Friday, April 13, 2007

hospital tour

Yesterday was - for lack of a better word to describe standing in the delivery room where you will soon squeeze out your own baby - surreal.

Geo and I met by the hospital after work, and as we entered the area in search of the pavillon that houses gynaecology, I started to feel a pang of regret over my decision for this particular place. Yeah, so I know it's old. But our destination? Heck, I decided to climb the two flights of stairs instead of taking the elevator that looked like a remnant of the last ice age, and when we left (taking the elevator down) I knew why: I didn't dare move, for the creaking floorboards made me feel that if I took one wrong step, or placed myself too far in the middle of the elevator, I would break through and fall down the shaft. Geo and I stood as far apart from each other as possible, on opposite ends of this deathly contraption, so as to leave it alive on ground floor. Yikes.

And already as we entered I almost had to retch at the horrible hospital reak. The birthing station is on the second floor; underneath it is some eye clinic, and something else. In passing I think to remember it was the orthopedic station, but I don't know for sure. Everything looked old, not exactly renovated and trust-inducing. I wasn't sure what this was going to mean for the birthing station above. I was hesitant, but well, we were already here.

When I opened the door to the second floor my first reaction was a stunned halt. Hello!? It was like entering a completely new world! Everything was modern! New! Friendly! Fresh! Painted! And above all - that gut-wrenching hospital reak was gone, replaced by something entirely pleasant for its unnoticability. I walked in and to my left saw the counter with a nurse. Pleasantly, she pointed us to where we were supposed to go, the door between the regular gynaecology station, and the birthing station - mirrored for a cool effect.

There was already one VERY pregnant couple waiting, and another one that looked to be closer to 70 than to 50, raising everybody else's eyebrows. Turns out, they were there collecting info for their pregnant Thai daughter in law, and asking nothing but boring questions regarding pregnancy and flight, which interested just about nobody else there.

When the tour began, we were about 6 or 7 pregnant women, with a little less the amount of supporting husbands/partners to come along. The chief midwife, a very nice and pleasant woman who I wouldn't mind at all helping me through the birthing process, guided us through all five birthing rooms, explaining everything. They have a room with a tub! Everything was painted in calming pastel "female" colors, there were huge windows letting in a lot of sun and light. There is a very comfortable looking "bonding-room" for right after birth, and another with a queen-size bed for mom and dad to relax together with baby right after birth, if they want to.

She showed us the rooms, and where they bring the newborns for examinations. Mothers are allowed to keep their babies 24/7 with them, also at night. They promote natural births and will try acupuncture and/or homeopathic methods before resorting to "western medicine", which is something I really like. They have a private little area for only women, where they can learn how to breastfeed, and can do so undisturbed by nosy visitors and husbands. (Do you really have to learn how to breastfeed???)

As a matter of principle they try to avoid episiotomies at all costs (weee!), they keep cesareans in for 7 days, and regular births for 3 to 4, depending. Staying longer is allowed, should the mother feel incapable of dealing with her infant yet, or if there are problems with breastfeeding. If the other bed in the room is unoccupied, husbands can have themselves admitted in order to spend the whole night with mom and baby.

After that the midwife handed us over to a doctor, who then answered all kinds of medical questions we may have had. All in all the tour lasted for about an hour and a half, was very informative, extensive, and trust-building. I felt extremely comfortable there, no "funny feelings" whatsoever - besides my feelings about that elevator, that is. I tried to get an appointment for the nuchal fold transparency ultrasound today, but unfortunately was told that I am pretty late for that, and that there are no more appointments available. However, the nurse I was talking to was very nice, and tried to be helpful, asking me to call back on Monday, when she will have an answer for me by the resident gynaecologist if I can come in on short-notice or not.

I am very happy with my choice, and I feel good about getting the care I will need, when the time comes. Though, of course, when I can finally take my baby home I will certainly take the stairs.


Blogger I'm Just Sayin... said...

We never went on a tour! I regret it to this day. When I did go into labor at 3:00 a.m. we drove to the hospital and couldn't find the maternity ward because it was across the street from the main campus but - DUH - we didn't know that because we'd never gone on a tour LOL :-)

7:15 AM  

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