Hospitals! Despite associating hospitals with some hope to get better, everyone somehow fears being in the hospital, even when it's for something like childbirth. The truth is the majority of women who give birth will not have a private room and will wind up staying in a joint room with another woman and her baby, but even this may not be so bad.
After the delivery, staying in the hospital might be fraught with worry about the new baby and all the milestones ahead, as well as trying to recover from the birth as well. Even if it's only for a day or two, staying in the hospital means moms have more chances to learn how to care for their babies and themsleves, but to feel anxious to get home.
On the other hand, hospitals aren't just the places where moms will meet their little ones (in case a home birth option isn't the one chosen) or where moms can get to know people who they’ll stay in touch with in the years to come. Kind of like birth buddies, two moms who were roommates and decided to keep in contact.
In the end, being in the hospital can be an unforgettable experience. It’s not only the bill most moms will remember for a lifetime, but what they did, what they experienced and what they learned while they were in the hospital. These are useful memories and experiences that will help mom in the near future and when moms become pregnant again.
And that’s what I took from my stay after a sudden bleeding in my 8 months. While this time in the hospital can be scary, it's not all bad. There are always people around to care for mom and encourage her. But here's what most people dislike about staying in the hospital.
15 Feeling Restrained
Hospitals differ from town to town, and from country to country. Private hospitals can’t compare to emergency rooms either. However, there’s one thing that is common for all these institutions wherever you go: you can’t leave without permission. It’s like a mental asylum – once inside you can’t leave. You can’t just take your venflon out, can you?
And if that sounds scary, there are some really terrifying stories about hospitals around the world. The Royal Hope Hospital in Florida, built on top of an old Native American burial ground, and the Tranquille Sanatorium, Canada, used as a filming location in many productions, are known for the numerous reported paranormal activities in and around them.
Some other institutions, mental institutions, such as the Athens Mental Hospital, Ohio, and the Taunton State Hospital, Massachusetts, carry memories not only of notorious patients but of sadistic stuff experimenting on people.
Rural England and exotic Australia are not behind – the past of some hospital, such as Severalls Hospital and Beechworth, respectively, carry shadows of patients treated really inhumane. Stories of haunted hospitals are told everywhere.
Hong Kong and its Sai Ying Pun asylum, and Singapore with its creepy Old Changi still remind the visitors about the tortures that were done in their halls during WWII and the ghosts that still can’t find peace.
So check the history of your hospital next time you need some medical help!
14 Feeling Judged
I have to admit that sometimes people have their reasons to judge you. My husband jokes I look like a Teletubby when I wear my old yellow pajamas at home. Well, I believe that everyone is a bit of a Teletubby while being in the hospital. The important thing is to be comfortable.
However, some women, like the beauty blogger Alaha Majid, decide it’s time to turn their stay into a beauty salon, not some experience covered in blood and fluids (actually, you can’t escape from that).
It’s up to you! Being part of the scenery of walking robes or just trying to make something nice for your body while being stressed, you decide!
At least you don’t need to go to the zoo to see penguins. Oh, that pregnancy waddle. Even with a small belly, you can’t escape from it during your third trimester. So play that “Happy feet” penguin dance!
13 Hospital Bathrooms
Of course, you can’t become part of the hospital’s furniture and spend your day in bed. Even when told to have a complete rest, you should visit the bathroom from time to time. Many times, actually, if you’re pregnant.
So here it comes another nightmare. Toilets and hospitals.
First of all, you can have your privacy and when pregnant, you actually need it more, especially having in mind the extra time you spend on the toilet.
Also, there’s always a risk of infection. Not only the door handles, though! Did you know that every time you flush the toilet, a tiny aerosol mixed with bacteria is sprayed into the air, which can cause infection?
So try to be hygienic. The word ‘hygiene’ actually comes from the name of the Greek goddess Hygieia, which was the goddess of health. Wash your hands and be mindful in order to be healthy.
12 Hospital Food
Talking about hygiene, we shouldn’t miss the food topic. And before we continue, another interesting fact: scientists say that our kitchen chopping boards contain more bacteria than a toilet seat in a public facility. Yummy!
Hospital food can be as disgusting as an airline meal. Therefore, the small portions are actually a bonus for your upset stomach.
Just like in schools, some hospitals have fast food places. Burgers, fries, and sweeteners might be appealing, but they aren’t the best friend of someone recovering in a hospital. Sadly enough, a lot of food is uneaten every day and people who work in hospitals admit they don’t blame the patients. For a pregnant woman, food that doesn’t contain enough protein or iron can be even dangerous.
That’s why new moms have a family member or a friend who can bring you something healthy when they visit you. An apple can be much more refreshing that a milkshake full of chemicals.
11 Not Knowing What Time It Is
One of the worst things about hospitals, haunted or not, is that you feel isolated. Being in the hospital means that you should stay temporary separated from friends and family, which can be very depressing, especially when you don’t know what’s happening with the growing life inside you. Sometimes your watch becomes your best friend because you can’t stop counting the minutes till your next visit.
You can even hope that Johnny Depp could visit you dressed like Jack Sparrow, something he did to make children in an Australian hospital happier.
Actually, there are some interesting findings on the perception of time during isolation. Controlled studies show that sometimes people engage in useless activities, such as staring at their shoes for extended periods. It’s not surprising that in some ancient societies to be excluded from the group was the worst punishment ever.
Silly or not, you might even try to look nice. True story: pale, in pajamas, and with some needles in your arm, you can definitely look nice!
10 Dude, Where’s My Bed?
One of the terrifying things about being in the hospital is that you can’t sleep in your own comfy bed. Personally, the absence of my pillow is something that can deeply upset me. Like the lack of ice-cream.
Maybe some facts can bring some amusement. The largest nonprofit hospitals in America by bed count is the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital with 2,292 beds and the largest for-profit hospital is the Methodist Hospital in San Antonio with 1,536 beds.
Unfortunately, some countries can’t provide enough bed regarding the density of population. For example, according to statistical data, Mali has only 0.1 bed per 1000 people, while Monaco holds the records with 16.5 per 1000 people.
Maybe if you are lucky and you don’t share your bed, take something that will help you relax: a blanket, a soft pillow or a small towel, something that can remind you of your own bedroom.
9 Some Of The Medications
Being in the hospital means that there’ll be plenty of medicines, if not healthy food. The scary part is that you can be woken up for an injection in the middle of the night or given some pills to swallow without having even a glass of water. And all that without knowing what you take.
Lack of information and treating people only like patients is a huge problem in many hospitals around the world. It’s true that doctors, nurses, and staff, are there to save people’s lives – and we all grateful, but some more individual-centered approach should be considered.
You are not only a vein or a file with diagnoses, you are a human. With another one inside! That’s why always, ask for more information, inform the health professionals for any conditions or allergies you might have, and voice your concerns. Because there’s a miracle growing in your belly. Who knows: the little one can even become a doctor one day!
8 Being Bored
Personally, TVs for are the worst sources of noise. Being in a hospital is stressful but boring at the same time. Having something to entertain you while waiting to go home is important, but having many TVs on at the same time increases the unnecessary noise levels. Especially when people don’t use headphones in a room that’s not private. In case there’s too much noise, ask people politely to turn down their devices.
Maybe some better things to do while being in the hospital are:
- Chatting to people
- Calling friends
- Reading books
- Drawing, writing or even knitting
- Playing board games or cards with people
- Have a diary
- Organize things for the new member of the family
- Surf interesting facts online
Use your time effectively and try to enjoy your hospital stay in the most peaceful way possible. If you have any personal device that you can download movies to, that would be best. But most women find that there isn't a lot of down time in the hospital.
7 Noises All Around
One of the biggest concerns mothers voice in front of the hospital staff is the constant noise they might be exposed to.
Managing noise levels is important not only for all the people who work in a hospital but for the effective recovery of the patients. It’s true that statistics show the auditory environment in many hospitals is not designed well. Being in a hospital is stressful enough, so unnecessary noise is considered one of the most terrible enemies of a patient.
Of course, in an emergency room there are other priorities, but keeping the noise down is important for everyone, especially in the maternity ward.
Imagine trying to sleep, for example. Now imagine all the monitors, all the doors slamming, all the alarms of the systems… Are you asleep yet?
A small helpful tip is to carry earplugs just in case things get too much.
6 Strangers Coming And Going
Dealing with people that you don’t know is one of the awful things that can happen to you. From impersonal conversations with nurses that treat you like a patient to living with strangers for a few days, it’s always difficult to deal with people.
At least being in the hospital while surrounded by other people can be great for you to train your patience. You might need it when the little one starts drawing on your walls in a few short months.
Sharing a room can be annoying at times, especially when you can’t have a private room. However, look at it from a different perspective: it's a great way to meet new people, to make new friends, to share interesting experiences, to learn new things about babies, and to simply have someone to talk to.
Just don’t mind the screams if someone starts giving birth, or if your roommate's baby cries off and on all day and night.
5 Doctor… Who?
Being in a hospital comes with something else that can be terrifying: having different doctors and nurses in your room at any time and always having someone checking on you without any notice.
So leave all the shame you might carry behind and be prepared for many unexpected visits. Your underwear, labia, boobs, and belly will be exposed while being in the hospital, and sometimes there will be some young male doctors around you.
But who cares? The good news is that people will remember more the way you look down there but not your face.
Another bad thing that is still in common in our society is judging. Many people, including hospital staff, judge mother-to-be. There will be always someone judging your personal story, your body or your decisions. But just like with your shame, leave any unwanted words behind. After all, you are having a baby and that’s not a reason to be ashamed of!
4 Funky Hospital Smells
Another terrifying thing about being in the hospital is the smell. First of all, you can’t escape from your own smell (sorry!). Lying in a bed leads to some sweating, believe it or not.
Then, you have all the chemicals in the toilet, on the floor, on the trays, everywhere. Unfortunately, sometimes even all the disinfectants are not enough to cover other body smells – yours or of the people around you. Many people hate that notorious hospital smell. Well, be prepared to carry it with you a bit after you leave.
There’s an interesting study that shows that each unit has a different smell. For example, entering an oncology department will make you perceive one odor while entering a neonatal intensive care unit will greet your nose with another.
Pack a perfume and wipes, but accept that for a few days you won’t have the nice aroma of baked cakes and indoor flowers.
3 Missing The Comforts Of Home
Ahem! Another sad thing about being in the hospital: you are away from your sweet home. You’ll miss your home - even your annoying partner, your loud kids, and your hyperactive pet. You’ll miss the comfort and the chance to take things in control.
However, try to see this as an opportunity to relax and learn from your hospital experience. If you need to rest, now is your chance. Because even if you are on your leave, you still have work to do at home. So being in the hospital is your time to relax… even though it might be difficult to get some nice sleep.
Take a picture of your family, talk to them on the phone, tell friends to come and visit you, and you’ll see that time will somehow fly and you’ll be back home.
Get some rest because when you return, you’ll need to have a lot of energy to sort out all the stuff that is out of place. Start with the socks on the floor, for example!
2 Feeling Emotional
Let’s leave the joke behind. Maybe another really awful thing about being in the hospital is the stress and all the emotional discomfort you might go through.
Not knowing what’s happening, wondering if something bad will come to you again, worrying about your little one, feeling stressed due to the different environment and all the injections, being scared when you hear women going into labor: the list of things that can make you worry is too long.
First-time mothers can be extra stressed as they don’t know what to expect. So just don’t listen when another person starts telling you a scary story. Giving birth is challenging but think of the joy that comes with it.
Also, don’t be scared to ask for help after delivery because the postpartum period can be as stressful as being pregnant or giving birth. The lack of certainty and all the lifestyle changes should be issues you should address not reasons to feel guilty about.
1 Bringing The Baby Home
And maybe the worst thing about staying in the hospital is… your baby. No, no, I’m not so terrible. I don’t mean the baby, but the thoughts that come with having a baby.
All the physiological changes and social restrictions are nothing compared to the worries a parent might have.
Is the baby okay? Is the little one healthy? Will I be a good parent? Have I done something wrong? Why should I stay in the hospital? Is it my fault? Questions of all sorts can make your stay really terrible and can lead to some scary nightmares.
However, be sure that you are a good person. I know you’re unique but remember that there are many people like you who have to stay in the hospital. So take an advantage of our advanced medicine, get an interesting book, pack your makeup bag and enjoy your hospital stay.
Most of all, remember that your baby is happy only when you are.