It is 4 am and I can’t sleep. I was turning and turning in my bed, trying to relax, finding the right position to relieve my sciatic nerve pain, then emptying my mind of all the thoughts of yesterday’s stressful moving experience (we are moving the women’s center to a new location and it seems my present condition is making it harder for me to cope with it. But nothing is helping and it seems that my body, 7 months pregnant now, is preparing for waking up in the middle of the night and adapting to the future baby’s schedule.
|Republican Hospital - Birth Center|
I went to do my routine tests this week. The Republican hospital where I will be giving birth this time seems trustworthy. Some parts of the building were renovated with the help of USAID and some parts need more work. But overall it is a decent place although it lacks a little bit of a friendly ambiance, colors, nice soothing posters…I will visit soon the operating/delivery facilities and post delivery rooms as well and keep you updated on that.
|raffi waiting for me|
A friend asked me recently if the hospital was clean and following high hygiene standards. I am assuming it is, although I don’t know for sure. You could never know in countries like Armenia, you just have to trust your doctor and have faith that everything will go well. Although I’ve heard some horror stories about other hospitals and facilities, I still think if I chose to live in Armenia then it is natural that I trusted the place enough to give birth here as well. And I always remind myself, women in Armenia for years, have given birth and had healthy babies and went through different procedures successfully, why not me?
Another thought is that, since I am working on women’s rights and health is one of the issues, I need to experience it first hand to know what I am talking about, it seems it is the logical thing to do.
The most important thing is that I trust the doctor and his judgment. I ask him lots of questions during each visit to prepare myself regarding my childbirth experience and my stay at the hospital. Another thing is that I use my common sense, I monitor closely the nurses when they take blood or do different tests to be sure that they are following basic hygiene routine. For example during my first blood test, the nurse was not wearing gloves, so I asked her to wear one and explained to her the importance of that not only for me, but also for her, to protect her health as well. She knew about it she was just not very consistent and not feeling comfortable working while wearing one.
Another issue was the urine sample for routine test. The nurse guided me to a toilet where small containers to collect urine were stacked in a box. I closed the door and prepared myself, picked one container and started the procedure. The toilet was not looking very clean and the smell of urine was very strong, which made me decide that next time I will do that at home and bring everything with me. So this is what I mean by using your common sense, you need sometimes to take the initiative, evaluate the situation and find solutions suitable for you.
Overall, I could say that until now my experience of prenatal care is not bad due to the amazing doctor that is following me. The technical equipment at the hospital seems decent as well. I am having a short ultrasound almost every month to check if everything is ok with the baby. And the best part is (unheard of in Canada) that I have my doctor’s cell phone (and I am not an exception here) and I can call him whenever I feel something is wrong which in my opinion is a great service and creates a humane relationship between a doctor and his patients.
|my pregnancy hospital card|
Cost for prenatal care in Armenia at the republican hospital is 50 000 Drams (approximately 140 USD) and that includes your monthly check-ups, ultrasound, urine and blood tests for the whole 9 months of pregnancy.