Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hospital Tour (Wk 30: PREGNANCY)

November 21, 2005

University Hospital isn't "the place" for having a baby. Nope, if you want the hardwood floors (well, pergo probably), large birthing suites, hospital equipment encased in wood veneer cabinets, and soccer moms in the rooms next door, you go to the place down the street.

With our insurance, though, tied into Tom's employment at this hospital, we can have a free baby by going with the vinyl floors and seventies decor. We're talking no copays, not for prenatals or the hospital stay! And as an insured patient on the private service, I won't have medical students or residents in observation.

Tom also likes that our hospital has the highest level NICU in the state.

I, on the other hand, would be just as comfortable in a midwife's care at a birthing center across the street. Except that there's not a birthing center across the street, or a midwife for that matter. (Update: I've since learned of some-- and fortunately, there's a chance my state may soon legalize them!) So my biggest worry hasn't been the decor of my delivery room but how supportive the staff will be of my childbirth choices. After our tour, I'm feeling relieved about things.

Actually, my relief started at my last appointment, when Dr. G. referred to episiotomies as "vaginal cesareans." He confirmed yet again that I can have intermittant monitoring rather than be flat on my back with the continous electronic stuff.

Our Tour Begins

So, back to the tour. I was like an eager high school student touring the college campus.

We began at the Maternity Evaluation Unit. Tom and I found ourselves in a diverse group, perhaps typical for a hospital that specializes in care to high-risk patients, residents and their families, and the uninsured. All ages, all socio-economic backgrounds, we smiled awkwardly at one another.

Perhaps it was most awkward for Tom, one of only two men there. Thank goodness for that other guy.

Our guide led us through the stages of delivery, showing us different rooms and their amenities. Unlike more posh hospitals, we'll recover from labor in a separate room from labor and delivery. I decided I could live with that, especially after learning some other perks. When I found out that our "mommy" gift was a Medela Pump-in-Style, you couldn't pull my jaw off the floor.

Beyond the Perks

It wasn't the $300 gift that most pleased me, though. It was recognition from our tour guide that different women choose different births. She prefaced her many comments with, "If you are planning on an epidural..." and "If you are planning other forms of coping..." She showed us a squatting bar and how it attaches to the bed before I even had nerve to ask about it! I was also pleased to learn this hospital has the lowest c-section rate in the city.

Our guide described how the baby would be placed on our belly after birth, and how wonderful it will be to discover the sex of the baby that way for those of us who don't already know. She went on to say that the hospital prefers for mothers to room with their babies rather than sending them to the nursery. She warned us not to allow the "grandmother's bottle" or any kind of formula, since our milk supply is based on demand.

Only problem? I could just swear this baby is lying sideways in my uterus. A good, old-fashioned transverse lie. The sort of thing even Ina May Gaskin, midwife to many a breech birth, says calls for a c-section. Here's to hoping I'm wrong-- or at the very least, that this baby will flip!

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