We are lucky live in any area that is brimming with various birthing options for families. Yet, with those options, it can be hard to figure where is the right place for you and your family. In the Triangle alone, our doulas currently attend births at seven hospitals excelling in maternal care and two wonderful birth centers. We are going to start outline how those birthing places can fit your various needs. First up, The Birth Place at Duke Regional Hospital.
Duke Regional is a smaller, community hospital, located on Roxboro Road in North Durham. The community nature of the hospital can be appealing for those who are looking for a bit more of personalize birth, while still being in a hospital setting. The following OB/GYN offices deliver at Duke Regional: Durham Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB-GYN) at North Duke Street, Durham Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB-GYN) at Sutton Station, Harris & Smith OB-GYN, Harris & Smith OB-GYN at Patterson Place, Duke Benign Gynecology at North Duke Street, Duke OB-GYN, and Duke Women's Health Associates Brier Creek.
When you first arrive to have your baby at The Birth Place, you can park anywhere (it is free!) and enter the Emergency Room any time of day. Once in the ER, you will be registered or if you were pre-registered, you will be taken up to the Maternity Floor on the fourth floor. Please note: registration at Duke Regional takes 30 days to get in the system, so it is important you do it well in advance of your due date.
Once you arrive on the fourth floor, you will be taken to Triage to be assessed (unless you are in active labor). Triage can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, and you are required to have 20-30 minutes of fetal monitor while also receiving an IV Port. You can decline pain medication, but it is hospital policy to require the port. Once you are admitted, you will be on a clear liquids diet.
Labor and Delivery Rooms
The rooms at The Birth Place are well equipped for you to have the type of birth you desire. The Birth Place is a secure floor, so any visitors must know your first and last name, along with your room number to be admitted. Only three visitors (including children) are allowed in the rooms at one time.
In all of the rooms, there are birthing balls, labor bar, dimming lights, sound machines, a mirror for delivery, and a couch to bed for the support person. Wireless and waterproof fetal monitoring is available to encourage movement during labor. In 50% of the rooms there are shallow tubs with jets, and 50% of the rooms have showers. They only allow labor in the tubs, and require you to deliver your baby on the bed. You are allowed to call the hospital (919-403-4374), and request the type of room you receive, and they will do their best to accommodate those requests.
Duke regional is recognized as a four-star NC Maternity Center Breastfeeding-Friendly Center, so skin to skin, delayed cord clamping, a delayed bath of eight hours minimum, and breastfeeding are encouraged immediately.
You will stay in your L&D room for 1-2 hours, and will be moved to your Mother Baby Room for your postpartum recovery, also on the same floor.
Please note: it is hospital policy that there will be no photography during the actual delivery or any procedures that occur in your room.
There are two dedicated operating rooms on the Maternity Floor if you are having a scheduled or unscheduled cesarean birth. Only one support person is allowed in the OR with you. At this time, immediate skin to skin and breastfeeding occur sometimes, and only when it is medically safe to do so. Clear drapes in OR are also not yet available.
Mother Baby Room
How long you stay in this room is dependent on your medical needs, but usually it is two nights for vaginal births and three for cesarean births. While there are no limits to the amount of visitors you can have while here, your nurse can always limit the number if you wish or if it becomes a problem for your recovery.
The hospital will provide diapers, wipes, blankets, and simple shirts for your baby while in the hospital. However, they do recommend you bring your own toiletries as they only have the famous Duke Pink Soap (a one size fits all shampoo/condition/body soap/face soap/bathroom cleaner/dish soap/etc.), comfortable shoes to walk during labor, a robe, a going home outfit for yourself and for your baby, and any bedding you feel like you need (in a bright, colorful pattern to not be confused with hospital bedding). Normal protocol is for you to wear hospital issued gowns, but you are allowed to bring your own laboring gown if you wish. If the need for a cesarean birth arrises, you will be required to wear the hospital issued gown.
At The Birth Place, there is no healthy baby nursery, so your baby will room in with you during your entire time at the hospital. The only time your baby will leave is for the hearing test and circumcision if you choose to do so. There is a Level II Special Care Nursery if your new baby does require some extra screen. This is open 24 hours a day for parents, and does have a limit of only two people at a time.
Since the hospital is smaller than some of the others in the area, food choices are slightly limited. You will be brought a meal tray at meal times, but are welcome to have someone go to the cafeteria (that is closed between 7pm and midnight, as well as between 4am and 7am) or the Chick-Fil-A (where parents receive a free sandwich with the maternity wrist band!). Breakfast trays are brought to the maternity floor last, but you are welcome to bring a cooler with snacks or visit the Patient Nutrition Room for snacks, coffee, and ice cream. The Patient Nutrition Room also has a microwave and fridge that is open for all to use.
Your support person is welcome to stay the entire length of your visit, and will be provided all of the sheets and pillows he or she needs. Each room has a small recliner that goes into a bed for him or her to sleep on.
Lactation support, newborn photography, cord blood banking, and birth certificate services are all available during your stay as well. For your baby’s birth certificate, you will be given the form after delivery unless you go on a tour of the hospital, and they will provide the form then. If you are not married to the father of your baby, he is required to fill out an affidavit, be present when the birth certificate is issued, and provide a valid, government-issued ID (with correct address).
Your new baby will either be seen by the Duke Regional Pediatric doctors, or one of the three local offices that come to the hospital (Duke Children’s Primary Care, Durham Pediatrics, or Regional Pediatrics). If one of those three is not your chosen pediatrician, you will be provided a packet of information to give your doctor at your first visit.
When both your doctor, and your baby’s pediatrician decide you and your baby can safely be discharged, your nurses will assist you to make the final preparations. You will be required to have a properly installed car seat for your baby, as well as the birth certificate information completely filled out. The staff encourages you to have your pediatrician appointment made prior to leaving the hospital as well.
We hope this helped you get a feel for what it would be like to delivery at The Birth Place at Duke Regional! We recommend you take a tour of this hospital if you are interested in delivering your baby at Duke Regional.We always recommend that you speak with your provider regarding all protocols and procedures that may have changed or may be unique to your situation. As always, our doulas are here to help you talk through your wishes and desires for your birthing location.