Delivering Our Baby at the UMSC Private Hospital – Our Experience & Costs

In my previous article, I wrote about the medical costs during pregnancy in Malaysia

In this article, I will share our experience delivering our baby at the University Malaysia Specialist Center (UMSC), a private hospital.

So if you’re an expecting dad or parent & would like to know what to expect during the delivery process at a private hospital, this article will be super helpful.

But first, a mandatory disclaimer:

Disclaimer: This article is NOT medical advice. Please consult your doctor. Also, experiences & costs may vary.

Getting Regular Contractions

My wife started getting regular contractions as early as 2 weeks before the predicted due date.

So much so that we decided to meet our O&G for a check-up. When we arrived, the O&G checked the dilation of the cervix.

It was only 2cm, a far cry from the 10cm fully dilated size ideal for giving birth.

The O&G asked if we wanted to start inducing the contractions using hormones, but we decided against it as we were not ready.

We went home & the O&G predicted that we should be ready by tomorrow, & even if we’re not, she’ll start inducing anyway.

So we did an RTK Covid test for both of us (a requirement to be admitted) & went to settle the RM 317 bill.

As you can see from the receipt below, they charged us for everything, down to the nurse’s gloves:

We went home & packed all of our stuff for our overnight at the hospital. In hindsight, don’t pack too much stuff. You won’t have that much space in your ward.

Our luggage bag was a definite overkill. I recommend you bring 1 bag smaller than you see in the pic below as you’ll be moving from the delivery room to the ward.

My wife couldn’t sleep the whole night & finally, at 3 am & she caved in & decided it was a good time to head over to the hospital.

We texted the maternity clinic’s hotline to notify them that we were making our way, gathered all of our stuff, take one last look at our baby’s room & drove to the hospital at around 5 am.

Despite being super early & in an incredibly sleepy state, I was happy that we didn’t have to deal with the insane KL traffic while sending my wife in labor. That’s my worst nightmare as a dad.

We arrived at the UMSC within 14 minutes & walked straight up into the delivery room & registered our admittance with the nurse.

Parking is expensive at around RM2 an hour & a flat rate of RM8 after 6pm. Plus, payment is only via TNG. I remembered paying close to RM25 a day & totaling almost RM100 for our 4-day stay at UMSC.

The Admission Process

Once we were at the hospital, our O&G rechecked the dilation size, and & it was 3cm. 1 cm more than yesterday, but still too early for delivery.

The nurse also checked the regularity of the contractions using sensors wrapped around a belt over the tummy.

After a quick consultation, we decided to be admitted, get the epidural (pain medicine) & take the drug to induce labor.

The nurse made a phone call to arrange a timeslot with the anesthesiologist.

Epidural & Inducing Labor

At around 9 am, the anesthesiologist came in to conduct the epidural.

Epidural is a medical procedure where a specialized doctor injects pain medicine into the mother’s lower spine to lessen the pain during labor. It’s brutal:

The procedure was intense & challenging, even as a spectator.

The anesthesiologist had to jab the needle in between the wife’s spine 4 times before finding the right spot.

I stood next to my wife & hold her hand during the entire 30-minute procedure to comfort her.

Once the tube was placed properly, the epidural medicine was dripped into the spine with the help of the machine you see below:

Then, the O&G used a tool to break the water.

What was left now was to wait for the contractions to be more regular & the cervix to be fully dilated.

The O&G said it could take up to 10 hours from now.

Every hour or so, a nurse comes in to check the dilation size. At around 12pm, the wife was fully dilated & the nurse called in the O&G.

It’s show time!

Going into Labor

When O&G arrived, they prepped the room & brought in all the labor gear.

The nurse instructed the wife to grab onto the handles on the side of the bed.

There are 3 delivery types that I know of:

  1. Normal or natural delivery
  2. Vacuum delivery (pulling the baby out with a suction cup on its head).
  3. Caesarian (Taking the baby out surgically). 

We hoped to never have to do a Caesarian as it would leave a scar on the wife & also bring our bill to the upper limit of RM17,000++.

We had a few natural pushing trials & it is intense in there, even for the father, who is only a spectator.

At some point during the ordeal, the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck, suffocating the baby and resulting in a dropping heart rate.

At which the O&G decided it was necessary to assist the delivery via vacuum suction.

The O&G asked our permission for the vacuum procedure because it will cost us extra (private hospital… Duh!)

The O&G placed the suction cup on the baby’s head, pumped the vacuum to form suction, and pulled the baby out during one of the contractions.

As soon as the baby was out, the O&G & midwife placed the baby on the mother’s stomach & he started crying loudly (a good sign of a healthy baby). Just like in the movies.

I can see that my wife was confused & seem to not know what to do at that immediate moment with all the drugs & mixed emotions.

The O&G asked me to cut the umbilical, then the baby was placed in a basin & taken to the nursery next door to meet the pediatrician.

I followed the baby to the nursery & the wife continued in the delivery room to get the placenta out & stitch back the labor wounds.

The Nursery & Pediatrician

My first impression of our Pediatrician is that he genuinely likes babies.

Some people just do their jobs for the sake of doing their jobs. I’m not getting that vibe from this guy. He’s legit in my book.

He checked all the baby’s limbs, testicles & general formation to confirm that everything seemed normal.

He then placed the baby underneath a warming machine to bring his temperature up to normal.

When the baby’s temperature was stable, the nurse weighed the baby & bathed it to remove all of the blood & gunk.

All this while, I can hear my wife screaming in pain in the other room. I assume she was getting her wounds stitched.

After bathing, the nurse let me hold my baby for the very first time. The feeling was unreal & can’t be explained in words.

Finally, the nurse placed the baby back in the basin & rolled it back into the labor room to reunite the baby with its mother.

Post Delivery – Day 1

We were both thrilled with the birth of our son & have an influx of emotions, which is normal.

During the first day, we did nothing but rest. The nurses took care of all newborn babies in the nursery room.

Most babies at this stage think they are still in the womb & sleep most of the time, except for feeding time, which happens every 2 hours.

When the baby starts crying for milk, the nurse rolls the baby back into our ward to try breastfeeding with the mother.

It’s normal for new mothers to not have enough breastmilk at this stage & also not get the hang of it.

So to ensure that the baby was fed enough, the nurses gave the baby formula milk. It was 2 scoops of milk to 60ml of warm water.

The nurses also gave me the bag of the placenta (Uri), which we have to bring home, clean & bury in our backyard according to traditional Malay culture.

Since my wife & I live in a condominium, I had to drive back to my parent’s place to do it. Not going to lie; driving home with a bag of the bloody placenta was pretty gnarly.

If you don’t know what to do with the placenta, don’t worry. None of my family knew either. My mom Googled, found someone’s blog (like this one) & instructed me on what to do.

After we buried the placenta in my mom’s backyard, I came back to the hospital & slept on the incredibly uncomfortable sofabed for new fathers. Happy days.

2nd Day: We Thought We Can Go Home, But…

The following morning, after a terrible night’s sleep, I was so excited to bring the baby home that I packed all of our stuff into the car as early as 8 am.

At around 9:30 am, the Pediatrician came in to check in on the baby. He gave the baby a BCG shot, explained the baby book & the required vaccinations required in the following 18 months:

He then used a handheld scanning tool to check for Jaundice.

Jaundice is a common condition in newborn babies where the infant’s eyes & skin turn yellow from an excess of bilirubin (a yellow pigment of the red blood cells). The cause is an underdeveloped liver that can’t get rid of the bilirubin in the bloodstream at a regular rate. 

Source: Mayo Clinic

Unfortunately, the bilirubin reading of our son is on the high side & the pediatrician advised us to stay 1 more night to undergo phototherapy (placing the baby under the blue UV light). 

Apparently, the UV light on the skin can help break down the bilirubin build up & it will be expelled in the baby’s poop over time. 

But don’t worry. Jaundice in infants is pretty common. Take a look at all the newborn babies that have to go through phototherapy alongside our baby:

We had to spend another night in the hospital which, is added to our bill 🙁

3rd Day – More Phototherapy

The Pediatrician came in for a blood test at around 10 am on the 3rd morning.

We waited for the result & were praying we could go home as we were exhausted.

Unfortunately, after 2 hours, the Pediatrician called us to inform us that the bilirubin level was going up and the phototherapy needed to continue for an additional night.

So another night it is (bringing the current total to 3 nights at the hospital).

I really cannot tahan (can’t stand) sleeping on the shitty sofabed 3 nights in a row, eating the same food at the hospital cafeteria & paying RM 25 a day for parking, so I drove home alone & came back with my Vespa.

Save on UMSC Parking: If you live nearby the hospital & have a motorcycle like me, I highly recommend you send the wife with the car, then on the 2nd day, drive home alone & come back on your motorcycle. Then, you can park your bike in the lobby. It’s free & no one will ever care. Also, with a bike, it will be easy to run errands like buying food for the wife & yourself.

4th Day – Taking the Baby Home!

Joie Spin 360 Baby Car Seat

On the morning of the 4th day, the Pediatrician came & did yet another blood test at 9 am.

We got the results back at 11 am & he told us that the Bilirubin level is still high but on a downward trend. So he concluded that we could go home!

We were so happy & exhausted. I never packed luggage faster in my life.

I then went to the nurse’s office to settle the bill. They explained to me all the paperwork & what I have to do to register the baby at JPN.

They did not charge me on the spot due to some online glitch & I had to sign an IOU letter promising I would pay once their finance department contacted me.

They gave us a baby gift pack with a sample of the formula milk they used for all babies at the nursery. It was Frisolac #1.

Frisolac Step 1 – Baby Milk Formula

Total Delivery Costs at UMSC

ItemRM
Pre-admittance RTK test for both parentsRM 317
Delivery CostsRM 6,594.90
Baby’s Admittance due to JaundiceRM 3,392.55
Hospital Parking~RM 100
Total Delivery Costs at UMSCRM 10,404.45

Pretty brutal bill. But luckily, I’ve been saving up with Wahed Invest. I placed RM16k in 2019 & my portfolio value went up to RM17, an RM1k profit. Nice!

Sample of Hospital Receipt

Below is 2 snapshots of my official receipts that were close to 20 pages long. They really itemized EVERYTHING:

Next, check out my guide on how to register your newborn baby.

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