This being pregnancy number two, I didn’t think it was very important for me to tour the hospital I’m scheduled to deliver at. You know, because doing something once before means you’re now a total pro and all.
Since I’m having a hard time convincing myself that I’ll be welcoming a new person into my life (and the world) within less than a couple weeks (hours?), I decided a tour of the hospital might do me some good. And I’m really happy I did it.
Here are five good reasons to tour your hospital prior to your baby’s birth:
1. Get a feel. It’s nice to get an idea of where you’ll be experiencing labor, and what the setup will be like when you’ll meet the newest person in your life—no small moment as far as life-changing events go. There is power in visualization, and can make you feel a little more in control of a situation that you don’t have total control over.
2. Make a plan. You’ll know exactly where to go and what to do when the time comes. No getting lost in hospital wings or wondering where to park. (I learned the facility I’ll be delivering at has valet parking! Suh-weet.) Touring the hospital is a little like a trial run.
3. Newborns. I checked out a few fuzzy-headed newborns hanging out in the nursery. They made my heart pitter-pat, and made me feel more excited than overwhelmed. Nothing offers perspective like a fresh, new baby does. Plus, they really are the cutest, most precious things and I can’t believe I get to have one.
4. Get answers. I got answers to questions I didn’t even realize I had. Like, can toddlers come to the hospital if it’s peak flu season? Will I be sent to triage when I first arrive at the hospital? Will I be go to a postpartum unit following delivery? Where is the NICU? Are there power outlets in the delivery room? Showers? What about popsicles? Having these answers makes it easier to pack and plan, and, as I said, visualize.
5. Scope things out. I was most interested in the nursing staff. My experience from last time taught me that nurses practically deliver your baby. Plus, they’re responsible for your care and comfort during labor—whether it’s long and drawn-out or more like a whirlwind. I was also interested in hospital philosophy on skin-to-skin time and whether or not sending the newborn to the nursery is encouraged or discouraged.
Do you plan to tour your hospital? Obviously, I recommend it!