Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Traditional American Labor and Delivery Room: Pictures and What to Expect

When I gave birth to my first son, I hadn't gone through the whole childbirth classes or labor and delivery wing tour. One thing that always brings back that familiarity and mixed emotions of happiness, fear and concern is the traditional setup of the room where I would give birth. So far they're all basically the same, and I snapped pictures after my last birth considering that it may indeed be my last, so that I can always have it to look back on and also in hopes of sharing with someone who may have the experience upcoming. Feel free to click the pictures to enlarge them (and please pardon our mess).

A picture of the bed you lie on. It has the pads because there will be plenty of amniotic fluid whether during labor due to your bag of water previously being broken spontaneously, by a doctor/nurse/midwife etc. to speed things along, or just before birth as was the case with our last little guy. I've experienced each of the above scenarios.

Attached to this machine with the paper coming from it will be two wide straps with circular shaped monitors that will be secured around your belly. The monitors check for baby's heart rate and also your contractions. Although not always completely 100% accurate due to your own and your baby's movements, it helps to let your doctor know if the contractions are stressful to baby. This is all recorded on that strip of paper by way of squiggly lines. There will also be a blood pressure cuff hooked up to monitor you.

Your blood pressure readings will be viewable on the computer screen.

You'll likely be given an IV which will have fluids to keep you hydrated along with any meds you may need at the time. If you were diagnosed with Group B strep, they'll want to get in at least two doses of antibiotics before baby arrives. If baby arrives sooner than anticipated, you'll likely end up with a slightly longer hospital stay to make sure things are fine with baby.

This piece of equipment is one that always stood out to me. As soon as baby is born, he is whisked off here to get vitals and apgar scores. I'm pretty sure it's designed to keep a newbie warm as well. Seeing this would always fill me with joy, expectation and anxiety due to the hopes of a healthy baby that i'll meet within a few hours and knowing the pain that i'm sure to experience beforehand.

Again, since it's likely to be a few hours, there's entertainment for you and whomever may be joining you for your birthing experience. By the time the pain kicks in really good, you're likely to forget that this television even exists. You'll have a remote attached to a cord near your bed which may double as a nurse call device.

And finally, once your baby is born, this is the little bassinet in which he'll be placed. There's a slot for a card which gives the weight, length, time of birth, sex and last name of your newbie. Also there is the   nasal aspirator that will be used upon baby's arrival and kept with baby in case any more fluids need to be suctioned. My doctor highly advised I keep it, because, she says, you can't find any like the hospital grade ones outside of the hospital. After seeing the grossness that can accumulate inside of these aspirators, i'd highly recommend not keeping them around long unless you learn of a tried and sure way to clean the inside thoroughly.

If you want more on my birth experience, you can read about the births of my last two boys. The story of the birth of our youngest is here and the birth story of our son prior is here.