In my usual spirit of telling stories creepy enough to curdle the fur on a poodle, I was reminded today of my last experience with birthing a child. It's a little story I like to call "Wandering the Halls in a Stained Nightie Looking for My Baby." (Soon to be released on Lifetime Movie Network.)
The place: Lawrence Hospital, Bronxville, NY. The story of the actual birth event is not so exciting. Everything went grandly. So grandly, in fact, that I recall slurring in a drug-induced stupor, "The baby is crowning? Reeeeeaally?" Now that's a good birth experience. When the baby (soon to become My German Changeling Child) was handed to me, I did have this ominous thought about his looks: "Well, we'll love him anyway." But the little mite is now 2 1/2 and really terribly cute, despite his propensity to gnaw the noses off stuffed animals and speak in a guttural German accent. So if your newborn baby is ugly don't despair.
It was after the birth that things started to go downhill. I was moved to a shared room with a nitwit who had just given birth to a 5 1/2-pound nubbin named Johnny. Although hospital policy prohibited more than a few visitors at a time, this woman had people come in tour buses to troop through her room. They came in batches of 10-15 people at a time, with all their kids in tow, to ooh and ahh over wretched little Johnny in his bassinet.
When the loutish kids walked in they all tracked mud through my side of the room, despite the flimsy "privacy curtain." They dropped candy wrappers and got in mock fights over my bed while I tried to get the baby to latch on. Some of them opened the drawers and rooted through them (looking for free used blankies or nighties?), or took the rubber gloves from the box on the wall and snapped them at each other like slingshots. Some of the commentary from their awful parents went like this:
"He's a precious, poifect angel!"
"What a dawwwllbaby!"
"Bet you can't wait to have a Corona, honey!"
A frickin' Corona? How about a double dirty martini with three olives, stirred please?
Little Miss Twatlet was not nursing, so she fell blissfully asleep while the nurses took Johnny away to feed him bottles all night long. I sat there awake all night long and struggled to nurse my own baby; it was not going well. When the nurse arrived I asked plaintively, "Is there a lactation consultant on staff?"
"A what?" she wondered.
"A lactation consultant. Someone who can help you with problems nursing."
"Um, channel 5 on TV," she mumbled."Everything you need on TV."
The TV channel showed some dowdy, fat-breasted women blissfully nursing their infants with no troubles at all. No one else could help. I struggled on mightily, only feeling happiness when the girl next door awoke in the night groaning in pain.
"I towaah [translation: tore]...I towaah!" she hissed to the nurse. "When the baby came out I towaah down theeeaah. It hoits!" Apparently, her 5 1/2-pound lumplet of a baby had shot out so fast, right through the air into the doctor's arms, that he tore her stem to stern, as they say. Hehhehe.
She whimpered like that for the next day or so. Meanwhile, I was suffering even more. At about 4 am I rang for the nurse and asked her to take the baby away for one hour so I could rest.
"Give him bottle?" she said sweetly.
I knew this was a bad idea, but I was desperate. "Yes, just one bottle! And then bring him right back!"
I woke up about 4 hours later and asked for the baby. No one knew where he was. "Find him!" I said, but no one could seem to track him down. He was either with the doctor, or being weighed, or being fed another bottle. "No...no more bottles!" I cried, but the nurses stared at me blankly. After more time had passed, I determined to find him myself. I dug around in the drawers but the Twatlet's evil visitors had stolen all the clean gowns. So in my still-bloodied gown I got up and shuffled down fluorescent hallways, seeking my baby. "Where's my baby!" I shrieked to the nurses. No one knew.
I peeked into the nursery, which had its shades drawn so I couldn't see any babies at all. Finally someone stopped me and asked me what I was doing wandering about. I was escorted back to my room and told to wait and the baby would arrive within seconds. At least an hour or two later, he was finally returned, fat on formula and good as new. I, however, was ready to kill 'em all, especially the Twatlet, who had just received a fresh tour bus of visitors who trooped past my bed, paused, and stared at me as I resumed my painful and humiliating attempts to nurse the baby. Yes, some of them just stood there and stared. I got on the phone with a friend: "My room is filled with ASSHOLES," I said, loudly enough for them to hear. Pretty soon everybody left in a hurry.
When my own 21-month old visited with his daddy, we encouraged him to scream his loudest...for any reason at all. "Go ahead, let it ALL out," we said wickedly, as he howled like mad, and little Lumplet Johnny woke from his slumbers with a piercing cry.
Baby Three is due for release on or around May 10, 2008. The very day that someone will be mixing that ice-cold martini for me. You might as well make the second one while you're at it.