I’m having a baby this spring, but I have no idea where I’ll be giving birth. My husband and I decided we would start our search – 4 hospitals in 4 weeks. Find out what we like, what we don’t like, and *hopefully* choose a venue for this wonderful event.
First up – The Birthing Center at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island 
I’ve heard from many people that Memorial is the hidden gem for birthing in our state. Granted, most of these people that enjoy Memorial are more of the earthy-granola-crunchy type (which my husband certainly is not) but I really liked what they had to say. You are first welcomed into the Birthing Center by this lovely mural.
Yet, when I took another look at this mural, one kid caught my eye. Why is that baby running away?
Nonetheless, we continued on our tour. Memorial is much smaller than some of the other hospitals in the area, and everything birth related takes place on the same floor. You labor, deliver, and recover sometimes in the same room, and if not – then surely on the same floor.  C-sections even take place on this floor.
We toured the different rooms, and spent the most time in the larger labor room.   There’s a desk and chairs for your team to sit at.
And hello boombox! I might make a birthing mix tape. Salt-N-Pepa’s Push It being the first song of course.
But, I digress.  Also included in this rocking room is a rocking chair, plus a plethora of birthing balls.  I like sitting on exercise balls, even when I’m not pregnant – so having these bouncy balls would be like a little piece of home in a foreign space. The room’s lighting was more mellow, and done by table lamps rather than the harsh bright overhead lights. Those bright lights are available, if needed or wanted, but I’d rather not be blinded – so these table lamps looks just fine to me!  I had read online that this hospital offered “peanut birthing balls,” so I asked what they were. 
They are just like exercise balls, but squished and flattened a bit into the shape of a ginormous peanut.  Balls like these give you some different options during labor, and the nurse giving us a tour said women often lie with their ribs on the indent. This helps relieve some pressure. 
Next we were lead to the tub. Memorial doesn’t offer an option of a water birth (from what I hear, Newport is the only hospital in the state that does…and to be honest..water births freak my husband out!) , but having a tub to swim around in during labor sure would be nice. I like the water. I like being comfortable. 
And last, there was the bed, which was your typical hospital bed – nothing too fancy, and could only fit one person. However, the nurse did say that beds are rolled in for partners to sleep on. I thought that was sweet. Mind you, I don’t know anyone who would LIKE to sleep in a hospital bed, but from what I hear – very little sleeping goes on during these hours of one’s life. 
After you deliver, you and your itty bitty family are brought just down the hall to the recovory rooms.  They are slightly on the small side, with some offering private showers. The staff at Memorial will also wheel in a bed for your partner to sleep in overnight (wihoo), rather than have them be uncomfortable in a recliner. 
Here’s what stood out during the tour at the Birthing Center at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island. 
  • The friendliness people
    • The moment you walk into the hospital we were greeted by kind and warm receptionists. 
    • The nurses in the Birthing Center all looked in our eyes when we spoke, and seemed to truly enjoy what they were doing.  
    • The lead nurse, Shirley, personally gave us a private tour of the facility. She was the one who responded to my email inquiring for a tour. 
  • They don’t mess around with laboring pregnant women
    • Let’s be honest. When I’m in the middle of my contractions, and I know a baby is on the way, the last thing I want to do is wait in triage for hours on end until someone deems me ready to be in a labor room. I will probably turn into Gollum from Lord of the Rings. Right then and there. My precious.
    • Since Memorial is so small, when a pregnant woman walks in through the main doors, they are sent up right away to the Birthing Center. 
  • Memorial spearheaded the Gentle Cesarean in the state of RI
  • That tub looked mighty fine
  • All of the nurses in the Birthing Center staff are doula trained. 
  • The doctors at Memorial start having your prenatal visits at the hospital itself around 30 weeks.
    • That way, you are familiar with the grounds
    • You also get to know the nursing staff, even just by face – which could make the entire delivering experience more personal
What I felt was lacking:
  • The facility looks a lot older than it’s nearby competitor – it’s not as flashy!
  • For some reason, it doesn’t have the best reputation with the general public. I don’t necessarily know why. Other’s do not like the fact that it is in Pawtucket. Once again, I don’t know why. My mom was from Pawtucket and she’s pretty cool- so that part doesn’t bother me at all.  
  • If a baby was born prematurely, it would not come to Memorial.
  • Babies who need serious attention would not stay at Memorial after birth either. Most newborns in the state who need extreme critical care would be sent to Women and Infants.
    • Memorial is 10 mins away from Women and Infants 
Overall, the experience was informative, and very easy to set up. Our tour was set on our schedule, was personalized, and was even followed up with an email from the lead nurse. 
Next up on our 4 Hospitals in 4 Weeks — Women and Infants! Blake and I are pumped!
See – I love the water!  This pic was of Blake and I swimming in a cave last year