On Tuesday night Benjamin and I went to Mount Auburn, the hospital where I am going to deliver, to attend a “Meet the Doctors” event. My OB is part of a practice, a group of doctors who all share patients delivering babies at the same hospital, and the “Meet the Doctors” event is a chance to meet all of these people before birth day actually comes. I only see my chosen OB (and a nurse practitioner) throughout my pregnancy, but depending on who is on call or working when I go into labor, I may see an unfamiliar face at the foot of my bed catching my baby! So the event is a great opportunity to become comfortable with the other docs in the practice. I was most looking forward to the event because I was told it would include a tour of labor and delivery. I am a very visual person, and was excited to be able to imagine the room where my baby will be born, where we will spend the nights in the hospital, etc.
We arrived at the hospital (which neither of us had ever been to before), and almost immediately I was struck by the startling reality that the next time we walked through those front doors, I may be in labor. IN LABOR. To be honest, I haven’t really given labor a whole lot of thought yet. The way I figure it, plenty of women in the world have had babies in much less desirable conditions… so all I really have to do is show up, try my best to relax, and let the doctors guide me. And we’ll have a baby! It’s as easy as that, right? We are doing a weekend-long childbirth class next weekend, so I imagine I’ll be thinking a LOT more about it then. In any case, just being in the hospital made me very excited.
We went to a little lecture hall and waited while the 6 docs and other attendees arrived. I have never been around so many pregnant women in my life! It was so interesting to see all of the shapes and sizes of the baby bumps, what they were wearing, the expressions on their partners’ faces, etc. The doctors introduced themselves and then opened the floor to questions. At first I thought to myself, “How could we have questions? You haven’t told us anything other than your names yet!”. But then, one by one, people started raising their hands and asking some really interesting questions about labor and delivery, the practice’s philosophy on women and birthing, the hospital’s processes for certain situations, and on and on. I was enthralled with every answer!
Many of the answers made me so proud and happy that I chose the hospital and practice of doctors that I did. Mount Auburn is known for being “the women’s hospital”. Doctors are open to whatever it is that the patient wants. Alternative pain relief techniques, tub births, medicated or non-medicated births, hypnobirthing, circumcision or not, etc. There is a midwife practice that operates there and you can choose a midwife delivery (although that’s something you choose during your pregnancy, and you see the midwife instead of an OB — you don’t choose that on birth day if you’ve been seeing an OB all along). They advocate breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact for up to an hour with the mother before taking the baby to the nursery for cleaning and tests. Moms and partners and babies all “room in” together for the extent of their stay in labor and delivery and postpartum. Although I’m sure many hospitals offer various options during labor and delivery, I really feel that the progressive philosophy of this hospital fits will with my own perspective and opinions.
After a little over an hour, we finished up the Q&A session, and they said, “Well, we took a bit too long answering questions so there will not be a tour of labor and delivery. You can call the hospital to schedule a tour on your own time.” Damn! I was a little disappointed that we weren’t able to get the tour, since I was already there and had my husband in tow (he’s still working so much that we’re not always able to plan when he will and won’t be available). However, I imagine that a one-on-one tour will be better than a huge mass tour anyway. C’est la vie.
All in all it was a very exciting night! The answers to many of the questions have started me thinking about what that day will actually be like when I turn to Benjamin and say, “This is it. We need to go to the hospital.” At that moment, I’m sure I’ll be much more scared than I am now, but for now I am happy just imagining the excitement that day will bring.