Monday, June 30, 2008

Maternity Ward Czech

Wow, it's been a long time since I last posted. Nothing like working full time with a newborn AND having guests and clients in town. Pshew. It’s not that I haven’t been writing in my head (I do that constantly) but finding time to sit at the computer and type it all out - that’s what I’ve been missing. To ease my way back into the blogging sphere, I thought I’d favor you with a list of handy dandy Czech vocabulary words I put together for a friend of mine who is about to have a baby here. I came up with this list while I was in the hospital, waiting to come home and finally catch up on my sleep, ha.

Why a vocabulary list? The maternity hospitals here are very comfortable and the care excellent, but if you are an English-speaking mother the nurses sometimes shy away from you, or get a bit aggressive and loud (do all cultures have the habit of raising their voices while speaking to mute foreigners?). Having just a few of the same words to bandy about can really relax the atmosphere - especially at, say, 5 in the morning when the nurse needs you to weigh the baby before she goes off her shift and you think she is randomly waking you up for crazy hospital regulation reasons (both would be correct, but I did take comfort in knowing the exact crazy hospital regulation reason).

It's a pretty basic list, but nurses and doctors tend to repeat the same words (thank heavens). I did leave out certain phrases such as: "You don't really expect me to eat THAT do you?" and "Are those really goats mehhing outside my window?" because the answers are self-evident and the sentences long. Any further thoughts on useful words are, as always, welcome.*

* Thanks to Anne over at Tuckova for her editorial advice!

The very basics
můzu mít... = can I have...
je to mozny = is it possible
profen = ibuprofen
led = ice
bolí mě... = I have a pain...
břicho = belly
šití = stitches
hlava = head

Who is who
miminko = baby
malé dítě = baby
kojenec = baby (who is presumably breast feeding)
sestra = nurse
doktor = doctor
maminka = mommy
matka = mother

Words you'll hear in labor
tlač! = push!
contrakce = contraction
dýchat = breathe
dýchání = breathing

Words you'll hear after the baby is born
potrebujete neco = do you need something?
ukašte mi = show me...
kontrolovat = to control, or check
kojeni = breast feeding
krevní tlak = blood pressure
vaha = weight
vážit = to weigh
koupani = bathing
vykoupat miminko = to wash the baby

Your newborn's top 10 to-dos
vytahnout = take in
kojit = suck
škytat = hiccup
krknout = burp
blinkat = spit up
plakat = cry
čurat = pee
dělat bobek* = poop
zívat = yawn
spát = sleep

*I’m not sure how common this phrase is, but it is the parlance in our Czech family.

Other useful odds and ends
záda = back
bok = side
oblečení = clothes
plenky = diapers
prsa = breast
polštář = pillow
porodnice = maternity hospital
očkovací = vaccine
postýlka = crib


tuckova said...

I think you speak that crazy Prague Czech or something. Do they really say "Mam boli"? (At least, down here it's "Bolí mě")(also: miminko, right?)

I would recommend not for the maternity ward but during pregnancy learning the difference between "pochyb" and "pohyb"... They asked me if I felt the latter (movement) and I thought they were asking about the former (doubt) and got quite offended. I feel like I've already told this story a zillion times, but it's just so good.

Also all the forms of dítě would be useful. And stuff like breathe, push, and contraction. And possibly epidural?

tuckova said...

Oooh, and I also mixed up vařit and važit for a while. You're going to do WHAT to the baby?!

Julia said...

You're so right about the mam boli, that's my bad czech coming through - it works but isn't correct. And I should for sure add breathe, push and contraction. My friend won't need these because she'll be with an English speaking doctor and anesthesiologist during her labor, but a general maternity ward vocab list definitely needs it.

Pochyb/pohyb - how did you clear that up? And I can just imagine the 4 am conversation about why they were planning on cooking your son! Did they wake you up early to weigh him as well? It was all about the numbers at our hospital - if the baby didn't gain you didn't get out!

tuckova said...

Conversations from the labor room:

Anne, you have to tlač!
I AM tlačing!

My doctor spoke some English, but you know: heat of the moment, stuff escapes you. Regardless, though, the babies generally come out despite any language confusion going on around them, right? Thank goodness.

Julia said...

I have a tlač story too - in between the next to last and the last push, I decided the delivery nurse needed to cheer up. She'd been speaking English for the last fifteen minutes, her shift was nearly up, and she was looking very grim. So I said (in my best Czech) "How might you say push in your language?" She started laughing and low and behold, the baby was born.

Anonymous said...

poo-poo = kakat (Germ. kacken, Lat. cacare)