I wished I had taken pictures! We'll get some when she decides to make her entrance for sure.
Things that I really liked:
- Single, private rooms for labor, delivery and postpartum
- Tubs, showers and toilets in each room
- A refreshment room to store food with a refrigerator, and no restrictions on eating and drinking in labor
- Water birthing room with an enormous tub
- Birthing balls and stools on hand
- I can wear whatever I like
- No required IV
- No time limit in which I have to give birth
- Nurses that are very natural childbirth friendly and supportive
- I can labor and push in any position I find comfortable and effective (even hands and knees)
- An extremely low c-section rate of 12% (most hospitals are in closer or in the 30% range)
- Breastfeeding support and lactation consultants
- Rooming-in encouraged
- Allow for delayed umbilical cord clamping
- Online resources, including pre-registration, a packing list and a birth plan
- The maternity ward is all on one floor, separate from the rest of the hospital, and everything we could possible need it on that floor too (special care nursery, OR for emergencies)
- When the time comes we just get to pull up to the Emergency room entrance and go right on in
- Free parking for us and all visitors, waiting rooms for visitors
- St Joe's is also working towards a being a Baby Friendly Hospital and is only one step away!
- Mom and Dad spa services if anyone is feeling generous =)
Things I disliked:
- It's definitely a hospital, not very cozy
- Confusing to find our way around, but at least we just get to go in the ER next time
- I get whichever midwife is on call as opposed to the one I see in clinic, so I have NO IDEA who she will be (this REALLY STRESSES ME OUT!)
- More restrictions on water birth than a birthing center ... i.e. I have to get out of the water birth tub shortly after birth and can't deliver the placenta there
- The single hospital bed. At the birthing centers they have queens so mom and dad can share a bed, but here they have uncomfortable chairs that fold out into cots for dad. Lame.
- Claustrophobic - no access to the outdoors or a garden, it is right downtown and everything is cement. I will just have to try to labor at home as long as possible and enjoy the fresh air there.
Overall, even though I would rather not use a hospital I think that St. Joe's will be a great place to give birth. Clearly the things I liked are much more numerous than the things I disliked. They are very encouraging of natural childbirth and breastfeeding, have incredible stats, access to many types of birthing tools, and really seem to listen to the wishes of the parents as opposed to trying to satisfy a time limit or make more money for doctors/pharmaceuticals/insurance by pushing drugs and interventions.
I am also very happy to finally have one thing checked off the list of unknowns in our life! Still need to figure out so many things (where we are living, better jobs or at least more hours, health insurance for the little one after 30 days, etc.) but it is SUCH a relief to know where we will be going when labor starts, and that it will be a safe place for us where I don't have to be afraid of unnecessary interventions.