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Having a Baby in a Hong Kong Public Hospital: the Inside Scoop

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There has been no shortage of sharing about our little baby being born in Hong Kong. You’ve heard about my sweaty pregnancy check-ups, the trials and tribulations of my blood type and blood pressure, and finally(!) Campbell’s birth. What I didn’t really address – and what lots of people have been curious about – is what it was like to give birth in a Hong Kong public hospital. Here are all the nitty gritty details!

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Campbell’s Favourite Things (and Mama’s too!)

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How to Survive with Baby in a Small Space

This is a cool looking kid, right? He’s clearly got all the style, gear, and trendy items any baby could hope or dream about. He must have cool parents who have figured our juuuuust the right stuff to buy for him.

As you saw in our little house tour (check it out here if you missed it!) our Hong Kong abode is, in fact, very little. Luckily, our baby is little too. Unluckily, not much else associated with babies is small at all. We have had to be very selective and smart about how we have organized our place to accommodate the influx of baby gear and also maintain our sanity by not being surrounded by every plastic, colourful baby item ever invented. As we didn’t find out our baby’s sex before birth we also wanted to keep things limited so we could make choices specific for him after he arrived.

Obviously we’re not as prolific as Oprah, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do our own version of our Favourite Things, right? You get a diaper bag! You get a diaper bag! You get a diaper bag! (Just kidding, you don’t get anything.) Here are our top picks, when you should think about getting organised soon, and what you can leave to sort out later. This list is curated for minimalists and anyone living with a baby in a tiny space!

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Campbell’s Birth Story Part II

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Where I Get Sent to Queen Mary Hospital

And so the birth story continues…if you missed Part I, where I describe a typical check-up at the public clinic, you can catch up here. If you’re up to date, here’s the next installment where I – you guessed it – go to the hospital!

Last May when we shared our Baby on the Way news, I explained that we had decided to have our baby in the public hospital system. This made sense for us financially and also with me having an uncomplicated pregnancy. I attended regular check-ups at the public hospital nearby and also supplemented those visits with more attentive and personalize check-ups, Annerley a midwifery clinic in Hong Kong. Having never given birth before, let alone in Hong Kong, this provided a huge amount of relief to both Braden and I. What a diversion from the tedious public system. As you likely gathered from my previous post, it seems there is nothing straightforward about going to the hospital in Hong Kong. Let me give you another example of why.

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Campbell’s Birth Story Part I

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My Story of A Late-Term Prenatal Checkup

Scene: It is is the peak of Hong Kong summer, through which I have (obviously) become larger and more noticeably pregnant every day. It is 40ºC and 95% humidity (seriously). The weather is torturous. My curly hair is enormous and unruly. I constantly sweat like a criminal on trial and need to shower at least twice a day. All I want to do is sit in a pool and drink margaritas for the foreseeable future, though it seems this is frowned upon during pregnancy. I don’t sit in a pool; instead, I go to my regular checkup at the public clinic.

Me: [feeling good about myself] I’m 2000 weeks pregnant, and I am still walking from my office to the clinic. You go, Mama! [staring jealously at every red taxi that passes me] I am smart and fit. [hoisting up the sagging, soggy waistband of my maternity shorts] I am a capable, healthy pregnant woman.

I arrive early for my appointment but still have to wait an eternity because they book ten people for each time slot. I’m not exaggerating. My hair is plastered to the back of my neck and I am certain my butt sweat is visible. Thank goodness this place has air conditioning.

By now I know the drill. I check in then go into the little room to get weighed and submit my urine sample. I step off the scale and the nurse writes down the number on a little piece of paper, handing it to me to share with the next nurse.

Nurse #1: You have urine sample?

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Our New *Larger Hong Kong Apartment

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As many of you have read, we’ve enjoyed living in a tiny, cozy apartment here in Hong Kong. A while back I shared our little slice of Canada that we created in 440 square feet (if you missed it, read up: here). Knowing we were expecting a baby we needed somewhere with a bit more space and began a hunt for our next digs in Hong Kong late last spring.

As we’ve grown to love our Wan Chai neighbourhood and gotten to know the area (and we’d likely starve if we weren’t within a block of Motorino pizza), we were compelled to stay close by. We love our convenient commutes and knew the lack of hills would make getting around with a baby in a stroller much simpler. We explored various buildings in the vicinity and, in the end, found an option in our current building that was too good to pass up.

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Campbell’s Nursery Mural

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Not knowing whether we were having a boy or a girl meant we faced a minor challenge when planning the nursery for our little baby-to-be, namely narrowing down a colour scheme that wasn’t gender specific. When I learned I was pregnant I created a (secret) pinterest board with images for inspiration, but struggled to decide on a colour scheme that would suit a boy or a girl. Especially because we are renting and can’t make a bunch of changes to the room, it seemed simpler to do something monochromatic. I also read some articles, such as this one here, that suggest strong contrasting images or patterns, such as black and white, provide the best sensory stimulation for newborns as their eyesight develops. I also realized that many of the inspiration images I had pulled together featured quotes. These ideas became the basis for the final design.