Let's talk about my hospital tour. Normally, I would have dismissed the hospital tour but everytime I asked a healthcare provider or hospital information kiosk worker, "So where do I go when I'm actually in labor?" I was told, "Oh just take the tour. It's great!" Despite my persistence, no one would give up a wing or a floor, so to the tour I went.
I attended the tour alone and on the drive over I felt like a woman freed from her household bonds. My husband was with our son and neither one of them had any idea how long a hospital tour might take. All day? Possible.
Upon arrival, I noticed I was the only one there without a "partner" and upon introductions that I was the only one in the bunch to have already experienced the thrill of labor and delivery. Within five minutes of the tour's start, I knew what to do when in labor. I should have left. I had what I wanted, but freedom felt good and Kerry, our hippie nurse/yoga instructor at the healm of the ship seemed like she might take offense to someone walking off so early.
In the delivery room, I listened to her talk about check-in and checked things off my "Delivery Room Expectations list." Laminate wood floors? Check! Giant TV? Check! Uncomfortable couch for dad? Check! Massive crotch spotlight hiding in the ceiling? Check! It was all there.
My train of thought was interrupted when I heard Kerry say, "A lot of our moms say aromatherapy really helps getting through those contractions, so consider bringing essential oils or lavendar."
I looked around incredulously the nodding heads of the innocent moms who had never felt a contraction. I wanted to scream, "Lavendar?! You've GOT to be kidding. Don't listen to this because the poor soul who comes near you with lavendar mid-contraction is getting it shoved up his ass. Wildflowers are only good if they are a magical elixir in the epidural."
I stayed quiet.
Next on Kerry's list of ridiculous things you might want was a giant inflatable pool. She told us that we should request it early because it takes some time to inflate and fill it, but then we could hop right in to help ease the contractions. Oh! And tell your partner to bring his swimtrunks because he can get in, too.
Are we in labor or on a toddler play date with an unsanitary pool? I do not want to sit in placenta-water and my husband doesn't either.
Still, I stayed quiet.
It was the third ridiculous fact about this hospital that gave me my voice. "We recommend that the baby stay with you every night you are in the hospital so you really get that special bonding time with your infant." Kerry droned on about this as my eyes filled up. I want to bond with this baby and we have a lifetime to get 'er done, but as far as I'm concerned, those two nights in the hospital are my last two nights of sleep for about three months.
"But if you want the baby to go to the nursery, it can, right?" I asked, my voice shaking.
"Oh sure," Kerry responded. Relief flooded my veins, "But," she continued, "studies show new moms sleep more soundly when in the same room as their babies."
"Oh, really, Kerry?" I wanted to shout but didn't have the balls, "studies show I sleep more soundly when I'm not woken up three times a night!"
Instead of saying this I glared at her.
The fourth and final ridiculous fact about this hospital is that according to Kerry they do not "believe in pacificiers." What is not believable about a pacifier? They exist and they work. Were Kant alive, he could riff off a textbook on the existence of pacifiers. Apparently, this hosptial believes in crying babies so I will be bringing a gross of pacifiers in my overnight bag.
When done with ridiculous facts, one ridiculous question came from tour group. "Does this hospital offer room upgrades?" a woman asked.
Umm, are you J. Lo or Kim Kardashian? You've got laminate wood floors and an (optional) inflatable pool. What more do you want in suburban Texas? You are having a baby, not weekending poolside at The Ritz. Get over yourself.
Thank God the answer was no. I only wished Kerry hadn't said it with so much apology in her voice.
So I'm sure my hospital stay is going to be a riot with herbal remedy experts, nursery naysayers, and the pacifier police at my bed. I think I've either picked the wrong hospital or privileged consumerism is finding its way to healthcare.