I am forever grateful that I could deliver at Metropolitan Hospital. I have worked in luxury fashion for almost 20 years across the US and Europe, and own and run my own Public Relations agency in Manhattan. My partner is the CEO of a bank.
At first I was hesitant, but when my best friend, founder of Doula Trainings International, told me that the NYC public hospitals usually have better and more progressive approaches to birth, I felt at once more reassured and interested, so we started to explore our options. Delivering at this amazing place wasn’t always on the table for us – it wasn’t until we walked through the popular, NYC private hospital at which we were slated to deliver that we realized it wasn’t right for us.
To be honest, Metropolitan sounded too good to be true: Wireless monitors and nitrous oxide expected soon. I could labor and push in any position; every room in L+D and PP was private with a shower; a Level 3 NICU? No way, I thought…if this was the case, every educated woman in the city informed of her rights would be delivering here.
My partner and I immediately scheduled a tour of Metropolitan, which was personally facilitated by Sharon, the midwife director. We met nurses and doctors on the L+D and PP teams. Everyone was extremely professional yet relaxed, open, friendly. Aside from feeling instantly comfortable with everyone, the hospital itself was amazing: HUGE rooms for both L+D and PP, every single one private, every single one with a shower. L+D, PP, the maternity operating room and NICU were all on the same floor so one wouldn’t have to wait for elevators for regular transitions OR emergent situations. What mattered to me was the quality of care, and I would go wherever it was best.
When it came time to deliver, we shot up the FDR from the Financial District and were swept into triage. Our doula had called from our apartment, and the Metropolitan team was expecting us — it felt so nice and reassuring to be welcomed, especially as this first labor was a journey into something of the unknown. They asked me how I liked to be addressed, and called me by first name the entire time as requested. The midwife, the nurses and my doula conferred upon my arrival (they went on to collaborate beautifully during my entire labor) and because I was already 7 cm dilated, we were taken to a Labor + Delivery room. The head nurse on duty, Andrea, had the most magical touch and knew exactly how to talk with me, and deferred to my doula when I couldn’t speak.
My birth preferences (we had laminated copies with us) were respected and all the promises of what we heard in our walk-through were realized: one hour of undisturbed skin-to-skin contact after our healthy baby was born; weight and other APGAR checks taken in the same room (I literally watched from the delivery bed); and the nurses helped encourage my colostrum and helped me breast feed for the first time when it was time.
Because my labor was unusually short (6 hours total and 4 at the hospital), I couldn’t take advantage of the private shower, but I labored all over the room as my body wanted me to: on all fours, on the birthing ball, on different positions on the bed as well as using it as a prop. At that stage of my labor, the monitoring had to be constant (this is the case in all hospitals) which I was actually happy about because one position I took caused the baby’s heart rate to decel, which was gently pointed out to me by Metropolitan staff who encouraged me to change positions – I wasn’t commanded to do something else. I was the respected leader of my labor — which is how it should be, but which is rarely the case in hospital births. I recognize how unique this experience was every day when I hear about other labors and births at other hospitals in the city.
Post-partum care was also incredible – so much so that I chose to stay in the hospital an extra day. My partner slept in the bed with me at night and the baby slept next to us. I was struck by how attentive all the nurses were to us – introducing the next nurse at the shift change, writing their names on a white board in the room, responding immediately to any room calls. It was clear that they loved their job, and patiently walked my partner and I though baby’s first bath. When baby was coughing on a mouthful of colostrum and we panicked, the nurses were there in what seemed like milliseconds and taught us the gentle way to burp him.
We were visited at least once a day by the CLC on duty who was super knowledgeable, and remarkable was that every nurse would ask how about me, how breast-feeding was going…whenever I mentioned a little challenge, whichever nurse I was speaking to would have a great tidbit of advice that worked wonders.
Thank you to all the wonderful staff at Metropolitan for my amazing unmedicated birth. You are in my heart forever.