The case for hospital tours

There are plenty of things you never think about until a baby is on the way. Like birth plans. Apparently people put a lot of thought into what they want their labor experience to be and outline it in a birth plan. I kind of thought I just show up and they tell me what to do. Speaking of showing up, another recommended task to check off your list is to tour the hospital where you will give birth. Turns out there are very good reasons to do a dry run of a hospital visit before you get to a stage of labor where you can't think clearly because a child is forcing his way out.

Case in point: yesterday.

I had a doctor's appointment after work but the hospital tour wasn't until 7:30. Our plan was to meet up for happy hour after the appointment since the hospital was five minutes away from my clinic and happy hour is a great way to kill some time. Then we'd drive to the hospital. Easy, no? We decided to drive separately from the restaurant so we could both leave directly from the hospital and not have to backtrack to pick up the other vehicle. That was mistake number one. I drove the five minutes back to the hospital but couldn't find the entrance to the parking garage (in my defense, there's tons of construction going on in the area and the entrance is somewhat hidden unless you know where you're going). So I ended up behind the hospital somehow, trying to figure out where the darn parking garage was. After another 10 minutes Mark called, asking where I was. Me: "I'm trying to find the dang entrance to the garage! Where is it??" He led me directly to it, thankfully, and I realized that this was the reason they have you do a tour: so you know exactly where to go. I figured Mark had parked in the garage too and we agreed we'd meet at the designated tour spot outside the elevators at Labor and Delivery, where the email had told us to meet.

I followed the email instructions, entering at the main entrance, turning right and heading to the Pacific elevators. I got to the 6th floor and found the tour group, almost on time at 7:31. But no Mark. Mark is nowhere to be seen. So I pulled out my phone to find out where he was. NO SIGNAL. I checked in with the lady giving the tour and said my husband would be joining me but somehow he wasn't here yet. She said, "Oh don't worry, he's probably stuck in traffic! Just call him and tell him to go through these doors and he'll catch up." I sputtered something about how I knew he was here and he must be lost in the hospital somewhere and my phone had no bars, but by then she had turned to someone else. I tried not to get angry (Where could he be?? He was here before me!) and just hoped he would make it in time. The guide started her spiel and Mark walked up about three minutes in. I think I glared at him while the guide finished her introduction and as we turned to start the tour, asked him what the heck happened. Apparently he'd entered in a different entrance and gone up the wrong set of elevators (me: so... did you not read the email I sent you?) By this point though we were both laughing because of how ridiculous it was that we were both late when we were coming from a restaurant five minutes away! Yet again: this is why you need to do a tour. Don't skip the hospital tour!

Honestly, the parking and orientation were the most useful parts. We also learned the general schedule we'll follow once the time comes, but I'm guessing at that point I'll just be following instructions and going where they tell me to go. I'm now accepting applications for volunteers who want to hold my hand and tell me everything will be alright.

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