Tag Archives: parenthood

3 new becoming a dad in China episodes.

I have three new episodes about becoming a dad in China

Episode 3: 4D Scans and problems.

Episode 4: Baby Stuff and the art of status.

Episode 5: When a child is born.

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When a child is born (In Chengdu)

Thursday 24th September at 10:15pm Stanley entered the world. 

Technically he was already in the world just enclosed in his mothers womb. Lei started to get mild contractions late Monday evening.  Around 2am Wednesday morning we decided to head down to the hospital as the contractions were increasing.  Call the DD taxi China’s Uber.

Check In

Our package (not a Thompsons holiday) included four nights stay in the hospital after the babies birth, but because we arrived early Wednesday morning they advised us to pay until we could check in at 11am.  The rate was 40rmb per hour I asked Lei if we should book into the Shangrila hotel for a few hours it would be cheaper you can imagine the response. So around 11am we checked into our room.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink.

Around 5pm Lei’s waters broke the doctor informed us that we should head up to the delivery room. I was suited up with a beautiful blue hat , 1970’s PJ top and a pair of fake crocs.  Lei opted for an epidural after the injection they brought in some dinner for me and mum to be who was now currently high as a kite and jabbering away to the nurses.  After dinner one of the nurses came and styled Lei’s hair, nice touch.


Push! Push! Add Oil!  Add Oil!

After four and a half hours of extreme hard work by Lei little Stanley arrived.  I have never been consumed by so much emotion and relief.  I cried like a baby whilst Stanley was silent with eyes wide open and looking around the room.  To be honest watching him arrive was amazing the thing that shocked me the most was the arrival of the placenta, which was quickly bagged and ready to go. In China it is common for the placenta to be taken home and cooked by the grandparents and family. If you don’t want the placenta it’s common for the nurses to sell it on the black market.  I will not be partaking in this meal.

Four nights of helpfulness 

I’m so glad that we decided to go private (see previous posts about the public hospitals) the nurses were on call anytime of day always willing to help and even change Stanleys nappies.  One of the nurses told me it was great to see that I was eager to learn how to change and bath Stanley as most of the Chinese dads don’t really do much. I don’t need any abusive comments from Chinese dads as this was her opinion not mine. It was hard to leave the hospital, beacuse we came to the realisation that we have now become Stanleys personal nurses.


To be continued.

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You and your husband are not allowed to kiss in the first three months and after the eighth month of pregnancy it could cause miscarriage. 

Sometimes I just want one good source.

There is so much information on the internet via blogs, forums, youtube etc.  It can become a never ending night of clicking and reading.

I found a book in the UK called Expecting McGrail & Metland.  We have found this book really useful.  It has a week by week guide on how your baby and body is changing.  I just wish they had a Chinese version as some of the medical language is hard to translate.

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We also bought some Chinese books.  To be honest we never refer to theses books and the second book cover made me feel uncomfortable.

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Baby Stuff And The Art Of Status

Buying baby stuff in China over the last few years has become a sign of status.  Due to the rise within the middle class attitude of keeping up with the Joneses.

Everybody wants imported products as they don’t trust the Chinese brands even though 99% of the imported products are made in China.  I recently bought a bottle from Mothercare in Chengdu a Chinese friend informed me that it would not be the same as the quality if I had bought it from Mothercare in the UK.  I informed her it’s exactly the same bottle both made in China.  No she informed me the Chinese one will be of a lesser quality.  Sigh!

Also I have noticed pricing is sometimes double that of what we pay in the West for the same product just because it’s so called imported.   You can also buy western baby products online on Taobao (Chinese Ebay), but even then everybody tells you it’s probably fake.

Changes in the last few years.

Baby Transport

When I first came to China in 2008 you would hardly see baby prams or buggies on the street most locals carried their babies in baskets or had a chinese style buggy.  I don’t think I even saw a baby care seat until about 3 years ago.  Now everybody wants Silvercross or some other kind of Western pram or buggy.  To be honest they are just not practical in the city, most of the cities in China are not wheelchair or buggy friendly.

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Even before the baby is born it’s already competing on a material wealth level.

Nappies (Diapers USA)


Again when I arrived I noticed most kids had crotchless pants. Most Chinese parents used the Nappy/Diaper free method mostly through tradition and cost.  Apparently newborns are able to signal their mother when they need the toilet, but when using a Nappy/Diaper they lose this ability.

Now in the supermarkets you have a huge choice of imported and local products.  Local Pampers or imported Pampers the choice is yours.  So in the last ten years there has been a massive increase in Nappy/Diaper use in China the environmental impacts must be huge.

If your interested in the Nappy/Diaper free method check out this video warning contains poop and pee.  Also I’m not sure about letting the baby pee in the kitchen sink.  Youtube


When I tell most of my friends back home that we will not be using a cot or crib for the first six months and that the baby will be sleeping in our bed I usually get a some kind of shock reaction. Again until recently most Asian and African parents have their babies sleep in their beds (co sleeping).  Apparently the level of SIDS in China is really low.  Yet again cot/crib sales have increased in China due to the rise in middle class incomes.

If interested in co sleeping check out this interview with James McKenna, PhD.


It feels like everything is being over simplified and the goal for material products even for babies has become a goal, a dream and a reality.

I’m just waiting for the day when I see a baby with an iWatch in Chengdu.

Globalisation baby globalisation.

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Echocardiography causes UNWANTED STRESS

In June we had the 4D Scan/Echocardiography everything seemed ok until we our saw our doctor after the scan.

She informed us that there was an echo from the left side of the babies heart or left ventricle and that this could be an indication of Down Syndrome.  She informed us we need to get a second opinion from Huaxi (West) Hospital within the next two weeks.  My wife contacted the hospital, but the next available appointment would be in eight weeks.


If you don’t have any 关系 guanxi (relationship) in China it can really difficult to get anything done medically.  Luckily a friend of ours had some contacts in another private hospital in Chengdu.  They reviewed the report and said everything was fine and that the Echocardiography results can be very misleading and not to worry and that this happens all the time.  I had been really stressed over the first results more than my wife, but after the advice from our friend this gave us a lot of relief.

Stress us out again!

About three weeks ago my wife went for a blood test and general check up at our hospital.  The doctor asked about the results from Huaxi.  My wife informed our doctor that we got a second opinion from another doctor from a private hospital and that everything was ok.  The doctor informed my wife that she wanted her to get this checked out again, because one of her patients had just given birth to a child with Down Syndrome and that we could still abort at week 30.  When she told me all this I was angry and upset.  How can they expect us to have an abortion at week 30.  We came to the conclusion if the baby has DS we don’t care.  We can give the baby a good life.

Corrupt Government Hospitals.  Return of the Yellow Cow.

We decided to get it checked out at Huaxi Hospital.  My wife called the appointments line next available appointment would be at the end of October after the babies birth WTF.  So we had to call a yellow cow.  A yellow cow is basically someone who can get you an appointment with the doctor via some corrupt channel we had to pay him this time 300rmb bear in mind that this is only an appointment to see the doctor who can authorise a scan.

My wife’s ticket had no number or appointment time that means everybody from the doctor to the person dealing with appointment is corrupt.  So we get an appointment to see a doctor my wife went to see the best doctor in Huaxi (allegedly) and informed her of our situation.  This so called best doctor just laughed and said to my wife good luck with getting an appointment for a scan.

Again my wife was informed late October for a scan.  We contacted our Yellow Cow he informed us he could get us an appointment in two weeks, but it would cost 1500rmb and that he could not guarantee the time.

We decided to find another private hospital in Chengdu to do the scan so two weeks ago we had another echo scan for only 400rmb.  There was still an echo from the left side of the heart.  The doctor told us not to worry that our hospital was just trying to cover themselves in case the baby had DS.  They informed us we could have a DNA test.

Finally some relief

After doing some intense research regarding echo noise from a babies heart there seems to be no definite research or statistics.  I even asked the doctor what are the chances of the baby having DS 50% 20% 10% ? The answer was we don’t know.

We had another scan last Thursday 6th August the echo had gone relief all around.

After reading hundreds of posts from parents it seems until somebody does some in-depth research doctors worldwide need to be cautious with the information they give to parents.  I understand the hospital is just covering themselves, but really if the percentages are so low or unknown why give any parent this added stress.

To be honest I wish we had never even done an Echocardiography.


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Two White Chicks In China Podcast

Great podcast this week from TWCC.  Click on pic below for link.




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Baby License!

In China the land of the free and home of the brave.  Sorry made a typo or was it a Freudian slip.

Getting any kind of official paperwork done in China is always a nightmare.   You are past from pillar to post and try getting anything done between 11am – 2pm no chance.

I was actually dreading to amount of BS we would have to go through regarding the baby License.

You must get a License 准生证  to have a baby in China.

Miracles do happen

This by far has been the easiest document I have ever got in China and I only had to sign 2 pieces of paper and go to 2 different offices.  Compared to everything else this was a breeze.

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Going Private

After visiting the public hospital a couple of times we decided to check out the cost for private care in Chengdu.  Basically we had two options Angel Hospital and Natural New Born.  Angel was too expensive and I have some friends who had their babies at Angel and they informed that they always have hidden costs.  Also the natural birth rate at Angel is a lower than NNB.  We chose NNB because a lot more of our friends have had their babies here.  Also everybody had nothing but good words to say about NNB.


The benefits of going to a private hospital become apparent as soon as you walk through the door.

  • No waiting times which is a blessing as I don’t really want my wife waiting around for three hours just to get an appointment.
  • The husband can be present at every appointment.   In the public hospital the husband is not even allowed to be present at any of the scans or appointments.
  • The husband can watch the birth and cut the cord.  This is not allowed in the public hospital.
  • You have the same doctor through the whole of your pregnancy and birth.
  • You will not be coerced into have a c-section.
  • You get your own private room.
  • Clean (They have soap in the bathrooms)
  • Your doctor is available 24/7 via telephone or wechat in case you have any concerns during your pregnancy.
  • My wife has access to classes and a mother support group.

The list goes on.

Check out Sascha blog about his experience in the public hospital.


No Queue



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The Public Hospital

At first we wanted to use a public hospital like 99% of locals do.  After my wife found out she was pregnant the next step was to get down the hospital and do some basic blood tests.  Also every Chinese woman has to start a file called a 档案 (dang’an).  It’s basically a record of all your appointments and doctors notes.

This first visit was done in late February.

Step one: Try to get an appointment at The West China Hospital (Huaxi).

Before you get an appointment you have to obtain a Hospital card with your Chinese ID.  Very simple and quick put your details into a interactive card machine and good to go

My wife called the appointment hotline, either that or queue at 4am to get a ticket.  They informed her she could not get an appointment until 2 weeks later.

Solution: Outside the hospital you can get what is called a yellow cow ticket.  Basically you pay somebody to queue outside with your Huaxi hospital card.  They have some connection with the people selling appointment tickets.  We payed around 200rmb to just get the appointment ticket for the next day.  This does not include the price of the doctor which is another kettle of fish.

Step two: Go to appointment.

You choose your doctor when making the appointment.  A low level doctor (junior) will cost a lot less, but they have more appointment times than the high level doctor.  So we opted for a mid level doctor around 60rmb.  When you arrive at the hospital its similar to the end of a football match when everybody is trying to get out of the ground.  First step pay for the appointment.  Find the cashier desk which is next to the ten ATM machines, pay cash get receipt.  Next step find your doctor.

Enter the maze and crowds of confused mum’s to be.

After 20 minutes we found our doctor.  When your appointment number is called you will enter the doctors room. (women only).  Now from my experience in the UK this is usually a one on one experience, but not in China it’s more like a one on twenty experience.  The room is full of expecting mums and people just randomly walk into the room by mistake or try to blag their late appointment with the doctor.  No respect is shown to either patient or doctor.

Step three: Blood test

After trying to find the blood test area which is actually similar to a garage forecourt.  You queue up with the other 10 thousand patients and wait for one of the magic doors to open.  After your blood test is complete you have to go back to the doctor.  Only to be informed that your test results will be ready tomorrow.

This took around a total of three hours.  I just felt like the women were herded around like cattle.

Step four: Test results

Come back next day.  The helpful doctor will inform you that everything is OK, go home and rest until your first scan.

At not one point was this experience a good one.  There was no care in the so called caring system.

After speaking to lots of friends and family we decided to go private.  One of my friends had her baby in this hospital and had to sleep in the hallway for two nights.  No thanks.



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Becoming a dad in China.

At the beginning of March we found out that we will have a baby this year.  We are currently at 17 weeks and 4days.  I will be writing this blog regarding the ups and downs of becoming a Lowai (foreigner) dad in China.

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