Choose Your Own Childbirth Experience
When I had my first daughter almost five years ago, I had no idea what to expect once I got to the hospital. Of course, I read every book I could find about being pregnant and downloaded a ton of apps to help me track everything from my baby's growth to my own body's needs, but I still went into labor and delivery with a touch of apprehension.
I should also mention, that I'm a nurse so I'm by no means unfamiliar with the standard hospital setting. But it's a completely different world when you're the patient, especially when you're a pregnant patient about to meet your new baby for the first time. Nothing I read in my baby books or my experiences as a nurse had fully prepared me for the reality of becoming a first-time mom. It was exciting, emotional, blissful and terrifying all at the same time. I delivered my first child, a beautiful and healthy baby girl, at a great hospital staffed with caring nurses and doctors.
When my husband and I decided to plan for baby No. 2, I found myself preparing in an entirely different way. I felt like I was a pro at the whole pregnancy thing by this point, so I was able to focus more time on researching features that I had no idea existed during my first delivery. Until I was on the labor and delivery floor with my first daughter, I had no idea how many options were available to personalize my delivery – like VIP suites and gourmet meals. The second time around I wanted to make sure that I had taken every opportunity to customize my childbirth experience, whether it was about it was about dimming the lights or playing my favorite music.
Pregnant with Baby No. #2
Once I found out I was pregnant with my second daughter, I began comparing the different options at Medical City Healthcare Hospitals and decided that this time around I wanted to be pampered for a few days while I was recovering. We chose to deliver at The Medical Center of Plano, and after watching the virtual tour, and quickly added the plush, hotel-like postpartum suite to our list of maternity must-haves. I was perfectly satisfied with my first delivery, but I would be lying if I didn't admit that the luxury suite and the chef-prepared dine-on-demand menu with a celebratory gourmet meal didn't make a lasting impression. (My husband tried prawns for the first time!) I still tell people about how great I ate while in the hospital.
It was also important to me that I had plenty of space for my extended family to visit after my sweet daughter was born, and it was apparently important to my husband that he not have to spend two nights on an uncomfortable couch. Luckily the suite came with a living room for visitors and had a full-size bed, which is appealing to partners who plan on spending the night. It was 5-star all the way!
While the suite was awesome, my nursing experience also demanded that I research the clinical capabilities of the hospital. While I didn't experience any complications with my first delivery, I knew that I wanted to deliver at a hospital that had an advanced NICU,should any problem arise. As a first-time mom, even as a nurse, I didn't realize what peace of mind that extralevel of infant care would provide.
I also discussed a couple of delivery options with my OB-GYN prior to delivery to make sure that I had choices. Skin-to-skin contact was an important option, and I had also decided that I wanted to cut my own umbilical cord (this was mainly because my husband is squeamish around blood and he wanted no part of it this time around). All of these were offered at Medical City Plano, and I knew that they were very open to letting me spend as much time with my newborn after delivery, or they would be completely flexible with the nursery if I needed a nap. They provided amazing lactation support and were very open to any requests from me. I'm pretty sure they knew they were dealing with a veteran mom, and I felt like they did everything possible to make sure that I got to make all of the decisions during my stay.
To any first-time moms out there, I highly recommend looking into all of the amenities offered by your hospital and researching all of your delivery choices, to create a memory to last a lifetime. Being in complete control of your pregnancy and delivery options will make your childbirth experience that much more special. The experience is much less stressful when you know you're free to make your own decisions surrounded by an experienced staff entirely focused on the health and safety of you and your baby, that also has your comfort and happiness in mind.
Megan Browder is a North Texas wife, mom of two girls (Sophie and Scarlett), and an emergency room nurse. She loves DIY design projects that beautify her home but drive her husband batty.