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.