Region 1 Medical Center Review and My Childbirth Experience

One of the greatest factors every expectant mom, especially for a first-timer, has to consider for a comfortable and perfect delivery experience is to determine the best maternity hospital, lying-in or birth center suited for her birth needs.

Most of the time, you will be asked to choose a specific hospital where your OB/GYN (obstetrician/gynecologist) or healthcare provider has the admitting and birthing privileges. There are lots of OBGYNs who are affiliated with multiple hospitals so at the earliest stage of your pregnancy, it is so important that you check her credentials and affiliations so you have a wider range of options.

Aside from the doctor’s affiliation to the hospital, other factors to consider will be your budget and financial capability, accessibility and location, hospital amenities, facilities and equipment, medical training and expertise in labor and delivery, the rate or percentage of normal deliveries vs. cesarean sections as well if your health insurance covers your childbirth expenses and to what extent. It is highly recommended for you to do a great research first about the factors mentioned most especially the hospital's policies in terms of labor and delivery several months prior to your actual delivery to match your own great birthing plan.

Why Region 1 Medical Center? (My Personal Experience)


As a disclaimer, this is not a paid article by Region 1 Medical Center. I wrote this article to share my personal birthing experiences in the said hospital.  Why? Because the day we were sent home from my recent birth, private messages already flooded my inbox before I even changed my clothes.  A lot of my pregnant friends were asking about my birthing experience, what hospital I had my labor and delivery with, how much was the hospital bill (package), who was my doctor and all of those sorts and so I decided to write about it and do my honest review about my stay in Region 1 Medical Center for reference.


Region 1 Medical Center

Region 1 Medical Center Facade (photo courtesy of wikimapia.org)
NOTE:  All the things written are again based on my own personal experience so it will be your discretion as a reader to weigh your decisions if you also want to deliver your baby in the same hospital or not. Do your research.

Region 1 Medical Center is a government hospital located in Arellano Street, Dagupan City, Pangasinan. It is a public hospital which provides affordable and a quality health care service to the general public that’s why patients not only from Dagupan City but from other neighboring towns flock to the said hospital to seek medical help. It is a leading center of excellence for health committed towards globally competitive training for its health workers as well as research for medical advancement in Northern Luzon. It is a DOH accredited tertiary training, teaching and research hospital accessible to the public 24/7.

Region 1 Medical Center
Region 1 Medical Center logo courtesy of dagupadirectory.org
Region 1 Medical Center offers a lot of medical and health services especially in terms of OB-Gynecology. One thing I really like about it is its “Mother & Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative”. That alone is an assurance for an expectant mother as to what level of care they provide not only prior to birthing but even after post-delivery.

MY BIRTHING STORY (ELECTIVE C-SECTION)


Just to give you a quick background, I first gave birth in Region 1 Medical Center last 2014 via a Cesarean Section due to Pelvic Inlet Contraction with the help of Dr. Michelle Palma. I was working in Manila and had an equally awesome OB doctor for eight months (a shout out to Dr. Panganiban) unfortunately since I am not really from Manila, me and my husband decided that I give birth in Pangasinan and to resign from my job afterwards to settle in the province as we are to start our own business. Dr. Palma was endorsed by a family friend (a midwife) and when we personally met on my last month of pregnancy, I know that she’s meant to be my OB.

The first time experience was great. I was very satisfied with how I was assisted by my doctor despite the fact that she just took care of me for less than a month. I also find the hospital efficient and mother-and child-friendly, adhering to the Unang Yakap Program of DOH which is also known as Essential Intrapartum Newborn Care where there is an immediate skin-to-skin contact between the mother and the child right there and then in the delivery room and fully supports breastfeeding.

The second time I was pregnant, I honestly was thinking of switching though to a different hospital in Dagupan City to give birth just to give it a try, but after it has been determined by Dr. Palma (same doctor) that simultaneous active labor wouldn’t be possible for me due to my small pelvic bone, Dave and I decided to stick with Region 1 Medical Center since we’ve tried and tested its efficiency. Dr. Palma recommended doing an Elective C-Section on my 39th week.

And so on September 15, 2017, we arrived at the hospital at exactly 8:00 a.m per my doctor’s instructions for the Elective C-Section. After several inquiries (basic information, medical and C-Section history) and medical procedures (blood extraction for several tests, allergy testing, Internal Exam and shaving) I was asked to stay in the delivery room with other moms who were already in total pain, on the verge of giving birth.

It was jam-packed that day and even the rooms were all taken. We opted for the Pay Ward (which I’m happy to learn that the price rate remains the same at P600 per night) but since there’s no available room at that interval, they said that I might end up first in the Charity Ward. In the Charity ward, there usually are 6 beds wherein 2 patients will be sharing a bed.

My doctor instructed the admitting department to put me on top of the list for the Pay Ward queue so we can avail a room right away once one is available.

There were 5 other C-Sections scheduled that time and I was the second. When it was my turn, I was wheeled in the Operating Room, had my arms straddled at both sides of the bed and the anesthesiologist injected 2 shots in my lower spinal cord to start the operation. I felt so groggy right away unlike the first time (maybe because I wasn’t able to sleep that much the night before). But even when my eyes are closed, I can feel them moving my tummy, hear them vacuuming the blood, moving me slightly while I was busy praying all throughout to make myself awake. After several minutes, I felt someone pressed my sternum so hard twice and then my baby finally was out of my womb! I heard her crying while they were cleaning her up and I was so elated of happiness for a successful operation.

A nurse came to my side carrying my baby and they put Viktoria on my chest for the Unang Yakap and we were never separated since then. That certainly surprised me because in comparison with my first childbirth, upon them cleaning Vander (my son), they showed him to me and then took him to the nursery room while the doctors finished the operation. They just brought him back several hours after when I was already in the Recovery Room to latch; and since he is already latching, they decided to room us in together.

This time, my daughter’s on my chest while they were sewing me up until the time they wheeled us up to our room so I had the opportunity to breastfeed her for so many times which is soooo awesome!

MEDICAL KIT


Apart from the Unang Yakap policy which allowed me to cuddle my baby right there and then after she was taken out of my womb, I was so happy to see a medical kit that was given to us as a part of the package.


Unang Yakap Program of DOH
The medical kit comes with a soft pillow
The green medical kit has a transparent front with the Region 1 Medical Center logo and is made of a sturdy canvass at the back. It contains a digital thermometer, a cute measuring cup, soap, toothpaste ( like size of those being given in hotels) shaving kit (shave and shaving cream), sterile cotton applicator, 1 alcohol prep pad, spoon & fork, a small green plate,  a white hand towel, and a soft pillow (which you can take home). 


Essential Intrapartum Newborn Care
The Medical Kit
They don’t have that yet 3 years ago and I was so impressed knowing that Region 1 Medical Center gives out medical kits to their patients.

PAY WARD


There are 3 types of rooms in Region 1 Medical Center: the charity ward (the one where 2 patients will be sharing a single bed), the pay ward, and the private room.
Region 1 Medical Center pay ward
An Available Pay Ward
The pay ward is long room subdivided into 5 partitions with a hospital bed and a long bench that can be used as the watcher’s bed. It doesn’t have a door per partition but it has a curtain that serves as a covering for privacy. Although it is air-conditioned, it doesn’t really cover the whole ward so there are ceiling fans per partition. The patients have to share a common CR (comfort room) inside the ward, though it is maintained as the whole Pay Ward’s being cleaned 2x a day.

The rate of the room is P600 per night. My husband mentioned that he saw the private room which is P1200 per night but decided not to get it because the toilet is outside the room ( yeah, I was just curious as you are why it has that setup). Honestly, I am okay with the Pay ward since we will just stay there for 2-3 nights and it’s a bit more convenient than staying in the Charity Ward where I have to share the bed with another mother (not really a comfortable setup for a CS patient).

AWESOME FOOD


If there’s something I always look forward? That is Region 1 Medical Center’s meals being served and delivered 3x a day! For a person who constantly stalks Instagram food posts, their food choices and the presentations are super Instagram-ready! I really love, AS IN LOVE the meal choices and I would like to give credit to their dietitian and the chef/concessionaire for their awesome collaboration.


The foods are clean (always covered individually), cooked and seasoned especially for patients and they serve complete and healthy meals (vegetables, fish, and meat) with desserts (fresh fruits and gelatins) so I can’t help but take pictures first each time they deliver it to us.

Please take note that the meals are only for the patients (watchers not included) of course!

MEDICAL ASSISTANCE AND PATIENT CARE


Every 2 hours, a nurse assigned will be doing his or her round, making sure that my medicines were taken, my dextrose is in place and the drip is okay, my blood pressure and body temperature is checked, same with Viktoria, and to know if we’re okay.

Once a nurse is already done with her shift, he or she made sure that we were endorsed properly to the next nurse on the watch, and they always come in with a smile (whatever hour that is). I like how proper head’s up’s given to me each time a nurse will give me medicine, especially those that needed to injected directly into my veins, like the pain reliever that stings once it hits the bloodstream or that antibacterial that makes me groggy for several hours.

I remember my daughter wasn’t able to poop within 24 hours after the delivery; a nurse did an extra mile to initiate the urge, thus my baby was able to poop during her watch much to her delight. They also cheered and encouraged me when I was able to sit already just 24 hours after my operation and was able to stand and walk on my second day.

Someone was assigned to change and take my hospital gown, replace my adult diaper and to freshened me up, check my catheter if it is in place, wash my baby daily and even our room is cleaned 2x a day. Everything is organized and systematic.
Me and Viktoria just hours after the C-Section
My doctor is another story. During the whole of my stay in Region 1, Dr. Palma made sure that I am well-taken care and comfortable before and even after the operation. She arranged our room, made sure the operation was successful and that my baby and I are okay, she also gave me the aftercare tips for my incision and since she will be out of the country a week after the delivery, she made sure that I was endorsed to another doctor for the follow-up.

It really was a pleasant birthing experience overall.  I even had a small talk with to Kuya who wheeled me and my baby from 3rd floor down to the ground floor. I asked how many patients he has to wheel daily and if it is hard for him to do it manually. He said that sometimes it takes more than 30 patients per day and yes it is so tiring but there’s no such easy work. I was impressed when he mentioned that so long as it is a clean work, it’s all that matters to him.

Those tiny details were well-appreciated. I know how tiring a day is for everyone; from the doctors, nurses down to medical attendants and the hospital personnel especially having more than 30 patients within their watch daily and so I would like to extend my gratitude to everyone who took care of us in Region 1. I would say that my baby and I were treated with utmost care and respect which is one of the reasons why I chose Region 1 Medical Center. I never regretted my decision to give birth again to the said hospital.

SOME FEEDBACK


Now since I promised that this will be an honest review, I do have several points of feedback as well.

One is the inconvenience in the billing and releasing process. Actually, it wasn’t me who experienced it but my husband since he was the one who processed everything. He said that there was a long queue in the Philhealth part (which is understandable because of the volume of patients they have every day). What happened was; they won’t process our bill without the Newborn Screening Stub given by the pediatrician. And the pediatrician who was supposed to do the NBS was tied up with another patient which somehow is delaying our paper to be processed in the Philhealth kiosk. We waited for more than an hour only to find out that she was already doing her round when she promised that she will go up to us immediately right after she’s done with her patient. And then we waited again for her to assign another pediatrician to go up and do the NBS for my baby.

There was also a slight misunderstanding with our bill. It looked like it was way beyond what our doctor quoted for the package. And so we asked help from a friend if we can get some discounts. Eventually, we were able to clarify the bill and settle it, thanks to our friend.

Note: By the way, for those who were asking how much was our bill,  that I cannot really quote because it’s a case-to-case basis. My doctor just mentioned that in terms of Cesarean Section, Region 1 Medical Center has the most affordable package compared to the rest of the other hospitals in Dagupan City with at least P35,000 for the mother and P5,000 for the baby (this is when you opted to have a private doctor and without Philhealth deductions yet). Again it varies so ask your doctor about it.

Third, the processing thus takes time so prepare yourself for that. My husband started processing the bill and our release order before 9 am and we ended up past 5 pm so you can imagine the time consumed just to settle everything.

Next, I mentioned this already but I’ll indicate it again. In Pay Ward, there is only one air conditioner which doesn’t really cover the whole place so even if we have ceiling fans per partition, expect that it will be a bit warm especially in the afternoon even if the ceiling fans are on full blast.

And lastly, I was able to see how some doctors in the delivery room scold several patients who were already in pain. Although it wasn’t directed to me,  it was a bit embarrassing to hear them yell at mothers who are lying in the bed crying in agony asking them to get up instead and walk. I talked to a doctor friend (to get the doctor’s side) about it and she said that it is just a way of triggering the expectant mothers to help themselves get up, fight the pain and to keep on moving for a faster labor so I know that it’s nothing really personal but it’s just the doctors way of helping the moms help themselves then. Talking about tough love, eh?

But overall, these are minor issues that to me are tolerable and forgivable. I didn’t mind really because it has been overshadowed by the joy of having a new baby and the idea of going home.

I went through Region 1 Medical Center’s Facebook page and checked comments of patients or people who had been there and I see a lot of negative criticisms and bad experiences about the said hospital which I felt sorry about. I cannot really contest what happened and why they experienced those sorts but I’m sure there are always two sides of the coin.

In all fairness, sharing my own birthing experience is a means of me letting the public know how grateful I am for the whole stay in Region 1 Medical Center.  I saw how hardworking and dedicated those who dealt with us and I know that to serve wholeheartedly is the only purpose they intend to do for every patient who is coming in seeking medical help.

I would appreciate as well if there are other patients who had been there in Region 1 Medical Center who also had a wonderful stay in the said hospital to share it.
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