Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital
A while ago I wrote about finding maternity clothes in Israel and as you might have figured out, after buying the maternity clothes and going through pregnancy, it was time to have a baby! You can read Molly’s guide to giving birth in Jerusalem here. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl at Hadassah Ein Karem in Jerusalem. My experience at the hospital was mixed – I had a great experience in the delivery room (if such a thing is possible) with the amazing midwives but my experience in the maternity ward afterward was disappointing. After going through the craziness that is labor (I’ll leave out the gory gory), my emotions were as stable as the Scream Machine roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure, that is to say, not very. When I arrived in the maternity ward, I hoped for a welcoming party with balloons and cake, a birth-day party, if you will. But no. We were temporarily placed in the hallway and greeted by a handful of unfriendly nurses who could have been a little more helpful and informative about what the heck a new mother is supposed to do – how to breastfeed, how to take care of the umbilical cord, etc. The other non-welcoming party was the cafeteria. It felt like high school all over again with cliques at the different tables – mostly determined by what language you speak. And the food was nothin’ to write home about – large chunks of cucumber for breakfast, smaller cubes of cucumber for lunch, and cucumber pie for dinner. So, as you can imagine, I was more than eager to leave the hospital when the time came and head over to the Hadassah Baby Hotel. (By the way, Molly wanted me to let you know that she was on the rooming-in floor in the hospital and had a great experience.)
Hadassah Baby Hotel
The Hadassah Baby Hotel was just up the elevator, up the stairs, down the hall, down the escalator, and down another elevator away from the hospital, but it was a whole different world. When I arrived to the hotel’s special baby floor, the nurses smiled, sat with me as if they had all the time in the world, and listened to all my questions. To top it off, the hotel rooms were complete with a changing table, diapers, a nursing pillow, and other baby items. They also had a 24 hour nursery so that you can run up to the delicious buffet and eat, or run to the bathroom, or do whatever it is you need to run to do and know that someone is watching the baby and will call you when they are crying and need to eat. The nursery also offers to give your baby formula at night so that you can sleep a few more hours and speed up your recuperation. Also, a doctor comes every day to check on your baby and tells you if there’s anything you should be concerned about. From Sunday to Wednesday, the hotel offers a workshop each day for a few hours on baby development, nutrition, breastfeeding, and baby massage. I thought the workshops were a nice way of meeting the other mamas on the floor, and asking an expert any questions I had.
Since there is a floor of the hotel dedicated to babies and mamas, you can imagine my surprise when I walked back to my room after feeding my daughter, the lights dimmed low at 1am, only to bump into a Greek Orthodox priest in his jammies praying next to my door. I guess they ran out of rooms on the other floors of the hotel. Maybe he was praying to move to a different floor so he wouldn’t have to hear crying babies. In the morning, I awoke to find the same priest and 5 of his priest friends now fully dressed in long black robes, hats, and larger than life jeweled cross necklaces heading to the elevator. We stepped into the elevator together, 6 priests and a nursing mother, trying not to make eye contact, eager to get to the breakfast buffet.
The food! Oh, the food, the glorious food. It was heaven, breakfast, lunch and dinner with an all you can eat buffet. And as I filled up my fourth or fifth plate (eating for two, eh?), I enjoyed the view of the Ein Karem forest and the company of the other mamas.
The price is currently 550NIS per night, but check with your Kupat Cholim (health insurance), especially Clalit to see if you can get a discount. Also, if you take the tour of Ein Karem hospital and the baby hotel, your husband gets a free night which means he gets a free breakfast, which I thought was a bit misleading, as I thought he would get a free lunch and dinner too.
As heavenly as it was, I want to give an honest review. Here are my disappointments:
1. No tea – It was weird that such an expensive hotel doesn’t give tea during lunch and dinner. Sure, they’ll give you all you can eat salmon, but hot water and a packet of tea, that’s too much to ask for.
2. Clothes – If you think being a new mother is overwhelming, just try to dress and undress a newborn in the outfit they use at the hospital and the hotel. As if breastfeeding and no-sleep wasn’t challenging enough, every time I tried to dress my baby in the wrappy outfit, I wanted to punch someone.
3. No internet – Sure, there was wifi, but you had to pay 70 shekels a day for it! Similar to the tea, you are paying a pretty penny to stay at the hotel, and they can’t give you free internet?! Very upsetting. Especially since you want to start posting photos of your little mush.
Overall, a generous gift for someone who just gave birth.