Saturday, March 30, 2013

Tour de "Spa"

"Welcome! My name's Lori and I will be your maternity coordinator today," she said brightly, her years of experience and warm soul lighting up her face. My husband grabbed my hand tightly, a gesture I had missed over the past few months, and I was delighted to see that a look of what appeared to be excitement lined his cheeks for nearly the first time in this now 9-month journey we'd been on to bring L2 into this world. You know how men are: stuff doesn't get real until stuff gets real, you know?!

Freshly painted walls in soothing colors mixed with the aroma of fresh brewed coffee, jittery legs of anxiously awaiting family members, low lighting, spotless dark woods and bright, friendly faces hit my senses, making the new Shawnee Mission Birthing Center feel more like a girlfriend's home than a hospital. The hospital's recent ads ticked through my head as well as several friends' experiences in the last year, and although the word "spa" kept coming up and sounded good and all, I couldn't turn off my pediatric improvement portion of my brain (eight years in the biz) and immediately began asking curiously about continuum of care, referrals, neonatology, medical procedures and more. Without missing a beat, Lori answered thoroughly, professionally and calmly at my level, giving me the utmost confidence I could just show up, trust this institution completely and get 'er done. Now that's my kind of birth plan.

After marveling at the size of the rooms, exploring the almost comfort of the pull out beds for Dad and giggling at the track lighting of the spa tubs and talking through their philosophy of keeping family educated, informed and together, I fell in love.And when Lori flippantly responded to a woman who paid me a comment near the elevator: "Girl - that's gonna be one BIG baby," (while staring at my stomach) with words loud enough to hear: "Don't you just HATE when people say those types of things?!" I fell in love with her too. I wish the woman was qualified to deliver this guy because she seems like my perfect partner for the job.

Papers signed, hard questions answered and completely at ease, we went to return to our busy day of managing a sick child, hours of meetings, preparing for Easter and tending to our home when suddenly they caught our eyes:

The newborns. In the nursery.

And like the Grinch of third trimester, my heart grew 10 times bigger in that very moment, marveling at their fuzzy heads, scrunched faces, football-sized figures, little button noses and tiny fingers and toes. And despite the endless hours of kicks, heartbeats, hiccups and wishes, it finally became real for me too.

I can't wait - for any of it. To have an amazing experience at the new birthing center. To go through the battle of labor with my life partner. To hold my second son in my arms for the very first time. And to experience even more love than I ever thought possible.

So thank you Shawnee Mission for creating that moment...and walking us past the nursery. Stuff just got real for Momma too. And I liked it.

PS: The bathrooms are pretty spa-like - a girl can't help but notice the tiles. Seriously - they're nicer than the four-star hotels in which we frequently stay for work! Note to self: spend a little time in there at some point...strobe light bathtub and all...

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