This past Friday we toured the hospital where the twins will be born. Y’all, let me tell you, it was crazy and definitely made everything much more real! Austin and I kept looking at each other saying, “Can you believe we will be back here in less than 8 weeks to become parents?!”
As a side note, all of my maternity shirts are getting short so had to resort to wearing Austin’s sweater:)
The tour started with an overview of the hospital, its philosophy and a walk through of the entire birth process – from when we check-in to the OR where C-sections take place to the NICU to where we are discharged. Our hospital has an adorable gift shop that not only has great items for moms, including a specialist who will help fit you for a nursing bra, but also the most adorable baby section. They had several preemie outfits, which will definitely be needed since the twins will most likely be on the smaller side. The entire Labor and Delivery floor was gorgeous and all the staff were so friendly! What I love about our hospital is that there is a large emphasis on keeping you with your baby/babies. We walked past the nursery, but there was not a single baby in there because they were all with their families.
Before we had our visit, I looked at several different articles to get ideas on questions to ask. Our hospital must have done their homework because they answered all the questions I had on my list without me even having to ask. However, I am glad I did a little research beforehand because it helped get me in the right frame of mind for the tour. Hope these questions are helpful for you!
- How many births take place here on average each day?
- Do you utilize medical students or residents?
- Are there specific hours for visiting? Do you allow young children to visit?
- Is there access to the Internet? Is the Wi-Fi free?
- Is there valet parking for when I arrive at the hospital in labor? At what times?
- Is there a café? What time does the hospital kitchen close?
- What types of food/drink are allowed in the rooms? Can I bring food or drink from home to the hospital?
- What paperwork needs to be completed prior to admission for labor? Is there other paperwork to be done? Can it be done prior to labor?
- How often do you experience an overflow of patients? What happens if all of your birthing rooms are taken?
- What security measures are there? Do people have to be buzzed in? Are there security guards and is a device placed on your baby to make sure he/she cannot leave the floor?
- What follow-up support do you offer for new parents? Can I call, at any time, if I have questions or need emotional support?
- Do you have doulas on staff or a listing of doulas you recommend? (A doula is a nonmedical professional trained to provide physical, emotional, and informational support to a mother before, during, and shortly after childbirth.)
- If I believe I am in labor, where should I come to check in? Does it change depending on the time of day? Where will we initially be examined? Will I wait in a general waiting area, triage or private room?
- What will I need to bring with me when I am in labor? Will my chart be sent over or will I need to bring it with me?
- To whom should I send my birth plan? Does it need to be signed by my doctor and/or pediatrician?
- What types of birthing rooms are available? Can I labor, give birth and recover in the same room?
- What types of comfort measures do you encourage? Is there a tub or shower in the birth room? Do you have access to birth balls, music, squat bar, etc.?
- Can I walk and move around during labor? Am I just allowed to walk around my room? If I can walk elsewhere, where is that?
- Do you have a visitor’s policy for when a mother is in labor? Are there any restrictions on who is allowed in the room during birth? How many people can be with me?
- Are there any situations that may take me away from my birth partner?
- Are cameras and film equipment allowed? Are there any parts for which we should turn it off?
- If the cesarean is planned, what is the admissions procedure?
- Can my partner stay with me for the cesarean birth? My doula?
- Can we take photos of the birth?
- Will I be able to watch the surgery via mirror? Could the drapes be lowered or do you offer clear drapes?
- Will my baby be able to immediately go to skin to skin contact after birth?
- Can I choose to breastfeed immediately after a C-section?
- Will I be able to hold my baby while I am still in the operating room soon after I have given birth?
- Will my partner be able to go with the baby should he/she need to leave the room?
- What is your policy on baby care immediately after birth? If my baby needs to be checked, weighed or placed under a radiant heater, will he/she be taken out of the room? Or will the examination take place in the room?
- Are there any situations where my baby would need to be transferred to another facility?
- What is your policy on rooming in? Are there times that the baby cannot be in our room?
- Do pediatricians do their visits at the bedside?
- Do you have a lactation consultant? Is she available seven days a week? What are her hours? Does she see every nursing mom? Is she certified?
- What are the policies about breastfeeding babies and bottles/pacifiers?
- Does the hospital support supplementing breastfeeding with formula? Does it have a milk bank?
- Will I have to share the room with another family? Do I have the option to request a private room? Will I ever be moved rooms?
- Where will my birth partner sit and sleep during my stay? Are there cots available?
- Can other family members stay overnight? Is there an extra charge for them?
- What is the average length of stay for a vaginal birth? A cesarean birth?
- What time of day does discharge generally occur? Is there a policy for early discharge?
There are so many questions to ask and things to think about as your due date approaches! The more informed you are, however, the fewer surprises there will be along the way, and the more prepared you will feel going into the hospital to give birth. That being said, I still feel like I am nowhere close to knowing all I should and still feel underprepared. Saying our prayers that the twins do not decide to make an early appearance, because I could definitely use these next 7 weeks. 🙂