September 29th, 2009


the birthing story: book two, chapter three.

you thought i was finished, didn't you.

after a fitful couple of hours of sleep with hourly interruptions, it was morning and i had just spent my first night away from oliver. during the course of the night, back at the condo, my father was replaced by brian's mother and i'm sure that added wonderfully to oliver's confusion upon waking.

the pediatrician came by for her first visit and told me how perfect my child was.

then, when grandma tried to leave and bring oliver to the hospital, there was a snafu whereby the knob to the front door got locked (she didn't have that key) and then grandma couldn't secure the car seat she had brought with her and had to call brian to come help, but they had to wait in the car because it's a jillion and eighty degrees here and the only relief is to find shade under a cloud of mosquitos. or in grandma's car.

in the meantime, my parents came by on their way back to tyler and brought mara and donnie with them. eventually, grandma and brian and oliver made it and everyone cleared the room except for us four so that we could introduce violet to oliver. he immediately climbed up on to the bed with me while violet was in her plastic basket thing on the other side of the bed. i tried to remind oliver about mommy's big tummy and the baby sister violet we kept going on and on about, but it all seemed to be going over his head and he just had this confused smile plastered on his face while he kept peeking around. violet gave him a stuffed bunny with a carrot and a big brother tshirt. and then, oliver was all hey! look at those industrial-sized fans out there on the rooftop! and i threw my hands into the air and fed his bunny the carrot.

everyone filed back in and oliver bounced around on the bed and tried to kill me for a little while and then my parents and mara and donnie left and brian took his mom and oliver back. by this point, i had already consumed my pleasant enough hospital breakfast, but was still awaiting my culinary reward for giving birth. brian returned with vegetable masala from roti cafe. we didn't return to mint for this baby, since we found out they like to put the juice of dead and decaying fish in all their food. in three years, i wonder what i'll find out is being put into the vegetable masala.

eventually, my sister's family arrived before heading back to tyler and the baby was passed around some more.

eventually, darren and paul arrived and the baby was passed around some more.

i was pretty tired and hungry and scarfed down a portobella sandwich and fruit.

of course, all day there had been non-stop visits to check my blood pressure and temperature and try to give me gel-coated stool softeners and prenatal vitamins of questionable source and pain killers/anti-inflammatories (i took those!) and to harrass violet. they give you this chart to meticulously mark when you breastfeed and on which side and for how long. i filled it out religiously and probably for weeks with oliver. i would've done it while in the hospital with violet, for the comfort of the nurses who were really into the chart, but NO ONE WOULD EVER GIVE ME A DAMN PEN. you would think they would've grown weary of standing there with THEIR PEN held in the air while i stared into space and said "uh...uh...uh" trying to remember when violet was where and for how long. i was sleep deprived and every hour ran into the next. oh, and IT DOESN'T REALLY MATTER, SHE'S FINE, BUT FEEL FREE TO BRING ME A PEN IF YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW. so, i'd mention i'd love to write it down, but no one's bringing me a pen. and whichever person i was telling that to would also proceed to not bring me a pen. to be fair, the night nurse who came in right after the birth did give me a pen. but then i think she got confused during her visit an hour later and ended up taking it back. so, NO PEN.

they let you sleep a hair more during your second night by only coming every other hour. and it helped that my night didn't start at 4am this time. i was super sad that oliver did not get to come up a second time that day, so i called him on the cellular to wish him a good night. grandma stayed over again and i'm sure that was just peaches in his book.

so, monday morning happened along and, considering i was getting no sleep, i kept hassling brian and trying to get him to rise and shine already since he was supposed to hop on home and help his mom get oliver ready for summer school. he finally left and i spent the next several hours sitting with violet and dozing off to sleep for 5-10 minutes at a time. i did not bother reclining to sleep or turning on the television or picking up my unread book because the visits from all manner of peoples had begun to increase in earnest and the sport of which i had decided to partake was waiting to see who would be popping in next. there were at least three visits from nurses to check on the two of us, including the pku toe stick. the pediatrician showed up. dr bernstein, OB, showed up. room service brought me breakfast. room service picked up breakfast dishes. a rather creepy chaplain showed up and left me a brochure featuring god. an elderly lady showed up representing the senior citizens for immunizations. a woman came in to pick up the birthing forms i hadn't yet filled out and then she came back again after i had filled them out (i wonder where i got the pen). a baby photographer came by to drop off a package price list and the prices left me saying no thank you, but it didn't matter because she never came back. mind you, this was all in the course of maybe two hours.

the barrage of knock knocking on my door was so ceaseless, it took several days at home of waking up to non-existent knocks to stop hearing them. i didn't answer the door on one occasion because i had thought the knocking was a figment of my imagination.

brian finally showed back up and we took some photos and some video and started packing things up.

i noticed as time wore on, the people we encountered became more strange (see some of them listed above). there was this one nurse working who i believe originated from the middle east and seemed to be as constantly perplexed by my behavior as i was by hers. first off, i had difficulty understanding her. second, she was very insistent. she actually talked me into taking two pain pills instead of one even though i had only been taking one all along and not even on schedule at that. this annoyed me. she was astounded i didn't want the prenatal vitamin she was offering even after i told her i had my own. she looked at me like i was a crazy person. she did an exam at one point and asked me if my milk had come in and i said no and she squished my boobs and very much wanted me to take a shower and wear a bra. i was a little astounded and put off by these comments, but think i sussed out their reasoning later: i think the little lady who changes sheets waits for you to get in the shower and, it turned out, my milk had come in super fast. though, i have no idea why you would need to wear a bra just because your milk had come in. i suppose because that's how they did it hundreds and thousands of years ago. otherwise, your baby dies. we had received one too many immunization packets from the senior citizen and one of those enfamil baby bags, like we already had from oliver, and i left these on a counter. the nurse was dumbfounded that i was leaving these behind. she seemed to not know who the senior citizen was and told me about the bag.. "it's free." this was also the nurse who wheeled me out through the serpentine corridors. i did not enjoy this. she practically dumped me out by the side of the road. special moments.

anyhow, despite luxuriating in the clinical sterileness of a hospital room and having portobella sandwiches brought to me whenever i desired them, i was pretty pleased to get the hell out of there. and the OB had even okayed it for me to stay another night, since technically, we arrived after midnight the first night.

there were some improvements over a couple of things, which had really gotten under my skin when i was there with oliver. the first night, i had had this crazy night nurse. feel free to go back three years and look up her story; but basically, we went through this huge rigamarole to get me and my dead leg to the bathroom and it was really awful. this time, the nurse was all, oh no... we NEVER move a patient with dead leg. and they just left my catheter in until i could walk on my own. the only downside was not being numb for catheter removal. still preferable to the crazy night nurse's methods.

the other irritating thing had been a nursery nurse coming in when brian was out of the room to demonstrate how to pound on a baby's back until it cries in order to dislodge an object. and she demonstrated this ON OLIVER. like, for real. until he cried. and i was mortified and not quite grown into being a mother and felt like i was in middle school and couldn't go against the teacher and then she told me i had to do it. again. ON OLIVER. i only did half-heartedly because i couldn't believe that shit and i asked her to wait for brian and she wouldn't. so then, brian comes in and she has him do it. A THIRD TIME. ON OLIVER. AND BRIAN DID IT. FOR REAL. as the months wore on, more and more steam came from my ears over this and i couldn't believe that i hadn't grabbed my newborn from that monster and bitch slapped her right on her face until she cried.

no one ever came in to my room to suggest such craziness while i was there with violet. i began wondering if my first visit had been during a security compromise in the psych ward and the crazies had leaked on over to our department.

i also did not have any nurses telling me i was basically dehydrating my baby by not producing milk or freaking out that i had possibly been asleep with the baby in my bed.

and that is the story of how i came to have two babies.