My friend Kristen recently gave me a book by the local columnist Tracy Lorenz that highlights some of his best columns for the Muskegon Chronicle. It is quite entertaining and has encouraged me to keep writing, even if I’m tired or don’t have any funny stories to tell.
I am almost finished with my latest “dog wrangling” stint and I STILL don’t have any good stories! (Well, someone DID slink off to the basement to leave a pile of indiscernible yuck and I almost stepped in it—not sure which end it came out of and this troubles me—but that’s not that interesting.)
Soooo…I shall post about my baby-labor experience, for those of you who have requested.
Don’t worry—it’s very clean. There aren’t any descriptions of body parts or fluids!
First of all--the labor: long and exhausting. My advice to any woman considering having a child: get the epidural. Don't try to be brave or earthy or whatever by doing it naturally. Perhaps I am a wimp, but even with the epidural, it came to a point where I asked the doctor if she could just use the plunger thingy to get the baby out. The doctor declined. I asked her to cut me (this is a fairly common procedure that is required of a lot of women). The doctor insisted that I was blessed with not needing to be cut. I did not think that my body could last much longer. Seriously, at that point I had been awake for like 36 hours with only a little bit of drug-induced rest. I won the battle for getting cut, though, and am not sorry for it.
The hospital: Staying in the hospital was sooo exhausting. Ugh. The staff at Spectrum Butterworth are very efficient. So efficient that they were in my room constantly checking my stats (blood pressure, heart rate, etc), Olivia's stats, helping me with nursing (okay, thanks for that), having my delivery doctor stop by, my obgyn doctor stop by, the baby's pediatrician stop by twice, asking me various questions about this and that, and just generally keeping me awake at all hours of the night.
At one point I had FINALLY fallen asleep, around 4 a.m. (just after a blood pressure check) when a woman appeared at the foot of my bed.
"Hi April. My name is blah blah and I'm here to ask you some questions."
"Sure," I say, as I start to fall back asleep. I didn’t even bother sitting up or opening my eyes all the way to look at her.
"Do you feel safe in your home?"
This question puzzled me. Did she want to know if I worried that my smoke detectors didn't work? Or was she insinuating that we could have a lead-based paint problem and that I couldn't take my baby home to it? Who WAS this lady and how dare she ask if my own house was SAFE for my baby?!??!?
"Uh, yeah," I replied.
"Does anyone in your home harm you physically or emotionally?"
Aaaah. I see what she was getting at. Does your baby daddy abuse you? Phew. She wasn't trying to be rude about the state of my home.
I told her "No," and she left.
Then like the one other time that I was in deep sleep the door to my room burst open, flooding the dark room with bright hallway light. A woman silhouetted against the light said, "Your baby is in the nursery!"
Really? I thought. Thank you for stating the obvious.
Then she said something about Olivia not being accidentally taken out or something. See, they have these little arm bands that they put on all babies so that if anyone goes near a door with a baby or tries to steal them, the whole place goes into lockdown. Apparently this had happened (probably accidentally) so the lady was telling me that my baby was not compromised. She probably thought she was being reassuring, but I had no IDEA that there was a situation in the first place, and her waking me up to tell me that my baby was NOT snatched automatically sent me into worries that she COULD be snatched. Agh! Sleep averted!
I got another big scare, but this was during early daylight hours. When Olivia was born she apparently swallowed a lot of nasty crap. And for the first couple of days she kept coughing up this nasty and would occasionally choke a little. The nurses who brought her in to me for feeding reassured me that this wasn’t a big deal, and to just burp her if she had troubles. Worked for me.
This worked for me until Shift Change happened a new nurse brought Olivia in to me. As she picked her up Olivia started to cough/gag. The lady threw her over her arm and smacked the daylights out of her on her back. Poor Olivia had a very surprised and troubled look on her face, as if to say, “Who the heck is this?!?? What happened to Gentle Nurse???” (Olivia is gifted with fun facial expressions.) As the nurse is doing this, she says to me, “If this happens again and she stops breathing, don’t worry. Just pull the Emergency Cord right out of the wall and we’ll all come to help immediately.” Then she hands me the baby and walks out of the room.
Stops breathing?!?? Since when was it possible that she would STOP BREATHING from choking on the nastiness?!??? None of the other nurses mentioned this! Why is this lady telling me this? I was perfectly calm about the situation until SHE showed up! Now this crazy nurse is going to leave me ALONE with this brand-new baby that could very likely stop breathing?
That was so not cool of her.
The homecoming: Fortunately, Olivia did not stop breathing on my watch. And she wasn’t stolen from the nursery. And she was allowed to come home to a house with possible lead-based paint remnants and a non-functioning smoke detector.
It all ended well.
Well, for Olivia.
She is the one who is catered to 24-7. She is the one who gets to sleep whenever she dang-well pleases (which she does not take advantage of). Who doesn’t have to wait for the bathroom to be available before she takes a crap. Who never has to prepare her own meals. And who gets to relax all day wrapped up in a cozy blanket and warm hat.
Me, however, well, I’m not faring quite so well…
I’m quite jealous of those blankets and hats.