I'm not entirely sure what caused the confusion.
Perhaps it was the post-caesarean sledgehammer affect, the fog of morphine. I know it definitely didn't help that on his tiny head he wore a beanie that I knew didn't belong to me.
But there was no mistaking the look she gave me when I approached, unsure, asking, "Is that Luca?"
I stood back a distance of some feet, hesitating.
"Yes," she replied, as though unable to believe that I could not recognise my own child.
I bridged the distance between myself and the tiny baby in the strange beanie and stroked the little cheek that, now quite unmistakably, belonged to my newborn son.
Not twenty-four hours before, a scalpel was leaving a bright red trail below my belly to facilitate my baby's entrance into the world.
Now, he lay in a plastic hospital bassinette in the NICU, requiring special care after his blood sugar levels were found to be low ( a common occurrence when mum has had GD).
We stood admiring this tiny being, Bren, my mum and myself. He was so very beautiful. But the beanie still bothered me. I was itching to change him into one of the little knitted hats I had packed for hospital.
I picked up my little boy. Dark bruises on the back of each of his tiny hands reminded me of the failed attempts to insert an IV drip into his even tinier veins. The colostrum I had been pumping in the weeks prior to his arrival had been a godsend before my milk came in but still a formula top-up was recommended.
A new nurse approached as I sat in a chair cradling Luca.
"It's time for his bottle," she announced, holding out her arms expectantly.
"Oh okay, can I give it him?"
She looked at me for a moment, sceptical.
"Well, have you ever fed a bottle to a newborn baby before?"
"Yes," I said, faltering just slightly as I tried to recall whether this was true or not.
"Because it's not as easy as it seems. And we're already half an hour late with his feed. It would be easier if I just did it." Brusque. Dismissive.
"Well, I'm sure I'll be able to do it. I don't understand why this has to be so difficult." I was determined to stand my ground.
"I'm just thinking of your baby. He's sick." Patronising. Accusing.
"I'm his mother. Of course, I want what's best for him!"
I was angry now.
"Angie's just had a caersarean, we're all very tired," my mother said nervously, always keen to avoid a confrontation.
"No," I said firmly, "Don't make excuses for me, Mum. She's being a bitch."
Me, I am quite comfortable with confrontation.
"Okay, well, I'll need to speak with my superior for a moment," and with that, the nurse disappeared.
"You don't need to apologise for me, Mum. She was being completely unreasonable."
"I know, darling. I was just worried for you. I'm impressed that you stood up to her. I'm proud of you."
When the nurse returned, she was all smiles as she held out the bottle to me. As though nothing had happened.
So I fed Luca the formula. He drank it quickly and easily. My son and I, both bottle-feeding novices, took the task in our stride.
But even if we hadn't have been any good at it, what did we care? We were all about the boob anyway…
Ah … the bitchy nurse. They know they’re working with women who’ve had babies. Their hormones are in flux, they’re sore, their milk is coming in … there’s great nurses and then there are those bloody cows that need to eff off and find another job somewhere else where they can’t make someone cry.
Good for you. You know I approve. I did the Amityville Horror on one of the night nurses last time I was in a maternity ward. She didn’t come back.
Some nurses are worth their weight in gold, others are just muppets. This is true of any occupation I’m sure. However… this really is a time for sensitivity, understanding, learning, and bonding. It’s a shame that there are some who can’t help themselves and behave this way – they are things we never forget. I had some horrible ones with my first born (also emergency c/s) but unlike you, I didn’t have the strength to do anything about it. Well done you – very well done indeed xx
P.S. Is he smiling there? I think he is 🙂
Nurses vary wildly in terms of their manner, don’t they? Probably because they are, you know, people. But she’s really the only one I’ve struck who REALLY pissed me off.
I had been a mum less than 24 hours and she was trying to undermine my ability…what the fuck? AND she worked in the NICU which would surely call for the highest level of sensitivity.
I still can’t quite believe I had the balls to take her on, I was in a crazed state, for sure. But I had never been so certain in my life that I was right.
It does make you wonder why some of them choose this occupation.
I think I remember you going horror movie on that midwife. Nicely played.
Absolutely. Like anything, the human factor will always mean there are jerks in the mix.
And yes, I will NEVER forget this woman. Well, I actually, I probably wouldn’t recognise her if I saw her but are words are seared into my brain as one of the formative mothering experiences of my life.
So actually, thanks, bitch, you taught me very early, what kind of Mumma stuff I was made of.
And yes, he is TOTALLY smiling after a colostrum feed. That’s milky drunk face right there. 🙂 Little darlin’.
I would have been livid, but I don’t think I could have stood up to her (especially with those darn raging hormones). Good for you for standing your ground. Your mom was right to be proud. 🙂
Confrontational Angel gives me wood. You go girlfriend. x
Oh FFS Good on you for standing your ground, I don’t understand why nures/midwives can be gorgeous caring people in any other ward, but put them in maternity and they turn into nightmares… I remember thinking when our #1 was born, I know he won’t break but he is only a few hours old so do you think you could be a bit more gentle with him…. Loving your blog by the way, I can’t imagine people will go else where for a read while you’re basking in the glow that only a newborn cherub can bring. xx