Birth part 2: Hospital

When we got home from the hospital, Stacey asked me how my stay at West Penn for Zoe compared with my stay at Wheeling Hospital, where Elena was born. There were two major differences: the food was far better at Wheeling Hospital, but the lactation support was far better at West Penn. I felt the overall care was comparable. In neither case did my own OB/GYN deliver me. My OB/GYN for Zoe was part of a practice, so I had a doctor whose philosophy I was familiar with, whereas I only had the attending for Elena, which I did not care for because I didn’t like her style. But that’s not to do with the hospital and not really something that can be planned for (other than to say I’d always go with a practice over a solo practitioner for this sort of thing, but that’s kind of moot now).

So having gotten that out of the way, here are some highlights of our hospital stay.

  • Some people have strong feelings about keeping the baby in the room with them overnight versus sending the baby to the nursery. I am very much in favor of sending the baby to the nursery, particularly on a day that begins at 1:22AM. As I mentioned, West Penn nurses were very supportive of nursing, so they’d bring Zoe in to nurse every 2-3 hours, whether she was “hungry” or not. I was happy she was being looked after in the nursery and grateful I could sleep.
  • I had a breakdown the first morning there that made me very sad at the time but is fairly humorous in retrospect. I was still pretty tired so after feeding Zoe around 6:30AM I asked the nurse to take her back to the nursery so I could sleep some more. It’s been a week and a half, but this is my memory of what happened next:
    • The night nurse came in to check my vitals one last time
      Two CCAC nursing students came in to check my vitals again and talk to me, very slowly, about how I was feeling (despite the fact that I told them the only thing I was feeling was “tired”)
      The day nurse came to check on me
      The OB/GYN from my practice came to check on me
      The nursing students came back with their teacher to take out my IV line and check on me again, very slowly; queries included whether I felt depressed because that was normal, whether we had a crib in our house, how nursing was going, etc.
      I finally decided, F it, I’m up, I’m going to get a shower
      While I was in the shower, the nursing students came back AGAIN to change my sheets. There was a sign on my door that I was a fall risk (?) so the nursing students told me they had to stay until I was done in the shower
      The baby came back, along with the nursing students who had to bring me another ice pack or something
      I had a breakdown
      The AWESOME baby nurse told everyone to get lost
      Everyone got lost
  • I had a similar breakdown that night when the person doing night vitals came to check on me exactly an hour between Zoe visits and after she couldn’t get my blood pressure the first time I asked her if she could come back later and she told me it would only take a minute. The AWESOME night nurse (who was like seven months pregnant with her third child, how?) took care of that issue.
  • The food situation was kind of dumb. I was told I would be contacted for what I wanted but that only happened one meal. The rest of the time they just brought a tray. Apparently if you don’t like what they bring you can then contact them to bring something different. Why don’t they just give you a menu if that’s an option? Anyway I didn’t really eat much of their food but fortunately people brought food.
  • One of Ben’s good friends had a bay the day we were checking out. We were a little sad we couldn’t visit them while we were there.
  • Overall it was a good experience. One which I will probably only vaguely remember a year from now due to whatever it is that makes you forget how tough having a new baby is (I’ve actually already forgotten a lot of it).

    Up next: how tough the first two weeks are (even though I’ve already blocked out everything before yesterday).

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    3 thoughts on “Birth part 2: Hospital

    1. i remember asking the midwife (you pick a midwife in nz, and dont get an obstetrician unless you’re higher risk, pay for one yourself, or the on call if things get crazy at the birth) about the nursery and could i keep the baby with me instead. she laughed insanely. ‘darling. you’ve been watching too much american tv…. there IS no nursery’. well joke was on her. there is one. but it’s the intensive care unit – the one my first boy had to go to, and was 3 floors down, down some halls etc. by the time i would get there when they said he was awake, he’d be screaming the house down. 2nd baby was with me the whole time. and didnt sleep pretty much the whole time. or for the next 2 years. aren’t children great?

        • we opted to pay for a private obstetrician with both births (to assuage my mother because ohmygodnzthirdworldcountrymidwivesaintdeliveringmygrandchild), but they throw in a free midwife with that as well. just as well as both births were quite complicated/dangerous at the last minute. the OB who is known as an excellent GYN surgeon etc, was not the most pleasant and helpful person in birth, but both boys turned out ok in the end. nz has really good stats for childbirth – i think US is afraid of lawsuits etc. so i was pretty trusting. luckily (for number 2) they redid the ward and the NICU is right next to the delivery ward now thankfully for the new freaked out early baby mamas and their bubs.

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