I think most would agree that giving birth is kind of a big deal. This can be a very true story when you add being in a foreign country with a major language barrier... I can't even begin to thank God enough for how He kept his hand on us and helped in each and every situation surrounding Jimmy's birth.
We had joked that since Jimmy was already 5 days late, he was just holding on until Nana and Papa arrived. Well, he didn't quite wait that long but they were crossing the Atlantic when we arrived at the hospital. While I would have loved to have my mother with me during this whole process, God worked everything out perfectly and the timing couldn't have been any better! My water broke at 3am and by 5:30am we arrived at the hospital. I was getting a little nervous because I could not get a hold of my friend Michaely who was to be in the delivery room with me to translate. I called two or three other friends as well with no luck. I was getting prepared to do this entirely with no translation and just pray that everything would be ok. Thankfully, Michealy arrived at the hospital shortly after I was checked in and was able to stay to meet James and then headed to Seoul to leave on her vacation one hour later (answer to prayer #1).
We started out in a room with 4 beds but we asked to be moved to the family room so that I could be in the same room for the entire duration of labor and then delivery.
There are many specific things that Koreans do surrounding child birth. One of these is keeping the mother extremely warm during and after the delivery. The nurses and doctors must have been freaking out because mama had the air conditioner so low for me and they were fanning me the whole time :)
I really wanted to deliver naturally with no drugs. This is something that is not really very common here and so I think the nurses thought I was a bit nuts :) They kept saying "Jennifer so patient" since I wasn't screaming at everyone in the room :) At one point I was not progressing like I should and they were going to give me some pitocin. Answer to prayer #2: when they came to check on me again, I had progressed sufficiently.
This was a national holiday so my doctor had the day off and the other doctor (whom I had never met) was on call and would be delivering the baby. Thankfully, my doctor decided to come in on his day off to deliver Jimmy. I'm pretty sure he didn't want to miss the first "all-American" birth at his hospital! :) (Answer to prayer #3)
After 10 hours of labor, our little boy came into the world! I honestly could not have done it without Robert and Mama. They were amazing coaches!
James Robert Black
August 15, 2013 at 12:54pm
4.05 kg/ 52cm
Two amazing ladies on my "birthing team" :)
The amazing head nurse. She was incredible! Despite her limited English, she was able to make me feel so calm and focused on what I needed to do. She would constantly give me thumbs up and tell me in Korean "Jennifer good job". :)
Gramma and Grampa Black
Headed to our room... The head of International Affairs at Gimcheon University is close friends with the president of the hospital and took a great interest in us. He made sure we had a very nice room with a great view. He was so sweet!
Another specific thing that new mothers do is eat seawood soup. While some would find this horrifying, I actually like the stuff and enjoyed it. I think most American hospitals give you a menu to choose from but I was put on a specific "Mother's meal plan" that varied only slightly but always included a big bowl of soup. :)
Ok, so up until now the experience was not that different from America... but here's where it got a little difficult to deal with. They were SUPER strict about Jimmy remaining in the nursery at all times except for feedings, at which time I would go to a nursing room off of the nursery and a nurse would bring him to me. My room was on the 5th floor and the nursery was on the 2nd. Kind of crazy right? Everyday at 1:30pm and 7:30pm we could go down to the nursery window and a nurse would hold Jimmy up for visitors to see and take pictures. While we were not thrilled with this arrangement (believe me, I considered making a fuss about it), it was hospital policy and everyone was so kind to us. We did not want to give them a bad taste for foreigners in their hospital.
This was the first time we saw Jimmy after leaving the delivery room.
He was quite popular in the hospital, being the biggest baby in the nursery! :)
Our answer to prayer #4 had everything to do with perfect timing. It's amazing how sometimes what seems like a mistake, is actually just the right situation. My parents' plane landed in Seoul at 2:30pm and then they had to get on a 3 hour bus headed to Gimcheon. However, when they arrived at the bus kiosk, the lady said the bus was already gone ahead of schedule! They had to get a later bus that was headed to Gumi (the next town over) instead and were not going to arrive until around 9pm :( We asked the nurses if it would be possible to show Jimmy to my parents at the nursery window when they arrived to which they refused and said it was not allowed :( We were frustrated since that meant my parents would arrive after an incredibly long trip and then not get to even see their grand baby until 1:30 pm the next day!! Robert went to pick them up from the bus stop and when they were on their way back, the nurses called me to come feed Jimmy. After the nurses left the room I called Robert and Nana and Papa were able to sneak in to hold their grand baby :) Perfect Timing...
So incredibly thankful that both sets of grandparents were able to come all the way to Korea!
Getting to see Jimmy again :)
So in love with our little boy!
Daddy and Jimmy during a feeding time
Uncle David and Aunt Charlotte came to visit too :)
My last checkup with my doctor before leaving the hospital
Time to go home!!
Ready to take our little boy home
Perry is waiting! :)
^^ Our little family ^^