Let this be said: I have a new found appreciation, respect, and admiration for pregnant women everywhere. Not just because of the whole "forcing-something-the-size-of-a-cantaloupe-out-of-something-the-size-of-a-lemon" thing, but because of all of the waiting around, immobility, discomfort and general stress that expectant mommies are under. That said, I'm totally either hiring a surrogate or adopting - if it's good enough for Brangelina and their Benetton ad family, it's good enough for this girl.
Amy Poehler said it best in "Baby Mama" when she said "you can't come back from that", and I concur. Plus, one day I'd eventually like my husband to look at me romantically again instead of picturing a scene out of 'Alien', so I'm outsourcing that shizz and there's nothing anyone can say to talk to me out of it.
Since the whole 'timeline' format seemed to be a big crowd pleaser in the reunion blog posting, http://waitingfortheupswing.blogspot.com/2008/11/hello-my-name-isawkward.html I think I'll stick with that to describe the birth of my nephew. Here's how the lil' man's arrival went down, top to bottom:
12:30pm I arrive at the hospital and navigate the confusing twists, turns and hallways that led to the labor and delivery wing. I felt like I was in the Labyrinth, I kept expecting to see David Bowie at the other end. Instead I just found my Mom in the waiting room, surrounded by a gaggle of Hasidic Jewish people. Apparently, every Hasidic woman in the greater NYC area was giving birth that day too, and their husbands and relatives were kickin' it next to my little Italian Mom. Priceless.
12:35pm I've been given the 'your sister is going to start pushing soon' debriefing already by mom and notice an older couple in the corner (obviously expectant grandparents) relaying to their relatives via cell phone the status of their daughter and son-in-law and how he's 'holding up pretty well'. That strikes me as funny, since a few moments later when he enters the waiting room, he's holding up about as well as an Olsen twin in a wind storm.
12:38pm Son-in-law comes bursting into the waiting room, talking a mile and minute and nervously pushing his glasses up the bridge of the nose. His hands shake, he makes over dramatic arm gestures, he flies about like a little tornado with a yarmulke on it. After a few moments, the hurricane blows back into the delivery room and all is quiet again.
1pm My sister is officially in the throes of labor, with an epidural that has only worked on one of her sides, not her whole lower body. She is my new hero. I am glad I'm not her.
1:20pm My other sister arrives, I tell her about the yarmulke tornado, shortly thereafter he arrives as if on cue, throws open a suitcase his In Laws have at their feet. He ransacks it, retrieves a few items, talks like the MicroMachines guy to wifey's parents then flees as quickly as he came. We're exhausted just watching him.
2pm We have officially called every relative we have to alert them of the situation, my sister and I are getting sick of watching "Deal or No Deal" on the waiting room television, and my Mom is starting to panic due to lack of updates. She starts hounding nearby nurses for information. She is what I would call 'not handling the worry very well.'
3:10pm My mom has found the only Catholic person in the waiting room (a very sweet, very tiny Mexican lady with a large language barrier) and they are clutching rosary beads and praying together. Yup, if you know my mom, this seems about right.
3:30pm My mom has gone from pacing so badly that she's wearing a path in the hospital floor tiles, to pleading with any nearby medical personnel for information about my sister. Apparently, this hospital wasn't big on keeping families in the loop, my sister is now panicked as well.
4pm Hurricane Yarmulke blows through one last time, his wife has had the baby, he is now eating loudly like someone with loose dentures (my BIGGEST pet peeve) and causing a general disruption. I am tempted to yell to his baby that it should've stayed put had it known what its Daddy would be like, but I think better of it. Congrats, now please use a napkin.
4:35 pm My mother is now staring through the window of the hospital door and about an inch away from grabbing orderlies by the shirt collar and demanding some answers a la Adam Sandler voice. Even I'm getting worried by now, she's been pushing for over the recommended 3 hour limit and still no baby. A bevy of nurses and doctors keep going in and out of her hospital room, this can't be good...
5:20pm A super prego woman walks into the waiting room for an appointment to be induced. She looks very uncomfortable, everyone there quickly tries to do whatever necessary to keep her happy - want the remote control? need a drink of water? want us to do your taxes? hell, whatever it takes. She is my second hero and watching her confirms my plan to adopt.
5:45pm My nice, sweet, God-fearing faithful Catholic mother is beside herself and plotting the death of every person in the maternity ward if she doesn't get answers - and fast. Even her rosary friend is getting teary eyed for us, the scene is getting ugly.
6:01pm A merciful (and most likely terrified of my mom) nurse whispers that the baby has been born, she isn't supposed to tell us but she wants to put our mind's at ease. She says they'll come out soon to announce it, Mommy and Daddy are just spending a moment together with baby before we are allowed inside. We all breathe a sigh of relief, the nearby families wish us "Mazel Tov."
6:30pm We get to meet our very new, very swollen, very adorable little man. My sister, still in a drug haze, just keeps repeating how happy she is that it's over. Her son is over 8lbs, which when she was not pregnant would've accounted for about 10% of her whole body weight (the jerk). She also did it the old fashioned way, which means that both mom and baby are gangsta and earned every bit of their battle scars and the respect of every nurse in the ward. I vow free and unlimited babysitting for life, my brother in law snaps the first of the 15 million photos he'll be taking over the next 3 days (or rather 30 years). We all exhale.
Over the next 2 days, we spend every waking minute at the hospital. We ooooh, we ahhhhh, we coo at him and make funny voices. He just lays there like a very adorable, very swaddled baby burrito, and is essentially (in the words of another new mother) "a very cute paperweight." It's OK, my Mom is head over heels in the love with the little peanut and has already told my sister to go make another one, this one's hers (PS, I'm pretty sure this kid will be an only child unless my sister has a very short memory span for pain). I decide that eating hospital food will make a healthy person sick, and make multiple sandwich runs across the street. I also notice how my brother in law is in love with all the wall-mounted hand sanitizer dispensers and signs that say "Clean Hands Save Lives." This is clearly validation for him of his obsessive use of Purell and I'm just waiting for him to start installing the dispensers in their apartment. I'm also fairly sure people will have to don a HazMat suit with covered shoes to touch the baby, cold and flu season + baby immune system = yikes.
The 'Lo Jack' device that the babies wear on their ankles while in the hospital is also very amusing to me, I understand not wanting to confuse the little bald infant clones, but scanning them with bar codes ten times a day? I guess it's to prevent crazy baby lovers from going all klepto, you'd think any sane person would hear them all crying and abstain from taking extras home.
I also notice how nervous and attentive new parents are (and rightfully so), and how everything they do is compared to what 'the book says' or what the other mothers in the class do, or what their friends told them. I don't know what a Lactation Specialist is, but apparently that's a real job and they're all the rage - what do indigenous mothers in third world countries do without manuals and nursing coaches? The travesty! I'm pretty sure if you swaddle the kid incorrectly his head won't fall off, but what do I know. And don't even get me started on breast feeding!! If I had a dollar for every time I've heard the word 'breast' or 'nipple' in the past few days, honestly. I just love how it suddenly becomes socially acceptable for people to publicly discuss young mothers' breast feeding woes in an open forum, in the hospital cafe my mother launched into a conversation with a total stranger about it and the woman made suggestions like "well is he latching to the nipple? maybe put more of it in his mouth, she can always use a pump if her breasts aren't cooperating". Yeah, remind me to kill myself or everyone around me if my boobs are ever up for committee discussion.
So there you have it. At the moment, my new favorite man is at home asleep (or, not asleep probably) and I plan on spending as much time watching him do nothing as humanly possible in the coming weeks. Job? What's that? I'd much rather watch him baby yawn or discover his fingers and toes. And that's about it on the baby front so far, my sister and her husband are exhausted, I've come to the realization that I am a huge wimp compared to pregnant women, and I've also embraced the fact that my family doesn't do "calm" well. At all. Which, all things considered - and please feel free to refer to my posting about our house catching fire - I guess I already knew http://waitingfortheupswing.blogspot.com/2008/04/thats-hot.html Here's a picture of the only part of the cutie that I can safely post without compromising his privacy, voila.
Still waiting for the upswing...