Thursday, October 1, 2009

Things Are Different Here (part VI)

Things are different here when you are having a baby.

(So this post is a little belated... I've been busy. Pretend it's a month ago and I just got out of the hospital and you asked me what I thought of having a baby in Ireland and because you asked so nicely, I'll tell you, complete with pictures of really random things.)

St. Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny is nothing like Baptist Hospital in Miami where I had Katie.

Baptist Hospital boasts state-of-the-art, top of the line Hill-Rom brand hospital beds. These beds will do everything short of fixing your coffee in the morning. With the push of a button, you can go from fully reclined to an upright chair position.

In Ireland, you get this -
At Baptist, the air conditioner is adjustable via thermostat controls in each hospital room, ensuring all patients can be kept at the temperature they desire. Rooms utilize reverse isolation to protect patients against airborne contaminants.

In Ireland, flying insects and construction noise come standard.
Baptist offers a "room service" menu allowing individuals to customize their mealtimes.

In Ireland, you can have anything you want for breakfast, so long as it is tea and toast.

Adhering to the cultural standards, the hospital offers the main hot meal at midday. (Here they even call it "dinner" even though we all know it's lunch. And then dinner is called "tea" and it consists of a light snack; sandwich or salad and, wait for it... a pot of tea. Then at around 10 pm they come around offering... TEA! The strong. dark stuff. Perfect to soothe you into a night's slumber and caffeinated goodness for your breastfed newborn.

After Katie was born, I was offered Percocet and Motrin tablets for pain control post cesarean.

In Ireland, you get a PCA (patient controlled analgesia) filled with intravenous Morphine (!) for the first 48 hours post-op. Unlike the electronic pumps they use for PCAs in the states, I had this nifty contraption: The black wristband housed a button that opened the flow of medicine and required five minutes to reset, avoiding pesky overdose issues. The medication was instilled in the pressurized tube that I kept in my pocket. Mama and Baby slept well those first two days.

At Baptist, all visitors to the baby ward were required to present photo identification and have their pictures taken for security purposes.

In Ireland, they just use the Baby Lo-Jack.
Baptist's showers are the size of a phone booth for midgets. You have to go in aiming the side you want most clean toward the water because you can't turn around once you are in there. They have a flimsy fabric shower curtain and a big raised tile ledge that you have to maneuver up and over to get into the stall. I have soaked myself many a time trying to help bathe a patient.

Kudos to Ireland. They know what they are doing in the shower department. Brilliant.
Now, because I am special and because we bought the supplemental private insurance (but mostly because I am special), I had one of the few private en suite rooms. Most of the new moms were stuck, four to a room, their only privacy being a wraparound curtain that enclosed their bed and bedside table and not much else. Those gals had to walk down the hall to use the community bathroom. THAT would suck. When you've just experienced traumatic events to your delicates, you want to have a place you can call your own, a place to store your hemorrhoidal foams, your feminine cleansing wipes, your inventory of twin bed mattresses they call maternity pads...

What they don't tell you in the brochure is that Ireland is BYOT. I knew I had to supply my own baby diapers and wipes, but stock some bath towels! Throw the girl a bone!

Some things are the same in both countries; your newborn sleeps next to you in their very own Rubbermaid under-the-bed storage bin. But score one for Ireland, this cabinet/bedstand was designed to act like a cradle. Literally, this bed rocked!
And the bed wasn't the only thing that rocked. Unlike with Katie, where she was whisked away immediately after birth and kept in the nursery (albeit with my bff Leslie - thankfully on duty that day) for the first few hours of her life while I recovered from the spinal block and awaited my room, Michael was wiped clean, checked over, weighed and Apgar-ed and immediately handed over to Manus. While I was in recovery, M and M were having some serious male bonding time. He got the first, precious skin-to-skin contact and it was there, in that baby room, the two boys made a pact - it was girls v. boys at our house and they were sticking together no matter what. Last night I caught Michael look over and wink conspiratorially at Manus as I struggled unsuccessfully to soothe and quiet his evening tantrum. Manus took him into arms and he fell contentedly silent in seconds.
But perhaps the biggest and best difference this time around, was that there was one more very special person in our baby welcoming committee.
This time around we didn't just make a baby, we made a brother and a sister.


Debbie said...

Hilarious! And SO sweet :-)

Anonymous said...

Ohh my goodness, that parting shot and comment...just precious. Love you all SO much! Love, Kristy