Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hospital tour

So last week in the midst of my ongoing frustrations with my OB/midwife, Rob and I finally went and took a tour of the hospital where I have to give birth. I think that Rob thought taking this tour would actually cheer me up, because he didn’t believe it could possibly be as bad as I’d envisioned. Plus, he suggested that we ride our bikes over there, probably thinking that I would feel empowered just knowing that at 32+ weeks pregnant, I could still do that. And it was pretty empowering to ride over to the hospital, except for the fact that I had not taken the time to change out of the billowy skirt I’d been wearing that day (and was thus hampered by my wardrobe) and also because Rob rides about 10 mph faster than someone whose legs hit her belly with each pedal stroke. But I made it there on my trusty steed, Iris II, and I wondered if I was the only pregnant woman in North America who had ever ridden her bike to tour the hospital where she would give birth. (Well, it wouldn’t surprise me if Aimee has too ☺ )

It is a Catholic hospital, and let it suffice to say that I am not Catholic. When we walked in, we were greeted by a giant crucifix, which I suppose would have been comforting to someone who is Catholic (but as I have mentioned, I am not). Once we were on the elevator up to the Labor and Delivery Unit, I was assailed by the odor of the hospital, which to me smelled like thrown-up vegetable soup (I am quite familiar with this scent) chased with some sort of alcohol-based cleaning solution. Great, I thought. I will have to give birth with my hand over my nose the whole time so that I don’t have to smell this stench. But once we got up to Labor and Delivery, I didn’t notice the thrown-up vegetable soup smell so much anymore—it was overpowered by the antiseptic/cleaning solution smell, which under the circumstances, was the lesser of two evils.

The nurse who gave us the tour was really nice, which was by far the highlight of the experience. I hope she’s working the night (I assume it will be night) when I have Fig. But who knows. And true to Rob’s hopes, it really wasn’t as bad as I’d thought it would be. It still wasn’t great though. It seemed like a very sad, dark place, even though one of the nurses was friendly and cheerful (the other nurses didn't seem particularly so). She showed me the bed where I would presumably be lying down to give birth and the fetal monitors I would have to be hooked up to. She assured me that I would be “allowed” to have plenty of mobility, except for the 20 minutes of every hour I would have to lie down and be monitored. We didn’t get to see the “Jacuzzi,” but she confirmed that there was one and that I would be able to use it if I wasn’t on pitocin or didn’t have an epidural. I asked her if I could do a waterbirth and actually have the baby in the tub, even though I already knew the answer. The website for the hospital clearly “advertises” waterbirth, but my doula—as well as two yoga moms who have given birth there—assured me that they make you get out of the tub to actually have the baby. The nurse said she did not know if you can give birth in the tub (my guess is because most patients have pitocin and epidurals and so the tub is actually used very rarely), but she asked another nurse who confirmed that you have to get out of the tub before giving birth. They did tell me, though, that I’d still be able to use the tub after my water broke—which is encouraging, because I’ve heard that some hospitals prohibit that.

Oh and get this. The nurse told us that I would be allowed to eat and drink whatever I wanted during labor. I couldn’t believe it! Two doulas, my midwife, and various women who have given birth there have assured me that all food and beverages are strictly prohibited once you walk in the hospital door. The doula I hired even told me that she had a system worked out whereby she sneaks her clients sustenance while the nurses aren’t looking (One of the main reasons why I hired her). So what is the deal? Maybe it depends on who’s working (another reason why I hope that this particular nurse is on duty), I don’t know. I just want to avoid being tied down with an IV (I will still be required to have a hep lock though), which would surely be necessary if I wasn’t even allowed to drink anything. Nonetheless, it is slightly encouraging.

So we left the hospital tour, and though it wasn’t terrible, Rob and I were not really on the same page about it. I think he thought it was pretty good, whereas I thought, I guess I can handle this, but I’m still going to keep the bathtub scrupulously scrubbed just in case we don’t “make it” in time.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

so here's the deal, the TOUR of the 'birthin' hospital , was seen by 2 very 'different' perspectives!!!Rob's take could be that he'll experience it from a whole different way than you!!!!! but there isn't a hospital out there that wouldn't give you the creeps!! whether you are a patient OR a VISITOR!!!!! they aren't for the faint of heart!!!!! so hang on, and JUST go to a HAPPY PLACE>> and when it's ALL over, you can WRITE YOUR BOOK!!!!!! luv you, foxy mama

gutzville said...

Yeah, I know when I was doing my EMT stuff in the ER the one place you could get virtually any food or beverage was the OB kitchenette. The ER nurses sent me up there to steal snacks, but keep that on the DL. Maybe, Ill chill out in the hottub while Cara is doing baby stuff. We are super excited for you guys

Jonathan said...

I know "someone" who has labored in the "jacuzzi" for two separate births. She also NEVER had any IV needles, including the heplock. There's still hope... This was experienced at an unnamed Catholic hospital on University Ave :)

O'BoyMom said...

Missy- I brought a bagel and a smoothie to the hospital with me when I went in to have Aidan. While is the process of having the children- I did not want to eat anything- because everything that went in came in one way or another before the children were born. I was happy to to consume cranberry juice on ice.
I have never been hooked up to anything- no hep lock for me. If that were the case I would flip out- I can not stand them. Is that your OB's policy- or the hospital? The only time I had a needle near me was a blood sample they did when I had Aidan- and that annoyed me. Anyway- just my thoughts on what you have been told.

Melissa said...

OBoy Mom--
You're the best :)

The OB told me I shouldn't eat anything because she didn't want to deal with me puking, but then she said it didn't matter because the nurses are the ones that clean up the puke anyway. The nurses at the hospital told me if food sounded good, I could eat whatever I wanted.

The midwife told me that having the hep-lock on was the hospital's policy. The nurse at the hospital didn't say whose policy it was, just that I would have to be hooked up to one. This is kind of strange, since you and I are both talking about the same hospital that seems to do and say vastly different things!!

P.S. I think you should be my doula!!