Today we had our hospital tour in preparation for Owen's delivery.
We are delivering at the same hospital that we had Annabeth at but they have undergone extensive renovations since that time. They have new delivery and postpartum rooms as well as a completely redone NICU. We took the tour before having Annabeth and, obviously, used each of those rooms while there with her but I really felt like I needed to see it all again, especially with it being new. I know that Mark and I both face triggers from Annabeth's traumatic birth. I knew that it would be extremely important for us to see the hospital again facing Owen's birth as a completely different experience than Annabeth's.
Two weeks ago, I called the Nurse Navigator and requested a tour. In talking a bit about our history there, I found myself sobbing. I am not a big crier and I definitely do not like to cry in front of people and it just seemed to come out of nowhere. I have worked so hard to make Owen's baby book, nursery, etc all his own. I want him to be his own little person and not just Annabeth's baby brother but following a traumatic birth it is very common for that experience to overshadow the next one. The nurse was so helpful and stayed on the phone with me for over 30 minutes talking through things. I was thankful for her 15+ years professional experience as well as her own emergency delivery story.
Today before our tour we met in her office and then before we saw each step of the tour she made sure both Mark and myself were comfortable continuing. I clearly remember checking in, the inside of our delivery room, NICU, and postpartum but for whatever reason I don't remember the hallway at all. In preparing for delivery, I have been doing quite a bit of visualization exercises as I walk through various scenarios. When we arrived on the unit today, I realized that I really did not remember the actual hallway or unit layout at all. Mark did though. He told the nurse, "We can see any room but that one at the very end of the hall. That was "the" room." She said, "Really? It's being torn up today." Sure enough, the door had a "DO NOT ENTER. UNDER CONSTRUCTION" sign and we could hear them ripping it apart.
The rest of the tour went really well. The new delivery rooms are absolutely beautiful and look like a spa. The NICU is totally different and much more patient and family friendly than what we had with Annabeth. (We do not foresee that we will need the NICU at this time but I wanted to see it just in case) The postpartum rooms will be opened May 21, so we are telling Owen that he has to stay put until we can have a beautiful, new spa-like postpartum room!
The tour made me feel more calm and prepared. It reassured me that this can, and hopefully will, be a different experience. I pray that I will hold him first. I will do skin-to-skin. Mark will hold him with me. The staff reminded me that I have the right to try for the birth that I want and that I will be safe.
The real change of heart, the reassurance came in knowing that "the" room is no more.
The room where her heart stopped.
The room where I delivered a blue, gray, lifeless baby.
The room where she was supposed to breathe and didn't.
The room where my heart broke.
The room where we experienced our greatest sorrow.
THAT room is gone.
It doesn't take away that day. It doesn't take away all of the memories. It doesn't take away the pain. It doesn't leave me completely unafraid for Owen's delivery. But now I know, walking in to have him, I won't pass that room and, Lord willing, it won't all happen again.