5 things I like about Thomson Medical Centre

This is a much overdue post about my experience at Thomson Medical, where I delivered my second child, JJ, via scheduled c-section.

I had my first child at Mount Alvernia, but decided on Thomson for the second one. Main reason: I wanted to be closer to my gynae (based in Thomson) as I was trying for a VBAC.

After trying out both hospitals that are priced similarly, here is a summary of what I like and appreciate about Thomson Medical. (And in case you are wondering, I don’t own shares in the listed company :P)

1. Confinement soups – Thomson prides itself on being (one of?) the first maternity hospitals to offer a ‘soup for mums programme’, made from traditional Asian recipes double-boiled for extra oomph, and also supposed to help boost milk supply. True enough, the soups were yummy, and I have no complaints about the food overall.

2. Cosy rooms – Another plus was their newly refurbished rooms. The deluxe suites were designed to be resort-like, but we didn’t splurge on those as we figured we weren’t gonna host a party for our relatives and friends anyway. We were happy with our single room (some photos below). You can view their rooms here.

Here’s the proud second-time daddy.

thomson medical

 And little Vera meeting her baby brother for the first time!

thomson medical

3. Multicultural nurses – Okay, there’s been some negative reports about the high ratio of foreign-to-local nurses of late. But they can’t be all bad?? I mean, the quality of their care probably has less to do with their nationality than their own personality, character, and level of motivation/experience.

I met some nurses from the Phillippines and China, and they were pretty okay and helpful. Every hospital has their fair share of good and not-so-good nurses I guess, so I’m thankful that I met some good ones, though I did come across a handful who couldn’t be bothered. One nurse didn’t even do up my pad properly! And some of the juniors couldn’t really help with latching the baby when I needed help initially due to post-operation pains. 🙁

4. Quality control folks – Kudos to the hospital for actually dedicating some of their nurses (or perhaps a portion of their time) to go around checking each patient’s room for general cleanliness and asking questions e.g., have they changed your bedsheets? Do you need a pillowcase for your extra pillow, etc? I still didn’t get my extra pillowcase in the end, but knowing that the hospital is making some effort to pay attention to the details is simply reassuring. 😉

5. Baby care and breastfeeding class – Thomson offers a one-hour class everyday for new mums to learn how to bathe and breastfeed their newborns. Though I’m a second-timer, I still picked up some useful tips.

What I didn’t quite like:
The reception staff serving us during registration was rather grouchy; also when we checked out, we had to wait a long time before we got our bill. After waiting for what seemed like forever, the angry hubby went downstairs and found the bill sitting at the front desk.

Tsk tsk.

But oh well, hopefully that was just a one-off bad-day kinda incident. All in all, I still had a pretty good experience. 🙂

How to distract yourself while waiting for natural labour

After some eight months, you’ve finally hit full term. You’ve just about had it with the extra 10kg of weight, constant need to pee, water retention, endless kegels, mid-of-night cravings, mood swings, Braxton Hicks, and…

Sometimes being pregnant can feel like you’re running a full marathon. Huff…puff…”When am I going to reach that finishing line?”

As I write, I’m painfully aware of the moment. I watched two mummies get admitted yesterday for labour, and I could only look on with envy.

I know it’s silly, but this kind of belly-heavy-emotions just can’t help it. Particularly if you stare at your swollen shape everyday…

So, I’ve been looking out for ways to distract myself while I wait. Here’s how I try to make my days go by quicker:

  • Spend quality time with your older kids, at the same time preparing them (or better still, involving them) for the arrival of the baby
  • Read motherhood forum pages / parenting websites and blogs which you’ve always been keen to dive into. If you’re a first time parent, this is a good time to store up practical information on stuff like breastfeeding, storing breast milk, caring for newborns, etc.
  • Schedule a meal / coffee with friends (or colleagues if you’re like me…already started maternity leave)

What are some ways you distract yourself in THE BIG WAIT? 🙂

Playing the waiting game – pregnancy week 38

I officially hit week 38 today in my pregnancy journey. At the gynae’s today, I was told that my cervix was still closed and tight.

I felt quite depressed after that.

Then I heard that baby is now 3.1 kg. (Quite heavy.)

As my first delivery was a c-section (due to a failed induction), I have an impending deadline, i.e., natural labour has to begin by due date (2 weeks time). It doesn’t help that baby also has a cap to his weight (anything above 3.3 kg is too risky in my doc’s opinion). FYI, he was 2.85 kg last week.

[Let me backtrack a bit. I’m aiming for natural birth because if I ever want to conceive again, going through a second caesarean now would mean compulsory caesarean for the third child. Also because of a quicker recovery period by natural, increased mobility, etc, which will allow me to still be able to play with Vera, my 2y.o. toddler]

So now, it feels like I can’t wait any longer. “Baby, come out now! Pleaseeee?”

Times like these, it’s good to put things back into perspective.

My opinion of waiting: a period marked by restlessness and not being able to focus on anything else but the object of that waiting. “I WANT IT NOW!

A better perspective of waiting: God’s timing is best, and sometimes it may not match with yours. And we have to trust that He’s in control and that He loves you.

Even though it seems like He’s late, He’s never late.

So I just have to keep waiting, and keep hoping.

Pregnancy update (Week 31)

I’m now 31 weeks pregnant, and eagerly (anxiously?) counting down the weeks till baby J is born.

We went to the gynae on Tuesday, for my routine check-up. The first thing that showed up on the ultrasound monitor was baby J’s head, with some fuzzy-looking things sticking out all round.

Doc: Wow, your baby’s got a lot of hair!
Me: Really?! (A sly grin spreads over the father’s face)
Me: more like the father then…

Doc went about taking the routine measurements, like the pro that she is. Baby J is about 1.2kg now, which is average. Then, she tried to capture a good shot of baby J’s face.

Doc: Hmm, your baby is lying face-down. Maybe you try turning to your left.
I did, but baby J didn’t budge a millimetre.
Doc: Try turning to your right.
I did, and again, baby J refused to turn.
Doc: Your baby very shy huh?

In that 5-minute scan, we found out that our baby boy has got loads of hair, like the father, and is apparently quite shy, not unlike the father too! Hmm, I wonder if he looks more like daddy too. 🙂

Well, anyway, doctor said that I will have to wait patiently for a couple more weeks, before we decide if a natural delivery is possible, which depends on baby’s size – not too big, position – cannot be breech, etc. We should be able to tell by week 36/37. If natural is possible, she will book me into Thomson Medical, since she’s based there and it’ll be better for her to be nearby so she can keep a close watch. If not, then she’ll book me into Mt Alvernia, since I had my first delivery there.

Sigh, though I really want to try natural this time, I’m also battling doubts about what if it fails, what if I need emergency c-section, and so on. But I know God knows the exact details about when and how baby J will be born, and I need not fret too much. I just need to pray and trust, and let his peace replace my anxious thoughts, then I will be fine.

Contemplating delivery at Thomson Medical Centre

We went for the hospital tour at Thomson Medical last Sat. At 10:50am, 10 minutes before the start of the tour, the info desk was swarming with women with bellies of differing sizes, closely armed by their husbands. We were split into two groups as the crowd was too big.

The guide was professional, informative, and quite candid. Unfortunately, the rooms were currently full and it was just before check-out time at noon, so we were unable to view the standard single, double, and 4 bedder rooms. Instead, we were only shown one of the deluxe suites, which turned out to be a newly-refurbished, resort-style room with space to fit and entertain the entire family and extended clan. Something which most of us wouldn’t need, or so I assume.

We also viewed one of the delivery suites – the only one in the centre which was equipped with a hydrotherapy tub, essentially a large bath-tub, that can be used for an extra charge of $200 above the package rate, as a form of natural pain relief. We were told that the hospital does not practice water birth, so even if the tub is used, actual delivery still has to take place on the hospital bed. (Only NUH is licensed to perform full water births.)

This may not be a decision-making factor, but the delivery suite that we saw was about half the size of the one I had at Mount Alvernia for my first delivery. Assuming that was the largest one at Mount A, the average size of a delivery suite at Thomson might be about three-quarter of that at Mount A. Again, I wouldn’t infer by the smaller size, inferior quality of service and care or medical equipment. Mount A is an older hospital with the luxury of space, as it’s also situated further up Thomson Road and away from the central area.

In terms of price, Mount A and Thomson are quite on par, perhaps with Mount A costing a few hundred dollars more on average. Both seem to have good quality help and support for breastfeeding and other newborn-related care issues. (Although I suspect, if I really run into problems in that area, I would run back to sister Kang at Mount A. She really helped in resolving the breastfeeding issues I had with my first child.)

I feel a bit torn. While I would like to try something different, the unknown factor causes a bit of hesitation. I’m still leaning towards Thomson Medical at this point, so let’s wait and see.

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