What Happens at the Hospital?

(I’m converting our domain, rmcsquared.net, into our professional web site and moving all personal content to this blog. Eventually, I’ll have to figure out what to do with it and how to organize it. Until then, I’m just creating a series of posts with the .net content.)

This post includes questions that we should have asked and had answered before we went to the hospital for Jackson’s’ birth. The hospital treated Jackson’s birthmom terribly, and he didn’t get much better treatment. S ended up having a C-section (because her labor was managed so poorly) and Jackson was in the NICU with no one to be with him until S rebounded from the surgery and saw him later in the morning (he was born around 1 a.m.; I think he was brought to her around 7 or 8). We were not allowed to go into the NICU until 9 p.m. the following night, and S was in her room all that time, so Jackson was all alone for so long.

This part is important to me. No adoption book or web site ever tells you about the hospital. It’s all about meeting the expectant mother, then the baby’s born and comes home with you. Nothing about what role you play, if any, in the labor and delivery or the hospital stay. While it’s natural to not want to ask these types of detailed questions, talking them out honestly should help your relationship with the expectant mom.

There is an organization called BirthMom Buds. They have a great support network for expectant moms and birthmoms, plus a great brochure about how the hospitals should treat birth & adoptive moms.

If you can, bring someone to the hospital who is there to support YOU. Understandably, everyone will be concerned about the expectant mom – her health, her feelings. But adoptive parents have feelings too, and we have a right to them.

If the expectant mom isn’t sure which role she wants you to play, I still recommend discussing different scenarios, and getting at least tentative answers to these questions:

  • Who holds the baby right after he/she is born?
  • Who cuts the umbilical cord?
  • Does the expectant mom want the baby to room in or stay in the nursery?
  • What happens if the expectant mom has to have a C-section?
  • Would you be allowed into the nursery to see the baby? (She needs to give you permission.)
  • If there are complications and the baby is in the NICU will you be able to get into the NICU? (Again, she needs to give you permission, but the hospital policy plays a big role here too.)
  • Will she give you permission to be “in the loop” about the baby’s condition? (Because of privacy regulations, only designated family members are allowed to get health information about the patient and the baby.)
  • Do you want the baby to be circumcised?
  • Do you want the baby to get the Vitamin K shot and/or the Hepatitis B vaccine? (We didn’t want the vaccination, which was fine with her. The hospital had her sign a bazillion forms, one of which asked if he should or should not have the vaccination, she checked off should not. If we hadn’t talked about that, she may have checked should.)

Call the social worker at the hospital. Explain who you are. Ask the social worker what policies, if any, the hospital has regarding open adoptions.

Ask the following questions:

  • Is it possible for you to have your own room near the expectant mom so you can stay at the hospital?
  • What happens if the expectant mom has to have a C-section?
  • Who gets to go into the nursery?
  • If there are complications and the baby is in the NICU who can go into the NICU?
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One thought on “What Happens at the Hospital?

  1. Great info! I am soo blessed that our hospital experience was great…just a few glitches….but I was surprised that no social worker was involved. I always assumed there would be some “middle man” to serve as coorindator/trouble shooter. Fortunatley, birth mom and I had spent 6 days together before birth….and felt comfortable around each other….hard to imagine just walking in while she was in labor. The nurses were very concerned about birthmom….as they should have been…but none really considered my feelings….but birthmom insisted they allow me to stay in the next room….at first they had me in a storage room….where I likterally sat up all night holding baby. I wasn’t leaving that hospital! Once birthmom basically acted as my advocate….she is amazing….I got a room and everything progressed smoothly.

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