Midwife started the tour from explaining how to get to Delivery Suite from the main entrance and from A&E side after hours. She also mentioned that our partners can drop us off closer to the entrance and then to park their cars on the hospital territory, which is by the way very expensive (we won't be parking there anyway as we found a spot by residential area).
We followed our midwife to Delivery Suite itself (we can use stairs or the lift) and that's where it is more blurry, please don't blame baby brain (I do have it from time to time though), the reason is we heard someone giving birth, it was very loud and distracting for us all and possibly very painful for her (I had tears in my eyes that's how real and scary that was).
While we were walking to the Suite we were "greeted" by Winnie- the- Pooh cartoon characters on walls which I thought was very cute. To get in to the Delivery Suite we needed (and will need to use in the future) to use intercom mounted on the wall, as all entrances to and exists from the Suite are locked for the safety of mums and babies.
Midwife showed us waiting room and toilets for visitors, which are right by the entrance/exit door, we are allowed to have 1-2 people with us in labour with visiting hours 10 am- 10pm. Birth partners can stay over night with a mum-to-be as long as it is agreed beforehand but they say on a first comes first served basis as they can't really find space for every partner. There is one more "luxury" for our partners- kitchen with fridge, water cooler or they can use cafe and vending machines outside of the Suite.
Delivery Rooms: during our stay we will be in one room all the time, there are 6 delivery rooms with shared bathroom facilities and 2 birthing pool rooms with en-suite which can be used on a first comes first served basis (I would love to be in one of these rooms and will definitely mention this in my birth plan). Every room has a bed, gas and air (I didn't know it makes a "Darth Vader" noise), baby resuscitaire, cot, a chair for a partner, monitors including wireless monitors, entertainment unit with USB port plus each birthing pool rooms have a birthing ball and some other weird equipment a mum-to-be can hold on to. We had a quick look at a Maternity Theatre room but we didn't go inside, I think it scared a little most of us.
During and after labour & birth: I was happy to know that hospital will have a whole set of midwives (work 12 hours shifts from 8 am to 8pm), consultants, pediatricians, obstetricians available if there are any complications to mum or baby, hospital now has a new policy and they delay cord clamping, allow lots of bonding, skin to skin time and do monitoring only when necessary in case of any problems.
After birth mum and baby are transferred to the Ward or baby can be transferred to newborn intensive care unit (NICU) in case of any complications. All postnatal rooms are shared, midwives can do exceptions with rooms if mum wants to be alone, but they do not recommend it (I think it's because they want less hassle for themselves) and again those rooms are on a first comes first served basis. They provide menu for mums but we are allowed to bring our own food ( I need to write down a list of junk food I want to eat).
We were also told that we will have lots of leaflets and information about breastfeeding , that there always will be someone who can show us and direct how to do it, and we also will be showed how to express milk by hands. With regards to discharging minimum is 6 hours, but they recommend to stay over night, for those who had c- section it is 2-3 nights stay and if we want our friends and family to see us they can come 3pm- 4pm or 7pm- 8pm, but it can be more flexible.
- Do you have a list of what we need to bring with us?
- Where is the entry after hours?
- Where's the nearest place to the entrance I can be dropped? Does my DH/birth partner have to pay normal parking rates while I'm giving birth or are there special parking spaces/a permit scheme for him while I'm in labour? Is it the same out of hours?
- Where is the waiting area for other family and friends? How many people can be with me?
- Do we need to complete any paperwork upon our arrival or during the stay?
- What is their "routine" on admission in labour- straight into delivery suite or are we put into a waiting room until labour is more established where will I initially be examined?
- Will I be in one room during my entire stay, or will I be moved to a separate room after birth? Can DH stay in this room with me? Private room hire for after birth? Bathroom? How to secure a room? Can DH stay in a private room with me? Birthing Pool rooms?
- Can DH stay overnight with me before and after birth? When is “kicking out” time? Visiting hours?
- Are mobile phones permitted in the room?
- Do you have a kitchen where DH can make himself a cup of tea, make himself some toast or put some food in the fridge if needs be.
- Would hospital provide me with the food or I have to bring my own for before and after? Can I eat during labour?
During Labor & Birth
- What birthing equipment do you provide e.g. birth ball etc
- What doctors, specialist will be available if there will be any complications with me or baby? Are there any doctors available on call?
- What sort of monitoring, etc do you have? When and how they do monitoring?What is their standard?
- Do I need to bring my birth plan with me?
- Am I allowed to move around freely and go to shower during labour?
- Will they allow immediate skin-to-skin contact (postponing the initial check up)? Can we delay all procedure/exams for baby until after some bonding time?
- Do you let the cord finish pulsing before cutting? What’s the policy on delayed cord clamping?
- Will they bath baby straight after delivery? Can DH or birth partner accompany the baby at all times while it's being bathed, etc.?
- What sort of breastfeeding support is offered? How does it work?
- Is there a newborn intensive care unit (NICU)?
- Are there any situations where my baby would need to be transferred to another facility? Will I be notified about it?
- Where are the toilets and showers ? Do I have to take the baby with you each time (or will they look after him/her for you), if so can I manoeuvre the cot on wheels in there?
- What time of day does discharge generally occur? How long do you expect me to stay in?