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On Delivery Options…Not All Hospitals Are Created Equal

Hospital Hallway - photo by Bubbels

Giving birth is one of the most magical, wondrous of life events.  The joy of bringing a new life into the world defies description…there simply are no words to adequately convey all of the emotions that burst forth when you first lay eyes on your child.

Just as every child is unique, each birth is as well.  Sometimes they go perfectly according to a well-considered birth plans; other times adjustments have to be made to accommodate changing situations.

I’ve home birthed my babies…each has been a wonderful experience and the perfect way for our family to welcome its newest member.  We were at home, surrounded by loved ones and familiar surroundings, and attended to by a highly skilled midwife.  Bringing my child into the world in a hospital just isn’t my first choice.

That being said, I know a home birth isn’t everyone’s first choice.  Sometimes a hospital is needed for medical reasons or simply desired by the family to achieve a level of comfort they wouldn’t find at home.

If there were a medical issue with my pregnancy or baby, I’d absolutely be at a hospital for that delivery.  But I wouldn’t be at my local hospital…my husband and I would be driving far past that one to get to a different facility.

Why?  Not all hospitals are the same.  Not even close.

I have a friend who gave birth in a lovely mother-baby wing of her local hospital…each woman had an individual room that was huge and appointed like a high-end hotel room, complete with jetted tubs that could host a party and gorgeous wooden furniture.  Another friend had her first born in a maternity ward that looked like any other sterile hospital room.   Do these things matter?  Of course!  Who wouldn’t want the more luxurious digs?

But more important to me is the overall culture of the hospital:  its capabilities, staff, procedures, protocols…there is a lot to consider beyond aesthetics.

Many women don’t realize they can “interview” hospitals just as they do potential physicians.  Take a tour of the facility, and ask questions.  Are they open to observing personal birth plans?  Can you have a midwife?  Doula?  If not, what is their protocol for deliveries? How many friends/family members are allowed in the room during labor?  Delivery?  Will they allow the baby to stay in the room full time?

What about you?  What matters to you when considering how and where to welcome your new family member to the world?  What questions would you ask while interviewing a hospital?  Midwife?  Doula?

Birth Wars: Who’s really winning the homebirth debate

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