The two pink lines on the pregnancy test kit left me jumping up and down for hours together. Soon after, I was sitting in front of my laptop, biting my nails, looking for reviews of all the doctors and all the hospitals in town. It only left me more confused than before. My go to people in all such situations are my parents.
My Dad had the best advice for me and I followed it blindly. When my youngest sibling was born, he had to be kept on life support system because of immature lungs. The maternity home where my mom delivered did not have that equipment and so he was moved in the ambulance to a different hospital on the same night he was born. My mom was still recovering from her cesarean while her baby was taken far away from her. I can’t even imagine her plight. She was braving it all because she knew that it was in the best interest of her baby. This shifting was highly critical and dangerous. But the presence of experienced NICU doctors and other supportive departments like surgery, physician and adult ICU etc. made this decision of shifting a newborn to a new place possible. My baby brother recovered soon and was discharged soon after. But the major learning my father got from this entire episode was whichever hospital one chooses, must have all equipped facilities just in case any emergency arises. Keeping that advice in mind I did a thorough research of Super specialty hospitals in my vicinity. My doctor was chosen on the basis of recommendations made by my mother and a few other relatives who had visited him before.
In my 30th week, I suddenly stopped feeling the baby move. I made a panic call to the doctor, who guided me towards sensing and reviving the baby’s movement. I was asked to try having hot and cold water and lie down on a side for a bit and come over if there is still no movement after observing for an hour. No movement still. I now panicked and rushed to the hospital. While we were on the way, we got stuck in a major traffic jam. The hospital was quite far from my house. However, the experts there made it worthwhile, the allayed all my fears and reassured me of the baby’s wellbeing. My first delivery went on smoothly.
For the next delivery, I had no second thoughts on doctor or the hospital. But to my utter disappointment, my doctor had now shifted to another hospital which was again quite far for us. We were in a huge dilemma between the doctor and the Hospital. What to do now?
After giving it a lot of thought, we chose to go with the hospital in close proximity which had all the facilities for common and major emergencies. I put my faith in the expertise of the advanced Obs and Gynae and advanced Paediatric team that they had. We kept our fingers crossed this time. Thankfully, this time nothing eventful happened. I delivered under expert supervision and care. The baby did not need any special care and we were released in two days.
From both my experiences if I were to enlist what all goes into the right decision of making a choice in choosing a hospital, it would look like:
1. The Obstetrics and Gynecology Department:
The doctors should be really good at their job, with equally good substitutes available in case of any emergencies. Needless to say they should be experienced. Most good hospitals have all details of their doctors on the website do check how deep the expertise of these doctors run. The mother-to-be should feel comfortable in communicating with her. Her qualification is of course very important but how calm and comforted one feels under her, also really counts.
2. Critical Hospital Facilities:
The hospital should be an accredited facility – look for government accreditations – these are given after a rigorous vetting procedure based on the best international standards.
It should have all kinds of basic critical care facilities for immediate action like : an in-house diagnostic center with radiology support, pathology lab, and a blood bank so that in any case of need one does not have to run to other places.
Also, a good team of super specialists is necessary if you really want to make your delivery smooth. Super specialists with expertise in different branches of medicine, ensure you have all necessary help.
The hospital should be clean and hygienic and equipped with a well trained and humble nursing staff .
3. The Hospital Policy For Allowing Elder Children:
In my second pregnancy a big concern for me was also my elder daughter and her well being. I did not want her to feel left out even it meant only for a few days. That’s scarring enough for a little baby, all of three years, who has never been left alone. Most of the hospitals had strict rules for not allowing children below 12 years of age. But thankfully the hospital I chose allowed my elder one to be with us all through.
4. The Proximity To The Hospital:
This is critical because, for any emergency, more travel time could prove to be fatal for the mother and baby. It can be discussed with the doctor.
A smooth delivery largely depends on our choice of hospital. So instead of running to ten places for second opinion, one must dedicate more time and effort in finalizing the best doctor and the hospital. Once you’re in the right hands and right place, everything is taken care of.