A few weeks ago or so, the husband and I finished the last of our pre-natal class opportunities (Part 1 & Part 2) and participated in the pre-admission clinic and labour & delivery tour at the IWK. It was a quick run through with a nurse clearing up any questions about:
- when to go to the hospital (already covered, but nice to reiterate!)
- what to pack for you
- what to pack for your baby
- and of course for the husband too (let’s not forget the husbands – mine has threatened to start a “The Forgotten Husbands” blog to voice his experience disappearing into the pregnancy dust! lol)
- where to park when you arrive in labour
- information about parking passes and meal cards required for partners and hours available
- what to do when you arrive at the hospital
- where the administration desk is
- the opportunity to pre-register all of your info that day in advance and choose which type of room you want, including providing your insurance coverage for direct billing for private/semi-private rooms so that you don’t have to deal with it when the time comes
- what to expect during a typical labour & delivery & even c-sections
- what the hospital likes to encourage (i.e. skin to skin contact & breastfeeding)
- what the hospital provides for formula if you choose to formula feed your baby
- to answer ANY questions or concerns you might have
- AND A TOUR of where you will be having your baby
I meant to write a post about it in detail at the time, but it ended up getting lost amongst some tweets (there is a truth to how twitter is considered “micro blogging” for sure).
I wanted to tell you all that after the opportunity to go on the TOUR of where I will be giving birth, being a first time mom who is ambitious for information and who has immersed herself in as much education about what to expect as possible, it truly was the TOUR that put my mind at ease. There is something about seeing it with my own eyes and hearing it straight from the horses mouth that put me at ease, rather than reading it in print.
The nurse giving the tour was experienced (30ish years I believe) and I felt she was the best source to be doing the job. I left the IWK that day feeling at ease about what was expected to happen when we arrive when “it’s time,” we knew where we were going to go, knew the special little elevator that would take us to the room where a nurse checks your progress for admission, saw the room that all the action takes place, laid eyes on the equipment that we would expect to see during the delivery, became familiar with the little carts, tools and blanket and baby warming stations set up, how the beds work, saw the bath tubs, heard about the involvement of the NICU and what to expect if baby requires some special attention, felt better hearing how cautious they are and not told not to worry if NICU are present and that it’s common and often extra precautionary etc., when you will join your baby in the NICU if that is the case and were taken to the family area and shown their little photo-booth you can use to take pictures of the baby and email them to you for free (very neat btw).
In my mind I know where I’m going when it’s time, what is standard procedure at MY hospital (and not reading random experiences from other hospitals) and it alleviated 80% of my anxiety that was stemming purely from the “unknown” which in my opinion, in my present state of being ready to give birth at any time now, is HUGE.
Maybe this was a luxury that I was lucky to have been a part. All I know is how much it helped me feel comfortable with the biggest event of my life about to take place.
So imagine my surprise when a good friend who is also expecting 2 months after I am when she called up to book her pre-natal classes and pre-administration course & tour that:
- All pre-natal classes offered between now and her due date at the first of October are BOOKED and she and her husband are SOL; and
- Oh yeah, they’ve now canceled the tour and suggested she watch a video from their web site
(At the time of writing this post, this link is not working and I’m unable to watch the video.)
So now she has zero opportunity to participate in the pre-natal classes AND she’s unable to have a tour. I am uncertain how often or how many pre-natal classes are offered throughout the year, but I know that I would never have expected that having 2 months left to go before my due date that there would be no space available for me. I’m really disappointed in that.
I feel so fortunate that I was able to participate in those things and it looks like I was a part of one of the last tours offered. Lucky for her she has a friend going through the same thing around the same time and I can offer the Coles Notes version of all if it for her if she needs. But I keep thinking about how I would feel if it were me booking my classes and was turned away. The classes are “free” but they are not. The nurse pointed out in our very first pre-natal class that they are “free” as in you don’t pay to take the course at the time, but they are funded by our tax dollars. Very good point.
So yesterday, coincidentally, I had my 38 week pre-natal appointment which I was required to do at the perinatal clinic at the IWK with the on-call doctor because my doctor is now on vacation (yes doctors also are entitled to some down time too, and I’m one of the lucky patients who could give birth during this time! :-D). I will also be doing my 39 week check up there as well. And as I was sitting there waiting, I realized there was an interview going on behind me with a staff member (not sure who) a journalist and cameraman (not sure who), getting the story on why the tour had been canceled.
I only overheard part of the interview and I wish I knew who was doing it and when/where I could see it. The only thing I heard the lady explain to the journalist was that their decision to cancel the program was based more around privacy issues for the patients and that they would not be saving any money cutting this part of the program as the nurse who handled this responsibility was placed elsewhere in the hospital doing something else. She commented that if anything, the IWK would be “more fiscally responsible” for having canceled it although I couldn’t catch why. I think her explanation could have been due to the new placement of the nurse, but I’m not sure. So I’m left without any real answers for those of you who are interested, but know that there is media somewhere covering this who likely does have the answers. If anyone is aware of who covered this story, please comment or send me an email as I am very interested.
I certainly could never speak for the nurses doing their jobs or the women who have already given birth and how these tours affect them and can only express how much the tour has helped me as an expecting first time mom. Maybe when I’m on the other side having given birth I will understand what privacy issues she may have been concerned about. All I know is that during our time touring the L&D, I saw no patients or babies.