke English at all, and I was initially a little worried about that, however most of the nurses just spoke to me like they spoke to all other patients and I managed to understand most of what they said. I got used to the words they used (medical terms) and think I did ok! Some of the staff were obviously much more comfortable dealing with non-Japanese patients than others, and I really enjoyed chatting to some of the nurses about their travel experiences, their families etc, while I found that others seemed a wee bit stand-offish. Not to worry!
I was also pleased with the hospital bag I had packed, and used most of the things I brought with me. I brought my own pajamas (they weren`t on the list of things to pack), and was pleased I did because the pink hospital gown was a bit short on my foreign frame, and not really the most comfortable thing to wear. I had made a CD of songs to play during labor, but I ended up plugging my Ipod directly into a dock they had in the labor / delivery room. That was great!