Welcome back to 31 Days of Spina Bifida Awareness!
Depending on where you live another decision to make before you have your baby is where you will deliver. I live in a town that is not equipped to handle the surgeries Mason needed at birth so I knew I would be heading into the nearest big city. However I quickly learned that while I could deliver my baby at one of several hospitals he would not stay there with me. He would go to the Children’s Hospital for his surgeries and NICU stay. I have heard of some hospitals that can deliver the baby AND do their surgeries.
I chose a hospital that was close to the Children’s Hospital and had a rapid transport arrangement already in place. It also had a high level NICU to handle Mason’s immediate needs at birth, worked with the perinatologist who would be delivering me (head of the high risk clinic I was going to), and was within a reasonable distance of home (45 minutes).
It was heartbreaking to know that within hours of birth my son would be taken to another hospital while I was still stuck at our delivery hospital recovering from my own major surgery. The typical hospital stay after a c-section is 4 days. We talked with doctors and decided my husband would go with Mason and stay with him.
After much discussion my doctor agreed to release me 48 hours after my c-section as long as there were no complications. He also gave me a ‘hall pass’ 24 hours post-surgery. I was allowed to be picked up, taken to the Children’s Hospital for a 4 hour visit, and then brought back to my own hospital. The timing of the visit was around my pain medication dispensing. My doctor didn’t think I would do it. He really did not think I would be up to the hall pass or being released 48 hours post-surgery. Thankfully I have a high pain tolerance and was determined. You can see more about this time from a post I wrote in the NICU.
Remember that a baby with Spina bifida will have a longer hospital stay than mom. You are going to be released to go home before your baby is. That means you also need to find out where you can stay to be with or near your baby. We live in a different county than the children’s hospital. That meant we qualified to stay at the Ronald McDonald House beside the hospital. This was a huge blessing! We were a five minute walk from the NICU and had food, laundry, showers, and a place to sleep. If your hospital is close to your home then that might work. You’re going to spend a lot of time at the bedside in the NICU but you are going to need somewhere to eat, shower, and sleep.
Things You’ll Want to Do:
- Find out your delivery options. Can you deliver in the same hospital that your baby will have his surgeries in?
- Tour the hospital. Check policies on visitors, where you’ll stay, and so on.
- Start meeting the doctors who will care for you AND those who will care for your baby.
- Breathe. You’re going to get through this.