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Looking for the perfect baby shower gift?

April 6, 2012
Logo by Christine Hepner

Without a doubt, the best shower gift you can ever get new parents is a private room for after the delivery. I don’t mean for one person to buy it, because it’s pretty pricey. At New York Presbyterian, it was $1,200 for the three nights we were there on top of what insurance paid for a semi-private room. We had decided not to opt for the private room at first, but I should have figured out from the way everyone kept asking us the morning of the birth if we were getting the private room that we had made the wrong decision.

It reminds me of when I waited tables at this shitty Tex-Mex restaurant on the Upper East Side back in the late 80s. The food was gross. The only things even remotely edible were the fajitas. If someone asked me for a recommendation, I would always say, “The fajitas are good.”

Customer: “How about the tamales?’

Me: “The shrimp fajitas are good.”

Customer: “How about the tacos?”

Me: “Or the chicken fajitas, they are good too. Or maybe the veggie fajitas, if you don’t eat meat.”

Customer: “So, you wouldn’t recommend the burritos?”

At this point, I’d usually want to scream, “Don’t you dumbasses speak waitress, for christ’s sake? Get the effing fajitas!” But I’d smile and bring them whatever they ordered. Later, as I was collecting their half-eaten plates, I’d give them that long, sad look that said, “See, I told you to have the fajitas.”

Well, I obviously missed all the hints that morning in the hospital. There are only a few private rooms, and they go like hotcakes. We must have been asked by 10 different people that morning if we wanted a private room, and we kept saying no.

We stayed in the post-op area for a while until the spinal block started wearing off, and then I was transported down to our semi-private room. Once we got there, I got it, what everyone had been trying to tell me! We were sharing a tiny room with a teenage couple who had had their baby 3 days earlier. I didn’t get the window side of the room either, so we were shoved into the space next to the single bathroom I’d have to share with the other new mom and three generations of her family who were represented that day. Her mother looked to be about 30, her grandmother maybe my age, and her great-grandmother was on speaker on her iPhone. She and her partner and her entire family were having a vicious fight with the nursing staff. The nurses were trying to explain to these geniuses that their baby had jaundice and would possibly have to stay another night or two after the mother was discharged. Yes, that would distress me, too, but instead of asking questions or asking to speak to a doctor, they decided the best thing to do was to scream at the nurses and call them names, including the B word, loudly and often. For about two hours, D and I had to listen to them trying to look up “John Doss” on webmd on their iPhones and carrying on about how STOOPID everyone on staff of the hospital was.

After two hours of this, I was desperate. I told D that we had to get out of that room even if we had to beg and plead to get that private room. Our baby was still in the nursery, but I couldn’t imagine exposing him to these loud, horrible, nasty people on his first day on earth. I still don’t know how D did it, but somehow he ran up to the admitting office and within an hour, we were moved.

It was heaven, as far as hospitals go. The three of us stayed in that room together day and night for three days. And believe it or not, the food was really good! So, if you ever wanted to “chip in” and get one really big awesome gift, that would be my suggestion. Or a baby nurse. Or someone who will come and install that freaking car seat the first time.

Next time: Riding out the hormone storm

Thanks for following and reading! I’d love to hear your story of IVF. Please leave your comments below.

© 2012

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