Adventures in Health Care: The Hospital

This past Tuesday, I had to make a quick trip to the hospital to pick up some test results.  Carlo had the day off from Easter vacation so, he came along with me to make sure I was ok.  (as in.. to make sure I was not alone incase I went into labor)  While we were there, Carlo spoke to a few nurses and we were able to get a tour of the Labor & Delivery area.

I want to warn you now… this is going to get really…… STRANGE & maybe SCARY!
First- I want to recap from the last post.  I know that I’m supposed to go to the Emergency Room when “the time has come*.”  We have been told that from that moment, we’ll then go to the 3rd floor which is the OB/GYN department and we’ll wait.  Then when they have a bed, we’ll be taken to the 2nd floor which is where all of the action takes place.  This information was easy to remember and put me at ease because at least I know what I’m supposed to do and where I’m supposed to be.  The nurse who gave us the tour started off with this piece of information so, I understood everything she said.  What came next was something a little …. disturbing to me. (only because I’m American and I am used to certain luxuries)
As we are walking down the hall, she explains that on one side of the wing is the OB department and the other side is GYN.  If the rooms are full on the OB side, then we’ll be located on the GYN side.  There are NO PRIVATE ROOMS.  There will be 2-4 people in each room.  Once your delivery is done, your baby will be in the room with you.  Because there are so many people in the room, during visiting hours, your guests can stay in the waiting room and you and your baby can come out and visit people there.  There are NO PRIVATE BATHROOMS/SHOWERS.  There are communal bathrooms and also shower rooms.  As I peek my head into the rooms, I know there’s no television and who knows if there is even Wi-Fi… which means I’m going to have to bring a book or make friends with the other moms and compare stories.
Next, it was onto the 2nd floor which is where the Labor & Delivery rooms are located.  Due to the construction, they are currently sharing the floor with the Cardiology Department which is why it’s on a different floor.  As we continue our tour, she shows us a few rooms with beds similar to the patient rooms.  These rooms are the “labor” rooms.  It’s here that I will be in labor until it’s time to push.  Of course, there’s no harm if you deliver in this room but, this is just for the “labor” part.  Once you’re ready to push, then it’s off to the delivery room.. which looks pretty much like the picture on the left.  The nurse continues to say that only 1 person is allowed with us during delivery because there are already too many people in the room.  Besides the nurse and doctor, there is also the Pediatric Nurse and Pediatrician also present to IMMEDIATELY asses the baby and give it a bath.
So the nurse basically concludes her tour and Carlo starts asking questions such as…
How long is the hospital stay?  4 days.
Can she be released sooner than that?  maybe a day earlier but she has to sign a release
What time is discharge?  Late morning/Early afternoon.  So if you’re at work, you can come at lunch time to pick her up.
What happens if she doesn’t delivery by her due date?  Come in on your due date at 9:30 with a prescription from your doctor. We’ll place a heart monitor on the belly and check the amniotic fluid. If everything is ok, then come back at 41 weeks (if she hasn’t delivered yet).  At 41 weeks, we’ll repeat the exam. If everything is still ok come back 3 days later at 7:30am and we’ll induce.
My wife doesn’t want an Epidural. Is there a problem with that???……………….
This is the part where you freak out!  This is a “natural birth only” hospital.  We do not administer any pain medication for delivery.  If she needs to have a C-section, then we will give her an anesthetic otherwise, it’s all natural.  You can be in any position you want. Standing, laying down, sitting, squatting…. whatever works for you.  Once you delivery, we’ll move you back into a “labor” room for a few hours to recover and then we’ll send you and your baby to the 3rd floor to your room.  I gotta say… at this point, I’m really excited about the delivery.  Yes, I don’t want an Epidural for personal reasons (that totally freak me out**) but I had also thought that I could possibly get some other form of pain medication if needed, but now that’s totally out the window.  Can I do it? YES… I CAN… AND YES.. I HAVE TO!!  To be honest, yes, I know it will hurt but like my mom said.. “God gave women the ability to handle natural child birth. If not, then we wouldn’t be having babies.”  My great-grandmother had a lot of her kids at home and my grandmother had my mom natural…….. outside of the hospital……. on the sidewalk……. in the SNOW…… and my mom had my youngest brother naturally. (she said she didn’t have time for pain meds and that maybe it’s because she had 3 other kids but it didn’t hurt)
So, that’s about it… I’m ready for this baby, I’m ready for the pain and I am looking forward to telling my story of giving birth naturally in an Italian hospital that looks like it’s still stuck in the 50’s!
*did you like my ‘I Love Lucy’ reference??
** ok, so I guess maybe I should tell you the reasons I don’t want an Epidural.
#3-Too many horror stories of complications, such as but not limited to: no feeling in lower body for 3 days after delivery, Doctor not performing it correctly.. therefore sending sharp shooting pains up and down the side of your body, nausea & vomiting, etc….
#2- I don’t like/want anything near/in/around my spine…. period.
#1- Personal friend (My best friend’s husband) was injured and is NOW somewhat paralyzed due to a “simple procedure” that …. yes.. you guessed it… involved having to be poked in his spine.  He went from perfectly normal to walking with a cane to wheelchair to bedridden on most days. (I should tell you that he’s also under the age of 30 and has a daughter who is almost 20 months old that he can’t really play with because of this injury)
so…. because of Reason #1- Carlo strongly agrees with my decision and therefore wanted to make sure my wishes were kept…… I love him so much for taking care of me!

7 thoughts on “Adventures in Health Care: The Hospital

  1. You'll do fine!! I had both of my girls without anything at all (since they both came too fast). With my oldest son, they gave me some pain medicine through the IV and I kept falling asleep between contrations, so I hated that and then with my last one I did get induced so I got to experience an epidural. And I've got to admit that it was kinda nice to have, but all natural isn't that horrible and I know you'll do great!! It's amazing how easily you'll forget all of the pain once your little baby is in your arms! Good luck!


  2. Epidurals freak me out too. I go into a panic when it's time to give birth because the spinal block is similar to the epidural. It took them 8 tries to get it when I had Elizabeth!

    You are going to do great. It's scary. It's painful. You get a beautiful baby out of it. 🙂


  3. I didn't have an epidural either. I don't remember them from 20 years ago when I had Cat but when I was pregnant with Sophia another woman I worked with had one and it didn't go well. They scare me too!! I had a shot of nubain with both girls but it really didn't do that much. With Sophia I got pitossin to make the labor move along.
    You will be fine….just stay relaxed. It's like really bad gas pains!!


  4. Well, it will be very painful but women have handled it long before you. Sorry but I loved my epidurals though! I'd be more worried about sharing a room with 4 other women and their babies and for 4 whole days! yuck! You will definitely be ready for home after that. But atleast you'll be able to have plenty of visitors with Carlo's family and your parents. It will all be worth it and you'll be back home before you know it! My advice is to let the nurses help with the baby some so you can get your rest while you have the help.


  5. Just found your blog and I've read many stories like yours of other Americans giving birth in Italy, which is one of the reasons my Italian and I have decided to settle in the states (for now), also because career wise we both do better here. My friend Michelle who lives in Milano is actually writing a book about her experience. In bocca al lupo to you!! I am sure you will be just fine =)


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