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Birth Center and Homebirth Mamas: are you taking the hospital tour?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi ladies,

 

I'm 14w1d with baby #1 and am very curious about what others have done in my situation. I am very fortunate to be under the care of a small midwife practice and planning to give birth at their stand-alone birth center (would love a home birth save the fact that my house is just not conducive to one). The practice and the birth center have been around for over 15years and they have a very good relationship with the nearby (3 miles away, maybe) hospital. DH isn't altogether in board with birthing outside the hospital yet. The other night I gave him a very graphic description of  'what they do to you in hospitals' that was pretty much all worst case scenarios, and he finally began to get it- he knows how terrified I am of doctors and yet he's still wishing we had a doctor to deliver the baby. I have given him reading material and told him I won't listen to any more pro-MD arguments until he has read at least one of the books (Henci Goer!).

But he's still on this 'planning for the worst' tear. He thinks we should tour the backup hospital. I don't want to. If we wind up transferring, there is no amount of knowing where the coffee machine is or how to get to the L&D floor after hours that's going to make it ok. If we transfer, I will have my midwife with me to stand between me and hospital policy as best she can, but there is no scenario that will make even entertaining the thought of a transfer unless/until I am in the moment and it's a legitimate emergency ok with me.

He still wants to take the blasted tour. For me, seeing the inside of the hospital will somehow make it a possibility, and will introduce a more concrete fear into this whole process. Yuck.

Did any of you non-hospital mamas tour your backup hospital? Did you tell them they were the backup to an OOH birth? Did you ask questions, or did you just clam up and take notes on what they said was routine? What was it like?

 

I would love to hear your stories, good or bad.

Thanks!

-MQ

post #2 of 10

I had a home birth and I toured the hospital that I would have transferred to had I needed it.  I wanted to be familiar with the place just in case I had ended up there.  I was curious to know what their policies were so that I could feel mentally ready to say no.  For example, they take the baby to the nursery at one hour to be bathed and weighed and such while they move the mother to the recovery room.  I would feel better knowing ahead of time that that was the case so I could mentally rehearse how I would say no thanks.  I also asked a couple of questions, like would I be allowed to eat.  Just to get a feel for the place.

 

I'm glad I did it.  I didn't tell anyone there I was having a home birth.  I had no complications, but I felt more prepared knowing my options.

post #3 of 10

I didn't feel the need to do the hospital tours when I was planning my out of hospital births. 

 

I guess the important thing is if you feel like that, in the unlikely event of transport, if having done the hospital tour would have been helpful for you (or would it not make a difference?).

post #4 of 10
He can do the tour alone. Do you know your hospitals policies? Are they really terrible or more progressive? Most first time moms transfer for exhaustion than anything else. It's not terrible to know what you'll be dealing with should that happen. I was really terrified of the hospital and cried during the tour. Unfortunately I needed non pregnancy related surgery and ended up staying there at 36 weeks, they were amazing. When my MW screwed up my labor and I transferred at 48 hrs so I could be catheterized, I was happy to know I was in control and could advocate for myself, nothing was forced on me.
Your husband is making a wonderful leap of faith for you. If he needs the tour you can go or he can go alone.
Can avoiding the hospital help you avoid it in labor? Will seeing the hospital really impact your thought process and magically force a transfer? If you think fearful thoughts, can those thoughts cause scary things to happen? I don't really think so. The more okay you are with the unpredictable nature of birth, the less frustration you'll have if something unexpected happens. The unexpected can be small: you wanted to give birth at dusk and the baby comes at lunch or it can be something bigger.
post #5 of 10

Some hospitals are more progressive than others. I had planned a home birth with my first, but wound up transferring because I wussed out.

But the hospital I went to was excellent. Since I was birthing with a midwife, the nurses never even approached my room, and everything was left to the midwives.

 

I would find out the hospital policy first to see how they handle midwife assisted births, and, ideally, take some comfort in that.

post #6 of 10
I toured the hospital after finding out I was likely going to risk out of the birth center, and I found it really helpful. It was so quiet and calm and the policies were much more progressive than our worst fears. It helped me see the area as less scary and less offensive, and I felt dry comfortable asking my questions.

I think you should research the hospital a bit first, and maybe even call and ask to talk to an L & D nurse before the tour. Apparently, that's not very unusual and can be a good way of easing into how this hospital operates.

However, I didn't have any doctor/hospital phobias that such an adventure might have triggered.
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by eabbmom View Post

Your husband is making a wonderful leap of faith for you. If he needs the tour you can go or he can go alone.
Can avoiding the hospital help you avoid it in labor? Will seeing the hospital really impact your thought process and magically force a transfer? If you think fearful thoughts, can those thoughts cause scary things to happen? I don't really think so. The more okay you are with the unpredictable nature of birth, the less frustration you'll have if something unexpected happens. The unexpected can be small: you wanted to give birth at dusk and the baby comes at lunch or it can be something bigger.

I also agree that you need to appreciate any effort your husband is putting forth, no matter how slow or behind you it seems to be, and you need to respect his needs for information and research too. If he reads a book for you, you can take a 1hr tour for him.

I also agree that being prepared for an unforeseen complication doesn't cause bad things to happen. Mind and body are connected, but it's not so direct that knowing about a negative event makes it happen.
post #8 of 10

I had a planned hospital birth but with a midwife. I never toured the hospital before hand. Mostly out of laziness, to be honest - it just didn't seem all that important to me. What I did do was research the hospital on my own. I knew that it was a certified Baby-Friendly hospital so many of the practices and policies aligned with what I wanted (rooming in with mom, strong focus on breastfeeding, no formula adds or samples anywhere, LC's on staff to help, etc.). Knowing my midwife would be with me was what made me feel so secure as I had an amazing midwife who I am lucky enough to have again this time.

Even though I ended up being transferred to an OB (went into labour and had my daughter at 34 weeks), my midwife was there with me the whole time and helped me understand what was happening. I was lucky to know ahead of time that my midwife clinic has an excellent relationship with the OB's and nurses at this hospital which made everything much easier.

 

I would at minimum have a good understanding of the hospital and do what is comfortable for you but keep in mind that your partner is really just concerned for you and the baby's safety and if a tour would ease his concerns then maybe it's worth it?

post #9 of 10

I would recommend going on the tour. I am also planning a home birth and like you, have an anxiety around trusting doctors and hospitals. That is exactly why I am choosing to do the tour... I don't want "the worst case scenarios" for what the L&D rooms look like, or what their policies are, or how to get to the L&D floor if in the event there is something going on and we need to transfer there for good reason. I look at taking the tour as empowering for me. I am not going to have my imagination run wild with my worst nightmares of what is awaiting me there should I have to transfer AND in the case I have to transfer, I don't want to be in a panic, second guessing how to get there after hours or relying on anyone else to tell me how to get there. If the hospital has some policies I don't agree with during my tour... great I now am aware of them and can plan how to take them on and what to expect (that doesn't mean I will necessarily comply with those policies). If the hospital has some policies I can agree with (rooming in, exclusive breastfeeding, etc) GREAT! My mind doesn't have to worry about those things cause I am aware of them before hand and know it is a non-issue. If the L&D rooms are obviously lacking something I know I want (ex: birth ball, etc), great! I know to have mine in my car as a back up in case we transfer. If the L&D rooms are set up beyond my expectation... GREAT! I don't have to worry about that anymore and can rest easy.

 

I just don't see the harm in going on a tour... all you're doing is giving yourself as much information / education as possible to prepare yourself for a number of situations that may arise... which puts you in the best position possible to make the most informed decisions and choices for your upcoming birth no matter what the circumstance.
 

post #10 of 10

I took the tour for the hospital I would transfer to. It helped put my mind at ease, so that I would not be seeing the hospital for the first time in labor, or even prepping for a c-section. I was happy to find out that they are very supportive of natural birth. They weren't weird at all about me probably birthing somewhere else, but using the hospital as a backup. I asked plenty of questions. I was the most talkative one of the group. They have labor balls and bars for pushing in an upright position in bed. They routinely practice skin to skin, even after a c-section. I was a little grossed out that have shared showers in a portion of the mother-baby recovery area, but at least I know to pack flip-fop sandals!

 

I would highly suggest taking a tour.

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