Scary stories from a lovely place
I receive an inordinate amount of people searching for birthing information in Johannesburg on Google who end up at KimlovesJozi.
After the dust had settled on Silas’ birth I fully intended to write a review of the different health care providers I chose. But I think I am still waiting for that to happen – babies grow into toddlers who become siblings who cry all night and want to cuddle and wrestle all day.
So, at long last, here is my review of Genesis Clinic, Dr Moliongoane and my midwife, Ntombi.
If you have medical aid and you’re going to give birth in Johannesburg I think Genesis Clinic is an excellent option. It’s a little medical institution, built out of an old Parkview-style manor, just behind Zoo Lake. The decor is new-modern-hospital meets Granny’s house. Picture white on all surfaces and all the necessary equipment alongside fraying persian rugs, floral cushions on armchairs and private little gardens.
Silas’ birth and my recovery were straight forward. But Genesis have you covered if you need more medical help too (though if you have a pre-existing medical condition there may be limitations). A friend’s son was born a few months before Silas and her lengthy and complicated labour ended in an emergency caesarean, which was handled with a fine result.
The rooms are like a suite at a hotel – king size bed, soft, white (!) linen, ensuite, homely furniture and a private, grassed garden. The meals come three times a day on white plates with silver cutlery, and there are choices. The doulas, nurses and midwives are helpful and very available. Stephen could stay overnight with me, and visitors weren’t restricted in any way.
My only complaint is that they were a bit too precious about the decor getting dirty. After I had delivered Silas in the bath, I had to move to the bed. They were pretty stressed about blood getting on the tiled floor, so made me shuffle along on towels. During my labour there were also a couple of moments when I sat down on a lovely upholstered armchair, or the bed, and numerous people jumped to put towels under me. I get that it was all brand new and lovely, but it’s birth, which is unfortunately a messy affair. Silas was born in the first 6 months of Genesis’ genesis, so perhaps since then they’ve found a way to strike a balance.
What I missed second-most during Oisín’s birth here in Australia was Genesis Clinic.
The thing I missed the most was my midwife. During my pregnancy I sought and employed a private midwife who would be my main health care provider for Silas’ birth. I saw Ntombi Mchunu once a month, then fortnightly from week 32, and weekly from week 36. All my visits with her were covered by my medical aid. I could see her at Genesis Clinic or at her home or office in the south of Johannesburg.
I love Ntombi. It took me a little while to get there, we had to find our groove first but we eventually struck a friendship. It was great in the fear and madness of labour to be able to trust and listen to Ntombi, someone we knew, who knew us. When Oisín was born, Ntombi’s absence was strongly felt. His birth would have been far more pleasant if my midwife knew me and my history.
One of the unique things about Ntombi is that she is honest, she didn’t hold back in any way. When we told her that we really liked Dr Moliongoane, she said, “guys, no! You are strange”.
We ended up with Dr Moliongoane for Silas’ birth because the other doctor who worked out of Genesis Clinic was super popular and busy, so we had to go with the other guy. But it turned out to be great. Dr Moliongoane is a bit like Bill Cosby in age, appearance, cardigans, and personality – distracted but gentle.
That’s what I liked about him. He was no fuss. He was vague. He put my gender in the computer as ‘male’. He told us Oisín’s gender without checking if we wanted to know. This all might be a major turn off for you. We tried really hard to be chilled during my pregnancies, there were bigger things to be stressed about, so his attitude suited ours.
And he really was gentle, and kind. The first gynaecologist I saw at the beginning of Silas’ pregnancy was at Garden City, before I had discovered the delights of Genesis. I knew I wanted to have as natural a birth as possible, and Garden City apparently offered that. It didn’t take me long to realise that this doctor would intervene with the natural progression of labour at the first opportunity he had. I asked him where he stood on episiotomies (I definitely didn’t want one). He told me, without a shred of compassion, that he did them, especially if I was going to tear all the way to my anus. I wanted to grab his grey beard and shout “that’s my anus you’re talking about!” After that I knew I had to find a different doctor.
I highly recommend Dr Moliongoane. Even though he seems a bit removed and unfeeling, I found him completely professional and kind. And it was easy to get appointments with him, which is more to be said for some of the other doctors who work out of Genesis.
The triumvirate of Genesis, Dr Moliongoane and my beloved Ntombi made Silas’ birth more bearable and positively memorable because of the natural and confident approach they took. If I have a third child I would love to go back to Johannesburg and use them all again.