Field Trip #2: SLENZ Birthing Unit

For the second filed trip for my online class, I decided to visit the SLENZ birthing unit in Second Life. After first entering this site, we had to find the resource pack to help us navigate and understand the destination. The first thing we had to do was explore the five scenes that played out the pregnancy and birthing of Lisa and her baby with the help of her midwife. I chose to focus on scene 5, which takes place after the baby has already been born. The scene focuses on the care of the new mother, making sure she and the baby are comfortable. I think that the most important part of this scenario is making sure everyone is happy and healthy. The mother is without her husband because he is away on business, so I think if I were her I would be very grateful to have a midwife to help make sure everything is going smoothly and that I was being the best mother possible to my newborn.

I think the idea of role playing childbirth scared me a bit at first. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this birthing unit. After exploring the site a little bit I think this was a helpful site, but I also believe that child birth is one of those cases where nothing, other than the real thing, will ever compare.

I was a bit surprised by the setup of the birthing room. In my mind I pictured a room similar to that of a hospital room, but this was nothing like that. When I first entered the room, I was met by a sitting area and a bathroom, and then down a little hallway I came to the main room. In the main room there is a huge tub and a big, comfy bed. In the other corners of the room are a large L shaped couch and a smaller sitting area. I think that the seating areas are something you would probably find in US maternity hospitals. Along the far wall are sliding doors that lead out to a large patio surrounded by a garden, then water just beyond that. I would expect this kind of setting much more from a vacation resort. The room had a very relaxed feel and as a result I would think it would make the whole process a bit easier. I think the only thing that would be a little worrisome to me if I were an expecting mother, would be the seeming lack of medical technology. The room has all the basic necessities, I would just be a little worried that if something major would go wrong, I might not have the immediate attention I would need.birthing room_001

While exploring I found a few green boxes that when clicked on would provide information. The one I found most interesting was the one located in the garden outside the birthing room. The garden was said to make the women feel safe and uninhibited. I personally would not have thought of this aspect, but it makes perfect sense. It would provide a calming surrounding amidst the emotions and eventfulness that takes place inside. This is something that I wouldn’t expect to find in your typical maternity hospital, especially in the US.

In one of the corners of the room there is a large bathtub. The bathtub is used to help with labor and some may opt to have a water birth. I think because it is so big, there are some dangers, but as long as its use is being monitored I don’t see any major concerns. In one of the other corners there is a rope, which is said to help “increase efficiency of labor and to rotate the baby into optimal positions for birth.”

I don’t find the birthing center particularly welcoming to fathers, but there is quite a bit of space and lots of seating areas which makes it much more welcoming than a typical hospital room would feel. I think there is just a major focus on the woman, as there should be when she is in labor, and I think by default that just makes it less welcoming for the father.

This was a very different experience. The site was obviously well thought out and very informational. I think it is definitely a place to explore in Second Life: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Kowhai/145/117/32.

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