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A reader commented on the Expat Report Having a Baby in Sydney, Australia
Having-a-Baby-in-Sydney
Describe your experience giving birth there. What type of facility did you go to? What (if any) type of pain management did you use? How long did you stay in the hospital? Was it a positive experience? Etc...
I am Malaysian and I live in Kuala Lumpur with my Australian husband. We decided to give birth in his hometown in Sydney.

We chose the Royal Women's Hospital (RHW)in Randwick. We traveled to Sydney when I was 4 months pregnant to look for a suitable OB and check out the hospital and even had a private tour of the facilities and I went back to KL happy and excited.

We left for Sydney when I was 30 weeks pregnant (to get away from the horrible haze in KL). The baby was breech and we opted for a C-section. I was booked in to give birth 1 week before the due date; 2 days before the birth I attended a pre-admission clinic at the RHW. We were briefed on the admin side of giving birth and they had seperate clinics for vaginal birth and caesarean. Some of the things they touched on was you have to do a blood test 1 day before the birth, cannot eat or drink from midnight the night before, we were given a thorough check-up by one of the GPs, what to bring to hospital etc. They answered every question we could think of. The hospital encourages breastfeeding and to have the baby room in with the mums.

On D-Day, hubby and I checked into the hospital at 7am. As a private patient, I was given a private room with an ensuite, it's not luxurious but it had everything for you and baby to be comfy. We had requested for hubby to stay and were given a camp bed for him at a small cost. Unfortunately the bed frame was so knobbly that hubby chose to put the mattress on the floor and slept there for 5 whole nights! In fact, when the baby would not settle at nights, my husband would cuddle the baby in his arms and they would both sleep on the floor. The midwives thought it was odd, but sweet. They allowed it as the baby was safer on the floor, if he had been sleeping on the bed, they wouldn't have allowed it.

The whole birth was totally painless and cozy - I just remember my husband next to me, smiling up at him, the anaesthesist making jokes and everyone was very jovial and efficient and it made us feel very comfortable.

The anaesthesist had volunteered to take photos for us and he was snapping away. The OB would keep us updated on the progress. He presented our baby daughter and she was quickly bundled up and handed to me. We got to hold her for a minute before she was whisked away for her Vitamin K shots, Apgar test and cleaned up. This was done within the operating theatre, just 5 metres away from me and I could see everything that they were doing to her. I urged hubby to go with the nurse while the OB finished on me.

The baby was handed back to us cleaned and bundled up and we had more photos taken. I was then wheeled into the recovery room where I was observed for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, hubby took baby upstairs to our room and I was wheeled back up.

I had midwives who came in almost immediately to help me breastfeed. I found it tough the first few days, but the midwives were so supportive and helpful. My daughter wanted to feed nearly every hour and every time a midwife would come and help me with my feeding technique.

There's no nursery there and all babies sleep with the mums but one night hubby and I were so exhausted that the midwives offered to take the baby to the nurses station for a few hours and let us have a bit of sleep.

The saline drip and catheter was taken out after 48 hours and I was encouraged to shower and try to walk. I never felt pressured or forced to do anything I didn't feel ready for. Several times I found the recovery painful and the midwives and my OB were very quick to prescribe me stronger painkillers.

Your meals were delivered to the room the first couple of days, but if you felt better after that you could go to the dining room and eat buffet style. They fed us well, the food was simple but nourishing and I found that I was ravenous all the time. There were a couple of cafes in the hospital and hubby would buy me deli sandwiches and yoghurts there.

Hubby and I were consulted on everything regarding the baby eg. everytime they weighed & measured her, vaccination shots, hearing tests etc. Unlike in Malaysia, my friends who had given birth in KL were never consulted or their permission asked before the staff handled their babies.

They had lots of classes everyday that you could attend such as bathing baby, how to settle baby, breastfeeding clinics and tips on baby care.

They even have volunteer massage therapists coming to give free massages, I had a wonderful hour of back and leg massage.

I had a meltdown on the 4th day and couldn't stop crying. Upon my request, the midwives put a Do Not Disturb sign on my door and would vet my guests for me cause I didn't want any visitors that day. One of the midwives stayed for a long time with me, talking about post-natal depression and basically giving me a shoulder to cry on.

Our paediatrician would come and check the baby everyday and my OB would visit me daily too. I stayed as long as I could and was discharged 5 days later with very positive and happy memories of the whole experience. (Continue)

A reader replied most recently with:
how much does it cost in total include the gp consultation and usg ? while you are travelling does it seems any red tape in the airport ?
A reader replied recently with:
how much did all of this cost you?
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Expat Report Living in Sydney, Australia was published
Living-in-Sydney
Describe how you "dreamed" expat life would be before you moved overseas. Please provide as much detail as possible.
Country club lifestyle, lots of disposable cash, easy time settling in for both myself and family. (Continue)
A reader commented on the Expat Report Culture Shock in Sydney, Australia
Culture-Shock-in-Sydney
Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?
It is different to travel for holidays or to have a life change and practice your profession overseas.

Ideally we shall all try to understand the country we are going to. At least learn the language spoken in this country. Adapt. Be patient, with ourselves first and then for the others.

There will be obviously different ways of dealing with things and differences. We shall not try to compare (even if of course, the only evaluation measure we have, is to compare to what we know). After 3 years here, I know what I like and what I don't like. I am not obliged to comply with it and we have choices in life.

For me, despite the beauty of the country, Australia will never be home. (Continue)

A reader replied most recently with:
I am a queenslander and identify closely with what you have said. It is very like your description in Queensland as well-sadly. I live in vanuatu at the moment and have suffered many consequences from this 8 years here. My values are now tuned to almost perfect pitch, my teeth are worn down, and my face much aged as I have learned to "let it be"and decide for myself. Thank you for reminding me that when I return to Brisbane, the shock will be just as real but in a different form.
A reader replied recently with:
having also lived in australia (as well as south africa and colombia AND being a US passport holder), i have to agree with the posting above. my experience was similar as i also felt judged by my accent and found it much easier to meet other immigrants and/or expats. it is completely different to travel for holidays to oz than to try to assimilate into the culture. i found the daily activities to be much more rigorous there than in south africa or colombia. people are always so surprised to hear this (and look at me as if i have gone completely mad....!). thanks for confirming my own experience...
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emblem1 commented on the Expat Report Review of American International School in Sydney, Australia
Review-of-American International School
How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?
Facilites are adequate, play areas good, classrooms clean, cared for. There are changing after class activities each term, can include sports, crafts, theatre, cooking, chess, beading, games, yoga.

We also very much like the international flavor of the school, there are children from all over the globe!! (Continue)

emblem1 replied most recently with:
Thanks to share your useful informative information in this forum site like you said in topic about it was very interested topic thanks to share it.
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emblem1 commented on the Expat Report Review of American International School in Sydney, Australia
Review-of-American International School
How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?
We are at the school because of it's Academics. As temporary ex-pats, it was very important to me that my children can re-enter the American Schools as seemlessly as possible. As a young school there are limited extra-curricular activities. My children have been involved in the creation of two music CD's. They are very involved after school activities outside. It makes a great balance between keeping a "normal" school experience and education level and having a positive Aussie experience with their friends at their activities outside schoo. (Continue)
emblem1 replied most recently with:
Thanks to share your useful informative information in this forum site thanks to share it.
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emblem1 commented on the Expat Report Review of Condorcet-the French School of Sydney in Sydney, Australia
Review-of-Condorcet-the French School of Sydney
How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?
good facilities, extra curricular music club, drama club etc (Continue)
emblem1 replied most recently with:
Thanks for your useful informative information in this forum site thanks to share it keeps carry on buddy.
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A reader commented on the Expat Report Moving to Sydney, Australia
Moving-to-Sydney
What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
Look around a lot before you rent because the market is not very efficient. Most landlords are unwilling to make any improvements unless it is at the very high end of the market. (Continue)
A reader replied most recently with:
Is that $1400 to $1600 per week?
A reader replied recently with:
It is in keeping with what I have read/heard. I would like information/help on how to immigrate with the following either standing in the way or ignored: * Age- 57....too old * Education- no degree but have 25+ years experiance in health related fields. * Health-pretty good * Language- English speaking and can spin circles around levels` 7 and 8 to the point of being a good mentor/tutor. * Have a loved one who is pure Aussie. Known 18 months via email, Skype, snail mail, telephone, chat consistantly. I have so much to offer. With the points test I have no way of proving it.
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A reader commented on the Expat Report Christmas In Sydney, Australia
Christmas-In-Sydney
If locals celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah where you are living now, how is it celebrated differently?
Well of course a very big difference is that it is summer here and that effects the way Christmas is celebrated. In the past, families used to sit down to your traditional UK style dinner, but over the years and with strong multicultural influences many people will sit down to seafood (prawns/lobster), a leg of ham, fresh salads, and fruit (mangoes and cherries in particular). Santa seems to rein here although you may hear an occasional reference to Father Christmas. You can buy real trees, but they don't seem to last long in the heat. Decorations deviate from the traditional red and green and have more of summer tones ...pink purple bright greens and turquoise. It's still common to hear carols in shops/malls dreaming of a White Christmas which is pretty strange really as is all the imagery of snow reindeers and sleighs.

Christmas is a very outdoor event those of us near the coast may go dowm to the beach for "breakie" with friends {Bondi Beach here in Sydney will be full of UK visitors perhaps drinking too much and getting burnt!!!!} Christmas presents will focus on the summer Flip flops..swimmers..beach towels...barbeques..bikes ..surf and body boards and usually the weather is so nice you can use them straight away!!

Christmas lights are quite big here with some whole streets lighting up together..of course on a warm summer evening after dark families will come out to see them. Christmas here also means the end of school year so it's a busy time with concerts, presentation nights, end of year dinners, etc. On Boxing Day we usually take a boat trip out on the habour to see the Sydney /Hobart Yacht Race start. A week later we all gear up to see the fireworks on the habour they are truely spectacular and worth the effort to see. There is a 9pm show for families followed by a bigger display at Midnight (Continue)

A reader replied most recently with:
Delightful report. Thanks. We had an orphanage from Metro Manila, Ph, come to our house to carol, dance, with guitars, drum, all dressed up colorfully. Blaring out Jingle Bells & Rudolph with enthusiasm. Hard to imagine these little Filipino kids & teens ever getting the chance to see a reindeer, a sleigh, or even snow! But anything American is special here, including whiter skin. (American whites work to get that lovely tan! - Go figure...) Expat American in Metro Manila
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A reader commented on the Expat Report Moving to Sydney, Australia
Moving-to-Sydney
What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
Be aware of a few key things. One is rent is quoted weekly and while most of the time GST is included, we ran into a couple of places where it was not. The very modern apartment (1 year old) we are living in does not include heating or airconditioning. Meaning that there aren't even vents or a thermostat. You have to buy/rent a heating or airconditioning unit yourself. I wish I didn't sign a 6 month lease right off the bat, we might have changed our minds if we had the opportunity. (Continue)
A reader replied most recently with:
I realize this is based on Sydney. Would anyone have an idea of the costs in Figtree Australia {NSW}. This is where I hope to immigrate to. I would like as much information on Figtree as I can possibly get. I would also like information on the best way to immigrate. Skilled labor is out as they do not take into consideration 25+ tears of experiance in the health care field. My age is a detriment- 57 Health- pretty good, a few aches and pains and controlled epileptic. Language- Excellent English. I could spin circles about levels 7 and 8. I am an American and had some college for secondary education in English. Associations- long distance relationship for 18+ months with a native Australian via Skype, snail mail, chat, email,telephone, and video. Need to bring- very little, my books, religious items, pictures, items with sentimental value, art supplies[ Ie- paints, easel, electric carver with blades, brushes, camera, and clothing}. The art supplies are my business. My original idea was to come to Australia as a tourist. I would, of course, be staying with my Aussie. While there I would have a monthly bills of some sort, many pictures, lots of mail mailed to us anything to make it well documented that he and I are together. After my 3 month limit leave for a bit and return for another 3 months doing exactly the same. The last time is for 6 months. By the close of that period apply for immigration status. Re-new my visa, etc and start all over again so that there is nothing close to a 3 month period of seperation for Brett and I. Does this sound like a working plan? If not why, and what would you suggest? I believe this is legal, isn't it? Thanks for any and all help that you can give.
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A reader commented on the Expat Report Moving to Sydney, Australia
Moving-to-Sydney
What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
Do a bit of research on the web, and read about other people's experiences. There are quite a few things that are quite different to the US and will take some getting used to. (Continue)
A reader replied most recently with:
So, there isn't such a thing as monthly rent? Could this be because some months have 5 weeks in them. What are the laws on eveiction given the landlord may or may not be in the right. Do they give adequate notice? Is upkeep included in the rent? If Australia wishes more english, blue collar workers to immigrate to Australia would it not be in the best interests of Australia to make housing more affordable at least for the first year or two? Why is the cost of everything there so much higher as it has four very distinct and different directions for different kinds of produce and meat and to even raise cotton? What is the expence of moving to Australia- average?
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