A month or so ago, when I scheduled the hospital tour, 37 weeks still seemed like a long way off. But here we are!
Today was my goal date to be completely ready for this birth. I thought I was coming to the end of my preparations, but yesterday we found out some news that is throwing us for now…more on that later…
So! Last night’s much-anticipated hospital tour! The first thing we found out was where the entrance to the maternity area of the hospital is. Good thing, too, because it was not at all where we expected it to be!
Right at the beginning of the tour, when the nurse was telling the group what she would be showing us, I was very sorry indeed to hear that since there were two babies currently in the NICU, she would not be taking us there! I was more eager to see the NICU than the rest of the maternity unit!
This is a relatively new, small hospital, and some of the things we learned impressed us that they had actually listened to patients when they set it up.
For one, midwives handle nearly all the deliveries, with an obstetrician there 24/7 to consult with if necessary. They try to assign the same nurses to the same patients when they can, to provide more continuity of care. For instance, if nurse Lou is with me for the delivery, when she comes back to the hospital for her next shift, they will try to assign her to me again.
They have all-in-one labor/delivery/recovery rooms, so no moving from room to room. Even for C-section deliveries, the mother goes straight back to her own room, with her baby, to recover. Those of you who remember what we went through after the twins’ C-section will know what an improvement this is over the big, popular hospital in our area.
They are very supportive of VBAC births. They allow a Hep-Lock rather than an IV, and do not require constant monitoring of VBAC labor, allowing the laboring mother to be in the jacuzzi if she likes.
They have lactation consultants on staff. They have various labor aids (like a birthing ball and others) available. They do all they can not to separate mothers from their babies. They have fold-out beds for the dads to sleep on. They have internet access. They have a nifty security system, lock-down features and all. We already knew they had a great package plan for self-pay patients.
The nurse giving the tour said they like to think of themselves as small but mighty!
I was still disappointed about not seeing the NICU. I had questions I didn’t want to ask in front of the whole group. I knew that Verity and I were not going to fit into the standard birth and recovery story that the nurse was telling. But she was very friendly and approachable, so…
As we got to the end of the tour, before the opportunity slipped away altogether, I went up to her and asked her unobtrusively where the NICU was in relation to the rooms we saw. I told her we were disappointed not to see the NICU since we knew our baby would have special needs and would have to be in the NICU. She immediately said that she’d be happy to show us where it was when the tour was over, although she couldn’t take us inside.
So after the other couples had left, she took us back in to show us where the NICU was. She opened the door a crack to let us peek inside and told the NICU nurse what she was doing. The NICU nurse right away told her to let us come in! YAY!!! We stood just inside the entrance, and talked with the two of them for about an hour. They were both so friendly and acted like they had all the time in the world to stand around and chat. I got to ask all the questions I could think of, and we learned even more than I knew to ask about!
There will likely be many people in the room when I deliver Verity. A labor and delivery nurse, the midwife doing the delivery, maybe the OB, a neonatologist, a NICU nurse (probably the department head), someone from respiratory, someone from anesthesiology, as well as Joe, me and our midwife, who we are hoping can be there as a friend like she was at Stephen’s birth.
The room didn’t look that big to me. <smile>
I did find out that one of the midwives is male, and you can believe I will be praying that he is not the one on duty when I go into labor! *Blech* I understand that not all the rest of the staff present for the birth is likely to be female, and that is bad enough!
We should expect Verity to be in the NICU the whole time, as it is very unlikely that she will be able to stay in the room with me. However, I will be allowed to be in the NICU with her whenever I want. And if she is very stable, there is a possibility that she could come to my room, but that would depend on what monitoring she needs, and if a NICU nurse is available to stay in the room, too.
I am trying to picture this, and prepare myself. I’d still been holding out hope that she could room in with me.
They do have a room for me to stay in at no charge if it’s available, in the case that I’m discharged before Verity is. She said the transitional step on the last day of a NICU baby’s stay at the hospital is usually for the baby to be in this room with the mother, on her own but able to call for help if it’s needed.
If Verity needs to go home with any equipment, a manufacturers’ representative would train me in how to use it before we’d leave the hospital. Someone will also train me in infant CPR. (The last time I learned that was 20 years ago, so I need a refresher, anyway!)
Before we left the NICU, the nurse on duty there took my name and Verity’s name and her due date, and told us maybe she would see us again in not too long!
And before we left the hospital, the nurse who gave the tour and the receptionist both said, “See you soon!”
Verity’s birth seems like much more of an imminent reality now. And I’m SO VERY THANKFUL to the Lord for His kindness in allowing us all this valuable time to prepare for our special baby. It’s hard for me to imagine going into this blind and being hit with it all at once after her birth, although countless parents have had that experience.
But believe me, all my plans and preparations are not taking away the need for trusting Him with the many, many unknowns! The news we heard yesterday is that Joe’s parents, who live next door, and who we thought the children would be staying with when I go into labor, will be away for the whole week before my due date. I am ashamed to say that my heart sank when I heard this. I immediately started thinking about what in the world we would do if I went into labor during that time! And I had thought my packing task was finished–just a little for the children, since they’d have access to the things they need here at home, but now…?
But now, Susanna, you have seen His faithfulness over and over again, and He has this situation well in hand, too! It’s the truth! You can trust your Heavenly Father on this! Trust Him!