The Perinatal Unit was unlike anything I had seen yet. The hall had five rooms on it. Four were private rooms with an attached bathroom. The fifth room was one that was shared by two roommates. Two of the girls had already decided to room together, so that I wouldn’t have to share my first day on the unit. It is so nice to know we have some choices. There is a nursing straight through the first set of locked doors. It seats two nurses and is filled with computers. This is where we go with questions and to get our medication. There is a phone and a computer in the hallway. We can actually have internet access when our sessions are occurring. There is, also, a portable computer that can be used in your room.
Here, clothes still can not have any strings. That is to keep us from using them to hang ourselves. We are allowed to use our hairdryer, straightener, curling iron, and makeup but it stays at the nurses station until we need it. If we need to shave, a nurse will come and watch us perform the task and dispose of the razor after. The meeting room has a dining table, a TV, some chairs, a couch, and a coffee table. This is where we have out sessions and where we can go during free time. At the end of the hallway, there is another set of locking doors.
Our schedule is set. We have scheduled breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu is the complete hospital menu, unlike the restricted menu on the other units. We place our orders in the morning and evening. The meals are delivered to the unit, so leaving doesn’t become an issue. Our therapies include physical therapy/exercise, occupational therapy, counseling, spiritual counseling, yoga (optional). Family can visit for approximately four hours a day, in the evenings. They encourage families to bring the babies, during this time. Mother and baby bonding is so vital as this can be strained due to post partum depression. If we were cleared by our psychiatrist, we would walk off the unit once a day. We would go to Starbucks and then often sit outside and talk. It was so nice to see the sunshine. It was a welcome privilege to be sure.