At 10:30, I was summoned to the nursery, surely to collect my baby. But no! The nurses showed me all of the parting gifts that Chris and I were supposed to haul home with us: a package of ginormously wide Mommy Poko diapers, a tub of cotton balls, a bottle of betadine, a pink package of phlalate-laden J&J products, and most curious of all - a ceramic plaque. This plaque featured a window displaying a tiny set of Sadie-footprints (which now explains why Chris told me that when he peeked into the nursery, he was certain he saw a nurse painting the soles of her feet), and most curiously, a photo of a baby. We were not quite sure that the baby in the photo was ours, seeing as this baby's eyes were wide open, and I'd not yet seen Sadie open hers more than halfway, and for no longer than three minutes at a time. She was a very sleepy newborn. Chris remarked that maybe the nursery takes these photos at the exact moment that they startle the babies for their hearing test. Perhaps we have photographic evidence of the very first time Sadie had the bejeezus scared out of her ...
Could I take Sadie back to my room? No, they needed to keep her in the nursery "for observing". Meanwhile, back in my room, our bill still hadn't shown up. It was 11 o'clock, and according to the hospital's policy, if I wasn't out by noon, I'd be charged for a fourth day of hospital stay.
A few more calls were made to the billing department, which probably labeled us as pesky customers. I was getting majorly twitchy as it had been over three hours since I'd fed Sadie and was certain that she was howling her little three-day-old lungs out in the nursery, irate that her lunch wasn't being immediately produced. I went over to the nursery to explain that it had been many hours since Sadie had been fed, but the nurses were insistent that she needed to stay in the nursery. Sadie wasn't actually screaming in hunger as I had imagined; she was still sleeping but the thought of the hour-long drive home with a hungry-and-awake baby was not appealing. I ended up feeding her there, surrounded by several dozen little plastic tubs containing swaddled babies both sleeping and fussing. I was suprised by how many babies were in the nursery. My guess is that Thai parents are not as into rooming-in, whereas that was the norm when I delivered Madeline in Calgary.
Could I now take Sadie back to my room? No, she still needed "observing" but "come back when you have receipt."
Seriously? When we had a receipt? This is what for-profit healthcare is like? Hospitals take newborn babies hostage until their parent settle the bill? This concept was so weird to us, being Canadians used to cushy publicly-funded healthcare delivery.
Finally, around half-past twelve (finally!), we were able to pay the ransom our bill, and we had a slip of paper to take to the nursery so that we could leave with Sadie. We had the carseat reasdy, and were rather surprised when Sadie appeared in the arms of a nurse, wrapped up tighter than a spicy tuna roll in a hooded blanket featuring the name of the hospital in embroidery across the top. So much for the idea of a "coming home outfit" . Thankfully, I'm not so much into stuff like that. The nurse maintained her tight grip on our baby until we were all loaded into the car, when she was finally passed to me. I then spent ten minutes trying to undo Sadie's swaddle to get her into the infant seat - they'd taped her blankets closed!
All told, it took about five hours from start to finish to check out of Bumrungrad that day. And I really have no idea why.