Today the stars aligned in such a way that R and I were actually able to go on a tour of the Labor and Delivery wing at our OB’s preferred hospital (the one that is practically connected to his office — so preferred for us as well, as much as any hospital is). I had already taken the virtual tour but wanted to see the real thing.
I am glad that I did, because there was definitely a case of “fast food restaurant menu” syndrome going on between the virtual tour and the real thing. I mean, I suppose these luxuriously spacious rooms do exist, or they’d have nothing to photograph, but we certainly didn’t see anything that looked like these pictures from the tour:
The room we actually went into was at best half this size — probably a third. Granted, there were several couples in there along with the tour guides, and many of the people in there had protruding bellies. Crowd or no, it was positively claustrophobic compared to this room (which looks large enough for a small dance routine on that shiny wood floor). The room they showed us wasn’t really large enough for any sort of labor techniques like walking, sitting on an exercise ball, or getting on hands and knees. Nor was it really big enough for more than one companion, and while I certainly wasn’t planning on having the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders in there or anything, I had thought it possible that, say, Mom or someone might be there for part of it….
I am going to be honest: I didn’t really like it. I didn’t hate it. But after seeing these pictures, and hearing so much talk about the “wonderful maternity suites,” I was underwhelmed. I mean, I don’t feel like I need to go changing our plans or anything — that would probably require switching OBs, and I am happy with him — but I wish it was… nicer. (I’m assured, though, that I won’t actually care all that much when the time comes.)
Also in honesty, I think a big part of my less-than-enthusiastic response was that while we were going around the ward, the doors to the maternity operating room (where they do Caesarians and other labor-related surgeries) opened and they wheeled out a gurney with a blanket-wrapped woman on it. She was awake and smiling, and I know rationally it had nothing to do with any of my bad experience, but it still made me feel all awful inside. I think it sort of colored the entire tour for me, which is dumb and unfortunate. And easily put aside.
Anyway, they showed us the L&D wing, and then took us up to the recovery rooms, which were not especially inspired or anything (you’d think, given that they’re not really expecting to need to do much in those rooms, that they could do better than a 3-inch-thick mattress) but perfectly adequate. The best part of the tour was hands-down the part where we walked past the nursery, complete with zoo exhibit windows, and we all threw on the brakes and stared at the three wee ones within. The one closest to the window got swaddled while we were there, and was pretty unamused by the process up to the point when he (?) was actually burritoed. Settled down very quickly after that. 🙂
I did really like the people there (nurses, etc.) and I like the fact that my OB knows, likes, and trusts them. I like that they are very pro-natural birth. (Fascinating sidenote: when the tour guide nurse asked if any of us were planning on an epidural, not one person raised her hand. The times, they are a-changin’!) I like that they provide all kinds of support, classes, and extras, including a big jacuzzi tub, exercise balls, etc.
On a related note: got some book recommendations and am now reading Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method. I like the idea of having a lot of tools in my repertoire but wasn’t too keen on the big price tag for the class, so I’m hoping that I can glean the benefits — or at least some of them — from the book. So far I’ve enjoyed the introductory materials, if “feeling surges of outrage at the way things used to be” counts as enjoyment. Looking forward to some good informative/thought-provoking reading.