While I was suffering terribly from morning sickness the past few months, I cheered myself with thoughts of a lovely post in a few months which would helpfully detail what it's like to give birth in a Czech hospital.
But it seems that a very much wanted pregnancy was not to be, and so I am writing now instead about what it's like to miscarry in a Czech hospital.
And finally, as nearly everyone has been telling us, miscarriage is terribly, horribly common and it seems not right for there to be lots of guides for expats here about successful pregnancies and none (that I could find) about when things go wrong.
My pregnancy care in the Czech Republic has been much more technologically advanced than with my first pregnancy in the UK. While in the UK, my pregnancy with Smalls was managed by midwives in the GP practice, here I have a gynaecologist with a state-of-the-art office.
I had an early bleed in the UK and had to wait 4 days for a scan at the Early Pregnancy Unit at the hospital.With my bleed this time, I called my gynaecologist and was scanned 4 hours later. Two hours after that, I was at the hospital for a second scan and getting booked for a D&C. I am in great awe of the NHS and the service it provides to so many, but if something must go wrong, I'd prefer to have the Czech experience.
So let's talk about steps. My gynaecologist stressed that if anything seemed wrong, especially if there was bleeding, I should see him straight away.
When it turned out there was a problem, he said he would refer me for surgical management. There wasn't any discussion about other options, such as waiting to see if I would naturally miscarry, which I believe is preferred in the UK - possibly because I was at the end of the first trimester.
A hellish tram ride later and I was at Nemocnice Motol with a referral letter to give to the nurses. I met with the doctor, who did another scan, and then was given instructions for where to go for the next day's procedure.
The procedure itself was under general anesthetic and seemingly without complications. Some of the doctors and nurses spoke English (at least a few words) and the main doctor had beautiful English. 'So, Mrs. Expatova,' he said before he discharged me, 'Could you detail for me the exact nature of your condition this morning?'
As for me, I was surprised as I was waking up from the anesthetic to find myself speaking in Czech, and (trust me on this one) very good Czech at that.
Anesthetic-improved perceptions of speaking Czech aside, it was a huge relief to be able to rely on L to translate for me, especially on the first day. I would definitely recommend bringing a Czech-speaking friend or partner if at all possible.
All of the staff were professional and one nurse was especially kind to me. Nemocnice Motol is a Soviet-era medical behemoth, but the rooms were nice, the equipment up to date, and the food surprisingly palatable. Lunch even came with a soup starter, which was the yang to the yin of what can only be described as plastický sýr a chléb (plastic cheese on bread) for dinner.
I shared a room with two other women. One offered to bring me something from the shop in the lobby. Food? Juice? Coffee? And when I politely declined, offered me some chocolate. Here, on my nightstand. You should have some. It is here if you change your mind. But wouldn't you like some juice? I'll just get you some juice. We watched a terrible Czech soap opera together in the evening. The camaraderie was nice. The snoring, not as much.
I'm doing....ok. L and Smalls are taking very good care of me. I'm currently wanting to cuddle all of the pink screaming newborn babies who have managed the seemingly unimaginable miracle of being born. I also have a strong desire to steal all of the newborn babies and make them MINE, so I think keeping to lanky, sticky cuddles from Smalls is probably better for now.
Dear friends: Please warn any of our common acquaintances that any comments about 'Isn't it time for a sibling for Smalls' would place them in danger of being hit. Repeatedly. Or, more likely, used as a human handkerchief.
Dear friends and Internet strangers who are pregnant or would like to be: I hope you have better results than me and wish you many pink, screaming babies.