Having a new baby makes doing anything (ok everything) more difficult. Having three children, one at school, is an absolute hand full. The day I came home from hospital, I was wishing that I had stayed longer, because they take care of things like meals and cleaning, and I didn’t have to do very much.
But then I remembered what it was like being in hospital.
For starters, labour sucked. I mean, it was REALLY painful. To be fair, that isn’t the fault of the hospital. Mostly it was about me, and my inability to handle the huge amounts of pain I was in, partly from being already very tired, but mostly because, well, it’s a huge amount of pain. I’ll spare you the details, but it felt a little like this:
Once that was all dealt with, and I had a wonderful, healthy little baby, I was still very tired. Suddenly the little things that usually just irritate me, began to grate on my nerves at a whole new level.
There is the hospital attitude to linen. I can understand with newborn babies, the need to swaddle.
New babies like to be swaddled. New mothers, however do not.
As if being strapped down by bed linen isn’t bad enough, the toilet paper in my bathroom was installed to run down the far side of the roll, against the wall. This is an abomination.
But the thing that stands out most is the interruptions. I was there for about 48 hours, during which time I should have slept for at least 16 hours. I think I may have managed 14 minutes in total. I wish I was exaggerating. It wasn’t because of any noise. (Not like last time). But because of constant interruptions.
There was the nurse who kept coming in to ask if I had been to the bathroom yet.
Then the people related to the new mother in the next bed, who kept passing me by and peering in.
The ritual of the breakfast tray lady, ridiculously punctual, serving breakfast at the crack of dawn.
By this point I was trailing a sleep deficit of about 3 weeks, due to the end of pregnancy generally sucking and pre-labour going on for the two days prior to labour actually kicking off. Eventually I cracked under the strain of fatigue. I asked the midwives to take my baby to the nursery where they would mind her for a few hours, so that I could get a little rest.
This apparently prompted more people to ooze out of the woodwork. Like the nurse who came in 20 minutes later, JUST AS I WAS FALLING ASLEEP, and said “I’ll just give you this before you take your nap”.
Apparently word of my nap was getting around, because she was followed by another midwife who wanted to see if I needed any pain killers (paracetamol, sadly, not the cool ones) in order to help me sleep.
Curiously-Prompt Lunch Lady then came back.
At which point the midwife brought back my baby because she was starting to get hungry.
Well, that was thoroughly pointless.
Later in the day, a midwife asked how I was feeling, and I said “tired.” I saw no reason to hesitate. She said “we could mind your baby in the nursery for a while if you like, to let you get some peace and quiet.” I said, honestly, “the baby isn’t the problem.”. I did not take up the offer, I couldn’t bear to get my hopes up again.
However the day ended well, and eventually there was one interruption I was very pleased about.
Although I never did get a wink of sleep in that hospital.