Eric and I went on our tour of the hospital last night, and now we are totally ready to have this baby. Well, not TOTALLY ready, but much more so than we were. There's nothing quite like walking through (or being pushed through in a wheelchair, in my case) the rooms in which you will give birth to sort-of shock you into reality that this baby is coming real soon.
We are psyched out of our minds to be delivering at the Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital (fair warning, the rest of this post may read like an advertisement for the hospital). We delivered Owen at Providence Southfield, and while it was a great experience, thanks to my fantastic midwife and the amazing NICU nurses, it pales in comparison with the newly remodeled HFWB. And I thank my midwife, Trish, for the fact that we are now at Henry Ford, as we followed her when she left Providence to work for Henry Ford right after Owen was born.
We originally chose Providence and Trish's practice because of the Alternative Birthing Center (ABC) at the Southfield hospital. I knew I wanted a natural, non-invasive, midwife-attended birth, and very few hospitals in the area were able to offer that the way the ABC did. Sadly, with Owen arriving 6 weeks early, we didn't even get to use the ABC as we were considered "high risk" and delivered in the regular Labor and Delivery unit (although still, thankfully, attended by my midwife, not a random physician).
But the beauty of HFWB is that there's no separate unit for those looking to have a natural birthing experience. It's all one unit, one floor, one team. If you are a midwife patient, you checked-in, triaged, and cared for by the midwife on duty. The "on duty" is the best part - because there is always a midwife on the floor (vs. at Providence where we were cared for by residents until the midwife "on-call" arrived at the hospital, several hours after we arrived). And given that last night at the tour we were able to meet all of the other midwives, I now have faces and names for each of the lovely women who may be present at the birth, which is so comforting. Even more comforting is how nice and friendly and cool they all were. The main theme of our tour (led by a few of the midwives), was that they are fully supportive of any request we may make and of our birthing preferences, so long as they feel it's safe for mom and baby. For me, this means not being hooked up to anything. No IV or port. No fetal monitor strapped around my belly the whole time. The ability to get up and move around uninhibited. Since my trouble-making boy arrived so early, and my water broke so early, I was put on IV antibiotics and saline as soon as I walked in the door. I also had a constant fetal monitor the whole time, meaning I was pretty much chained to the bed, which made me super buhjighetty. We were, of course, totally cool with it, since we were high-risk and things happened so early and it was my midwife who suggested the course of action for mine and Owen's safety. But my hopes for this delivery are to forego all of that and be "unattached" for the majority of the labor and delivery!
When I was pregnant with Owen we actually switched over to a midwife when I was 30 weeks pregnant. I just wasn't feeling the love with the practice I was at - I saw a different doctor at every appointment, none of them knew me by name, and I felt like none of them really cared all that much about my birth preferences (or me, for that matter). So we switched to a practice of midwives. I only had 2 appointments with Trish before I went into labor with Owen, but when she showed up at the hospital that day, I was completely comfortable with her. There is just something different about midwives. Something more personable and approachable and, for me at least, more comforting. I was instantly at-ease with the women we met last night and will be thrilled with whomever attends the birth of this baby (although we are obviously hoping that Trish is the one on duty the day we deliver)!
A few quick notes about the hospital that have me psyched:
- The rooms are pretty. Like, they feel less like hospital rooms and more like hotel rooms with some medical equipment in them. They also all each have private bathrooms with bath tubs and showers.
- The NICU is amazing. Clearly we are hoping to not ever see the inside of the NICU again, but wow - it was so great (and it's IN the L&D unit, right down the hall). Owen was in the NICU for 8 days at Providence. And while they took INCREDIBLY good care of him, the NICU was one big room with about a dozen isolettes all lined up along the walls. At HFWB each baby has their own room. With a couch/bed so that you (or your spouse) can sleep in the room with the baby. Someone can be with the baby at all times, instead of a few visits a day, which was how we had to deal with our first few days with Owen, which was rough, to say the least.
- Each room has a new flat-screen TV. Yes, I am excited about that.
- The couch-beds for the dads in the delivery and recovery rooms convert to lay flat, and roll right over next to mom's bed, and are the same height, meaning that mom and dad can sleep next to each other, basically in the same bed, in the early stages of labor and/or once the baby is born. Eric is thrilled about this, as he basically slept on the floor of my room after we had Owen.
- The food at the hospital is actually really good food. We know this from when I was in for the cerclage and we ordered dinner (it's basically a room-service system, you call up and order what you want, and they bring it to you, up to 4 times a day). We had some pretty delicious veggie reubens that I definitely wouldn't mind having again.
- After delivery they move you down the hall to sort-of a "recovery" wing, where there aren't neighboring rooms with women in active labor, so it's much quieter and calmer. And there is a long couch-bed for dads/kids to stay the night. There's also a kick-ass play room for siblings right down the hall.
- And to top it off, the building is LEED certified.
So yeah, it was pretty great. After the tours there were a few different speakers talking about the hospital amenities, pediatricians, carseat safety, etc. Of course, being saavy parents who have gone through this before, we totally blew-off this part of the night and took the opportunity to go have dinner at a RESTAURANT before going to pick up Owen from my parents house. And while the food wasn't fantastic, it was nice to be out amongst the people for an evening!
Goal for the weekend: Find birthing books!