I am writing this in the journal that I was given as a parting gift when I left Magee today. What a thoughtful gift. I can record my feelings and experiences as a new mother.

My time at Magee was truly exceptional. I learned so much that will help me to be a good mom. The nurses and lactation counselors created many “teaching moments”. They broke down the overwhelming amount of information into small, simple lessons and always took the time to make sure that I understood what I they were teaching me. Every staff member asked me how I was doing and how my baby was doing during my stay… they even asked me to tell them about my labor and delivery experience and then actually listened when I did. That helped me to make sense of the whole process and was one of the most valuable parts of my stay in the mother/baby unit.

Even my final day was well organized and full of nice surprises. My prenatal medications which my doctor told me to continue until I came in for my check up where delivered to my room the morning of discharge. And my PCT, Anna, who helped with my care, also helped me to make my follow up appointment. That was so great because I know I will be really busy once I get home and am afraid I would forget or not have time to do that.

The morning began with a hearty breakfast. I had been told the day before that I could order breakfast to be delivered to my room for my family or I could choose to attend a group breakfast with other mothers and learn a little more about breastfeeding. My nurse encouraged me to go to the group breakfast so I could talk with other mothers who are breastfeeding. I am so glad that I took her advice. As usual the food was nutritious and also very tasty! A lactation counselor was present as well as a “discharge” nurse. The counselor gave all of us some last breastfeeding tips and assured us that we could call her with any questions once we got home. Then all of the moms had a chance to share their thoughts and concerns about breastfeeding and ask questions. It was fabulous! So great to know that other mothers had some of the same feelings and questions that I had. We were soon chatting away and exchanging information. The “discharge nurse” addressed our last minute concerns and questions. I know I will keep in touch with a couple of moms I met that morning. We were given information about postpartum classes for new moms including a mom and baby yoga class. I was thinking that I would so much like to sign up for these classes. And wouldn’t you know a PCT helped all of us to register for our classes before we left the hospital. Amazing! It was so nice to visit with other parents. One mom did not speak English very well and had gotten all of her teaching materials in Russian… I also met a mom who had twins. Now that would be a challenge! She is going to need a lot of help. And she was already getting that from the Magee staff… they had references for her including “Mothers of Multiples”. One of her babies had to stay in the hospital a few days longer and Magee had provided a beautiful room for her and her husband so that they could stay over as well and be close to their little one. She cried when she told me about that. I met some moms who got their prenatal care through the Magee clinic as well. And you know what was great was that they got exactly the same caring and respect that I received. One of the moms was having difficulty finding a ride home. I joked that maybe I could drop her off on the way. But I didn’t have to because the staff at Magee had already thought of that. They have a special transportation service called the “Baby Bus” that provides help for those who need it.

Back in my room, my special nurse who had been with me for my entire experience came in for a final review of my discharge instructions. She wanted to make sure that the staff had done their best to prepare me for life as a mother of two. As usual she made me feel at ease and I was able to tell her what I understood and what I still had a few questions about. I think that is because the previous day the doctor and the nurses made “education rounds” where they coordinated all of the information for me.

The day before my discharge, I was also asked to collaborate with the staff on the time I would leave the hospital. I was told that my obstetrician and pediatrician would then coordinate all care for me and my baby so that it would be completed by my chosen discharge time. Now that is what I call service…very impressive!

One thing I was a little concerned about was the baby’s car seat. It is a newer version of the one that I had for my first child and I hoped we had it in correctly. My husband Gary and I wanted to sign up for a car seat class before the baby was born, but we just didn’t get to it. I mentioned this to my nurse and she called a staff member who was trained to help families with their car seats. When my husband arrived to visit me, they checked the car seat to make sure it was in the car correctly and we wouldn’t have to fuss in the morning. What a relief!

When it was time to leave I felt a little shaky. Was I really going to be able to do this? My nurse assured me that I would. There were lots of hugs as I prepared to leave the unit and my PCT took a picture of our entire family. We got to sign a guest book and my daughter left her fingerprints in the book as well. She loved that. It was so nice how they included her in everything. It made her feel special. We wrote our sincere thanks on the Patient Comment Board…there wasn’t enough room to say everything that was in my heart. The day before we had been told that we would receive a “picnic” lunch to tide us over until we got home and settled in. This was my favorite amenity. Yes, I did use the word amenity since I felt like I was in a 4 star hotel. It showed that the staff truly was concerned about our health. No need to stop at McDonald’s on the way home…ha ha.

The final task right before we left the unit was to remove the tag that had kept my baby safe while we were in the hospital. At the appointed time, our “bellhop” and OB transporter arrived and we were taken down to the lobby where our car was waiting for us at the front door. Yes, a valet had brought it from the garage! Can you believe it??? WOW

Now that I am home I can reflect on this wonderful experience and truly say that I would recommend Magee as the ONLY place to have a baby in Pittsburgh. Oh the phone is ringing…that’s probably my nurse calling to make sure that I am settling in. She told me she would do that and it feels good to know that the experts at Magee are just a phone call away. It’s just the icing on the cake!