Our instructor led us on our hospital tour when I was very pregnant with our son. I was extremely lucky to be giving birth at a brand new hospital. Not only was it equipped with top of the line technology, but mom's comfort was also clearly a priority. She showed us how wires and most hospital equipment was hidden behind beautiful nature paintings on the wall. Each laboring mother had access to a large whirlpool. And, depending on how crowded the hospital was, you could even request a room with a garden view.
My husband remembers the accommodations for spouses also being a priority. Extra beds that appeared large enough and somewhat comfortable were provided. And the rooms were spacious enough to not only accommodate mom and baby, but also dad and everyone's belongings.
After touring the hospital, I felt a great sense of relief. I could picture myself giving birth there. Now, when I talk about my son's birth with other moms, I sometimes slip and say "at the hotel" rather than "at the hospital." This mistake is not far from the truth.
I recently toured the hospital where I will deliver baby #2. I'm lucky to be delivering at a hospital with fantastic doctors and technology. And I am confident that my doctor will do everything in her power to help me deliver a healthy baby, but touring the hospital left me feeling underwhelmed. The hospital environment was far from relaxing, comforting or calming. This time around I doubt that I will mistakenly say "hotel" instead of "hospital" when I tell others my birth story.
I'm thankful to have a few more weeks to get more comfortable with this different hospital, its facilities, nurses and protocols. As a second time mom, I forget that some of the things I took for granted the first time around (access to a birthing ball) are not readily accessible everywhere.
Did you switch hospitals between births? How was the experience for you?