Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Memorial Hermann Memorial City

This past weekend I joined an expecting couple for a tour of the hospital at which they plan to deliver their baby. I have never attended a birth at this hospital before, so I thought it was a good idea to see where everything was and know where to go on the big day.

For the first part of the tour, everyone met in one of the hospital classrooms. A nurse started the meeting by discussing all the scary stuff that could possibly happen that would prompt you to go to the hospital. Once that was out of the way, the rest of the meeting was pretty positive. I appreciated when she mentioned she was from Europe and how things are done over there is vastly different than in the U.S. I've heard this before from some of my former clients who came from Europe. The nurse said that mothers and babies are considered "one" and they do not separate them. It's taken awhile for the U.S. to catch up, but she did say that, provided everything was okay with the baby and mom, the baby goes directly on the mom's chest after the delivery. She said "skin to skin", and I appreciated that she was adamant about skin to skin being the best for the baby. She said that there was no reason to rush any of the postpartum procedures and as soon as mom and baby are ready, to go ahead and give breastfeeding a try. She did mention that this hospital hasn't always been like this, but that they are now.

I also appreciated how she encouraged the use of gravity during labor, whether moms choose to use an epidural or not. Just because a mom chooses to use an epidural to help with pain relief does not mean that there isn't plenty to do to help baby descend.

At this hospital, if a mom does not have an epidural, she is free to walk the halls and walk anywhere in the room. If she has an epidural, naturally she will be confined to the bed.

If a mom does not have an epidural or Pitocin, then she does not need to be on the electronic fetal monitor continuously. If she does have medications, she does.

Anesthesia is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is good because I have been at a birth out here in my neck of the woods (I kind of live in the boonies) where mom had to wait about an hour and a half to receive an epidural because the anesthesiologist wasn't at the hospital yet. I'm pretty sure that most hospitals in Houston have anesthesia available 24/7. It's these outlying hospitals that might not.

Because we could not visit an OR, the nurse showed us a picture of the OR and described procedures in case of a Cesarean section. She said that mom can have 1 person go back to the OR with her, but she said that moms really need 2. She encouraged the moms to ask their care providers if they can have 2 (If they want 2). One person needs to be available to go with the baby should the baby need to go to the nursery and the other person needs to stay with mom. She still encouraged the dads to hold the baby skin to skin after the birth as the mom will still be in surgery once the baby is born.

After the classroom portion of the tour, we visited the L & D floor. The room we visited was one of the smallest rooms I have been in, but it still has plenty of room for anyone mom wish to be in there for her labor. Only 1 or 2 people are allowed during the actual delivery, but during labor, there is no limit to how many people can be in the room.

The bathrooms seem pretty nice. There are no tubs to labor in but there are nice roomy showers. I was disappointed that there are no rooms with tubs because for many women who wish to have a natural birth, immersion in water is one of the most helpful tools available.

Moms need to bring their own birth balls if they will to use that during labor. Anything you would want to use to help during labor such as birth balls, massage tools, aromatherapy, etc. you would need to bring yourself. Or if you have a doula, she'll have it.

The nurse did say that the doctors do like it if moms push on their backs but she said, "That is the worst position! You have the right to push in any position you want. They are not the ones having the baby."


After the L & D portion, we went down to the 2nd floor and saw the postpartum rooms. They are typical size. If I remember correctly, there are no tubs in those rooms either. It's weird but cool. It's like going to the gym. Both the L & D and postpartum showers looked roomy enough to put the birth ball in there if you wanted to sit on the birth ball in the shower.

A few things about postpartum: Most moms room in with the baby. If I remember correctly, they will take the baby to the nursery at 7am and 7pm (nurse shift change) to check vitals. Because I am paranoid, I would probably either refuse this or send my husband to go with the baby during this time. They also bathe the baby at night in the nursery. For me, we decided not to have our baby bathed because of the wonderful properties of vernix, but not everyone wants that. Mom's and baby's vitals will be checked every hour during the day and every two hours at night, so don't expect any sleep. But who can sleep with a new cute bundle to get to know?

Lactation consultants are unfortunately not available on the weekend. Neither are the staff who help with the birth certificate info. They will catch up with you after you go home.

All rooms are private. Woot!

I'm sure I left some information out, but hopefully I remembered correctly the things that I do remember.

From what I can tell with just looking at the hospital and hearing this particular nurse speak, lots of improvements have been made at this hospital. Seems like women are speaking, and this hospital is listening. I hope other hospitals in the area, especially the ones out in the boonies near me, will get the memo soon and get themselves in gear!

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