Preparing for Placement: Hospital Time

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You should begin preparing yourself for the time you will spend in the hospital as soon as you can. Giving birth is not an easy task and you want to have everything lined up before hand to make things go as smoothly as possible. Remember, you may not be able to think clearly during these few days, so it is also recommended that you make your family aware of your needs.

Here is a list of things to think about:

Family and Friends: Who do I want with me during labor and delivery? What can I expect from them? How do they feel about my choice? Do those that I’ve asked to be with me all get along? If I choose not to ask certain people to be with me, will this cause turmoil, and if so, how can I address this? It is best to have only those friends and family who support you and will be with you only to care for your needs. Inviting friends to the hospital after the baby is born is great, as you’ll need lots of support, but make sure you choose wisely.

Make sure the people you do invite know about your choice and are prepared to just come visit you, bring your favorite foods, a good book, and to simply let you talk or cry if need be. Don’t invite friends who are not informed and make sure they are aware that at this time, questions like, "Are you really going to do this?" are not appropriate.

If you have family members who do not get along, don’t feel badly about not inviting all of them. You will not have the time or the energy to dispel arguments or cater to everyone else’s needs. If you have fueding aunts and uncles, or if your parents are divorced and don’t get along, think seriously about who would be able to put their issues aside long enough to only support you.

Hospital Staff: Do the labor and delivery staff know about my decision? How does the hospital I am delivering in handle relinquishements? Will I remain in the maternity ward or be taken to another section of the hospital to recover? Will I be able to keep my baby in my room?

It is important that you meet the labor and delivery nurses before delivery. Make an appointment with the maternity ward and schedule a visit. There is nothing wrong with your asking questions to the nurses. Take a list with you when you go with questions like, "If I choose to have the adoptive parents in the delivery room with me is that okay?" or, "If I want time alone with my baby in my room could you make sure everyone knows that?" and, "If I give you a list of people that I want with me, and those I want to visit, will you make sure that only those people get in?" Get a feel for how the nurses feel about your choice and remember that you can request certain nurses if they are working the shift during your stay. Ask them about special options like a meal for two or an extended stay. Make sure you know how they operate and if there is something that will cause you to be uncomfortable work it out beforehand. Make sure you know the procedures the hospital has and that they are aware of your requests and concerns.

Feeding Your Baby: Should I feed my baby? Would it be right to nurse him/her or should I bottle-feed? Do I have a right to do this or is this for the adoptive parents to do? What if I feed him/her and I all of a sudden change my mind about relinquishing? Many mothers don’t know if they should feed their babies. Some fear that they will not be able to go through with their choice after doing so as it is a very intimate bonding process. Some mothers choose to nurse, others choose to bottle feed, and some choose not to feed their baby at all and allow the adoptive parents or the hospital staff to do so. This is a choice that really can’t be made beforehand. As you hold your baby you will know in your heart what you wish to do. Just make sure that everyone with you is aware that this is something you may or may not want to do and feel free to tell them, "Please do not feed the baby until I’ve made my decision." Of course, in this case, you can’t wait too long too decide!

Leaving the Hospital: Do I get to carry my baby out with me? What if the adoptive parents want to do that? Who should leave first, me or my baby? What will if feel like leaving with him/her?

Nearly every birthmother either regrets leaving the hospital empty-handed or is grateful for walking out of the hospital carrying her baby. There is something very significant about leaving the hospital with empty arms. I cannot think of a single birthmother who would recommend leaving without your baby. It is a very hollow feeling that does not have to happen to you. Although your baby will not be going home with you, seriously consider being the one your baby actually exits the hospital with. Dress your baby in an outfit you’ve chosen yourself. Your baby will be wrapped up in a blanket and placed into your arms. You will be asked to sit in a wheelchair and someone you love, or a nurse, will push you. Take that time to honor your motherhood. Be proud of yourself as you are pushed through the hospital. You deserve the adoring looks from passersby as they ooohhh and awe over the little newborn in your arms. The adoptive parents will have a lifetime to experience moments such as that … take this one for yourself. Talk with the adoptive parents about your wishes to exit the hospital with your baby. Explain to them that leaving empty-handed would be far too painful. Ask them to join you as you exit if you wish, but to understand your need to be holding your baby. Once you arrive outside the hospital, then you can lovingly place your baby into the arms of his/her adoptive parents.

Mementos: Because you will be very emotional and have larger things on your mind, it's recommended that you ask beforehand that someone you trust makes sure to record the events and to gather precious mementos. You may want to have the delivery video taped, or perhaps you’d like pictures of it all. Ask someone you love and trust to take care of this for you. Remember, you can take the i.d bracelets and the "It’s a Girl," or, "It’s a Boy," name card that is slipped into the bassinet to identify your baby. Give someone these duties before you deliver so that you aren’t worried about it yourself.

Cradle Care: What is Cradle Care? How do I know if I should ask for it? Who provides it? Can I still see my baby? How long can my baby stay in Cradle Care?

Cradle care is also known as "pre-adoption care." Most adoption agencies have families available who provide temporary care for babies if parents have yet to choose an adoptive family, or if they still need time to make their decision. This is not foster care nor is it permanent placement, although it can be provided by licensed foster parents. This is a loving situation that is provided for you and your baby while choices are being made that will ensure the best outcome.

Some birthparents choose cradle care if they feel that bringing their baby home while they decide isn’t best for them. Talk with your adoption agency about this option and whether or not it is offered. If it is, ask about the family/families who provide it. In most cases your baby can stay in Cradle Care for up to six weeks and you will be allowed visitations during that time.
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