Monday, October 15, 2012

Jordan's First Five Days

We spent four nights at Aima Maternity Hospital, and generally had an excellent experience. The package we got included food for both of us, plus nursing care for Esther and Jordan, all for about $1,700. We found some loophole in the system where Rueben Marley prepared us a custom meal for lunches and dinners, plus the hospital still brought us two meals of really decent hospital food. Rueben cooked us pizza, chicken sandwiches, pot roast, and salmon pasta, among other treats. We ended up eating his food first and the hospital food as a snack. I can't remember the last time i ate so well.  We seriously considered staying a few extra nights.
Esther eats all the foods.
So this experience has been amazing, and i've learned quite a few new things in the last week.

I learned some new Chinese words, like earwax, boogers, and eye crusties.... they literally translate to ear shit, nose shit, and eye shit.  You gotta love when language is uncomplicated.

I learned some differences in Chinese vs. Western thinking. There weren't many as bad as the following example, but here's one situation where i was frustrated being in a Chinese hospital. When we were figuring out breastfeeding, we had a lot of resistance form the nurses, and some from Jordan as well. I'd read a lot in the past few months, so i have a decent idea how to take care of a baby.  I was also reassured by Suzanne (our midwife) that Jordan can get all the nutrients he needs from breast milk, even in the first few days.  But i lost count of the number of times and number of people who told us we need to feed him 1 oz of formula every two hours.  You'd think they were getting kickbacks from the Big Formula Lobby or something.  First off, we don't trust the generic Chinese formula they gave us.  And second, breast milk is unquestionably the best thing for a newborn.  Instead of just pushing formula on us when we clearly didn't want it, the nurses would have better served us by helping us breastfeed properly.  It wasn't until our last day there that someone started to give Esther some tips, and we praised that nurse highly to her superiors.

But we persevered, and eventually we won the war of Force Feeding Formula vs. Let Nature Work Magic.  And don't get me wrong, aside from the few nurses who seemed to not care about our wishes, most of the staff were really excellent and eager to help.

I learned that i absolutely love being a father and caring for my newborn baby. And i'm good at it. Esther is doing her Zuo Yue Zi, which translates to "sitting out a month". Not just common in China, it's a necessity. Here are two different perspectives on it, both very interesting. Anyway, she's not supposed to feed or change or bathe Jordan for the first month, so i'm happily doing all the work. It helps that he's extremely well behaved, sleeps four hour stretches every night, eats well, cuddles, waits patiently while we warm his breast milk... he's just amazing.

I also learned that i'm a very uncommon type of dad in China.  I don't mean to generalize Chinese fathers, but the nurses at Aima were amazed at how confident i was holding, cuddling, feeding, dressing, changing, and cleaning my new son.  They said most Chinese fathers are afraid to even touch their baby, and since the mother has to take a month off, they end up hiring a nanny to do all the work.  Obviously the most unfortunate thing is that the fathers miss a great chance to bond with their little one.  It would appear the parenting roles are still more rooted in tradition here.

I learned the mathematical relationship for when to change a diaper: if the ratio of poop : diaper is equal to or greater than 1, then change. If not, maybe change anyway if he's also pee'd a lot.
Magical Poop Disposal Station
Finally, I learned that my wife is the most amazing person i know, she's my best friend and i get her for life. She's brave, loving, funny, patient and beautiful. I'm so damn lucky.



laurengrace said...

Kevin and Esther! Congratulations on your brand new baby boy! He is adorable and I wish I could be there to hold him and love on him. Sending you good vibes across the pacific!

Tim F said...

Great stuff Jordan, Esther and Kevin.

I like the top "Baby on board (Kevin)" photo! Who needs a stroller when you've got Dad! ;)

Thanks for the cooking tips too guys.