When I walked into the hospital early on Thursday morning I felt less like a mom to be for the third time and more like a mom to be for the first time. Full of anxiety and a bundle of nerves it was a fresh new experience all to itself, and any chance of me feeling comforted by my previous birth experiences evaporated as the time ticked down to my scheduled c-section. When I walked into the maternity ward I was greeted by a desk full of friendly smiling faces, some of whom already knew which mom I was, saying hi to me by name. It was still dark when I went into my room but I loved that one whole wall was taken up by windows, it felt much more like a hotel room than a hospital room. Nice and big with its own private bathroom and shower, already stocked full of everything we might need, that morning it was quiet and still on the maternity floor. We settled in, turned the tv on, and my first nurse Elayne came in with a much needed positive attitude and very easy smile not usually seen before 7am. While she got everything ready with a professional, behind the scenes efficiency she also explained everything I could possibly ask about while also joking and finding out a little more about Sean and myself. She was like a busy little worker bee and her welcome chatter helped speed the time up and kept my mind off of being nervous. Before the section I got a chance to not only chat with my doctor and other nurses but the anesthesiologist came in and answered all of my questions, asking what the baby's name was going to be and assuring me that everything was going to go just fine.
Before I knew it, it was showtime. I held it together, I think, but I was full of anxiety. Everyone was super professional however, and that professionalism was mixed with just the right amount of personal attention to soothe my nerves. The anesthesiologist assistant was especially caring, holding my hand, explaining every step to me, even brushing my hair off of my face at one point and itching my nose for me. I was really touched by how concerned and attentive everyone was. I know it sounds like a cliche, but I didn't feel like just another patient. I felt like even the little discomfort of an itchy nose was worth their time and this extra attention helped make me feel safe and relaxed.
The recovery time was just me and Elayne. While Sean was in the nursery with new baby Jack she buzzed around the room with her bubbly personality getting me settled in, making sure I was feeling okay, keeping me updated on everything that was going on and what time I'd be able to see the baby and all the eager visitors waiting for me. As was the case with Elayne, not once did I feel like the nurses presences was intrusive or even excessive. Always preceded by a soft knock, they would come in and get whatever they needed to do done with a smile, asking how we were all doing (Sean included) and making sure we had everything we needed. At one point Sean even commented how incredibly nice everyone was, especially given some of their long shifts, and that it seemed like everyone on staff really liked being there. I know at one point the maternity ward got pretty full and busy, and even then everyone had the same upbeat attitude, the same personal attention, even if it was four in the morning.
All of my questions were answered right away, if I paged the nurse's desk someone was over quickly and everyone made sure we had everything we needed, from towels to help with paperwork to ordering meals. Speaking of meals, I have to admit the food was actually pretty good. Sean would come back from the cafeteria with huge fresh salads from the salad bar, yogurt and granola bars, plus they had a ton of stuff to order in for "room service". The nurses were also great with the kids visiting, they wanted to make sure everyone had enough time to visit, asking about how the kids were liking the new baby, even giving them little "Big Brother" and "Big Sister" coloring books and crayons put together by the Girl Scout troop of one nurse's daughter. We were also sent home with a sweet little keepsake, a tiny silver spoon engraved with the words "Delivered with love at Saratoga Hospital", it is absolutely adorable and is something I will definitely keep and cherish.
All in all, I have to say that my stay at Saratoga Hospital was a great experience from start to finish. I felt comfortable and very well taken care of, the staff was above and beyond nice and friendly and really played a huge part in making it such a positive experience for Sean and myself. You can never underestimate the huge role personal attention plays in something as monumental as childbirth, and the staff at Saratoga really exemplified that for me. I know I wasn't the only mom on the floor this week, not by a long shot, but they honestly made me feel like I was. I would definitely recommend Saratoga Hospital for any pregnant moms out there, whether you are going the natural or the c-section route. It can't be easy to have a big smile on your face on a busy night at the end of a long shift, but those nurses certainly made it look like it was easy and I'm very grateful for that. I want to say a special thanks to everyone that helped take care of me and baby Jack at Saratoga Hospital, including Dr. Knoeller. They helped make an amazing experience that much better, and I want them to know I think they are doing a fantastic job.