imagine this: it has been 72 hours since your mucus plug was forcibly removed without your consent by a bright lipstick wearing, gum chewing (complete with smacking), tasmanian devil-like moving doctor that has been in the business of extreme vaginal examinations since before you were born.
since then: your water broke 12 hours before your scheduled induction, thanks to the aforementioned doctor. you have been through 5 shift changes of doctors checking your cervix in the most painful and invasive way possible in hospital and 7 rounds of antibiotics because your gbs test was positive. due to distress of your child – for the first time throughout the entire pregnancy – and after 18 hours of labour, the oxytocin was turned off long enough for your contractions to stop and your child to chill only for it to be turned back on with a vengeance. your nurse told you for ages that you were not allowed to press the pain meds button as you wouldn’t be able to feel in order to push. after having had an epidural your left leg is still frozen solid, yet you were able to feel every millimetre of your episiotomy and subsequent suture stitching. you were unable to greet your child with skin-to-skin contact because the cord was round her neck so tightly a ‘code pink’ was called and the room filled with specialists co-ordinated to resuscitate her. you sat spaced out in your empty birthing room, a strange feeling of emptiness with your child now out of your body and into the world. during such time, your child was being cared for in the nic u and your room was being prepared. you went nearly 36 hours without eating during labour and had only managed to eat a protein bar before being given the opportunity to sleep. that was the best thing you had ever eaten in your life at 3:00am or any other time for that matter. you had your sister-in-law to thank for the suggestion of bringing snacks. you visited your beautiful baby on the way to your room from the surprising discomfort of a wheelchair and she was so high up in her plastic crib you couldn’t even see her face. instead you had to rely on the midwife informing you that your girl was hearing your voice and looking around for you as she wrapped her tiny hand round your index finger. you were told to get some sleep but just laid there in shock after all you had been through. you eventually fall asleep only to be awoken a couple of hours later by the plug removal doctor checking out your downstairs mix-up and her first comment is about how swollen you are [it had only been 4 hours since the main event]. you were told to eat breakfast and ask for some pain meds. you did as you were told.
you wanted to hold your baby. you wanted to sleep. you wanted to be home. you couldn’t even go to the bathroom without assistance because of your damned frozen leg. what you wanted was not important now.
that was my reality a few short months ago.
it may have seemed like a lot to endure but then the real star of the show entered my life in the form of music we are all familiar with:
dun dun dun dun
da da da da da dun du la dun dun
do do do doooo
dun du la dun dun
do do do doooo
dun du la dun dun
do do do do dooo
dun dun dun dun
the 20th century fox into. badly written out for your reading pleasure.
so the person sharing this room was watching a film on a laptop with no headphones. a bit inconsiderate but perhaps she just forgot her headphones and it was the day time after all.
intermittent sleep and visits to the nic u to breastfeed filled up my day. the freezing was finally wearing off. the doctor said my baby could join me the next day if all went well.
the curtain separated neighbour spent a lot of her day talking on the phone loudly and decided it was best to put the conversation on speaker phone so both sides of the discussion could be heard by all. the topics covered include a number of issues that were not particularly pressing and involved some gossip about who told who about her being in the hospital.
this was the maternity ward and this person had not given birth. confusing. at first i thought, like me, her baby must have been in the nic u. as the mindless conversation droned on, i came to realize she had some kind of lady parts infection and was mainly in hospital to receive intravenous anti-biotics.
i chalked this whole thing up to the fact she was young and that she had no idea about boundaries. i had no idea what i was in for over the next 48 hours.
i came back to the room after an 11:00pm feeding time arranged with the nurses for my perfect wee girl. i was more exhausted than i ever thought possible and was looking forward to some sleep before i was to return at 2:00am for the next boob session.
sleep was not a real option because my arrival was met with my roomie talking to a guy that was in the room. i figured it must be her husband because visiting hours had been over for some time.
nope. he was just some guy she had recently begun shagging. and in no uncertain terms they proceeded to discuss all of their ‘kills’ – which i learned means sex partners – and how people of their generation have sex before a relationship to test the waters.
‘that’s just how it works,’ i heard one of them say.
they also talked about ‘getting cheese’… i still have no idea what that means because even urban dictionary has not heard of that trendy phrase.
this was pretty messed up but i drowned them out by putting in headphones and listening to music.
after the 2:00 feeding, i walked back in the hopes that the two idiots had finished their conversation and were sleeping. no such luck. headphones back in.
once i returned from the 5:00 feeding, those morons were finally asleep. i rested.
later in the morning the male visitor left and the loud movies and phone calls continued. i heard her blame the noisy babies on the ward for her lack of sleep. i shook my head and laughed silently. she was the reason she didn’t get any sleep.
despite having very low apgar scores, my daughter was meeting milestones and reacting positively to all of the interventions taken to stabilize her enough to leave the nic u. she was able to join me in my room. i was hoping my roomie would be discharged. no luck there either.
the neighbour’s parents came to visit shortly after my daughter joined me in the room and they began talking very loudly immediately. i poked my head round the corner and asked them if they could talk more quietly as my girl was sleeping. i was told not to be shy and let her know at any point if she was disturbing me. that was laughable, she was disturbance personified.
the parents brought the usual clean clothes and comfort items to her. no headphones though.
i had to endure another night next to this ridiculous person. i thought i was in the clear, that the dude she was seeing wouldn’t come around as it was after 9:00pm. i was sure he wouldn’t be let in as visiting hours were over. i was wrong. he arrived around 11:00pm and all i wanted was my daughter to be safe and for us both to get some sleep.
no such luck. the same bullshit conversations continued. i learned she was an early childhood education major. that didn’t seem right after hearing her slagging off all of the babies.
i was up all night. part of it was being on hyper alert as a new mum, worried my daughter would spontaneously combust or some other horrible vision i may have had at the time. the mum fog was real. the other part of course was the weirdos on the other side of the sheet thin curtain.
there was chat of her being discharged and i was told i could leave the next day myself. i was hoping i would be allowed to leave early, or she would and i could get some respite.
again, i am not that lucky.
the stupid guy stayed all day. the parents came and he was lying in bed with her. and this is my favourite bit of the whole story… they saw this strange guy in their 21 year old daughter’s bed and asked who he was.
she just said ‘oh, this is phil.’ as if the whole family had known him for ages.
the mother asked if the hospital was ok with him being in the bed with her and the girl said something like ‘yeah, it’s no big deal’.
at one point i bashed my wheely table into phil’s foot. he didn’t say anything. it took a me a minute to realise i was hitting a person with the wheel of my table. that struck me as odd. i figured living things were able to respond to stimuli. obviously there are exceptions to the rule.
long story short, she was discharged less than an hour before i was.
i wanted to shout at these two. tell them they were inconsiderate a-holes. let the nurses know what i was dealing with. but i opted to keep quiet. in my strange mum haze i thought my freaking out would just stress out my daughter.
the car ride home felt like the longest one i had ever endured. i am just so happy i can look back on this crap as fairly funny over all. it is amazing what can be overheard in a shared hospital room.