I’ve never been too keen on hospitals, a feeling which was confirmed after the birth of my first.
Sixteen hours of labor that culminated in an emergency c-section, school cafeteria quality food, (complete with mystery meat and warm mush) a nurse who left a baby with clueless me (looking and feeling much like a deer in headlights) and showers with faucets that were temperature controlled so no one could burn themselves (or take that much needed hot shower.)
After four days in hospital hell, I swore that I would never enter another hospital for as long as I lived.
Fast forward two years later and baby number two was on the way. This was a baby they said I couldn’t have, medically speaking, so as if the stress of an unexpected high risk pregnancy wasn’t enough, I was having flashbacks of my first hospital experience. Bad memories aside, by the time I was eight months along, I began counting down to the four days in the hospital just to get a break from home. Even though the food would be mediocre, the shower lukewarm and the help lacking, I had a daughter in the depths of the terrible twos and nothing could be worse than that. Plus, I knew when this baby would arrive thanks to the doctor agreeing to schedule my c-section.
When the day came, everything was so calculated and smooth. From the valet parking to the registration, right down to the epidural for surgery – it was a TOTALLY different experience than my first time there. Before my new baby girl was 20 minutes old, I was already nursing. I enjoyed the most delicious hot meal that evening. A nurse was in every hour to rub my swollen feet. And I stood under the steamiest, hottest shower I think I’ve ever taken.
Hold the phone just a cotton-picking second. This wasn’t a hospital stay at all; this was a pleasure cruise!
I was doing so well by day three that they wanted to send me home. I instantly began to cry right there in front of the doctor when he told me. Unsure how to handle my post-partum emotional outburst, he called for my nurse to come in while he checked on another room. After the nurse calmed me down, she asked why I got so upset about going home early. I whined my very best whine and said, “But…but… I want to stay! I don’t want to go home! My vacation isn’t over yet!”
Before her shift ended that evening, my nurse brought me the most delicious hot chocolate and gave me the best hug. Then she took the baby to the nursery and told me to get as much sleep as I could. And I did just that. I popped a Percocet, sipped my hot chocolate, watched TV alone and I slept for a solid nine hours. Smooth sailing!
The next morning, I tearfully packed up our things and we went home. That’s when reality hit – HARD. I had no staff that came with a call bell. I didn’t have a chef at my beck and call. There was no night nanny. The TV was on a constant loop of cartoons. My coffee was cold. And I was, once again, peeing with an audience. My ship had run aground.
It’s been a year since my second baby was born, and not a day goes by that I don’t dream about being rich and famous enough to emulate the amazing experience I had in the hospital the second time around. Until then, I will cherish that four day “vacation” to give birth since it was as close as I’ve come to a real vacation in a very, very long time.
S.S. Motherhood … when giving birth is a break from reality. Welcome aboard!