Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Maternity Ward Tour

I have finally taken the tour my hospital offers of its maternity ward. This is apparently something that one should sign up for many moons in advance, but I didn't get that memo. Honestly, there is so much involved in getting ready for a baby, which all has to be squished around the work day as it is, AND accommodate for having a pregnant body and mind*, that it's pretty amazing that any memos get through at all . So I called last week, and asked to reserve a place in this week's tour, only to be told that it had been booked solid for ages. But the nice lady asked when I was due, and when I told her, said that she'd keep my name and number handy in case there were any cancellations, and booked me for the next week instead. Who knew that the maternity tour was something you could be wait-listed for? Somebody actually cancelled, and the receptionist actually called me back to see if I wanted in. I did.

This actually gave me pause, because whoever couldn't show up, took the time to call and let the hospital know. Keep in mind that this is a free tour, so it's not like there's a deposit involved or something; it was just such a considerate thing to do, since the hospital takes so few people on each tour, and procrastinators like me are on a waiting list. If I had signed up early and then couldn't make it, would I have called? I hope so. More likely is that I would probably have meant to call and then forgot.

The tour was great. Don couldn't go given the short notice, so I was the mama-to-be that appeared to be all on my own, without even a girlfriend or mother for support. Ah well. The only aspect that Don was really concerned with was the "where to park, what door to go through" bit, and I took notes on that part. (We were wondering whether it would work better for Don to drop me at the front door and park the car, or if we should park together and walk up together-- I maintained that it really depended on how I was feeling at that moment. It turns out that there's free valet parking, solving that little dilemma right there.) On a similar note, I timed my trip from our front door to the hospital's parking lot, and it took 6.5 minutes. This was during the worst part of rush hour traffic, going the speed limit, and obeying all laws; it would be even faster later in the evening. Sometimes I love living downtown.

If this hospital had a theme song, it would appear to be Roy Orbison's "Anything You Want". We have jacuzzi tubs! Birth balls! Squatting bars! Epidurals! NO epidurals! A snack room just for you! The baby at your side! Or, the baby in the nursery! The nurse's refrain was, "but it's totally up to you! It's your choice!"-- she must have said it a dozen times at least. They do have a few rules. You can wander around the halls, but should stay on the fourth floor; apparently this was instituted after a doctor (temporarily) lost her patient and happened to catch sight of her through the window, walking down the street, two blocks away. I'm assuming that patient chose to labor in her own clothes and not a hospital gown. (It's totally your choice!) I was pretty impressed, both with the ward itself** and with this cater-to-the-patient attitude. Of course, we'll have to see how it actually plays out during the real event. It could all be window-dressing, I suppose.

I had a prenatal appointment the next morning with my least-favorite-of-the-three-OBs and mentioned the tour, said it seemed pretty awesome. The doctor's reply (and you must imagine this in a heavy, Eastern European or Russian accent): "It is a small hospital, quite small maternity ward, which is good for personal care, I guess. The equipment is fairly up-to-date. Most of the time, they know what they are doing." High praise, indeed. "most of the time"?! Other than that, the appointment went very well; the only embarrassing incident was when the nurse found me using the hand-sink in the nurses' station after delivering my urine sample, and I had to explain that instead of peeing IN the cup, I accidentally peed ALL OVER the cup***, and then had to carry it. Ick. Blood pressure, fetal heart rate, fundal measurements, all good. Weight is shocking, but not a concern. I guess we're getting there!

*Honestly, I can deal more easily with the pregnant body than the infamous "pregnancy brain". Hips and back hurt, everything heavy and slow? You adapt, adjust, take a little extra time or effort, take a nap. How do you adapt to leaving your keys random places, or forgetting to put the groceries in the fridge?

** Not that I have anything to compare it with, it just seems really nice, with the big bathtubs and bouncy balls and all.

*** Because things Down There are Not the Same: peeing in a cup, at which I used to be a pro (you would too if you spent so many months using ovulation-prediction kits for half the month, then pregnancy tests the other half-- you only have to have one faulty, no-answer pregnancy test before you start using a cup just in case. "ARRGGH the test didn't work and now the first-morning-urine has been flushed! I can't test again until TOMORROW!") is now more like using a water hose with your thumb over the end, and still trying to aim.

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