Saturday, October 29, 2011

Idle curiosity

So, any readers who have had babies in Israel and want to tell me where they gave birth and what their experience was like?

See, here's the thing. My sister-in-law just had a baby (mazal tov!) last week. I went out to visit her a few times before she was discharged from Shaarei Tzedek. And the postpartum nurses? They were MEAN. Not just gruff or typical Israeli, but actually mean.

See, here's the other thing. If you haven't picked up on this, I have a really, really thin skin. It is very easy to hurt my feelings. It is very easy to make me feel bad. Call it a personality flaw or moral weakness or whatever you want, but I don't think I can change it at this point. And when I am about to have a baby, or am in the process of having a baby, or have just had a baby, I absolutely totally cannot deal with anyone being mean to me. At all.

So there's Hadassa. And there's the natural birthing center at Hadassa, which is pretty pricy. There are doulas. But there is no getting past that in Israel, the person who will deliver your baby is almost certainly going to be someone you have never ever seen before. And will absolutely positively not be the lovely midwives I love and trust who delivered my last 3 kids.

Anyone have any experience to share?

Just, you know, wondering. Idle curiosity. Of course.


Anonymous said...

I gave birth in Yerushalayim in 2008 at Hadassah Ein Kerem. It was an amazing experience. I had a wodnerful OB, Dr. Nili Yanai (her office is in the Wolfson Towers in Rechavia). Her practice almost exclusively consists of American religious women and she helped me feel at home delivering away from my family and the medical system I was used to. She also put me in touch with an amazing midwife, Nancy, at Ein Kerem who gave me and my husband a tour of the Labor and Delivery area. We've never met, but I was friends with Shanna when we lived in Brookline and she turned me onto your blog (I've been a secretly devoted reader ever since). Let me know if you want me to contact you by email to let you know more. I have contact numbers for Dr. Yanai that I can pass on to you.

mother in israel said...

I shared this on my blog's Facebook page:

OneTiredEma said...

If you are interested in exploring the idea of a home birth I have 2 people (1 in Jm and 1 in Tzur Hadassah) you can talk to.

mother in israel said...

My friend here in Petach Tikva also had a wonderful home birth, brit is today!

Channa said...

Hi, I got to this blog via mother in Israel. For my birth I used a doula, Joanie Abelman, who is very experienced and well known. She is not cheap, but she is (I think a lot) less expensive than a private doctor. One of the things that was great about her was that each time the midwives' shift changed (I was at Hadassah Ein Karem and gave birth over three midwife shifts), Joanie went out into the hall, scouted out which midwives were coming in, and recruited the nicest/best one to come to us! So we had three wonderful midwives. Joanie also helped pull strings to make sure I'd be in yoldot gimmel, the lovely postpartum ward with rooming in. I think that in any hospital you will hear wonderful stories, horror stories, and stories in between, but what you can control is to make sure that you have people - like a great doula - who can help advocate for you and make your experience one of the wonderful ones.

Commenter Abbi said...

If you're very thin-skinned, the best thing you can do for yourself is take a good birth education course here, even though this isn't your first, so you can get to know how birthing works here, even just the language, what to expect when you get to the hospital, when you get to the delivery room, etc. It's also essential that you take the delivery room tour, at least in the hospital you know you'll probably end up in, but preferably at two so you can choose where you're most comfortable.

I've had four kids here, 3 at Hadassah EK and one in Meir hospital in Kfar Saba. The best experiences were at Hadassah with a doula. A note about the natural birthing room: though they claim the midwife who assists you in that room is familiar with natural birthing techniques, that is not always the case. When I was with my doula hanging around that corridor, she noted that the midwife she saw going into that room happens to not be a big fan of NB. Go figure. To me, it wasn't worth shelling out 1500 shekel for purple paint and a fruit bowl.

As for this point: "But there is no getting past that in Israel, the person who will deliver your baby is almost certainly going to be someone you have never ever seen before."

If you take a good and experienced doula who you've met a few times and trust and you feel can support you in the way you most need during the labor and pushing, it's really irrelevant who catches your baby. I had a private dr. with my first who saw me throughout my pregnancy, she adjusted my baby's head and caught her, and was really lovely, but that was about the extent of her support. My doula did most of the heavy lifting and supporting during the labor.

For my second, same doula, hubby, no dr. and very indifferent midwife. The latter didn't make a difference to me, since I had the support I needed. Third birth (Meir), hubby, no doula, midwife had to be chased down when I was ready to push ( They might have checked me once during the entire 3-4 hours I was in active labor).

Fourth birth, HEK, had to have pitocin to start contractions after 36 hours of broken water, obnoxious dr. that i just ignored, doula, hubby, GREAT midwives who were super supportive, and I delivered without epidural while being stuck on my side due to monitoring.

The lesson: Take a good EXPERIENCED doula (i would avoid newbies for your first birth in Israel). Also, if you are prone to ANY complications, expect to encounter some difficulties with dr's. If you have an experienced doula, who has a good relationship with the hospital staff (which is essential. There are some doulas who are pushy and very disliked by hospital staff. Ask around and check into this point thoroughly. You don't want to have to start referreeing between midwives and your doula on the delivery table), she might be able to advocate for you. If you want to really be sure and you have the money, you might want to take a private dr. as well (again, if you are prone to complications).

First dr. I had: Also Dr.Nili Yanai (she's not just a private OB, she's also head of the U/S dept. in Hadassah EK). My doula was also Joanie. She was worth every shekel.

Good luck!

projgen said...

I've met Joanie and she is sweet, but no-nonsense. Obviously, I can't personally speak to her skills as a doula, but I've heard high praise from her.

My sister had her baby in Hadassa Ein Kerem (in a regular room, not a NB room), she chose not to use a doula, had a wonderful midwife and a great doctor. She opted for rooming-in and had mostly good experiences with the nurses. There were a couple of snarky ones, but they were mainly friendly. And contrary to what I've heard from other people, the nurses were helpful and supportive with my sister's desire to breastfeed.

I don't know if it's luck of the draw or what, because I hear so many different stories - good and bad - about the same hospitals.

Amanda Elkohen said...

I have had 3 at Bikur Cholim since 2007. The first experiance was OK, not great, not too awful. it was a complicated birth. My second was fine, except that the epidural was put in while the doc chatted away on his cell phone. FOUR tries! ugh.
Third was the worst experience ever, from the pre-labor doc recommending fetocide (I kid you not, I was 41 weeks) to being ignored for 12 hours in L&D with broken water to an "Emergency c-section" at 3 AM which was likely not necessary, according to one of the docs after the fact. At least I got anesthesia before they cut (unlike one of the ladies before me).
I'll be going elsewhere this next time...

Anonymous said...

No suggestions, but it appears congratulations are in order! Best wishes for an uneventful pregnancy and delivery.

Karen in Minnesota

Anonymous said...

if your hebrew is good enough, here is a site with lots of information...

shanna said...

I *still* can't figure out who Anonymous is...!

Anonymous said...

B'sha'ah tovah!

Have you read this?