Friday, July 6, 2012

week 92_Pregnant in Taipei... and Counting Down!

Geez, where have I been lately? OH, that's right - beaching, book clubbing, visiting with friends, and studying Chinese!!!
Hubby bought me a new Dragon this week in honor of my little Dragon baby!
(He found this while sightseeing in Taipei County)
Being pregnant overseas has been a learning experience so far! Though the truth is, I'd be getting an education regardless (since I have limited-to-zero pregnant friends), but the language barrier and cultural differences do add to the adventure. I've been discovering the vast network of foreigners with children in Taipei, and have a new found respect for the parents who truly do wing it and manage to get by on their own! For me, being able to connect with others in a similar situation has been key. 

At 26 weeks and counting that leaves only 14 more weeks until baby arrives (hopefully) and probably less time than that for me to have everything ready to go! I know that sounds like a long time to some of you, but ~ it's not. Imagine your free time had a time limit. We have been determined to enjoy as much of the summer as we can before we become committed new parents!

Being a planner, I am also spending time reading and getting ready for baby. So just in case anyone reading this is in Taipei, possibly in the same scenario, I thought I'd share some of the things I have learned so far...

1. Angie, our Doula
After reading a bit about other people's positive experiences with doulas, I decided it might be a good idea for us to work with one ~ but the TRUE benefit in Taipei is working with a pregnancy/child birth specialist who is bilingual and able to help navigate the local health care system with you. As our doula, Angie is there to answer any questions and make our pregnancy smoother from start to finish. She can communicate with local health care professionals when needed, and she has loads of experience with delivering babies in Taiwan for both foreign or local families.

2. Xinzhuang Birth Center
While the health care system in Taiwan is quite good, I am excited to have found the Xinchuang Birth Center for my pre-natal care and labor/delivery (when the time comes). The hospitals here are also good, but I am happy to have found a location specializing specifically in mother and baby care. No sick patients with random diseases, no huge facility with long lines or confusing endless hallways --- just a clean, fairly new facility full of other pregnant women like me, and a doctor who can communicate with me in English. It may not be in the heart of downtown, but to us it is worth the 20 minute commute. The birth center offers all the tools for natural birth, or medically assisted birth as needed (they can perform a C-section if that's what you need, for example). 

3. Shopping for Baby Items
Of course, typical of Taipei, there are unlimited numbers of shops catering to parents and babies. Shopping is never a problem here, right?! In our hunting so far, we have found that *most* department stores have limited and very expensive selection. Baby things are abundant, most stores seem to carry many import brands, so they are expensive as well. The best selection we've run into so far is at the Living Mall, which has a wide variety of brands, price ranges and big ticket items like cribs, high chairs, strollers, etc. There is also a whole slew of baby care stores across from Adventist Hospital on BaDe Road. 

4. Cloth Diapers
We've decided to use cloth diapers for our baby (and admittedly picked up our stock in the US); this seems to be atypical for Taipei and the selection is limited here. Thankfully a friend referred us to the Little Wonders website which will be able to provide the appropriate detergents and cloth diaper accessories that we need! The stores listed above (3.) also had a limited selection of cloth diapers on hand.

5. Networking
For all things baby and family, check out the Parent Pages on Taiwanease. This site is frequented by a close-knit network of family professionals, businesses, and just plain old other parents. If you can't find something you need, or the answer to a question --- someone here can help you find the answer. The best references, baby items, services we've found have been from suggestions of other parents in Taipei! 

Guess that's all for now! Hope this brings help to a pregnant reader in Taipei someday! :)

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