Last night, Andrew and I went to our first pregnancy class, focusing on the third trimester and postpartum matters. The real reason we took this class was to get a tour of the hospital where we’ll be delivering the baby. It’s about six minutes from our house—and directly across the street from Andrew’s office. You can see his office park from some of the hospital windows. The other possible view is of a Target.
Despite the not-so-stellar views, the hospital is very nice, and almost brand-new—it opened in January. I don’t know what’s standard these days and what’s not, but every woman has a private room for triage, delivery, and recovery, along with a private bathroom with shower for the final two stages. There were flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and mini-fridges in the delivery rooms, as well as plenty of space for moving around and a couch for the “coach” to sleep on. One man on our tour expressed his disappointment that the rooms were not equipped with wi-fi. Personally, I can’t imagine anything I’d less want to do than watch TV or check my email or Google things while I’m in labor—or have Andrew fiddling around with whatever fantasy sports team he’ll have in October—but perhaps that’s just me. And I will not be live-blogging, Twittering, or Facebooking the birth either. Or photographing. Or videotaping. I’m going to pretend I’m giving birth circa 1989, rather than 2009.
Despite the well-equipped rooms, this was definitely a hospital, but fortunately without the horrible, soul-sucking anxiety and sadness I sense in other hospitals, since this one is devoted solely to women (i.e., birthing). And there are midwives on duty 24 hours a day. I’ve been doing a bit too much reading about childbirth (at this point, one book counts as too much for me), and have grown alarmed at the possibility of a forced/coerced C-section—not for an emergency reason, which would be different altogether, but for a sinister money-making reason, like needing to get a new patient in the room. This hospital’s C-section rate is 29%. However, the number wasn’t broken down at all into planned/unplanned or emergency/nonemergency surgeries, so I don’t think it’s really very meaningful.
“Have you been watching The Business of Being Born?” the instructor asked nicely but somewhat warily when I approached her with my question. Indeed, this birthing expose is on our Netflix queue. At this point, I was thinking about Misconceptions by Naomi Wolf, lent to me by Michelle (prompting Andrew, when I read things from the book to him in alarm a few weeks ago, to suggest I not read any more books from Michelle).
Actually seeing the delivery rooms was a bit shocking—we’re going to have a baby. Until seeing these the emphasis would have been on the baby part. But now the act of having is starting to become a little more real. Not terrifying, exactly, but unnerving, like knowing there’s going to be a huge test at the end of the semester on material I have only the most basic grasp of. Like biology. It’s not time to study just yet, but it may be time to start reviewing some notes. Or creating notes to review. Or at least finding the notebook where said notes might eventually be written.