Friday, May 18, 2012

The Hospital and Just One Piece of Advice

Well, in what was a painless exercise, Mrs. Blackwell and the new Master Blackwell, were discharged from the hospital yesterday. 

He just hung out here while Mrs. Blackwell and I went out.
He's already so self-sufficient.
All told, he spent 18 days in the neonatal intensive care unit before taking in his first breath of fresh air outside. Mrs. Blackwell didn't fare a whole lot better through the last few weeks and spent the bulk of her waking hours beside him, while I balanced hospital visits and work two hours away. 

There are some lessons we take from the last 18 days, valuable pieces of knowledge gleaned from our experience bringing a child into the world. But, having spent nine months hearing the deep philosophical revelations imparted to me by books, media and well-intentioned acquaintances, I now know how useless most of this information is.

After entering the hospital, we watched, quite literally, every, single plan and preparation we made dissolve into dust and blow away in a series of exasperated exhales. 

So, after about 55 seconds of deep introspection, here's the most valuable piece of information I can impart: bring a pillow.

Hospital pillows are    almost without exception    horrendous. 

They are light and airy to a strange degree. Sure, you don't need a ten-pound pillow, but there's something a little off putting about an item that big weighing less than a grape.

And while they are unnaturally light, this lack of heft is inversely proportionate to their ability to resist the weight of a human head and prop it up to an almost cruel degree. 

Pictured: Baby pillow.

If you're lying on your back, your chin might as well be glued to your neck. If you're more of a side sleeper, your head is angled like you're trying desperately to hear your shoulder whisper a secret into your ear.

The highlight of these unholy creations is that they're lined with some sort of poly-vinyl that makes the pillow case slip off all the time. Frankly, I have got a tolerance for filth that I'm not proud of but, resting my head on a hospital or hotel pillow without a pillow case is something I do only accidentally or if there's money bet on it.

So bring your own pillow. You might get some arguments from folks that there are more important items. Comfortable shoes, snack food, bottles of water are fine items too. But, if your labor goes long, or you find yourself needing to sleep in the hospital, there is no other item you'll be so happy to have.

But, once you get comfortable, actually being able to fall asleep is another problem all together. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Did he make his own peanut butter sandwich and watch Mad Men? No doubt he was glad to have some alone time!