Sunday, March 18, 2007

My Other Baby

About a week after Shane arrived, she arrived. She sits in the corner of our living room 24 hours a day and hums quietly. She is white, beautiful and well-behaved. She has stolen my heart. Curious?

We bought an inverter. This wonderful piece of equipment consists of a huge battery, some wires, and a thing that converts the electricity from the battery into the current to power our fans and lights when the power goes out. It gives us power for about 4 hours and we are thrilled to have it! Power outages are common here in the summer and often scheduled for 2 hours a day.

The other new thing at the Spotts home is a beautiful coat of snow on our roof. Well, actually it is a double-layer of white paint called "Surya Cool Home". The special paint promises to keep the cement roof from soaking up the heat of the sun. And, so far, it seems to be keeping the interior of our house much cooler during the summer heat!

We are grateful for both of these things. Now if we could just turn on the tap and be assured that water would come out. (Even when it does, there is never enough pressure for a shower so we're experts at bucket/dipper baths.) Or if we could find a way to keep the mosquitoes out of the house. Or if we didn't have to drive the car through raw sewage running across our street. But that's the challenge of living in a developing country!

Some days it is fun and some days not. But we're convinced that we're in the place we should be and that makes it bearable.

(originally posted on Sunday, March 18, 2007 as "Ben's other baby?" at

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Cultural Differences during Baby Deliveries

A few people have asked how the delivery and hospital stay were different here in India vs. in the USA. Obviously, we've never had a baby in the US, but based on what we have heard from friends, here are some (mostly pleasant) differences:
  • Over here the husband is rarely allowed into the delivery room, but I got in
  • They were happy for us to take pictures and video in the delivery room
  • Over here you have to move to three different rooms during the delivery
  • Most of the nurses and helpers don't speak English! We used a little bit of our Hindi.
  • Some doctors insist that you don't let the kid sleep under the fan (and give other traditional advice)
  • They refuse to do any circumcisions until a couple weeks after the birth; we convinced them otherwise but tramautized the hospital staff in the process (they hate to see any baby cry, ever!)
  • You don't have nurses coming in all night. Just a visit at 8:30pm (just after dinner) and then at 7:15am in the morning when they serve you tea
  • After 7:30am, there are four types of staff visiting your room: doctors, nurses, doulas (older ladies who bathe mother & child, change diapers, etc.) and cleaning ladies. Libby wanted to take the doulas home.
  • The food for both patient and one guest (me!) is almost all rice; no meat, only some eggs for the mother
  • Tea and snacks are delivered to your door at 7:15am and 5pm
  • Visiting hours are very very strict: from 5-8pm and a guard walks down the hall ringing a bell at 7:45pm to warn the familes milling about that it's time to "make a move"
  • If you order "room service" (the cafeteria will deliver to your room), then you have to pay cash since they won't just add it to the bill
  • There are pediatricians and anesthesiologists in-house 24-7!
  • The entire cost of the delivery and after-care are (understatement!) very reasonable: $760

(originally posted on Saturday, March 03, 2007 as "US vs. India delivery" at