We had our most recent doctor’s appointment over the weekend. Chieko is now in her 17th week and so far, so good. Here’s a lame picture of the ultrasound pic we received. The doctor we’ve decided to use is more expensive than the others we looked at, but one of the perks is that we get an ultrasound every time we go. In addition to getting prints of the pictures (both traditional and 3-D), the doctor also rips a DVD each time we go. Unfortunately, they won’t seal the DVD until the baby is born, so I can’t access the pics/videos on it yet. And so, you get the crappy picture of a picture.
We weren’t planning on finding out the sex of our baby until it’s born, but if you look at the picture, it seems pretty obvious that it has the girly parts. I’m not sure if we’ll confirm our suspicions with the doctor at our next visit. I also dig the total vampire hair-do.
Since we’re on the topic, I thought I would talk a bit about our experience so far of having a baby in Japan. I have no experience in the States, so I’m not real sure how much it differs in terms of procedure and cost. I have a feeling there are some pretty big differences though.
First of all, the place we are having our baby. It’s plenty common, and cheaper, to have babies at hospitals here. Another, pricier option, is to have your child at a clinic that specializes in babies. We’ve chosen this option for several reasons, despite the higher cost. First, the location is only about 10 minutes away, and right between work and home. We also have several friends who have had good experiences with this particular clinic. The main doctor also has a very good reputation around town. So far we’ve been pretty satisfied.
Second, the cost. I have no idea what it costs to have a baby in the US. Here, atthe more expensive clinic, it’s around $5000. That includes a 6 day stay at the clinic (longer stays seem to be the norm here), which is outfitted much more comfortably than a hospital. It also includes all the extras like the DVD and frequent ultrasounds, as well as a gourmet French meal for Chieko during her stay. Interestingly, that price is quote for a weekday, during the day. The price goes up if the baby is delivered at night or on the weekend. Not sure if that’s the case in the US. And of course, if there are any complications or C-section, the price will be more.
The kicker here is that the Japanese government pays for most of this. They pay for 14 doctor visit during the pregnancy, which should be more than enough. They also kick down nearly $4000 for the delivery/hospitalization, and they are talking about increasing that amount this fall (before our baby comes I hope). So while the up front cost might seem expensive, in the end, without complications, a child birth shouldn’t cost all that much. Put that in your privatized healthcare pipe and smoke it, America.
I thought I had more to talk about but at the moment I can’t seem to think of anything. It’s getting late. I’m sure I’ll have lots of other opportunities to describe what the process is like here though. Stand by.