getting acquainted

Time seems to be zipping by so quickly. I sat down to write this on Thursday, and somehow now it’s Saturday. How did that happen?

Last week, we had our big hospital tour. It was actually something I was looking forward to, and I’m so glad we did it. We unfortunately discovered that during evening traffic, it takes us 45 minutes to get there. We’ll have to plan accordingly, but I think we’ll be okay.

At the tour there must have been at least fifteen pregnant women and their male partners. Once again, we were among the oldest in the crowd, so not only were we the token lesbian couple, but we were also one of two token “old” couples (old meaning over 25).

The woman leading the tour was Connie, a childbirth educator and doula, and she was lovely. She had us all introduce ourselves and announce our due dates, and then we went on our way. We had a chance to see a few of the labor/delivery rooms, one of which was tiny and one of which had no bathroom but had fabulous lighting. None of the rooms have showers, but there are showers available for laboring women, and I’m fine with that. What the rooms do have are these amazing birth beds that move into all kinds of positions that your average hospital bed couldn’t dream of. They also have those great attachable squat bars, and they have no stirrups. That’s right folks: not a stirrup in sight. Instead, there are these paddles that one can use for leverage should one’s care provider want the final pushes to be in a slightly more traditional baby-catching position (we did hear, though, that this is not always necessary). They also seem to have birth balls, although our birth class instructor has suggested bringing our own, and I believe we will.

Based on Connie’s discussion, the staff there encourage women to walk around, change positions, take showers, and more in hopes that they’ll deliver naturally.  They allow for intermittent fetal monitoring (unless one has an epidural), seem to avoid unnecessary interventions, have the lowest cesarean delivery rate in the county, and they seem to be very supportive of the sort of natural birth we’re hoping for.

The worst part of the tour was a little walk past the operating room. I shivered upon seeing it, and I hope I never have to see it again. Connie kept pointing out the CD player on the wall, as though this somehow made it a more friendly environment (along with a horrible floral border near the ceiling), but that room represented so many of my biggest fears heading into this birth. At least now I know which room I should not include in my positive birth visualizations.

Overall, though, we were really pleased with what we saw, and I think that even though it’s a hospital, it’s ultimately a pretty birth-positive place. We even learned of some special secret lesbian rights we get there! Yes, after the birth, my wife can stay over, even if I have a roommate. This is only the case for female companions/relatives/friends. (If a woman’s husband wants to stay, her roommate’s husband must also stay in order for them both to be granted staying permission). One man, his wife, and her sister complained about this very loudly to the nurses and to Connie during the tour, and the man was incredulous that some persons “significant other, or whatever they’re called” could stay if she was a woman. He said this while eyeing us sideways. I smirked and whispered to J, “So THESE are those special lesbian rights we’re always hearing about!” Oh yes, for once, we’re special. I had to refrain from sticking my tongue out at bitter bigot man.

We did walk out even more convinced that we wanted a doula, but after talking with Connie, we discovered that our budget would never  have room for the $1000 average that area doulas charge. I was about to give up on a doula at all when I stumbled upon a doula-in-training via a certain online classified listing. We’re going to meet with her in a couple of weeks, and nothing is certain, but we may have a free doula, and that gives me a little hope.

It seems that in just about six and a half weeks, our due date is going to arrive, and within two month’s time, our son is going to be here in our arms. I think the reality of it may finally be starting to settle in–although in all honesty, there is part of me still sitting in that bathroom at 6am on New Year’s Eve staring in disbelief at a positive HPT.


Filed under birth, hospital, the P word

11 responses to “getting acquainted

  1. sooooo excited for you guys! I can’t believe your due date is right around the corner!

  2. Cindyhoo2

    I love this post. The place sounds as though it does a pretty good mix of high and low rech birthing. The potential free doula also sounds promising. And thank goodness you have finally found the “special rights” the conservatives are ways talking about! 🙂

  3. K

    Don’t worry.. we were the token lesbians too. Our group had the lovely 25 year olds and the lovely boyfriend who knocked up his g/f.

  4. Boo

    It sounds like such a wonderful birth-positive place. Lowest cesaren rate and special lesbian rights and intermittent monitoring and squatting bars! Wow!

  5. The hospital sounds great!! I’m really happy you found such an awesome place

  6. Yay for natural birth positive hospitals. Boo for nasty bigots. And we were also the token lesbians at our tour–we should start a club!

  7. It sounds like a really nice hospital, and I really like that they want their patients to try to go as natural as possible. I don’t understand why they have that rule- it seems pretty discriminatory…but that jerkoff guy shouldn’t have been looking at you all sideways- you didn’t make the rule! I can’t believe you’re only ~6 weeks away- wow!

  8. Joy

    That all sounds great! If you don’t hit it off with the person you found on the classified listing, try seeing if you can find the local training program and ask how others working on certification are finding their clients. It’s always good, when possible, to interview at least 3 to get a sense of different personalities and styles of support. Maybe that won’t be necessary though because you’ll all love each other and want to work together right off the bat!

  9. wow….it sounds awesome!!!! how amazing that they ENCOURAGE labouring women to move around, change positions…..and no stirrups – woooo! I am so happy for you guys. I think you’ve found a really good place there. And, I’m crossing my finger that you will have a doula-in-training. It’s SO important to have someone there advocating for you in birth and supporting your decisions. It’s getting so close. I’m stoked!

  10. My son can walk and I still sometimes take out the HPT and stare in disbelief.

    I’m glad you mentioned the wallpaper. I have yet to post my picture of the boarder in my room at the birthing center it was… appropriate.

    Get a doula. If you really can’t afford it, do you have a friend who is very calm and grounded who can fetch water for you and carry bags and drive you to the hospital while your honey supports your labor?

  11. Clemency

    It all sounds wonderful. I’m sorry I’ve been so remiss in keeping up with your blog…it’s been ages since I’ve left a comment…just wanted to say that you look really beautiful and I can’t wait to “meet” your baby C.

    My guess is….Charlie.

    x K

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