Thursday, September 15, 2011

2 1/2 days at St Peters

Manya was born at 12:50 AM. After childbirth, a mother is routinely given a stay of 2 midnights. Thanks to those 50 minutes we were able to stay Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. 51 minutes earlier and technically we'd only be able to stay Tuesday and Wednesday. Not that it mattered because we were officially about to enter the land of the zombies that I've been floating in and out of for the past four some odd weeks and couldn't tell you if it were Tuesday, Friday or Bastille Day.

After a baby is born the nurses like to put them under an egg heating lamp to make sure they're ready to survive in the world. I don't think it works very well as most newborns I've seen look subdued to say the least. Their eyes float around in their head moving in opposite directions, the head flops around as though being operated by a drunken puppeteer. Hell, horses stand within minutes of being born, and most amphibians are born fully functional, yet humans just lie there unable to roll over, screaming with frustration.

Apparently my child also wasn't a great fan of these tests. As soon as she was brought over to the heating table she sought out revenge against those who pulled her away from her warm, dark comfort. Three nurses set to work on cleaning her with towels (normally there's one but we had the SWAT team running point on this one) and she promptly projectile pooed across all three creating the most unusual scene as two nurses cleaned the baby while one nurse simultaneously cleaned baby and the other nurses. Clean, weighed, swaddled and fitted with a cute blue and pink gangsta do-rag (Jersey is weird I guess [see last pic from prior post]) there was a solid hour of momma-baby time and then I somehow found myself in the nursery to 'oversee' the baby's first bath and basic exam.

Besides the fact that I just brought my first child into the world, was dreadfully exhausted and my parents and brother were on the other side of a glass partition watching the two of us as if we were a zoo exhibit, some other new father had been wrangled into the nursery with his newborn as well. This 6'4, lanky, slightly awkward and totally alert young man was a talker. Now I have never claimed to be a decent small talker with acquaintances never mind strangers. I'm fine for 20-25 seconds and then my mind drifts into a plethora of strange thoughts, ideas and day dreams. Its difficult for me to focus at times especially when the adrenaline is leaving my blood stream and my vision is blurry from sleep deprivation. My head was probably bobbing like his newborn daughters but that didn't stop him.

One hour I was there. Trapped behind the glass wall with two screaming babies (Manya was perfectly content but his baby was angry at the world and apparently someone forgot their baby or was asking for a refund because there was a lone soul camped out in the corner, and s/he wasn't pleased with the lack of attention) and the talker. This mouthpiece just had his second girl, had wanted a boy, had refused the Vitamin K shot, was entirely against vaccines, drove to Pennsylvania to buy he family special whole milk from specific cows(WHA?!?), blah blah blah... yea I get it, you're all about being all-natural. And his wife is resting and coming down from her epidural because she loves the drugs during childbirth. Normally I wouldn't bat an eye but firstly, I didn't say a word (probably because I was focusing on maintaining my balance as chairs don't exist in the nursery and I would have paid $50 for a seat) and a man who is deathly afraid of vaccines and Vitamin K shots is perfectly okay with injecting his wife's spine with pain meds? (Excuse me?) Maybe I was dreaming but that sounds like a paradox to me.

For all the nonsense we had to deal with from the Labor and Delivery staff, the Nursery ward was phenomenal. They were helpful, considerate, supportive, positive and sensitive. We couldn't have asked for a better experience, just a little more sleep. Between the nurses and techs, specialists and visitors, never mind the newborn, there wasn't a sleep session that lasted longer than and hour and a half straight. Who really needs to take blood at 4:12 AM? All of it was done with the best intentions but the three days were more for observation than actual rest and recovery. My personal joy has been meticulously logging every feeding and bowel movement for the last four weeks with time and duration (no, not mine, I forget about those quickly and decisively).

Breastfeeding is always an adventure. Apparently many women have issues with breastfeeding. Despite thousands of years of women breastfeeding, they never tell/warn young women all the fun that comes with a newborn. Latch issues, soreness issues, injured nipples, consistency, milk supply, leakage, ect. Sarah didn't have many issues with breastfeeding but dear lord is that a lot of possibly extremely stressful variables that could and often do go wrong (to no fault of anyone). The stories, why are they only told AFTER the baby has been born, never mind the horror of the healing process of going from pregnant to birth to normal body again. Ah, life.

Hey lets hear it for newborns, all 6 lbs of them. And by 6 lbs I mean that's how much they poop and pee each day. Holy shit, 'here comes the poop' is right. Not only do they wait until you're changing them to spray (imagine if I was dealing with a boy) but the first 60-80 poops are meconium aka black tar that sticks to skin, cloth and everything else. To make matters worse, when it stops being that evil satanic sticky tar, its simply mustard seedy liquid that apparently has a max speed of 48 mph and can catapult over 6 feet with the strength to shoot off unfastened Size 1 diapers. I was tempted to call the Guinness people (the book not the beer) but for some reason I feel like god's practical joke is to make all baby's sphincters the strongest muscle in their body.

Additionally if you're not on top of the diaper changes every 20-30 seconds a newborn will fill their diaper so rapidly that it'll reach maximum absorbency and literally shoot green/yellow poop out of their diaper in a wave of pure madness. My good friend Josh termed the phrase "Poo-Na-Mi" (trademark pending) to describe the true disastrous implications of said tragic and unruly misfortune for all unfortunate parents. These Poo-Na-Mis are seldom quiet and always heart-stopping. The trepidation I feel when discovering that the latest explosion somehow engulfed my daughters onesie up to her throat and simultaneously filled her socks must be seen to fully comprehend. Simply put, she defeats physics once or twice a week.


  1. You think you had a SWAT team. Give birth in a taxi in front of the hospital and you will see a SWAT team.