On Saturday I went with V to the “Army Hospital” in Tongzhou. We’re scouting round the different maternity hospitals in the local area and right now it seems like the best bet.
All the same, it’s a Chinese hospital, and Chinese hospitals are, in short, a bit rubbish. If you think British hospitals are big on pointless queuing, waiting, filling in forms and walking around trying to work out where you should be then you’ve never been in a Chinese one. In addition they want your money at every point, and because it’s a gynecological department men aren’t allowed anywhere except the corridor. Still, sitting in various corridors may be dull, but it’s not actually unpleasant, just a shame I wasn’t allowed in to see the ultrasound scan. Mind you, even V wasn’t allowed to see the screen, she was just given a printout. With the one-child policy they’re understandably concerned that female foetuses will be aborted, so have gone out of their way to make sure that nobody can find out the sex of their baby.
The hospital is fairly clean and not particularly rude to us, so we might well use it. There’s one more possible place in Tongzhou, but it’s probably not any better. Either way, both are a world away from the horrible places we saw in the centre. After five hours there we didn’t feel like checking out the other hospital, so took the bus back home. The sky was so smoggy it looked like dusk at 3pm. Tongzhou can be a depressing, run-down place in certain areas, and certain times, and this was both, but just having an afternoon off just hanging out is great anyway.
You can tell V is pregnant now, just about. There’s a bulge and she can feel it kicking all the time, but nobody is offering her a seat on the bus or trying to feel her belly. Her mother’s fussing around her all the time, directing her to eat piles of eggs for breakfast and avoid a huge list of things which I’m certain have no ill effects. The date’s still a way off, but approaching rapidly now.
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