A couple of times over the last few months I’ve had the opportunity to talk to some of my American friends about what the labour and delivery experience is like here in Canada. Many of them seem to have a fascination with the way our health care system works here, and since there are a lot of Americans who are very afraid that their health care system will turn out to look like our health care system, I’d just like to do my small part to set their minds at ease. (I have a hard time understanding how you’d be against universal health care, but that may be a post for another day.) Since I haven’t exactly gone through the process yet, I can only tell them what I know about what we expect to experience next month when I go to the hospital to have our baby. We learned most of this information when we went on a tour of the hospital with our prenatal class a couple of weeks ago, and it really set our minds at ease to know what to expect.
When I’m in labour and it’s time to go to the hospital, Graham or I will call the labour and delivery department of our hospital (the number’s stuck on our fridge door now). This is partly because the L&D department is going to be moving to another floor and partly because the hospital might be really, super-busy at that time. There is a slight possibility that the hospital could reroute us to another hospital if they are overwhelmed with birthing moms, and although historically this has happened there, the odds are slim this will be the case. Either way, they like to know we are on the way.
Our hospital provides labour and delivery care on two floors. When I’m admitted, I’ll go to one floor of the hospital, where I’ll labour and give birth in the same room. I’ll be there for as long as it takes. If I need a C-section, that will also be done in an operating room on that same floor. A couple of hours after the baby is born, we’ll be moved together to another floor, where we’ll stay until we are discharged.
For Canadian citizens who don’t have any health care benefits through their employer, a ward room will be the place for new moms to stay overnight in the hospital with their baby. (All babies room in with their moms at our hospital.) Ward rooms have four beds, which means that this means that mom could be staying in a hospital room with up to three other women. I’ve heard it said, though, that the nurses do their best to keep the rooms as empty as possible. There are two ward rooms on the floor where new moms stay, so if there are four new moms on that floor, the nursing staff will admit two into one room, and two into the other so it isn’t so crowded. No one who stays in this kind of room will be presented with a bill for staying at the hospital, whether they have private health insurance, benefits or not. Our provincial health insurance covers this cost.
Most of the rest of the rooms are semi-private (two to a room), which is what my benefits cover, but for about $30-$40/night, I can upgrade to a private room with my own shower, where Graham can stay all night with us if we want. If there’s a private room available, this is what we’ll be doing.
We have to bring our own diapers, wipes, sanitary napkins and toiletries with us to the hospital (only a couple of diapers are provided by the hospital). I’m going to bring my own towels to use when I get to have a shower because I doubt the hospital uses fabric softener when they wash theirs.
Now, every hospital is a bit different…I hear that in one local hospital you have to bring your own pillows, for example. But one important thing we know for sure: When we leave, we’ll have to pay ONLY for the upgrade to the private room. Oh, and for parking.
(I’m also over at Aiming Low today, where I’ve posted about television shows that make me feel better about myself. I’m sure there are some I’ve missed. Help a girl out…head on over and tell me which ego-fluffing shows you watch!