On 24 Feb 2020 at 37+ weeks pregnant, I had mild cramps similar to those I used to get when my menses was approaching previously. The cramps came on and off for the whole afternoon and did not become better while I rested. Sunshine and I both thought we would be meeting Baby C soon, either later that night or today. It was quite coincidental that I was just hoping that Baby C could get out of me soon that very wee hours of 24 Feb 2020 while I slept fitfully and quite uncomfortably due to the baby bump and its associated backache.
However, as much as I was looking forward to seeing Baby C, Sunshine and I were both relieved that my cramps did not worsen too, and that Baby C bakes for a while more in the meantime. I was hoping that Baby C would be born on 28 Feb 2020 or 10 Mar 2020. Haha. On the other hand, Sunshine whispered to Baby C to be a Mar 14 baby (pi baby, as he calls it), so that he would also have more me time to play his computer games. Lol. Either way, I did not feel anymore cramps since that afternoon. We did sort of panicked and finished packing our hospital bag that night. Lol.
When we saw my doctor, Dr Jessie Phoon today, I told her about my mild cramps the day before. After scanning, she seemed quite confident and told us that Baby C likely would not be coming anytime soon and what I felt was not labour contractions. According to her, it was “still early” since firstborns are usually born later, near 40 weeks. Based on what I heard though, this is not quite true since I know of many friends who gave birth to their firstborns way before 40 weeks. In fact, my own nephew decided to come one day shy of 37 weeks! Quite a handful of ladies in the Mar 2020 mummies-to-be group that I am in also gave birth at 37+ weeks. Nevertheless, Dr Phoon informed us that Baby C is engaged already! She was not inclined for me to take hospitalisation leave to rest at home now but encouraged me to continue working and be active. Sad. At 37+ weeks, Baby C weighs about 2.8-2.9kg ie. she grew about 0.3-0.5kg in less than 2 weeks. I am not sure if this weight gain is too excessive or not, but as compared to my nephew who weighed 2.9 kg when he was born, Baby C is at least still lighter at 37+ weeks, so I am not too worried… Until Sunshine warned me about Baby C getting too comfortable in my tummy and gradually growing too big for me to give birth to her easily when she is finally ready to come out. *scared* Speaking about weight gain, I gained about 1 kg during the same period and I think the additional weight went to my already huge butt. *face palm*
Towards the end of the consultation, the doctor advised us to understand more about the admissions process, settle the necessary paper works and book a bed at the Admissions office today. This was something I had been looking forward to because I wanted to understand the different charges before I decide on my ward class (A or B1). Given the current COVID-19 and DORSCON Orange situation, I was even more inclined towards a B1 class as opposed to paying thousands more for an A class. This was because, other than the fact that Sunshine could and would like to stay over in a A class ward to take care of me and Baby C, the other main reason for me wanting an A class ward was so that both our families would have ample room when they visit us in the hospital after my delivery. However, since all patients could now only be allowed one visitor at any one time, there is less reason for an A class ward and my other worry of choosing a B1 ward would not stand (my worry would be other patients in the B1 ward having a whole village of visitors all at the same time for long periods of time which would be disruptive to one’s rest).
Alas, I was disappointed at the Admissions office as what I had hoped for, a proper sit-down discussion and calculation of the different charges for the different scenarios: A vs B1 class; natural delivery vs assisted delivery vs unscheduled delivery, based on the maternity coverage my employer has with KKH, did not pan out as what I had imagined. Instead, the Patient Service Associate (PSA) refused to provide more information voluntarily and “settled us” at the Information counter instead of the many other sit-down booths further in the office. Her reason was that there was no need to choose a ward class and book a bed now since I would not be able to predict when Baby C would arrive. Though that sounded perfectly reasonable, I was still quite frustrated that she was just providing one liner answers to my questions. I was unable to fully understand the different charges based on the two different ward classes. She had just wanted to dismiss us by passing us a leaflet with the estimated charges to us. Some of her dismissive answers to my questions were “No one would be able to predict the final charges until the day of delivery/discharge when the exact items and quantity used would be calculated” and “Aiya. You don’t have to worry la. Your company is covering right? You just pay whatever balance after that lo. No need to worry about money what!” =.=”””” I was quite exasperated and felt ridiculous at her reply. What stupid reply was that. Of course I know the exact final bill could only be possible on my discharge but I was not asking for an exact bill size. I only wanted to know the average bill size to see the difference! In addition, I was not worried about the amount of money I would have to pay but I wanted to choose my ward class with full information! For example,
1. Other than the difference in the ward charges, would there be a difference in the charges for the various investigations and consumables used? Or would these only have a private vs subsidised rate and no further breakdown into A class vs B1 class rates for private patients? The PSA replied to say that there would LIKELY be a difference in charges between A class and B1 class. =.=” If she was not sure, why did she not bother to confirm it or better still, just refer us to someone who could sit down and explain everything to us? Update on 10 Mar: The PSA who attended to us on 10 Mar explained that there would be differences in the charges between A and B1 classes for all investigations and consumables used.
2. I had also wanted to ask what would be provided during the hospitalisation stay, and whether there would be a difference in items between the two classes so that I know what to pack in my hospital bag. For example, I understand from my friend who delivered in KKH A class ward last year that maternity underwear would be provided. However, she mentioned that those were humongous and she ended up not using the rest of the underwear in the pack but had to pay for the whole pack since it was already opened (reasonable). Hence, if I do not want to use the ones provided by KKH, could I inform the staff beforehand and not have this charged to me or is this compulsory and “included in their package” and they would not be able to deduct this from the bill? Update on 10 Mar: While the PSA did not have a list of consumables provided, she did say that these would be charged per usage and I would be able to inform the staff beforehand if I do not want to use the hospital’s.
3. Would I be charged both normal vaginal delivery and Caesarean delivery if I need to have an emergency Caesarean on the day of my delivery? If so, how much would the total bill roughly be? Update on 10 Mar: Yes, I would be charged $600+ (based on B1 charges) for usage of the Delivery Suite facility if I fail normal delivery and have to be converted to an emergency Caesarean delivery.
However, it was apparent to us that we would not be able to get whatever I wanted from this staff and we gave up after a while.
Upon reaching home and reading the leaflet the staff passed us, we saw this line, “You will be required to attend a Financial Counselling (FC) session at our Admissions Office… An initial deposit would also be required, where applicable”. Sigh. I imagine this meant that if I go into labour before my next appointment on 10 Mar 2020 (39+ weeks), Sunshine would have to settle this when I am in pain in the delivery suite. Given his “anything goes” character and him wanting to be with me then, I foresee that the FC session would be done haphazardly then. Sigh.