Today, at 36 weeks and 1 day in my pregnancy, we took a tour of the nearby hospital labor and delivery ward where I’d mostly likely go in the event of an emergency transfer. So, although we have a home birth planned (and I am going to do everything in my power to keep it that way), I thought I’d be more relaxed about the whole thing if I knew more about the logistics of that option. I went in there armed with the book, Your Best Birth, because there is a section for hospital tours where Ricki Lake offers a list of questions to ask (I highly recommend this terrific book). We were one couple among four others, and I asked about 95% of the questions. I even stumped the tour guide a couple of times, but she was a trooper and found the answers for me.
Here is what I asked and found out:
1. What are the chances I will have a private room? Can baby room with me? – Good news! From the triage area to the labor and delivery room to the post partum room… they are all private with baby rooming in. The labor/delivery room has a TV, DVD player, CD player, mini-fridge, microwave, private bath, etc.
2. Do you honor birth plans? – Yes, they claim that they do and I should bring it with me. (By the way, I recommend having a birth plan written before conceiving if possible. It’s less stressful that way, you have a clear head, and it’s not something you have “to do” while pregnant – you already have enough to do during that time, not to mention the possibility of not feeling well – so get it done beforehand! I will share some details of mine in the near future here on my Green Mommy Blog.)
3. What can I do if I’m not happy with my nurse? – I can get a different one.
4. Who can be in attendance of the birth (in the delivery room)? – Anyone I want pretty much so long as the doctor and nurses can do their jobs.
5. What non-drug pain relief is available? (tub? birth ball? squat bar?) – Each labor/delivery room has a bath tub with jets, and birth balls are available. I’d probably bring my own birth ball.
6. Can I eat or drink during labor? – NO! (Arghhh! I’ve heard that the way around this is simply to sneak it in.)
7. What percent of women get epidurals? – About 99.9%
8. What is your c-section rate? – About 28% (I’m still amazed that about 1 in 3 women get c-sections in this country)
9. Who can accompany me in the operating room if I end up getting a c-section? – Birth coach (a.k.a. my husband for my situation and I would probably push to get my doula or midwife in there, too).
10. Can I wear my own clothing? – Yes.
11. Can I video tape the birth? – Yes. And, photos are also allowed in the operating room for c-sections.
12. Can I have the lights dimmed during my labor and delivery? – That is up to my doctor.
All in all, I was impressed with the hospital and I’m really glad we took the time to tour and ask questions. Heck, it was worth it just to learn the parking situation – that alone could be a nightmare.