Birthing at Hadassah Ein Kerem.

I have heard the horror stories: laboring in a janitor’s closet, giving birth in the elevator, no epidural available, recovering in the hallway. I have heard the beautiful stories:  sweet, caring midwives, a tendancy towards leniency, rooming in available,  wonderful aftercare.

While I cannot say for sure what it’s like to birth at Hadassah Ein Kerem (or as I like to cynically refer to it, the cozy lil hospital nestled in the woods) I can tell you what I was told on the hospital tour we did a while back. Continue on for a more in-depth version. This is as much as I could read from my feverish note-taking.

  • Philosophy: Mom and baby should be together and can be for at least 1-2 hours after the birth.
  • There are mostly women doctors.
  • You will be placed on a monitor (in intervals) which allows for a two meter radius to move around.
  • Epidurals are available; gas is too but one unit is shared across the floor.
  • You can be creative with birthing positions if they are working – as long as you are on the bed.
  • They are not fans of episiotomy.
  • You may have skin-to-skin contact with baby right away but it’s probably something you need to ask for.
  • They will cut the umbilical cord right away unless you ask beforehand that they don’t.
  • They claim they can’t do anything without asking; everything must be an agreement with the parents.
  • About 1-2 hours after birth, baby is taken to nursery for the approximatley 4-hour warming and checks (Hep B and vitamin K, etc., which you can disagree to). You and/or partner can join baby at this point.
  • Hopefully you will get into a room afterwards; the wait for getting into a room could be 12-18 hours.
  • At around 10:30/11 pm, babies are returned to tenokiyah (I love that word; otherwise known as a nursery). You can request to breast feed and refuse formula for your baby. You would then go to the tenokiyah to feed unless you have opted for rooming in, which they do provide if available. Also, you’ll be woken whenever the baby cries so you can go feed.
  • There are checkups every morning done next to you.
  • Two women to a room and no partners sleeping in with you.
  • Visiting hours for Dads are 7 am to 10 pm.
  • They have on staff two breastfeeding consultants, five days a week for three hours a shift. All nurses are certified in breastfeeding counseling as well.
  • You are released in 48 hours if all is well. After 24 hours you can move to the Hadassah Baby Hotel. After 36 hours you can sign yourself out with doctor’s permission. C-sections are released after four days.
  • On Shabbat, everything is the same – staff, service, etc. The Dads can be sorted out for staying over Shabbat.
  • Moms can go into the tenokiyah and sit with the baby whenever they want, at any time of day or night.
  • They could not stress enough that this – and all other info relayed – is applied to a regular, healthy birth.

I did get the feeling that there is more of a promotion towards the natural here; the midwives giving the tour mentioned it and compared to other hospitals, it seems to be better at that.

Something that everyone – mothers, midwives, doctors – have said to me is that it all largely depends on luck. Time of day or night, which midwife is on shift, how busy it happens to be. Hence the disparity between amazing stories and the traumatic ones.

Disclaimer: I posted my notes to share with others who are also looking for info about birthing in Jerusalem. I know some people think Hadassah is the devil and others think it’s amazing. At this point, all I can do is hope that I’ll have a successful birth wherever I choose for it to be.

To register at Hadassah Ein Kerem, click here.

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