Mount Elizabeth Novena Maternity Suite Review
We are lucky in Singapore that after giving birth, we can stay a few days at the hospital. In many countries, they basically kick you out on the same day (or the next day, if you are lucky), if your delivery is without complications. It really not as cruel as I put it – home is the more comfortable than hospitals, most of the time. I checked out the very next day after giving birth to Lauren and Georgia too.
This time with baby Will however, I stayed the full 3 days 2 nights at the hospital and wished I could stay longer.
Reason #1: Baby number 3. I’ve wised up to know that once I get home, there wouldn’t be any chance to fully rest. People think life is hard with a newborn. No, my newborn just need milk and sleep. He is EASY! It’s the two older kids who require attention all the time!
Reason #2: Mount Elizabeth Novena.
While I have no complaints on the hospital where I gave birth to Lauren and Georgia, the difference between staying there and Mount Elizabeth Novena was night and day. Let me explain point by point.
Anyone who has been to Mount E in Novena knows that the hospital is modern and luxurious. One could easily mistake the inviting lobby as a hotel lobby. The Junior (Maternity) Suite where I stayed was no different.
Just like a 5 stars hotel, the bedroom and the adjoining living room was immaculate. It has everything one would need for a perfect staycation. I mean postnatal recovery.
The bathroom is clean with fine quality bath amenities – Crabtree and Evelyn no less! The toilet is fully automated with a cover that flips up when you enter the bathroom. Lauren is totally freaked out by the toilet but I love it! I can soooo get used to warm toilet seat and bidet with water pressure to my liking.
Said toilet not pictured. Rookie mistake.
The spacious suite also comes with an outdoor terrace. Perfect for the bigger family to gather and for my restless kids to run around.
The suite has more than one could ask for a hospital ward – Individual temperature control, free WiFi, 46″ LED televisions with in-room entertainment system and complimentary mini bar which gets restocked every day.
Staff experience and attentiveness
I think the staff can make or break a hospital stay experience. All that opulence of a 5 stars hotel means nothing if the staff doesn’t live up to expectation.
I’m pleased to find that nurses at the maternity ward were just as informed and professional as the nurses at the delivery suite. At every shift change, the new team would come in to introduce themselves. Every time a nurse was in my room, she would take the initiative to fill up my water, offer red dates tea/milo, make sure I was comfortable and hold me when I need to get off the bed. They even reminded me to change my sanitary pads. They did all the thinking and doing for me, I almost felt like a fragile 80-year-old.
During my first visit to the toilet, which the nurse insisted I go every 3 hours (to retrain the bladder after anaesthesia), she actually followed me into the toilet. I would have declined but since all my dignity went out the window during delivery, what’s one more person having a look at my nether regions. She patiently waited as I peed and proceeded to help me with the high-tech toilet bidet. “How do you like the water pressure? Is the water temperature ok? Let me know when to stop.” I was torn between feeling embarrassed and impressed at this point.
That’s not all. I bled heavily and made a bit of mess on the toilet seat. Guess what? She took some toilet paper and wet tissues and clean it right up. No judgement, no annoyed look on her face, whatsoever. She then supported me back to the bed and eventually left after making sure there isn’t anything else I needed. Oh, how I miss her now.
By the way, the nurses at my previous hospital only waited outside the bathroom when I sought help to go to the toilet.
I rarely use the ‘Call’ button because the nurses come around so often to check on me anyway. But when I do, my calls were answered almost immediately and sure enough, in less than 5 minutes, a nurse would come knocking on my door.
I breastfed Lauren and Georgia for 2.5 years and 1 year respectively, so I consider myself a bit of a pro when it comes to feeding babies with my ladies. Even so, I appreciate the daily visit from the lactation consultant. I had so much fun chatting with her. We talked about nursing and parenting in general and she offered great, practical advice without being over-bearing. Although my milk didn’t come in until the second day, she (and the night nurses who brought baby Will to me every 3 hourly) was supportive and never once made me feel like a failure.
Speaking of night nurses, I’m amazed at their promptness and time-keeping. I can room-in with my baby if I wanted to but instead, I chose sleep. Feel free to judge me. So they would take him to the nursery and bring him to me when it is time for feeding. And boy was they on time! He was brought to me every 3 hours on the dot and would return 15 minutes later, again on the dot, to help me switch him over to the other breast. Whaaaat?
Oh! I also get a follow-up call a couple weeks ago from the hospital. The call came as a surprise because I DID NOT get that from my previous hospital! It was so nice hearing someone (who knows what they are saying) asking about my recovery, breastfeeding progress and how the baby was doing. It was like getting a call from your favourite, caring and understanding aunt who is there for you to ask anything. ANYTHING! The call came the day I found Will’s dried up umbilical stump stuck on my dress. I must have accidentally brushed it off him while I was feeding him. YIKES! Thank goodness, the nurse reassured me that it was ok and I just have to continue making sure his belly button is clean and dry.
Thoughtful fruit and flower basket from the hospital.
Communication with my gynae
When Nick and I asked our gynae if we should switch to Mount E Novena, he seemed to love the idea. I’m sure as a doctor he can’t be biased and tells us the specific good and bad of each hospital. All he said was, “Sure, it’s a good hospital. As long as you get good care and service, I’m happy!”
Later on, I realised my gynae delivers regularly at Mount E Novena and he has a great rapport with the nurses. During my scary bloody show episode, the communication between the nurses and my gynae was excellent despite the lack of pre-registration paperwork on our part. The nurses instantly knew who our gynae was and contacted him straight away. They updated him on my condition so well that upon arrival at the hospital, he didn’t even need to check me. He was able to immediately give me a diagnosis and advice us on the next course of action.
Privacy and Security
For 3 days 2 nights, the maternity suite was the perfect sanctuary for me to recuperate and bond with my new baby. I didn’t hear any sound of other babies crying, footsteps outside my door and god forbid, a “code blue” announcement over the hospital PA system.
Only personnel and family members can have unlimited access to the ward floor. Nick was given a special access card. All my visitors had to register at the lobby before they were allowed to come up. I’m no VIP but knowing that there won’t be any shady person lurking in the corridors made me sleep better at night. Call it postnatal paranoia if you want.
Hospital facilities and location
I did not venture out of my suite throughout my stay, not even once. Nick did all the packing up kids and shuttling them to the hospital. He loves how close the hospital is to Novena MRT station and Square 2 shopping mall. Shopping and food for the kids were less than 5 minutes away.
If you don’t want to walk the 200 odd steps to the mall, there are a few eateries located in the hospital to choose from. Do you need to grab some cotton pads? No prob, there’s a Guardian pharmacy too.
We also like that the drop off/pick up area is never too busy and congested. If you ever need to wait a little longer for your ride, there are plenty of seats in the lobby. For those driving, the Junior Suite Maternity package comes with complimentary parking for 2 cars.
I’m not a Chinese dessert person but I really like this papaya and white fungus sweet soup.
If you’re bored with Chinese or confinement food, there are western meals to choose from too!
Overall, I think the Asian meals were better. And amongst the Asian dishes, I like Malay dishes the most. This yellow chicken curry is one of the best I’ve ever had in my life.
The lack of paperwork
At least on our part.
Nick deals with this every time. I push the baby out, he does the paperwork. Seems more than fair to me. Anyway, his biggest peeve about our previous hospital is the loooong waiting time during check out and getting the birth certificate done. One time, upon checking out, there was some hold-up and I ended up having to wait with him while carrying our newborn. I remember it well because I had nowhere to sit in the small lobby and my arms were getting sore from holding the baby for so long.
At Mount Elizabeth Novena, the registration/payment counter is partitioned off from the lobby. So you won’t have to strain your ears trying to hear the staff if the expansive lobby gets busy, which is almost never because of its sheer size. I’m pretty sure I would have no problem finding a seat too.
I never get to find out because…. in-room check-out, baby! Yeap, a nurse came to our suite to go through the discharge process for both baby Will and I.
Then, an admin staff came to our room with the invoices, credit card terminal and all. It is great that I can be around too when the bill was carefully explained to us. I mean how can Nick possibly knows what he is paying for when it was the baby and I who stayed at the hospital? With the in-room check-out service, both of us can address any questions we have right there and then.
They also help us with the Medisave subsidy claim – meaning our bills are immediately adjusted and the final invoices are mailed to us later when the claim is done.
The middle child was quickly forgotten. Joking! Totally joking.
I’m not sure if I’ll have another baby. But if I do, you know which hospital I’ll be going to 🙂
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