I am forever grateful that I could deliver at Metropolitan Hospital. I have worked in luxury fashion for 20 years across the US and Europe, and own and run my PR agency in Manhattan. My partner is the CEO of a bank.
At first, I was hesitant, but when my friend, founder of Doula Trainings International, told me that the NYC public hospitals usually have better and more progressive approaches to birth, I felt reassured and interested. So we started to explore our options. Delivering at this amazing place wasn’t always on the table. It wasn’t until we walked through our scheduled popular NYC private hospital that we realized it wasn’t right for us.
To be honest, Metropolitan sounded too good to be true: Wireless monitors and nitrous oxide. 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.
We scheduled a tour of Metropolitan. We met nurses and doctors on the L+D and PP teams. Everyone was professional yet relaxed, open, and friendly. The hospital 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 no 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 they swept us into triage. Our doula had called from our apartment, and the Metropolitan team was expecting us — it felt reassuring to be welcomed, especially as this first labor was a journey into 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 during my entire labor) and because I was already 7 cm dilated, took me to a Labor + Delivery room. The head nurse on duty had a magical touch, knew exactly how to talk with me, and deferred to my doula when I couldn’t speak.
They respected my birth preferences and kept all the promises made in our walk-through: one hour of undisturbed skin-to-skin contact after our healthy baby was born; weight and other APGAR checks taken in the same room, and the nurses encouraged my colostrum and helped me breastfeed for the first time.
Because my labor was short, I couldn’t take advantage of the private shower. I labored all over the room as my body wanted: on all fours, the birthing ball, different positions on the bed as well as using it as a prop. At that stage of labor, the monitoring had to be constant (this is the case in all hospitals) which I was happy about because one position caused the baby’s heart rate to decel, pointed out to me by Metropolitan staff who encouraged me to change it. 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 births at other hospitals.
Post-partum care was incredible – 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. The nurses were attentive – introducing the next nurse at the shift change, writing their names on the room whiteboard, and responding immediately to any room calls. It was clear that they loved their job and walked us through the baby’s first bath. When the baby was coughing on a mouthful of colostrum, the nurses were there in milliseconds and taught us the gentle way to burp him.
The knowledgeable CLC on duty visited every day. Every nurse would ask how breastfeeding was going. Whenever I mentioned a challenge, they would have great advice.
Thank you to all the wonderful staff at Metropolitan for my amazing unmedicated birth. You are in my heart forever.