A few posts ago I received a comment asking about my experience with Phoenix Baptist Hospital. Instead of writing a comment in response I’ve decided to write a whole post. First, it’s going to get wordy, and second, more people might be able to see and use the information!
Short version: Loved it!
I chose PBH for a couple of reasons but it essentially comes down to my deep desire for a natural, unmedicated childbirth. One reason was that the midwife I wanted to use ONLY uses this facility. Another reason was that PBH has what is considered to be a “birthing center” instead of a traditional hospital labor and delivery unit. It is attached to the rest of the hospital but it sort of stands on its own. In some way this made it feel to me less like “I’m going to the hospital where sick people go to get treated” and more like “I’m going to the birthing center and I’m going to leave with a baby!”
I filled out a form or two long before I was actually in labor. I think this sped up the process. When I was actually in labor it was pretty seamless except for the part where I thought I could just go upstairs and check in but it turns out I was supposed to check in at the Emergency Room desk. Instead, I was taken to triage while Michael went to the ER to fill out something.
I had a false alarm/labor scare that turned out to be a kidney infection. What could have taken hours and hours didn’t and I was in and out of PBH in a matter of an hour and a half. That included getting admitted, sent to triage, changing into a gown, getting monitored, getting a urine analysis and other tests done and getting the results. Truly, despite the terrible pain and kidney infection, great experience!
Understanding of My Needs
This was a big one. I told the nurses that I wanted to go med-free. I told them I was doing Hypnosis. I told them I didn’t want to be offered pain meds…AND THEY LISTENED. I didn’t have nurses whispering in my ear that, “Really, honey, just get the epidural.” I thought that I was strong but I didn’t know if I would be able to fully tune out the well-meant advice of medical professionals. I know that they would have said something if anything was truly wrong, but they were very accommodating of my preferences. No one said “Why?” or scoffed at my plan to go med-free. They supported me and helped me get the birth experience I wanted.
The L&D Nurses
So wonderful, all of them. The one that was there for my actual birth (Jennifer) was a tough old bird who didn’t mess around, but was also funny in that way. I loved her. The nurses in Post-Partum were good too, maybe not as good as the ones in L&D. For example, the nurse I had right when I got to PP offered to give me some pain medication. I took some ibuprofen but declined anything else. She questioned why I was so anti-med and said that epidurals were the way to go. However, she was brusque and also foreign and I think she just might have had some different cultural opinions. All the other PP nurses were fine.
Great, fine. They're all private, thank goodness. It was bigger than I thought it would be. There was a cot-slash-bench-slash-pallet-covered-with-a-pad that Michael was able to sleep on. There was also an armchair that folded out onto what I can only assume was a very uncomfortable second sleeping option (Remi, you’re a saint!). My room (all rooms?) had a big jaccuzzi style tub that I didn’t use except to shower in. My only complaint is that the sliding door to my bathroom didn’t shut properly, causing it to gently drift open while I peed 10,000 times. I was all embarrassed in the beginning, by the end I was all, “RAWR GOTTA PEE MOVE.” It had a TV and maybe a DVD player but I didn’t use these once during my stay. There were a lot of lighting options including these spotlights that I was excited to use but don’t think we ever did? I stayed in this room for about 4 hours after the birth, this is where June had her first little bath, but then we made our way to the PP room down the hall. The PP room was fine, basically the same except a little smaller and no equipment to be found. The bathroom didn’t have a tub but a standing glass shower with a little seat in case you get light-headed trying to take a shower the next day (like I did).
This was the one area that left me a tad dissatisfied. First of all, they have one LC but she works normal hours. So since I had my baby at 4:30pm, I didn’t get to see her until 8 the next morning. To a new mom whose baby hasn’t latched on properly yet, this is a lifetime. Also, she was so very sweet and was willing to work with us until the cows came home, but she just…didn’t work for us. June would cry and cry and I’d keep trying to stuff my nip into her open mouth and the LC eventually just said something along the lines of, “Yes, well, you’re getting there. You guys’ll work it out in time.” We weren’t and we didn’t. I’ll just say this: if you want a wonderful LC I can give you her information. Leave a comment with your contact info and I will send you her way. She lives in East Mesa which might be a drive for some (it was for us), but I was always of the opinion that it was well worth it.
I’ve never been a crusader against hospital food. Maybe it was just the exhaustion of the aftermath of labor but I thought the food was fine. I remember having a delicious breakfast (“ORDER ME EVERYTHING THEY HAVE”) and I remember a hamburger. It was all just fine.
And lastly, to answer some of Mrs. Scratch's questions directly: Yes, you have to first go through triage. When I actually was in labor (not the false alarm) I was in triage for maybe 30 minutes? I didn't have any problems with it except that people kept questioning if I was really in labor or not (wasn't in any real sign of duress at the time). Also: someone might have gotten back-handed if one more person had asked me if I was sure my water had broken and I hadn't just peed myself.
It wasn't busy at all. As a matter of fact I could have used a little more drama while walking the halls - no screaming women to terrify me! No other walkers to give empathetic looks to! No one to argue with over birthing balls! It was very quiet. I did see more people walking the halls while I was in my PP room, though. I loved seeing the women who were still pregnant and knowing that their lives, too, were about to be changed forever.
So there you have it. Overall wonderful experience, I'd say! I would go there again and would recommend that you do too. Like all things, make sure to do your research to see if the place fits with your birth plan and visit the place to get a good feel. Good luck!
Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments and I will respond as soon as possible.