Thursday, December 21, 2006

Part One: The Hospitalening

Not like I'm all organized and shit with the parts. I am going to forget all kinds of stuff here and do a bad job. but read on! some things might be funny!

November 29, 2006

We battled late takeoffs with short connections to arrive in Shelbyville, USA in the early afternoon. It was warm, not Novemberlike to me at all. We jumped in our rental car (smelled strongly of cigarettes) and drove to Babies R Dumb to buy a carseat (subsidized by Great-Grandma McLazy: "get the safest most expensive one"). Unable to decipher the instructions, we left it lying crazily in the backseat, hoping no one would notice and call CPS on us. No baby, no foul, right?

We checked into the motel and rang up Suzanne, the expectant mom we'd met three weeks before. We got a disconnect message. Which, of course, made us plenty nervous. But we called the social worker and learned that she was doing well and would check into the hospital at 5 AM the next day. We were to accompany her and DON'T BE LATE. A sleepless night.

November 30, 2006
The nauseating hour of 4:30 AM arrived and we walked the three blocks to the hospital, where we found an unstaffed registration desk and no Suzanne. We wandered the halls of the place for a while until we found her waiting by the desk, wondering where the hell the registration clerk was at this hour. A call to the ER (always staffed) and someone appeared to check her in for her surgery. We walked up to the L&D unit and were shown to the waiting room, which smelled strongly of pee.

You imagine yourself in this situation and tell me if you could sit still. I could not. We passed out truffles to the nurses, hoping to bribe them into treating us well, which turned out to be unneccessary since they were all just about the nicest people on earth.

Eventually I went to the bathroom. Which also smelt of pee. When I returned, Octuplet Dazzle told me to run and get my bracelet, because the baby was born.

While I stood swooning, they strapped my bracelet on my wrist and tried to explain to me that the baby was having trouble breathing, or, as the nurse put it, "being a pain in the butt." We followed his bassinet down the hall to the intermediate nursery...not the NICU but one step down from that. "Wait about 30 minutes," they said at the door, which then was shut and locked. We couldn't even see inside, but we stood outside shaking as we called my mother. "How big? How long? what time?" We knew nothing.

Hours later, we were finally admitted to the intermediate nursery. Nurse Dire Predictions talked about holes in the heart, apnea, oxygen at 70%, blah blah blah. Where was the doctor? Not there*.

The baby, who we barely dared to call our own Godot, had IV with antibiotics, oxygen cannula, and a feeding tube. Later we would learn that most of this was excess treatment by a kind of old fashioned hospital. But at the time...poor baby. They let us hold him if we wore gowns and gloves.

We spent the rest of the day by his bedside and with Suzanne, who was in some pain besides being ravenous and not allowed to eat yet.

*Small world tidbit: the doctor was at a conference with my grandfather, in DC, at that very moment.

December 1, 2006

In and out of the Intermediate Nursery all day (you have to wash your hands for three whole minutes every time) and out just to get food for us and for Suzanne. We watched TV and she talked about her family and music and other regular things.

They let us hold him without gowns.

In the evening we went out to find a computer to upload the first pictures. While we were at Kinko's, the social worker called us to tell us to "let Suzanne get some rest". I was terrified that we had somehow overstayed our welcome in her room and had bothered her. Five minutes later she called us asking us to please come back and bring a fish sandwich. So I guess we weren't that bad.

December 2, 2006

This would normally have been the day that Godot got out of the hospital. But they still weren't discussing discharge. We booked another night at the motel. We met Richard, Godot's father, who came to stay the night with Suzanne. He was kind of quiet but sat and watched TV with us and did a crossword puzzle and had some chicken wings.

Suzanne was discharged around noon. She came to say goodbye to us as we sat by Godot's bed. I cried a tiny bit.

I started to get a rash from the hospital soap and the three minute scrubs.

December 3, 2006

They took Godot off the oxygen. We really thought he would be able to go home, but the nurses wouldn't talk about discharge yet. With Suzanne gone, we spent most of the day with Godot, and out doing errands. We bought food to cook in the motel.

I made ramen in the motel room coffee pot.

December 4, 2006

More of same. Baby OK. Us tired and afraid to leave the hospital even for a little while. Every errand seemed to take ninety minutes, we got so lost in the city and couldn't find parking. We were tired and cried. I cried to my mom. I cried in the motel. I cried in the car.

December 5, 2006

Today they said that he would not go home until friday. When I reported this to my mother, she was furious and called my grandfather to tattle. (A little boasting, a little background: my grandfather is a neonatalogist and a big shot one too. He was running a conference in DC that week) My grandfather demanded the name of the doctor, who we still hadn't seen (he was at the conference).

The baby was eating regular style now instead of the feeding tube.

We moved to a cheaper hotel.

December 6, 2006

We finally met the doctor. I name-dropped and he promised to call my grandfather. The baby was off oxygen, eating well, and healthy. He agreed that we could leave the next day.

Driving away that night I cried, because even though the nurses were nice and kind and very good, I knew that they didn't have time to hold him every time he cried. And we weren't there.

December 7, 2006

We got up early and went to the hospital. We waited until noon, feeding, changing, and bothering the baby. Taking endless pictures. Finally the social worker arrived to take custody of the baby and drive him to the foster home--we were to follow in our own car. We were not allowed to drive the baby anywhere.

One more heel stick, one more test, one more lost paperwork and we were good to go.

Next: part 2: The Fosterening


Lisa V said...

Congratulations on the beautiful baby!

Clementine said...

Reading this gives me chills. Many blessings to you, Octuplet, and Godot!