Pregnant in Korea: Weeks 28-38

May 26, 2019

First day of week 28 !

If you missed them, 

The third trimester started with a bit of an upheaval - literally. We found out that we needed our floors completely redone which forced us to become nomads for about a week and a half -- Not to mention that we had to move everything out and back in to the apartment we just moved into 3 months prior. 

In the end, everything worked out fine! New, shiny floors and time to get the nesting process on the road. Thanks to the amazing community of moms here in Mokpo, Moo has inherited more clothes than he could ever hope to grace the runway with. While his room still has yet to be totally organized (he'll be rooming in with us for a while), his wardrobe was a priority. Washing, drying, folding, sorting, putting away.

The third trimester was when I really started to feel the symptoms of pregnancy. Although weight-gain slowed, my feet and ankles began swelling which was made worse by the onset of hot weather. Even so I feel hot all the time (which is really weird for me) so I constantly crave ice water. I also came upon nightmarish heartburn (brought on by said craved ice water) and what was either kidney stones or intense round ligament pain. A true blessing.

Week 31

Our first ultrasound of the third trimester was the beginning of hospital visits every two weeks. 

Week 32

We weren't due for a hospital visit, but I wanted to make sure the aforementioned kidney stone pain wasn't baby-related. It wasn't! Still not sure what it was exactly but it went away after a few weeks.

Week 34

We had a hospital visit this week but didn't have much to show in terms of a sonogram. This visit was the routine ultrasound and we also reserved the Joriwon. The Joriwon is a post-natal care centre that is attached to our hospital. It's a completely new concept to me as a Canadian, and I was on the fence about it for a long time. I'm the type to just want to do everything on my own (or with the help of PH), so accepting help is going to be a struggle. 

After having the baby, I'll stay in the regular maternity ward for 2 days and then move to the Joriwon (on a different floor of the same building) where I'll have a private room to just relax and recover. 

Below is the contract that we signed. You indicate whether you intend to deliver vaginally or via c-section and whether or not it is your first child. You then have a choice of how long you want to stay: 7 days (910,000 KRW/~$1000 CDN), 10 days (1,300,000 KRW/~$1500 CDN), or 14 days (1,800,000 KRW/~$2000 CDN). We went for the shortest option of 7 days. There is the possibility to leave earlier but you have to pay some percentage as a penalty. This is due to the fact that they reserve the spot for you and if you leave early, it's disadvantageous for women who otherwise could've used the spot (I think they said they have room for 16 moms).

This is the explanation for the Joriwon. I'll put a brief translation below the photo to give an idea of what the Joriwon is all about.

1. Only women who gave birth at this hospital have access to the Joriwon facilities.
2. Your stay in the regular hospital may vary depending on your condition. If there are no rooms available at the Joriwon after you are discharged from the hospital, you may need to stay in the regular hospital at your own expense.
3. If for some reason you are transferred to another hospital for treatment, you are no longer able to be admitted to the Joriwon due to heightened risk of infection. 
4. Your admittance to the Joriwon will be cancelled if you are found to have any infectious disease (diarrhea, fever, eye infections, etc). 
5. Only the father is allowed to enter the Joriwon room.
6. The nursery is cleaned every day from 6-8pm, so the baby must stay with you in your room during this time. As such, visitors (excluding the father) are not allowed after 5pm. 
Visiting hours: 10-11am, 3-4pm
Baby cam (viewable via smart phone): 11am-12pm, 3-4pm
7. Visitors are limited only to grandparents of the baby and only in the waiting/common room. 
8. Price: 7 days 910,000 won, 10 days 130,000 won, 14 days 1,800,000 won

Available Programs
- newborn photo session, post-partum gymnastics, mobile making, photo holder making
- information sessions on baby food, breastfeeding, bathing newborns
- breast/body massage (once for free, additional charge for more), abdominal massage/skin care (twice for free, additional charge for more), hair shampoo (once every other day), visit from pediatrician
- physical therapy machines: hot sand bed, massage chair, paraffin wax, sauna, heated chair, sitz bath, pelvic brace, tanning bed, foot massager
- provided items: formula, Huggies diapers, wet wipes
- 4 meals per day, 3 snacks per day
- daily laundry (Joriwon-provided outfits and towels changed daily)
- ultrasound prior to check-out
- coupon for baby's umbilical cord stamp (Koreans sometimes use these stamps instead of signatures)

Things to Bring
- breastmilk storage bags, nursing pads, sanitary pads (hospital provides one pack), father's clothing, cutlery
- if breastfeeding: breast pump tubes, bottle, detergent, cleaning brush
- unpermitted items: plants, flowers, personal heating appliances, outside food (additional meals can be purchased for 6000 won/~$6.50 CDN)
- upon discharge: baby clothes, swaddle blanket, quilt, hat

Week 35

This weeks ultrasound included a few extra tests - blood (for anemia and vitamin deficiencies etc), urine (for pre-eclampsia etc), chest exam and xray (for tuberculosis I think). All clear! It was at this visit that the doctor said Moo was all done cooking and could come at any time. It was also at this visit that we discussed details about delivery and we got our list of things to bring to the hospital when the time comes.

Mom: underwear, sanitary pads, comfortable clothes, baby/hospital diary
Baby: clothes, swaddle blanket
Other: water bottle, towel, toiletries, chopsticks and spoon, slippers

Week 36

Week 37

In addition to the routine ultrasound, this visit included the GBS screening (an internal exam which is a swab to detect group B strep bacteria). 

That's where I'm going to end this post on the third trimester! From this week I've officially begun my 38th week and maternity leave which, in Korea, is three fully-paid months of leave. I'm aiming to return to school when the new semester starts in September but we'll see what I think at that time. 

Other than that, I've had my hospital bag out and ready to be packed for about a month now and it's slowly filling up. As mentioned earlier, the baby's room isn't completely organized as we'll be rooming-in for the first couple months anyway. We have all the major things we need, so I expect the next few weeks will just be filled with ridiculous cleaning ambitions until Moo is here (literally want to remove all the window screens in our house and clean them... too much?).

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