Choosing a hospital in East Melbourne

At present Hubs and I live in Glen Waverley, we’re out of CBD range, we’re just shy of Monash range, which leaves Waverley Private and Cabrini. We pay through the nose for our private insurance, particularly for this reason! I’ll be getting a private room, Hubs can stay with me and we can pick and choose our OB. I know women all over this city aren’t as lucky, I certainly wouldn’t have had this opportunity in the UK either, you get given an OB through the NHS and off you go.

Last week we looked at both Waverley Private and Cabrini Maternity units. I had a list of questions I wanted answers to:

  • Emergency facilities
  • Caesarean rates
  • Routine policies for labouring women
  • Labour, birth and recover in the same room
  • Rooming in policy for newborns
  • Assistance with breast feeding
  • How many people in the room
  • Monitoring policies
  • Eating and drinking in labour, moving around freely
  • Time limits and being able to change positions
  • Late umbilical cord cutting
  • How do you help/ avoid tearing and cutting
  • Gluten free food options

Now I should point out, this is MY blog, so MY opinion.

To be honest, there wasn’t much to choose between the two facilities wise, but attitude wise? Waverley (WP) is a level 3 nursery, Cabrini (C) level 2. Our tour at WP was just us two, we had a midwife take us through the literature and general information before walking us through the unit, showing us a room and one of the three birthing rooms, ending up at the nursery, we were there for over half an hour, she answered all my questions, and then some.

Our tour at C was 15 minutes, with three other couples, we were whizzed through the unit by a midwife, again shown rooms, labour and birthing areas told to make sure we booked early as they filled up quickly and when I was asking the more ‘natural’ labour questions, like are the monitors wireless, do I have to be strapped in and fixed to the bed, or could they use a Doppler, she said that if needs be I could be monitored 4-hourly because they ‘need’ the trace.

Hmmm. At WP if I needed fetal monitoring, they were wireless so I could move around and change positions as I needed to, but all the midwives prefer using their hands and eyes to see how labour is progressing. They also encourage labouring women to be comfortable, be in control and if I am happy standing up at the end, even though the OB would prefer me to be on a bed than standing on the floor(better for their backs), the midwives would help me get in a position that suited me.

Walking through the maternity unit at WP I immediately felt comfortable. We were speaking the same language. At C, not least because I found all the crucifixes everywhere off-putting, there was (again, MY perception) that the baby had to be rescued from my body, instead of my body actually being allowed to do what it was designed for.

Having said all that, the two OBs Hubs and I have chosen have been recommended to us by our GPs and the midwife at WP, they both practice at WP and C, so I can be looked after by whoever I get booked in with at either hospital. They are both champions of natural labour, so no time limits, and ‘you should have had this by now’. Given we will be writing a plan about what we don’t want and do want, and if needs be I will push the bed against the frickin door to be allowed to do this naturally (if and when ‘this’) we are both confident that I will be left alone to do my thing.

I am not a new-age earth mother. I just feel very strongly that labour and birth is something that has happened successfully for 1000s of years, it’s only in the past 200 or so that men were involved and decided that the baby needed to be rescued from the mother, like she was on fire. Intervention is sometimes needed, but not as often as you would think. Given the space and time and freedom, most women can labour and birth very well. Strapping a woman flat on her back because it’s easier for you to look at her bits, is not necessarily the best for her.

I’ve done a lot of research on this, more so in the past 6-8 months, because I want to be informed about what I can do. The more I read, the angrier I get. I will avoid ranting on here. It is also the mother’s choice, if she wants to be numb so she isn’t in pain, that is her decision. But it is not mine. I want to own this pain, I want to experience it, work through it and come out the other side. Your body is stronger than you think, given the right support you can work through anything, why should labour and birth be any different?

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