So, you wanna have a baby in Poland.
You should start from choosing your hospital.
After you have chosen your hospital, you should choose an OB/GYN associated with that hospital. Your OB/GYN will perform some tests, give you some vitamins and wish you luck in getting pregnant. Your OB/GYN will not actually come to the hospital for your child’s birth, but at least you can allude yourself that the thousands of zloty you have paid your OB/GYN will make him/her feel morally obliged in some way.
Actually, I’m wrong. You shouldn’t start from the hospital or the OB/GYN. You should start from checking your bank account for sufficient funds.
I suppose that is a good place to start anywhere, not only in Poland.
In my case (funds secured), I chose the “baby” hospital where I had unfortunately spent some time in the scary “interna” section a few years back. It only made sense to then choose the boss of the hospital, the Ordinator (sounds cool, like The Terminator), as my private doctor. I made a pre-pregnancy visit and we were rolling.
We, however, suffered a false start which landed me in the hospital. I knew the situation didn’t look good but was still taken aback when the sonogram technician informed me that “You, ma’am, are no longer pregnant”. Too bad for me that the bad news was delivered just as another patient opened the door, asking “Można?”. I quickly covered my bloody legs in shame. I didn’t even have a moment to myself to think about what I had just been told. I had to hurry up as a line was forming. I quickly dressed as I had undressed, blood and all, in front of 2 technicians while patients peeked their heads in to check if it was their turn yet. They have the “rodzić po ludzku” campaign, maybe they should have “miscarry po ludzku” too.
I was admitted, the next day given the “standard procedure” and sent home on the 3rd day. My papers indicated I had occupied a bed for 3 days which is important because the hospital doesn’t get paid for stays under 3 days. 5 days is better.
I was placed in a room with 5 other women, 4 of whom were recovering from hysterectomies and one other who was waiting for hers. In case you have never been hospitalized in Poland, you should know that patients love to talk about their illnesses and operations, the more gruesome the better. The ladies in the room were a bit annoyed that I wasn’t holding up my end of the conversation and by the second hour in that room, I went to the nurses station and asked to be moved to another room.
My doctor immediately agreed (benefit of going to his private practice). He had not wanted to place me anywhere near the baby ward and he thought I wouldn’t understand what the ladies were jabbering on about. I was placed in a double room with a university student who was waiting to get a cyst removed from her leg (and yes, she showed me the cyst). Not very gynecological in my opinion, but she seemed happy even after they had re-scheduled her operation for the third time. She was missing her exam session at uni. I think that was the point. What an wasteful way to get out of your exams.
Anyhow, I was not allowed to eat or drink prior to my procedure which was not a problem considering how bad hospital food is. The next day, I was led to the procedure room by a very nice doctor who later was the doctor at my first birth. I was surprised to see 5 people in the room besides myself. That seemed like a lot for something they assured me was routine. The anesthesiologist began to fill out the forms with me. Name, address, date of birth, PESEL…All was well until – “Czy pani jest na czczo?”
I had never heard na czczo before and couldn’t even ask the doctor what it meant. I told him in Polish that I didn’t understand and asked him to ask me another way. He asked, “Czy pani jest na czczo?” Hmm, that didn’t seem to be another way but just the same way as before. I repeated that I didn’t understand and could he ask me in another way (czyli innaczej). He asked me louder. Then, he asked me slower. After that he asked me louder and slower. I still replied that I didn’t understand. He turned to the other doctor and asked if I had bumped my head (really). That I did understand and I reminded him that I’m not Polish. C’mon, duh, he filled in my very-not-Polish name on the form. Anyhow, the other doctor, Dr. Nice, asked me if I had had anything to eat or drink (czyli na czczo) to which I replied no, and we were rolling.
I hopped on the table and a man sat down in front of me and with no greeting (excuse me) spread my legs. I immediately sat up and asked who he was and what he was doing. (He thought I had bumped my head as well). He was still looking at me with no explanation when I asked by the way who the 5 people in the room were and what they were needed for. With a heavy sigh, he explained that Dr. Na Czczo was going to administer the anesthesia, Dr. Nice was to assist as were the two nurses who were opening a sterile kit which included, gulp, a saw (I am not kidding). I nodded and asked “A pan?” to which I got an exasperated reply, “I am the doctor!” I stuck out my hand as if to introduce myself and said “Ja jestem pacjentką, najważniejsza w tym pokoju”. He was not impressed.
Then Dr. Zblazowany asked me to sit back so Dr. Na Czczo could begin knocking me out. As the mask went on, Dr Na Czczo (whose intelligence was already in question) asked me (as is practice in administering gas) who the first king of Poland was. I answered “jakiś Bolesław ale pierwszy prezydent USA był Waszynton”. Next, he asked me to count backwards from 50. I told him that I could count back from 10, 5 times and he said to begin. I was out before cztery. I suppose they were relieved.
I woke up some time later in my room. Dr. Nice told me that “smacznie pani spała” and that I could go home the next day. I went to the shower room to get washed up. In the shower room, I met another lady who was intently observing me (which is BTW not cool in any shower/stranger situation but especially not cool in a hospital).
“Well,” she said as I struggled to somehow maintain my privacy, “what’re you in for?’”
“I was pregnant,” I replied.
She cackled, “Well with all that blood, I guess you aren’t anymore”.
Polish hospitals, gotta love ‘em.
I returned to my room where I set in to watch the soaps with roommate and waited till the next day to go home.