How can I make a hospital room feel less like, well, a hospital room?

Updated Oct 12 2015
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By: liz westCC BY 2.0
Due to insurance complications, support, renting, and the steadily approaching due date, my husband and I have decided to give birth in the hospital rather than a home birth. We recently went through a birthing class through the hospital and were able to tour the facilities. The hospital has rooms that you stay in for all parts of delivery: labor, delivery, and recovery all in one room. They are equipped with tubs and are more like a birth center than the usual separate rooms used in other hospitals.

My mother passed away last month pretty suddenly due to complications of Lupus. I did not realize how much of a difficulty just being in a hospital room would be. During the tour, the guide/teacher began disassembling the bed to show how it is changed for different parts of labor and delivery, and I lost it. I could not help but visualize the death of my mom being connected with a hospital bed, no matter how cozy they attempted to make the room seem.

As much as I would love to have a home birth, at this point I would say it is just not possible, so I need to make this room seem as "homey" as possible. My husband and I discussed bringing in things like pictures and music to make the room seem less like one she died in, but I was wondering if anyone had advice on what else might be allowed in a hospital room to ease the pain of loss so recently in a similar setting? — Kristin

  1. I am so sorry for your loss.

    I don't have any direct personal experience with this exact situation, but I would encourage you to go back to the hospital many times before your labor. Perhaps call one of the social workers there and ask if you can do some one-on-one time in the room. While there, I would encourage some meditative breathing and relaxation and, if you can, a visualization of the room as a place where you will be bringing in new life. The association that you have now with hospital rooms is a negative one; if you can embrace the space as one that will be a powerful one for you in a positive way, I think it will matter a lot less what's actually in there. While a picture or a blanket from home could help, it probably can't counteract the strong feelings that you have. If it's not too painful, you can try to think of your mom as being in the room with you, but this time supporting you, as you no doubt supported her. If that is too painful, you can just focus on being present in the moment with your baby, reminding yourself that you two will have a connection that is stronger than any physical space.

    I know this sounds a little hippie-dippie (even to me). I just think that birth is such an overwhelming experience that it requires much more mental preparation than physical preparation, but we often forget that.

    I wish you the best of luck on this journey.

    • That is not hippie-dippie at all, I think the mental preparation is huge.
      I never really considered speaking to a social worker in the hospital. We have a check up with the midwife tomorrow, I will definitely be asking her about speaking to someone and touring again and spending more time in a room. Thank you so much.

      • Social workers at hospitals are normally very helpful and understanding. I think there's a good chance they would be willing to help or your midwife might have suggestions as well if she has had clients give birth in the hospital before : )

  2. I don't know if most hospitals will let you bring much in to actually…decorate the room. But I would suggest something that brings you comfort and lowers anxiety. Your pillow, or maybe a childhood stuffie, or maybe even a stuffie that you picked out for baby. Something to keep you focused on the fact that the experience in THIS room is not the same as what happened with your Mom.
    Maybe make a little motivational book for yourself with relaxing images or things that make you smile and little affirmations to yourself.
    I completely understand where you are coming from, by the way. Not to delve too deeply, but I also have bad memories attached to hospitals and hated the idea of being in one to give birth. But when I was there and my husband was making me laugh, playing music, and talking to me, it was amazing how much easier it was for me to let that anxiety go.
    I hope you find something that works for you!

    • We have a blue elephant from my sister that has been the main idea around the baby's room. I think that would be great to bring along to have as a symbol of our goal. I also love the idea of a motivational book- like something from a picture website with my own images added of good memories.

  3. A random list of ideas: Bring a throw pillow or something from your favorite lounging spot in the house. Bring your own blanket. Bring a laptop with a photo slideshow/music. Ask about wearing your own PJs after the birth instead of hospital. Bring an essential oil that you love and put it on you/the bed (mix a few drops with water in a spray bottle to make a mist that isn't too strong for hospital sensibilities). Bring in your own plastic tumblers for drinking water. Have a towel that's your own.

    • I never would have thought about bringing tumblers for drinking! That is such a simple way to make it more homey and less "sterile" feeling!

      • It's great! I used some awesome Camelbak water bottles throughout pregnancy to stay hydrated, and it was nice to have my favorite bottle by my side in labor (plus it was way more convenient to use than the hospital tumbler).

  4. first off.. sorry for your loss. that really sucks.

    for my high-risk twin birth i needed to be as relaxed as possible, so i all but moved into my delivery room: we brought flowers in a vase, little cloths to put things on, i had two wooden hearts and a "birth stone" from a friend, some leaves and acorns we collected on our last pregnant walk, our stereo with music, pictures drawn by my son, photos of flowers, an icon, our own pillows (!)… and also sticky tape to put everything in its place.
    the midwives first kind of rolled their eyes, but after we were done all complimented the lovely room.
    the key for me was to appeal all the senses – no hospital smell, drown out the noises, open the curtains… i ended up clutching the birth stone all through the tough part even though i technically donยดt believe in that kind of stuff. but it felt like my friend who gave it to me was by my side.
    lastly – my midwife recommended to do a meditation every night leading up to the birth, and when i startet to freak out at the hospital, i listened to it again and it really helped to stay calm. (i used "noblebirth fear release for pregnancy, labour and birth", found on amazon)
    i wish you and your baby an amazing start together!

    • I am interested in the idea of a stone. I wonder if I could find something of my mom's that I could use as a stress relief to squeeze, just as you connected the object to your friend.
      Thank you for the ideas!

      • Yes! Maybe you could wear a cardigan of hers, or bring in her pillow or blanket or slippers! I haven't had to give birth since my Mom passed away, but I sleep with one of her comforters, and I love to wrap myself up in it, and wear her cardigans around the house. It feels like she is hugging me, and it's so cozy and lovely. : )

  5. Our hospital room had dimmable lights. If yours doesn't, experiment with switches to find a low level of light. Some women may not like laboring in the dim light but I found it more peacefuland less hospital-like. We also brought in string lights to add warmth, plus our ipod and its mini-speakers. I brought a large, framed picture of my 2 year old for my second labor. Maybe you could bring pictures of your loved ones to focus on when you're struggling. If you wait to go to the hospital as long as possible, you may find that the intensity of transition will almost make you unable to think of anything else.

    • Completely agree! The lighting makes a dramatic difference. I had a homebirth transfer to a hospital where my midwife was very familiar with the setup. She knew how to dim all the lights and make the beeping noises stop. All the hospital stuff was still there, but it's *shocking* how different it all looks without harsh lighting.

      (BTW, the first 65 hours of labor were in our rental apartment–we just warned the neighbors and gave them a gift pack of wine and jellies–though it sounds like you have other barriers to home birth.)

      • We are planning on being at home for as long as possible prior to laboring at the hospital. We live quite close to the hospital, so there is not much worry about travel.
        But… That might be a good idea to give a gift pack to our neighbors. We live in a duplex and I swear you can hear them farting in the bathroom when you are in there at the same time. I have attempted to practice my Spanish when I hear them speaking on the phone…. I am sure a little gift pack would soften the blow of labor noises…

  6. I agree with the comment above that says you should go a few times and do some visualisation, birth is very very much about mind body connection and having unaddressed trauma can slow down your Labour.
    Manipulate the light in your room, have something to cover windows, turn of lights, bring flameless candles.
    wearing your own clothing might also help you to feel more comfortable.
    I would also suggest staying at home in your early labour so long as you feel safe.

    Also, have you considered a doula? I think having another support person who is on your side in this would be extremely helpful. Lots of doulas work on a sliding scale or if they are going for certification offer services for a very low cost/free

    • We have a doula! And we have her for free due to her going through her certification! She has been a great resource- especially because she is also an RN. My mom was a nurse and I often would just text her with tiny questions and issues. It's been great to have the doula as a support person I can just text quickly with little (yet worrisome) issues.
      We recently were able to meet with her and discuss some ideas. She also said to go back to the hospital a few more times to acclimate. We will be meeting with her again in a week or so, and we will need to talk a little more about this issue.

      • yay!!! I think you birth is going to be amazing and I am sending you love and light, this will be a story of overcoming i just know it!

  7. Maybe this is out there, but bear with this idea:

    The last time you saw your mom was in a hospital room. Many women want their moms there in the hospital room with them to help them through labor. I wonder if bringing in a picture of your mom to help connect with her energy as you bring new life into this world…transforming the pain of your mom's death into the new life in your family.

    • I've debated on that one- whether it would make me too depressed to see an image of her in the scary environment again, or if it would be relaxing just to see her face and have that as support. I've thought of maybe bringing one and deciding in the moment what works… I might just have a whole duffel bag of stuff that would depend on the moment! haha!

  8. My biggest suggestion is to wear your own clothes! You don't have to wear a hospital gown as long as your clothing is easily removed for emergencies or procedures. My mom made me my own hospital gown, and I LOVED it. It was bright and long and covered my tusche!

    It also made me feel less like a patient, and more like a woman laboring. That helped me the most during my stay. Also having my own blanket would have been nice, but I forgot it at home ๐Ÿ™

    • It was funny – I'm plus size, so although I was wearing a standard-issue hospital gown, I had my bra and tanktop on underneath (and wore shorts as I was pacing around during labor). I had an emergency C-section and was pleasantly surprised that I didn't have to take either off … it was the weirdest thing – I actually still wear the tanktop (it was fine – didn't get messy during my son's delivery) and it still has medical tape stuck to it that I've never been able to get off.

      As for the question posed – hugs and love to you. I'm sorry that your mom passed away – I hope that the wonderful advice by the folks here can help you figure out a way to achieve a peaceful hospital birth.

    • I had asked my mom to make me a hospital gown before her passing, but I don't think she ever started one. I've been thinking about asking my mom's best friend, and awesome seamstress, to take over the job. She has taken over the blanket my mom started crocheting (or knitting… I don't know) for the baby as well. But I definitely will be thinking of this idea.. thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

    • This! I wore oversized cotton blend nighties with something silly/cute printed on the front. The midwives loved them because it made everything nice and easy, and I was happy because I was comfy.

  9. My grandfather who I lived with while growing up passed away not long before my son was born, so I understand how a hospital room can feel so depressing.
    Something I brought with me was my doula. She turned the lights down low, brought me my quilt, turned the music on and off when I needed it, gave me a wash cloth when I needed it and overall wonderful support.
    With my doula, my sister and husband present and there constant words of love I was able to concentrate on my baby coming into the world rather than the room I was in.

  10. In my experience working with birthing mamas their sense of smell can be really sensetive where as audio, visual stimulus can be distracting. I lost my dad after a long illness and the hospital smell was allways a trigger for me.
    How about taking something which smells good to you, like home? Ether a blanket, shawl, tshirt or pillow you can snuggle into. Ive seen women use headbands with a drop of lavender oil, a familiar lotion or hand cream. One mama had her favoutite flowers close by and wanted to smell them between contractions. Everyone is different but smell seems to be able to transport you to a different place.

    • In my experience as a long term hospital resident…. smell is the cheapest trick to mentally get out of there. It's also really easy to do whatever you want with or without "official permission", because once done it can't be changed. Once you spray perfume or bring home baked bread into the room, even if the nurses scold you, no one can do anything to get rid of it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It's much easier to ask forgiveness than permission when you're sick, and no one can change anything once its done anyways. Plus, who can complain about fresh bread?

      Find the smells that mean home to you, and figure out how to bring them with you.

      • Maybe bringing something like fresh bread would get the nurses on my side anyways!! I have read somewhere to bring a dish of candies to set next to your birth plan.. maybe I should do something smelly instead haha

    • I think smell will be a big thing- I will definitely be working on some sort of smelly-good item. I like the idea of a headband with lavender to soothe.

    • Absolutely agree, I was going to suggest smell too. ๐Ÿ™‚ I would suggest lavender, since it's light and calming. Put a few drops of essential oil in some water and have a helper dip a cloth in the water to put over your forehead in labor. It's super nice.

  11. Sorry for your loss. My Mum passed away after a long illness just before I got pregnant. I was worried about being back in a hospital room again for the birth of our daughter, but it actually went really well. If you can, try to labour at home as long as possible. By the time I arrived at the hospital I was ready to push and I couldn't have cared less about where I was. All that mattered was getting the baby out. And then after she was born, nothing else mattered except her. The location and physical environment were not very important in the end. I think it would have been very different if I'd been admitted to hospital sooner in the labour process and had long hours of uncomfortable waiting, but in case of that my husband and I had packed some distractions – some shows and movies on the tablet, some books and magazines, the baby name book. I don't know if it would have helped, but it might be worth a try. Best of luck ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Yes, absolutely yes to what everyone has said about doulas, decorations, transformation, smells, all of it. But honestly, the biggest help to me in dealing with my birth and post-partum anxieties? Get thee to a therapist! Even a couple of sessions could help. Equip yourself with some calming techniques, and talk to a professional. Grief is very normal, and necessary. And so is birth. A few sessions with a therapist might help you to separate the two in your mind and go into your birthing room feeling less anxious, and more empowered. You can do it mama! Best of luck to you!

    • I've thought about seeing a therapist… but I think the biggest issue has been trying to take care of my dad and little brother. I think I would like it if both of them would be able to see a specialist. I have this guilt that I cannot take care of them, and that they really aren't doing too well. My brother is a sophomore in high school, and has barely been attending school. Dad lost his job one month prior to mom passing, and hasn't been working consistently since.. Maybe speaking with them about seeing someone would help for me to deal with the situation?

      • Yes, I'm sure it would. However, you can't make them do anything, but you can do this thing for yourself. I would suggest going regardless, and encouraging them with progress you may make. That way your experience does not necessarily hinge upon what other people in your life may or may not be doing.

      • I can not stress how helpful seeing a therapist has been for me after helping a friend die from a long illness a few years ago. It was technically everything you'd want a death to be, surrounded by loved ones, with music and laughter and tears and all that, but it was still a death of someone young and wonderful, you know?

        So much of the sensory experience of even that beautiful (but extremely painful) time became triggering to me- the music we played, the hospital smell, Coke Slusheys (all my friend wanted at the end)- all of it became A Thing. People I loved tried to listen and be there for me, but they were so sad, too. Telling the truth about the deep, dark place I went to made them sad about our loved one being gone AND desperately worried about me.

        My therapist was calm, compassionate and completely non-judgmental. It helped so, so much. Also, my therapist was open to hearing me talk about the others who were also left behind and not coping well. She was able to help me put their experiences into perspective and had some helpful tips I never would have thought of to help them, too.

        For me, I've found that grief is a roller-coaster that can parallel park… I can only imagine the ups and downs, stops and starts, forward progress and backward regression you're going through being pregnant and losing your mom. Best of luck! Take gentle care.

  13. I'm sorry for the loss of your mother, especially so close to your upcoming labor, delivery and transition into motherhood. I'm going to second (third?) the recommendation to talk to the hospital social workers about this. They can easily set up times to visit the labor rooms and help you desensitize, if you will. You can easily do this in addition to all the things mentioned above (which are also fabulous ideas). Your provider (OB or midwife) can put you in contact with the social worker. I'm an OB anesthesiologist, so I'm familiar with how hospitals run and job descriptions and such, so I know this is right up the alley of the Labor and Delivery social worker (OK, at least in the US). Good luck and I wish you all the best.

  14. Firstly, congratulations on your impending arrival ๐Ÿ™‚
    I also wish I could have a home birth but alas hospital birth it is for me too.
    Although I'm not having the same emotional family issues as you are with the hospital setting I do suffer from anxiety and panic attacks over gynecological procedures so labor may be tricky for me too.

    Here's some of the things I'm planning for my labor that may be useful to you
    1) labor at home for as long as possible
    2) bring my own pillow and transformers bumblebee blanket
    3) wear my own clothes – I'm planning a simple jersey dress
    4) no IV (the less medical stuff going on for me the better)
    5) play music
    6) bring my own drinks and snacks
    7) have my husband cuddle up in bed with me for back rubs etc
    8) planning not to deliver laying in bed, instead squatting or using birthing tub.

    I hope everything goes ok for you

  15. 1 Doulas are awesome. 2 the tub is awesome. 3 you or someone is go to have to tell the hospital staff about your mom without bringing it up in front of you over and over. 4music blanket and smell are the most transformation for amount to bring

    • That's a good point that I was not sure if I should address- having the hospital staff notified of the significance…

      • I'm so sorry for the loss of your mother, and I wish you were able to have a home birth.

        My vote would be to tell the staff. Speaking from the perspective of someone who has been a doula and nursing student on hospital L&D floors, any nurse who is likely to be cranky with a mom who brings decorations and a birth plan might soften if he/she knew about your situation. You certainly don't owe them an explanation, and I hope it goes without saying that it is RIDICULOUS that you should have to explain your specific, recent, emotional needs to expect mother/baby-centered treatment. But based on my experience, you might find that they are more flexible with you if you share your loss with them.

        I hope you have a lovely birth–one that gives you a new and joyous experience to associate with a hospital room.

      • You might ask your midwife if a note could be put in your chart. Or sometimes hospitals have whiteboards on the wall with notes for nurses–something nonspecific could be put there, like "see chart for social/emotional note" or something, I don't know what jargon they'd use. Either way, your midwife should be aware of what communication methods the hospital usually uses, and can help you figure out how to get the important information in the right place.

  16. So sorry for your loss, but congrats on the coming new life! I would strongly recommend asking BEFORE you go in to give birth if you can speak to a social worker at the hospital. Most different departments within a hospital have social workers who work specifically with them, and they can do magic. Seriously; our social worker got me a mini-fridge and access to a staff room kitchen because I was freaking out over needing to eat hospital food! This is someone you can ask about modifying lighting, maybe even changing out furniture for something less hospital-ish if they have options available (apparently many hospitals do), and – most importantly – how much and what you can bring from home. I found out from our social worker that my hospital allowed candles (but not live plants) and that massage therapists, reflexologists, and a number of other alternative practitioners could swing by my room during labor if I just asked, making it feel far more like a place for growth than a place for medicalized activity. Best of luck!

    • I will definitely ask my midwife tomorrow about how to get in contact with a hospital social worker.
      Wow, candles but not plants? Interesting.. haha!
      Also, I did not realize the use of massage therapists and reflexologists could also be available. That is something I have not heard of and will look into more..

  17. I'm so sorry for your loss. My Mom died unexpectedly in a hospital when I was pregnant with my first child as well so I understand what you are saying. I will say that actually having two positive birth experiences in a hospital has helped me replace my negative connotation about hospitals with a positive one. That said, here are the things I did to feel more at home: brought my own pillow and comforter, wore my own robe and slippers, and brought my iPod with labor playlist and a speaker/docking station I plugged in so I could listen to my music while laboring in the whirlpool tub. I would also suggest aromatherapy–scent is the sense that most triggers memory association and hospitals are full of triggering smells. While most hospitals would not allow you to burn candles or incense, you could bring those diffuser sticks or even just a sachet with lavender or something sprayed with soothing essential oils or scents like vanilla. Even choosing a lotion whose scent is calming and putting that on before you go to the hospital will help you override hospital smell association. I had two wonderful natural childbirths at the hospital. I hope you have a beautiful and healing experience.

    • I was going to suggest the idea of bringing something that smells good or familiar or comforting, too.

      If you don't like essential oils or perfumes, other ideas that occur to me are things like bringing a pillow case that you have been sleeping on or a while or a worn t-shirt of your husband's, a sprig of herbs, a bottle of your favorite spice, a blanket that has been washed in the laundry soap you use at home. Strong smells would probably be better for covering the hospital smell, but anything that makes you feel happy or safe could be useful.

  18. I can relate to this. I was very sick and had a major abdominal surgery only 6 months before getting pregnant so I was pretty upset about being in the hospital and afraid of having a panic attack during labour because of it. But, I was so focused that my mind was elsewhere.

    I was surprised to find that my hospital really encourages moms to bring in things to make them feel at home. The only stipulation was that we couldn't cover the clock or the medical equipment. So, many women bring in family photos, and cover the hospital art with scarves. I've also heard of people bringing in decorative pillows, low-light lamps, their own blankets etc. Oh and music! I was all about the playlist and kept getting excited about hearing another song I liked.

    Another way to make you feel like less of a patient, which might help to make you feel like you're not so much in a hospital, might be to bring in some of their own slippers (or flip-flops), and a robe. One thing I had plans to bring was a custom made hospital gown from Etsy, but never got around to ordering one and wound up naked anyhow. It would have been really necessary if I had wound up needing to be there for longer.

    Remember – you may be in a hospital, but that doesn't have to make you a patient.

    • I did not think about slippers of some sort.

      I like that as a mantra- not being a patient… Birth is a natural and healthy experience, and is not a sickness.

  19. I would recommend bringing one or two items that are truly important to you, that make you feel at home. Talk to your hospital about what is okay and what isn't, and then choose:

    – your favorite blanket
    – a stuffed toy
    – a picture
    – a statue
    – family pictures
    – a potted plant
    – whatever makes you think of home and smile.

  20. Whew, what a lot of change your family is experiencing all at once! I could imagine how you might be feeling even a bit jet-lagged by the pace of it all. I'm so sorry to hear about your mum.

    I've done labour three times myself, and am a professional doula. What I'd add to the other already great comments here is: bring a quilt or something that makes you feel physically and emotionally cozy. If you have time between now and when the baby's coming, think about even getting/making some pre-cut squares of fabric from people you love (you could have them decorate them with sharpies at a baby shower, even), and have them whipped up into a quilt you can bring along (even if it's small). Bring your own pillow(s). Don't be afraid to have a loved one snuggle with you in bed– even if you end up "hooked up". Bring fruit and tea and juice that makes you feel good– tea is especially great for establishing familiar smells without being a SCENT (which many hospitals have policies against right now). Subtle scents are great cues to help you stay focused on your well being, but too-strong smells can interfere with you and your baby getting high on each others' great smells/hormones in the newborn hours.

    As far as mantras go, keep in mind that in times of stress, we often latch on to only one or a couple words. Rather than "I am not a patient" (which your brain might mine for the word "PATIENT"), consider "I am safe and I am well". The beats of this rhythm will also help you "count out" contractions during your labour dance.

    What the others have said about the mental preparation of birth is so true. In the end I really think that the best way to prepare your hospital room as a welcoming space for your birth and baby is to prepare YOURSELF as a welcoming space for you and your baby. Know that you are very powerful. You can do this; it's going to be wonderful.

    • My mom was pretty crafty and made quilts from different scraps and what not- I really like that idea of creating a cozy environment with a quilt using scraps or pieces of fabric from family and friends as support.
      And I think I will most likely be making my husband snuggle and close with me as much as possible..

  21. First, bring a doula! Ours was absolutely wonderful for the hospital. Tell her your concerns and she'll work with you to address them. We brought LED "candles" and speakers that we could attach to our iphones to our hospital birth. We used them during the birth, which is why I brought them, but I didn't realize how wonderful they would be for the 2 days we spent in the hospital afterwards. It is amazing how nice lighting and music can make you feel relaxed and at home. The candles were great for middle of the night diaper changes, in fact, we still use them today to check on our 15 month old son at night without waking him. They also have a very subtle vanilla scent, which neutralized the hospital smell. And of course, don't forget your (simple, one-page) birth plan. Don't be afraid to speak up – we had to voice our wishes several times, but it all worked out.

  22. If you haven't read it already check out Homebirth in the Hospital, by Stacie Marie Kerr for some great information about integrating the best of both options. It offers some especially helpful advice about working with hospital staff to get the birth you want when your preferences aren't necessarily business-as-usual.

    Also, forgive me if this is presumptuous, but depending on when you're due you may still have time to figure out a way to avoid the hospital altogether. You said that your decision had to do with insurance…. My partner and I almost made the same decision, but I made an informed pest–er, determined advocate–of myself and was able to convince our insurance company to make an out-of-network exception and pay for pre/postnatal midwifery care and delivery at a birth center at 100% of their in-network rate. Our policy technically covered midwifery care, but there were no local midwives in the program so I argued that I shouldn't be penalized for the fact that they hadn't converted any practitioners in my area. It probably also helped that I did research to show the obscene difference between what they would have to pay my hospital system versus the birth center (a difference of about $25k, and that's assuming no medications or surgical interventions). In the end, we did have to pay the difference between the insurance company's "reasonable and accepted" in-network payout and what the birth center billed, but that $1,200 was worth every penny given the fact that we got exactly the kind of care we wanted for our ideal birth experience. And a good deal of that was reimbursed to us through the medical flex plan offered by my partner's employer.

    I realize that it was a long shot and that I was very lucky, and of course I don't know where you live or what kind of insurance you have. However, it may be worth a try if any part of you is still hoping for a non-hospital birth. Wherever you end up, though, know that you can have many things your way if you are informed and persistent, especially ahead of time. I would imagine that most nurses want you to have a great birth experience. If they seem resistant to your requests, it is probably because they are used to a certain protocol. Remember, though, that protocol isn't always set in stone. Just because things are usually done in a certain way that doesn't mean they necessarily have to be. Go all the way to the hospital administrators if you need to in order to get the accommodations that will make you feel most comfortable and emotionally safe.

    Best of luck! May your birth be everything you need it to be!

  23. I would recommend bringing your own shampoo, lotion, body wash, etc. The products we use in the hospital where I work (I'm a nurse, not maternity though) are all right but definitely smell hospital-y.

    Also bring some comfy shoes that are easy to slip on and off, so you don't have to wear those non-skid grippy socks if you want to walk around.

    Also, I would HIGHLY recommend consulting the hospital's chaplain/pastoral care service. The chaplain's job is to provide emotional support to patients and families, regardless of religious beliefs, and they really specialize in dealing with loss. I fall somewhere between agnostic and atheist on the spectrum of belief, but I really respect the chaplains where I work for their ability to comfort patients and families without bringing religion into it at all.

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