Taking a tour of the hospital you will deliver in is legitimately important. Are you learning to actually BE a doctor on this visit? No. But spending an hour to reduce stress on, let’s call it “Game Day,” is worth the investment.
Truthfully, on “Game Day,” dads have a billion things going through their mind, from getting to the hospital to the health and well-being of mama bear and soon-to-be-birthed-baby-bear. Do anything that can declutter your brain so you can focus on the tasks at hand.
What do you get from this hospital tour?
- Practice your driving route to the hospital (because…on “Game Day” you can’t waste a second using Google Maps. No parent wants a Car Baby.)
- Get familiar with the parking procedures (because…hospital parking lots are uniformly THE DIRT WORST)
- Understand how to best check-in (because…again, on “Game Day” you’ll want to shout the three words they need to hear at the front desk before letting you up to the Labor and Delivery Ward)
- Visit all the rooms! (because…well, there isn’t much snark there. It’s good to see where your bundle of joy will pop into the world.)
- Hear the idiosyncrasies of the hospital and how to avoid them (because…knowing they will charge you $20 for cable TV unless you tell them not to is a big deal, dammit!)
- Learn what you need to pack in “the bag” (because…again, this is a lovely thing to review. Case in point, the hospital where #3 will be born changed what they provide since #2 was delivered there.)
- JUDGE OTHER PEOPLE’S FITNESS AS PARENTS AND HUMAN BEINGS (because…let me elaborate below)
We have now done three hospital tours, one for each kid, and have collected a treasure trove of stories. To wit:
- One father looked at the couch in the recovery room and repeatedly asked if he could bring in his own inflatable bed. And then started measuring the space. The dumbfounded tour guide stumbled through various versions of “no.”
- One mother complained that while she was delivering her first child, she was surrounded by doctors the whole time. THAT’S WHY YOU GO TO THE HOSPITAL! IF YOU DON’T WANT DOCTORS CHECKING ON YOU, HAVE A HOME BIRTH!
- One father asked “for a friend” about how the hospital handles some truly horrific health conditions, while the smiling mother gave no craps and sucked on a lollipop. We moved a few steps away from them.
- Too many families deep into the final trimester hadn’t yet begun to think about a pediatrician for their kid. [Hint: you need a pediatrician within like, two days of birth, so knock this out early.]
The stories go on. These true examples are universally horrendous, right? And these don’t even count the people that make “valid” parenting decisions that you and your partner disagree with vehemently. Like, things they are legally allowed to do, but the sheer thought of doing that with your family is nauseating.
Note: When you go in on “Game Day,” you will forget 99% of the things you learned on the tour. Don’t sweat it. Just remember to tell them no cable TV. Who wants to pay $20 for Law and Order reruns?