We went for a tour of the Maternity Unit at The Royal Surrey Hospital on Saturday. Was definitely worth doing so we know where to go on the big day. I wasn't expecting anything else but it really is so clinical. If you go in early for any reason (i.e. they need to monitor you, induce you or something) you go to the antenatal wards. There are 6 beds in each ward which could be quite frightening if you are watching others in different stages of labour and in their own world of pain. And demoralising if you are watching them come and go before you and you are still sat there waiting.
Lou said that she didn't have to go in there even when she was induced, she went straight to the delivery suite (makes it sound posh and cosy saying suite doesn't it!!!???? - it isn't!) so hopefully, I wont have to experience that.
If I am in established labour I will go to the delivery 'suite'. Just a room with a bed, various bits of equipment round it, a couple of shelves in the corner with a stereo on one of them so you can play music if you wish.
They also have 'Home from Home' rooms and a birthing pool. Don't be fooled by the name of the Home from Home rooms. The only visible difference I could see between this room and the delivery suite was it had the equipment stored away in wooden wardrobes and they had squeezed a two-seater sofa in the room. It was also smaller than the delivery suite. I was definitely expecting something a bit more...well. homely. Oh yeah, they had put 3 small pictures of flowers on the wall which obviously made all the difference. These rooms are for women who want to have 'active births'. This means as little medical intervention as possible. Less technology and more fluffy stuff like aromatherapy. They also have gas and air and pethidine available but if you want an epidural, you would be moved to the delivery suite. People also use this room if they are using the birthing pool. The birthing pool was the inside of the hot tub (no bubbles I'm afraid) in a room. Nothing particularly exciting.
Although, interesting to see these rooms, I wont be using them - bring on the epidural!!!
It was funny as most, if not all, the other mums were all really interested in the Home from Home rooms or birthing pool and were all eagerly grabbing the leaflets where I was like "I've just got one question...how many anesthetists do you have and is there one available 24 hours?" (I guess that is two questions). I know those other mums were all dying to ask and were just gonna go home and put those active birth leaflets straight in the bin :o)
We also saw the post-natal wards. Pretty much the same as the ante-natal wards. We didn't see them but were told they also have single rooms which are available on a first come, first served basis for a fee. We decided it was worth paying for if we can get one. I am keen to stay in hospital to get all the help and rest I can before I am sent on my way. However, it would be completely pointless if I was kept awake by 5 other mums and their babies (as well as mine) while I was there.
Off to doctor today - I got bitten by a nasty insect at the weekend and appear to have had a reaction to it and can't take antihistamine cream because I'm pregnant - grrr!