I remember putting the Toledo Hospital maternity tour and the childbirth class on our calendars months ago; they seemed so far off then. Well, this past Sunday was our maternity tour, and Childbirth Express is scheduled for August 19-20.
We showed up early for the 1pm tour, along with about eight other expecting mothers and their support (significant others, parents, etc). Our tour guide, lactation consultant Melanie (if I’m recalling correctly), first showed us the way up from Entrance #1 to Labor and Delivery (elevators are just past the Mom & Me Boutique, conveniently enough).
First stop: Post-partum Recovery. (The group after us was going to Labor and Delivery first, so we took the tour backwards.) The hospital encourages “rooming in” with baby, so they have a bassinet for baby and a comfy recliner for Dad (or other support partner) in each room, along with the hospital bed for Mom. Most rooms are singles; there are some double-occupancy rooms, but they’re rarely used as such (usually Dad gets to sleep in the other bed instead of the chair). The hospital also encourages breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact; lactation consultants are on staff 24 hours a day to answer any questions.
Other things I learned at this stop:
Next stop: The Nursery. There really are giant windows in the front of the nursery, just like on TV, but they’re usually covered with mini-blinds, and you can’t just ask the nurse to hold up the baby you want to see. Each baby is fitted with ID bands that the staff match against Mom and Dad’s, as well as an electronic tag that alerts hospital staff if a baby is taken out of the permitted area. It sounds like babies aren’t frequently in the nursery, since they’re usually rooming in with the parents — in fact, when our tour came through, there were only a few babies in the nursery (the nurse was kind enough to raise one of the blinds so we could see in).
Next stop: Labor and Delivery. The room we all wanted to see (or at least I did, anyway). Very spacious; homey but utilitarian. Large windows let in lots of natural light, but Aaron did notice the giant surgery lights recessed in the ceiling above the labor bed. There’s also a storage closet with giant accordion doors, wherein they keep the necessary equipment (including, I’m sure, the machine that goes “Ping!”)
Here I learned what the process was all about, and it set me at ease in a big way. They’re all about upright birthing positions. They can provide a birthing ball if requested, and the labor bed can be fitted with either stirrups or a birthing bar (and I’m assuming it adjusts to a near-upright position). Fetal monitoring is only done if necessary. As I mentioned above, they’re also all about skin-to-skin contact, and they routinely postpone any procedures on the newborn (vitamin K shot and eye ointment) until after about an hour of bonding and breastfeeding.
Last stop: Where You Go If You Get a C-Section. It’s a separate section of the L&D floor, and, of course, we couldn’t enter the actual surgery area, as it’s a sterile area. They still encourage rooming in and skin-to-skin, even after a c-section.
So, a bit backwards, but that was the tour. Aaron and I did see my OB during the tour, which was cool and unexpected. She didn’t see us, though. We went in for our 30-week appointment today, and I told her that we saw her — seems she got to be on-call that day, and work the next day at her office. Good times. I also told her that all my questions were answered and all my fears assuaged, and I asserted that I’m a big dork for having been all worried about the whole labor and delivery process.
I really am feeling a LOT better about this whole thing, knowing that nothing overly medicalized will be forced upon me, and that they’re trying to conform to the latest practices. Toledo Hospital isn’t officially certified Baby-Friendly yet, but it wouldn’t take much for them to be.
As anyone who knows me will attest, I’m one of those people who needs to know what to expect. Not that I don’t like some surprises, but I like to be prepared for whatever situation I may find myself in. This tour was a HUGE help for my preparedness and my state of mind. Once we finish the childbirth class next month, I’ll feel even better.