On January 1, OASIS International Hospital delivered its first baby. Named Nora Meili Haner, she was born to Swedish natives Ulrika and Niclas Haner. Now 4 months old, Nora has two older siblings: Albin (age 7) and Stina (age 5), both students at The International Montessori School of Beijing. The Haners moved to Beijing last August for Niclas’ job at a Swedish software company. Recently, we caught up with Ulrika to learn more about Nora’s birth and the family’s experience at OASIS.
What made you decide to have your baby at OASIS?
We visited a couple of hospitals when we arrived here; I was six months pregnant at the time. We got a very good impression when we visited OASIS. Dawn [Rosensteel], who works in customer relations, was very helpful. I saw a good doctor (Head of OB/GYN Dr. Stefan Schneyer) for prenatal care. The only concern was that the hospital was still waiting for their delivery license and it was not until very late that they finally received it and could open the maternity ward.
Were you nervous about having a baby in Beijing?
Even though it was my third child, I was nervous. First, because I had to wait for the hospital’s license; I didn’t know if I would need to transfer to another hospital. If so, it would have been Beijing United, which I have heard a lot of good things about too. But it was a new place and new people.
After that, it was figuring out how to get to the hospital on the day (or night) of the delivery. We didn’t have a car and taxis are not very reliable. So, we leased a car together with another family and my husband got a Chinese driver’s license.
Another thing I was worried about was communication. English is not my first language, neither is it for most of the people working at the hospital. So even though it is easy to communicate in a normal situation, I wondered what it would be like if there was to be an emergency situation.
I was also thinking of the things that I take for granted at home and that are not available in China, as well as the things that may come as a surprise. I heard a lot of stories from others, for example that the mother is not allowed to take a shower; most of those things are not true at the international hospitals. They do the utmost to cater to all the needs and requirements of foreign mothers. Sometimes, a bit too much even (such as manicures and candlelit dinners, even though these are nice).
Tell us about your pregnancy. Was it a difficult one?
It was my third pregnancy, and an easy one. I was able to go sightseeing until the very end. I was due on December 24, but nothing happened until January 1. I climbed the stairs of the Bell and the Drum Tower on December 25, but that didn’t do anything.
What was the level of care like at OASIS?
Very good – on par with Swedish care. The midwife, Penny, was there for me during the whole delivery. I felt very confident with her; we could discuss details about the delivery and what would/could happen during and after. I was able to express my thoughts and concerns. She asked me what my opinions were, for example, when it comes to pain relief.
Tell us about the delivery.
It went smoothly, without any complications. The baby was overdue by eight days. I felt something happening on the afternoon of January 1. We went to the hospital around 7pm. We got a warm welcome and the staff was waiting, prepared to take care of us. Nora was born a few hours later, just before midnight.
Tell us about Nora.
As a middle name, we decided on “Meili” (Chinese for “beautiful”) so that she will remember that she was born in China. We tried to pick an name that had a nice meaning in Chinese and that would sound natural in Swedish (and perhaps also in English).
She is now past her first 100 days, which from what I understand is an important milestone in the baby’s life. She is doing well and is the entire family’s little doll. She gets a lot of attention from everyone and has already been to both the Philippines and Shanghai.
I know that the custom in China is for both mum and baby to stay at home a long time after the birth, but I have to do it the Swedish way. I don’t think it is too cold to take Nora out in winter time or when it is a bit windy, even though I keep hearing that when I do!
Would you recommend OASIS to other parents?
I would definitely recommend OASIS. It is a very good hospital with friendly and competent staff and modern equipment. As it is new, it is not so busy yet. It’s also easy to get an appointment at and the location is convenient.
Photos courtesy of Ulrika Haner