A change of scene
Our default hospital was presented to us as the Queen Elizabeth II (QE2) in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. At the time we were allocated to it (pretty much as soon as the pregnancy was confirmed back in September 2007) we didn’t think twice about it. However, just one session at the antenatal class stirred our interest to check out another local hospital..
We had the tour of the QE2 when I was about 34 weeks. It was ok. Nothing special. Lots of delivery rooms and lots of beds in the postnatal wards, as you might expect. At our first antenatal class, although almost everyone had committed to going to the QE2 for their birth, one couple were undecided: Dad wanted to go to the QE2, simply for reasons of proximity; Mum was veering towards Harlow – and being a fellow mum-to-be, I paid close attention to her reasons for contemplating Princess Alexandra in Harlow (PAH).
We organised a visit to PAH on a Sunday afternoon, and just immediately we both felt better about going there than the QE2. We’ve heard good and bad tales from both hospitals, and you know, it’s probably just a gut feeling thing, but psychologically it can make a big difference when you’re driving in the car (or your husband is..) and you feel like you’re going to a warm hospital with ambience, than a white, stark and clinical ward. The main advantage of PAH is that it has a midwife-led unit (MLU) that is separate from the main obstetrics ward, which is apparently proving more and more popular. Generally, it is felt that you’re less likely to opt for the ‘heavier’ forms of pain relief in a MLU than in a joint midwife-consultant-led labour ward. The MLU is only available to those with low-risk pregnancies, but we’ve been blessed by a very uneventful pregnancy and are in that category.
So, now we’re just waiting.. I’ve heard the old wives tales that your baby tends to slow its movements the day or two before labour begins. If that’s true, we’ve probably got at least another week as this one is wriggling and writhing on a daily basis! ;o)