What is the room like?
Triage: While I waited to be admitted to the hospital, I was taken to the triage room and my (and the baby’s) vitals were monitored. The triage room had its own bathroom where I could change. When I moved to L&D, I was given the choice to walk or use a wheelchair.
L&D: I labored in a room with a hospital bed (obviously), a fold-out chair for my husband to sleep on (no sheets provided), and a rocking chair. There was a large bathroom with a shower. There was also a peanut-shaped birthing ball kept in the bathroom. I did not ask to labor in the shower, so I do not know if that is allowed.
ICU: Unfortunately, I had to stay in the ICU after giving birth. This room was much smaller and did not have an in-room bathroom. There was a toilet that folded out from a cabinet under the sink, that I didn’t use because I still had my Foley catheter. There was no available shower. There are normally visiting hours in the ICU, but my husband was allowed to stay with me the entire time. A nurse brought in a recliner for him to sleep on, which barely fit in the room. He had to move it when someone came in to do an echocardiogram. The most notable thing about the ICU was that my baby could not stay with us because there was no security system. A nurse from the NICU brought her up to visit so I could have skin to skin, breastfeed, and hold her for the first time. My husband was not allowed to bring her to me without a nurse.
Maternity Ward (Baby Place): This room also had a bed for me, a foldout chair, and a rocking chair, plus other chairs for guests. The bathroom here had a shower with a bench and a sink. There was also a sink in the main room, and a long counter and chest for my belongings. There was a small refrigerator for leftovers, food from home, etc. Your baby will wear a security bracelet, which will set off an alarm if someone steps over a line painted on the floor. The only way to exit the Baby Place is by elevator, unless you have an escort to take you down the stairs.
NICU: Thankfully, my baby did not have any health problems, but since I was in the ICU and there is no well-baby nursery, she had to stay in the NICU. A nurse brought her to me to visit, but they could only do it once per shift. The NICU had some private rooms and some “nooks” in the main room. Each baby had a bassinet and a rocking chair.
Well-baby nursery: There is no well-baby nursery at WPMH. In an emergency, a well baby can stay in the NICU. At the birthing class, we were told that we could call for a nurse to look after the baby if the mother was in the shower, etc., but when my friend tried this, she was told to take her baby into the bathroom while she showered.
Operating Room: When I was taken into the OR for my c-section I was given the choice to be lifted to the operating table or to move there myself. My husband was allowed to be with me, although I was told that if I had had general anesthesia he could not be there. There was not a window for the rest of my family to watch. There was a curtain to keep me from seeing the c-section happen, which also kept me from seeing my baby. She needed oxygen immediately after she was born, so it was a few minutes before I could see her. My husband was able to see her and he brought me pictures as soon as he could. Once she was taken care of, a nurse brought her to me and the anesthesiologist took our first family pictures.
Nurses: I had a mix of good and bad nurses. The ICU nurses were especially wonderful. I felt pressure from the L&D nurses not to receive pain medicine and not to have a c-section.
Food: While I was waiting for the Cervidil to work, my mom brought me outside food for breakfast. Active labor hadn’t started, and none of the nurses told me not to eat (although I didn’t ask). After active labor starts, you are allowed to have ice chips and popsicles only (no water). I forgot to ask for a popsicle (I guess I didn’t need it), but I ate a TON of ice chips, and no one ever told me to stop.
I had to have a second emergency surgery to stop bleeding after my c-section. After that surgery, I was on a clear liquid diet for the rest of the day. I had jello, juice, an Italian-ice type dessert, and broth. For the other meals, I was given a menu and a number to call to order food, which was delivered within 45 minutes. Each meal included an entrée, two sides, two drinks, and a dessert. The food was reasonable, but not amazing. You can also bring outside food. I was also given a smoothie every day. Family members can order food for $6. There is also a cafeteria with limited hours. There were vending machines throughout the hospital.
Supplies: I was given hospital gowns, some of which closed in the front, some in the back. I was told I could wear my own gown for labor and after, but decided not to. After I had the baby, I was given disposable underwear and peripads (much bigger and wider than even the biggest maxipads I’ve ever used) and a peribottle. If you run out of supplies they are supposed to give you more, although some nurses will try not to. If you need ice, it is packed into a newborn diaper and given to you.
At the birthing class, I was told that Dermoplast spray, pain-relieving foam, and Tucks pads would be available. When I asked for Tucks, however, I was told that they were only for mothers who’d had vaginal births, even though I had pushed for three and a half hours before having my c-section.
For the baby, the hospital provided blankets, a hat, and shirts with foldover cuffs, which are washed and reused. We were also given Pampers Swaddlers, dry wipes, a pacifier, a nasal aspiriator, and 2-ounce bottles of Similac (my baby ended up needing the Pro-Sensitive formula). I was given use of a hospital-grade breast pump and syringes to store my pumped milk (I was making a few drops at most). When I left, I was given the pump parts that couldn’t be reused and the syringes.
Pain relief: During labor, I was offered an epidural (ended up not being able to have it because of a medical condition), IV narcotics, IV Tylenol, and a spinal block. For my c-section I had a spinal block and for my second surgery I had general anesthesia. I was also encouraged to use a birthing ball I had brought from home, to move around, and to push in a variety of positions. I brought a microwavable heating pad from home and my mom found someone to heat it up for me. My husband and parents were also allowed to rub my back and press against my knees during contractions. After the c-section, I was given Dilaudid. I was never pressured to get pain medicine, and sometimes had to request it when it was time for my next dose.
Other Medications: During labor I was given clotting factors (as per my medical history) and Benadryl when I started getting hives. After the c-section I had a blood transfusion. I was given gas medicine, stool softener, my regular thyroid medication, and iron supplements (I had lost a lot of blood).
Free Amenities: There is a lounge with massage chairs for moms and families. There was also another lounge with tea, coffee, espresso, hot chocolate, and sometimes pastries, and a microwave was available. There was a free photo service, but the photos themselves were for purchase. There is a lactation consultant and chaplain available.
Paid Amenities: You can pay extra for your fridge to be stocked with snacks, for a nice robe and sheets, nicer towels, magazines, flowers and gift baskets, sparkling cider toast, steak dinner or an upgraded room (an extra sitting area). There is a free photo service but the pictures were for purchase.
“Goodies:” We were given a keepsake certificate with my baby’s footprints.
Birth Plan: Before I was admitted, I was asked to fill out a birth plan. I specified what pain management I wanted, who I wanted in the room (up to 4 people), permission to give pacifier and formula (in an emergency or if planning not to breastfeed).
Other warnings: It was VERY slow to get medicine once the doctor ordered it, even blood. You and your family are not allowed to photograph or record during the c-section or while you are pushing.