Planning Our Natural Hospital Birth: The Tour

Wednesday, March 13, 2013
I should say, our second natural hospital birth.

You may remember my post a couple weeks ago, Struggle, where I talked about how I was struggling with where we are birthing. I really wanted a birth center birth the second time around. Unfortunately it just isn't in the cards for us between our finances and my insurance coverage. So,I'm we are doing everything we can to give us the best opportunity for a completely intervention free hospital birth. (Last time I had an IV for antibiotics - my strep test hadn't come back and he was 5 weeks early - but that was my only intervention)

Last night we went on a tour of the hospital we will be birthing at. I was delivered at this hospital, as were both of my sisters, my niece, a couple of my cousins, several of my friend's children, and I delivered Turtle-Love at this hospital too. We are lucky enough to have two amazing hospitals in town, but I've always loved this one. Of course, the other hospital has a special place in our hearts as their NICU took care of Turtle-Love his first two weeks.You may be wondering why on earth we were touring a hospital I've already spent so much time in, and that we already have experience with. Oh, well in the last two years the new building for the hospital has been completed and they have moved. So technically, we have no experience in this actual building - just with the hospital as a business now. Which has also changed, as they switched.... uhh I'll say powers? owners? Something like that. Anyhow - even if they hadn't we would have still taken the tour just to re-familiarize ourselves and brush up on any new policies.

Before going to the tour I took the time to come up with a list of questions I wanted answered. Then I checked the hospital's website to make sure some of them couldn't be answered there. Some of them could! Like... (What I had a question about is in bold, the answer is in italics. Of course, not every hospital will have the same answers.)

•Labor Support
You may have 2-3 support people with you during labor.
•Visiting Hours and Policy
No one under 14 is allowed to visit unless they are a sibling. Specific hours are encouraged abut exceptions can be made.
•Can Turtle-Love stay over-night with me? This was a big question for us, especially since we co-sleep. (Dang I forgot to ask about co-sleeping with Bean)
No. They of course use more expressive language to soften that lol
•Do you have showers or baths I can use during labor?
Yes, whirlpool tubs are available. 

They have other information that I already knew was policy that you may want to ask your hospital...
Are doulas allowed? Yes
Can my baby room-in with me 24/7? Yes, it is highly encouraged though the nursery is available and nearby.
Are there conveniences like cable, wireless internet, etc.? In labor and delivery as well as postpartum? Yes, though DVD players, CD players, docking stations etc. need to be brought.
Are you supportive of breastfeeding? How do you support mothers with this? Yes, very. You will not be offered formula unless there is a medical reason or you request it. A lactation consultant will visit you to make sure you are doing well and answer any questions you have. One is always available as well. Pumping supplies are also available.
Do I go through the Emergency Room or the main entrance? In the middle of the night? The main entrance is always available for use. Valet parking is offered during standard hours, and after hours you can park in the drop off circle and leave your keys with security - they will park your car for you and your keys will be brought to your room.

We were late arriving for the tour. Yoga lasted a little longer than I thought, and hubz was late leaving a family night for a friend's grandfather. Everyone was really friendly and helpful in assisting us to find the tour in progress. Little did we know the tour was being conducted by the woman who taught our last birthing class that we adored! It was nice catching up with her, hugs all around. (She is also a doula!) The first thing we noticed though, which was a nice turn around to a rough start (I was cranky because we were late)... the wing of the hospital for labor, delivery, and postpartum is actually called The Birthing Center.

Some nifty things I learned on the tour (that I did not ask/have to ask)
•The Birthing Center is located behind a locked door. All postpartum and birthing suites are located behind the locked door with the waiting room NOT behind the locked door. Before allowing anyone in to see you you are called and asked if you are available, and if you would like to see whoever it is.
•You are allowed to have up to 3 labor support people. Each person is provided a band that allows them access behind the doors at anytime during your birth - so food runs, store trips, etc. can go smoothly and quickly.
•They have a snack kitchen, equipped with ice cream, water, ice, dry goods, etc.
•They will not keep you from eating or drinking during labor. She did mention that there may be times clear liquids are best and suggested.
•Each birthing suite has it's own whirlpool tub that is very large and deep, as well as handheld showers.
•A variety of birthing balls are available.
•The bed drops down and a squat bar is available for pushing in a squatted position, or for mom's who are too tired or having a hard time finding the right muscles.
•The number of people who visit you at one time in postpartum is unlimited, though they do recommend you limit your visits so you can rest and bond.

Things that I did ask
•What is the monitoring policy?
A standard belt monitor is available - usually upon arrival they like to get a solid 20 minute reading though it isn't mandatory to be that way. Then and every other time tele-monitors are available, as well as just a hand held doplar. Monitoring can be done in whatever position you like as long as the baby's heart beat can be found. 
•What is the IV policy?
Not mandatory or procedure unless medically necessary. If you must receive antibiotics, a Hep lock can be used after administration.
•What birthing positions are permitted?
This one is up to your delivering doctor. The hospital it self doesn't mind any position or place - though in your own birthing suite rather than the hall is encouraged.
•Can my son(or other siblings) be present during birth?
Absolutely, he just needs one specific person that is not Mom or Dad assigned to him. He will get his own band (not part of the three) as will his person (is apart of the three).
•Baby care policy immediately following birth?
Baby is placed directly on Mom's chest.
•Does baby ever have to be separated from me?
No. All tests can be done with baby on your chest.
•Can we delay cord clamping?
Absolutely, just make sure it is in your birth plan and that your doctor and the pediatrician know. Dad - this is a good job for you, remind them as soon as baby is out.
•What about the placenta? Can we bring it home?
Yep! Make sure you bring a cooler it needs to go on ice immediately and be taken home soon after.
•Policy regarding vitamin K shot, eye goop, vaccines?
They are all standard procedure but you can absolutely decline them. You just have to sign a waiver, we have no problems with any of that.
•How long is labor allowed to go before interventions are pushed?
As long as it takes. If baby is doing fine there is no reason to intervene. That doesn't mean it wont be offered or suggested by your doctor. If your water has been broken for 24 hours antibiotics will likely be administered but you are free to labor for as long as it takes. 
•What is the video and photo policy?
Video is not permitted, and photos have to be from above the legs perspective.
•Are there ever breech births here?
•Can we bring and use cloth diapers right away?

So all of our questions got answered. I was really impressed by the actual facility and how friendly everyone was. There was a nurse actually snuggling a baby in the nursery, so the babies that are taken there aren't just left to hang out which makes me feel good too. We left the hospital feel much better about our decision, happy about it actually. We realize that these are just words and things that sound good now - and it will be the people we have contact with when the time comes and testing the policies rather than smiling at the theory of them. But we are hopeful, and happy.

Now to ask my doctor's office a ton of questions at our next visit!


  1. Bess said...:

    This is a great list of questions to take! If I have another lil one I'll definitely come back here for those questions. :) Thanks!

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