Our time in the hospital was one of nervousness in the beginning as we were both wondering how exactly the whole baby delivery thing would go and whether I could avoid passing out. The long awaited moment to meet Little Browne had us filled with indescribable joy and worry over how he would be health wise. After the C-section my concerns went immediately to the well being of Annie and her recovery. By the end of our three day stay in the hospital I was filled with frustration and resentment toward the medical system.
On Monday, the 15th of October, when I got to put my wife and baby boy in the car and bring them home I drove like hell away from the hospital and didn’t look back. We were so excited to get away from “the system” that Annie and I were high-fiving on the drive home…finally, we could be a family and stop having people’s opinions dropped on us like pigeon shit falling from the sky.
Now, I shall explain more in depth.
I will preface this with the fact that the nurses, our doctor, and other hospital staff did their jobs and did them well…and by well I mean that my wife and son are happy, healthy, and safely home with me.
The Specifics about our Hospital Experience
In regards to our doctor, once she actually gets in front of you and you’re eyeball to eyeball with her she is unbelievably awesome. The problem, however is that in the ten months that we were in her care she was never on time. Don’t get me wrong, I understand she is busy and emergencies come up but I’m skeptical that there was an emergency every single time we were supposed to meet with her. It’s possible…but I’m still skeptical. My personal opinion is that time is valuable for each person, it is no less valuable for me than it is for her…so let’s have some respect for one another and communicate when things are running late rather than simply leaving us cooped up, waiting in a 10 x 12 room.
In regards to the nursing staff at the hospital, I liked them…really I did. They made this nervous little man feel quite calm and comfortable even when I thought my demise was near (I don’t do well with blood and guts or anything medical). Here are the issues that I did have with the nursing staff…
1) I told at least one (but I believe two, hard to remember in the chaos of the day) nurse that when they took my son and myself into the recovery room after the C-section, that I did not want anyone else to see or hold him until Annie got to. I felt bad for Annie as she had to stay in the operating room for an additional 40 minutes after Sammy and I left so they could finish the surgery. She couldn’t hold him or look at him other than the quick “hey here’s your son, now we gotta go in the other room”. I understand that’s how it had to be, but then, as he and I walked to the recovery room to wait for Annie, the nurses opened some double doors and let several family members see the baby and take photos and video…I understand many of you may not think it’s a big deal but my wish was for only Annie and I to be with our boy and for Annie to have those initial moments together…we can never get that day back and it just frustrates me that the nurses did not respect my wish on that.
2) After Annie finally got into the recovery room they put Sammy on her chest, skin to skin…a normal thing to do for bonding and breast feeding, I get that. My issue is that a nurse came over and started grabbing Annie’s breast and nipple, WITHOUT ASKING OR TELLING US WHAT SHE WAS DOING, and proceeded to get the boy latched on. Again, I understand but it was very disrespectful from my viewpoint and crossed a line of privacy and decency. If she had communicated with us and asked us if that was okay we could have made that decision. Call me a prude or whatever, I am certainly a modest person when it comes to things like this. There were three to four nurses in the room along with Annie, me, and the baby…this should have been handled better, period.
3) Apparently the hospital that we had the baby at calls itself “baby friendly”…I’m sorry, shouldn’t all hospitals be baby friendly? Evidently, to them baby friendly means that they are Nazis when it comes to breast feeding directly from the breast. We were there for three days with three nursing shifts per day; the amazing thing is that each nurse came into our room with their own opinions and ideas in regards to feeding…there was certainly no common standard. Most of the nurses were fine but there were a few that made Annie feel bad for wanting to pump and supplement with formula Why would Annie want to pump and supplement rather than just let the boy latch on? Well, she didn’t love the direct breast feeding part and turns out, she was not producing enough breast milk to feed the kid…yet they still talked down to her like she was an idiot and didn’t understand the true merit of breast feeding. They should show the mother and father the pros and cons to breastfeeding as well as the pros and cons to formula fed babies. There is no need to make people feel guilty over something life this, unless we are no longer a free country I suggest you shut your mouth and learn to be a bit more respectful in your interactions with your patients (otherwise known as customers). To close #3 out, I will say this…hospitals should not be “baby friendly”…they should be “family friendly”.
4) The last thing that I have noticed over the course of the pregnancy as well as post pregnancy thus far, is just how unimportant “the system” views fathers. Unfortunately, it’s not just “the system”, it’s society too. Why are there “chicks only” baby showers? Why is it that the woman is always asked how she feels and VERY rarely the man is? Why is it that after the baby is born all attention is on the woman and the baby? Why do people (including doctors and nurses) not attempt to include the fathers more in what is going on? We have a problem in this country with dead beat dads…why not try to include the fathers as much as possible through the different processes…especially when they show up? This specific issue will be another blog post from me all on its own, but I will just say, as a man and father and husband, I was not made to feel part of all this…even though it was my penis, my sperm, my wife, my marriage, my son, my life, and to top it all off…I was there…I showed up every day!
At the end of the day, I was simply blown away by the lack of privacy and common decency when people are in vulnerable situations. I even had to ask them to put a note on the door to our room that said to knock and wait for an answer, otherwise the nurses were just walking in whether my wife was clothed or not. We are human beings…not cattle, regardless of how much this is simply their job…this is our life. Giving people common every day respect is important. My wife was already being groped and prodded, the least they could do is give her some sense of her own being and the best way to do that is to give her body back to her.
More to come on this in future posts, it’s something that obviously frustrates me. I do have a message in to the CEO of the hospital, which I only left because he sends out a thank you letter to all people that have babies there. It specifically asks about customer service, so I wanted to tell him about our experience. No return call as of now and that was a little over a week ago.
What are your thoughts? Am I wrong? Right? Am I being to sensitive?