Being on the occasion of my Son’s birth;
Back in 2000 I was fairly naive when it came to hospitals, doctors, basically anything medical based I didn’t have a point of understanding with. Its not that I was dumb, I just had little need of it. I was in the prime of my life and baring any incident I should have no need of a Doctor! I personally haven’t seen a general practitioner since my early teens and in my mid 30′s I’m still very happy keeping the medical profession at arms length.
So, when Susi got pregnant I found all the hospitals, doctors, basically anything medical based; highly intrusive. In particular the hospital that her Dr OB/GYN The Shit choose for us, Coral Springs Medical Center, didn’t look like fun. I say chose because that’s exactly wheat he did. He was associated with I think two other hospitals in the area, but this one gave the best kickbacks to him. He wasn’t quite bent, but, he also wasn’t the most fantastic medical services provider!
So the day came for inducement, 29 December 2000. We get up and leave for the hospital before daybreak, full of excitement and wonder . Our spirits were high and it happened to be becoming a very beautiful day outside. In short it was good!
That lasted until hospital admitting. The first sign of something being wrong started there. The admitting person was less than pleased that anyone was coming to her hospital that day, especially it seemed, us! After being badgered by the admitting person we were shown to a birthing suite, our home for the next 12 hours of so while Pitocin does it job. Those that haven’t had a kid; Pitocin is a drug used to both induce labor and once going “help” the body produce more, stronger contractions while also helping to dilate the cervix, useful if you want a kid to come through there, unharmed!
The room itself wasn’t unpleasant, it was still a hospital room, but this was different in some ways. The walls had brightly colored “happy” wallpaper, there was room for a few people to mill about, the seats were large and comfortable. But, there was still all the basic sinister looking hospital apparatus laying around in the background as well.
After waiting there for almost three hours the nurse brings the IV of Pitocin to get the show going. We were at this point getting a bit frustrated as every hour or so that had gone by we had asked the nurse that stopped to check on us “when will you start the procedure” only to get an exasperated look and a quick “Please, don’t worry, we will start soon enough”.
So when the IV showed up we figured we’re in business! Boy we were wrong! Another hour goes by and a different nurse comes with a waist band full of sensors for the babies heart beat. That device gets fitted and now after being at the hospital for 4 hours we are underweigh to having the kid out!
As yet another nurse starts the IV drip she informs my girlfriend (yes, we weren’t married yet) that should she feel a need to have a epidural, that it was best not to wait very long. I asked the nurse why that was and she answered me with silence. Huh, maybe she didn’t hear me. “Uh, nurse, why should she not wait?” I ask again in a much louder tone.
The nurse continues to ignore me.
Well, what the hell is this about I think to myself. Finally Susi asks why she shouldn’t wait and the nurse immediately responds to her that “there’s a point of no return where we can not give you the medication”. Ok, that makes sense but her behavior is troubling. I ask her why she didn’t answer when I asked and very slowly she turned and said “I don’t know who you are, I think you’re her boyfriend, not her husband as she was admitted as single, and because of that, I don’t have to talk to you.”
Oh, crap! I thought this was going to be an issue. In fact I tried to get Susi to sign a power of attorney so that this could be avoided.
At this point Susi is starting to feel the contractions and says “Are you kidding me? If he asks, you answer, period”. The nurse is unfazed “Miss Susi, you didn’t indicate your bOYfren (yes that’s how she said it) as next Ah kin, so he lucky he in here anyway, now if you both don mind, he needs to shut up and mind hisself”.
Yep, knew it. They think I’m a few hours away from being a dead beat dad. Great.
I realized at that point the most effective way to go through the day was to say nothing further to the staff as they clearly didn’t like my kind. And really, I can’t blame them. They probably see hundreds of situations weekly that result in families referring to themselves as “that’s my kid, that’s his Baby Mommy, that’s my other kid and her Baby Mommy”…and so on.
Wasn’t the case with us, but what can you do?
So, a few hours more go by, the Pitocin drip is steady along at 8. Now I don’t know what 8 means, its just the display on the IV drip, and whenever the nurse said she was upping the dosage it went numerically up a place. First from 2, then a few hours 4, then a few more 6, and by late evening it was at 8. Dr OB/GYN The Shit had just stopped by to check on Susi and while I was standing by the door I heard him in the hallway on his phone “Yes Honey, I’ll be there for dinner, should be no problem, Yeah, no, I’ve got 2 in labor and one I can slow down so, no problem”. A minute goes by, and a nurse adjusts the number down to 4.
Now, I know somethings up, between the number and the phone call I just heard I assume that Dr.OB/GYN the Shit reduced the Pitocin so he could have a nice dinner with his wife. I can’t to this day verify what he did, but I’m pretty sure that’s what I saw.
The contractions which until this point had been fairly strong start to drop off. Susi has had her epidural since they broke her water and doesn’t really notice until we began checking the the display showing the contraction waves. Huh, well, I don’t think its supposed to do that. So we waited a bit, not wanting to get into another situation with the nursing staff that day and after a 45 minute period the nurses have changed shifts and a new one comes in to introduce herself and and check in.
Immediately she gets a concerned look on her face: “Honey, how long have you been on Pitocin?” Susi says they started at 9am.
“They started at 9am and you’re having these little itty bitty contractions? Yes. “did you ever have larger contractions today?’
The nurse has turned something I haven’t seen so far at Coral Springs Medical Center for the Insane, she’s angry. Clearly. “Honey, I’ll be right back we gonna get you squared away”.
Not a minute goes by, and the device is turned back to 8……contractions start back up. Back to having a kid during this year’s tax season!
Dr. OB/GYN the Shit shows back up not a half hour later and he’s pretty pissed. He got found out by the nurse who it seems had enough power to drag his ass back to the hospital to do the job I was paying him for, deliver my son!
Conner was born later that night and after going to the store to get Susi some juice and a snack I went back to Pompano to get some rest.
The next day was what’s now a typical second day of childbirth. You spend the entire day as kind of a night club bouncer, “Yes, you can come in, no you’re not immediate family, you can see the kid at the house” and so on. My Dad showed up with his girlfriend at the time, which frankly was miracle. The girlfriend hated kids, particularly hated me, and couldn’t stand being in the same room with people that had half a brain. In a nutshell; she was a hoity toity pain in the ass.
The hospital prided itself on its new fangled entry and exit system consisting of automagically locked doors, cameras, and bar coded bands that mother, father, and child wear to gain entry and exit. Girlfriend apparently wasn’t too thrilled with being treated as a commoner and bitched loudly upon gaining entrance. I thought nothing of it at the time, because, well, I was kinda glad she got hassled !
So, day 1 of my son’s life passes by quickly. Mother, Father, and Son are seemingly happy and looking forward to getting out in a day and going home.
Day 2 dawns, I’m at home and not really sleeping and haven’t since Thursday before this circus. My bedroom phone rings loudly at 6:30Am, its Susi and she’s been released, come and get her and the baby, NOW!!
Awesome! I fly into the shower, get dressed, and haul ass out of the front door to find that overnight a cold wave had hit us and the temperature is in the 40′s! Back in the house for a coat for Susi and sweater for me, plus I should probably find the cold weather outfit we had gotten for the baby…
Back outside I’ve finally managed to get the car seat into Susi’s 1987 Dodge K Car (damn thing wouldn’t fit in my Z-Car) and I’m off to get the family. Boy that’s strange to say, The Family!
I arrive at the hospital go through their draconian security and find that Susi has packed her room up, dressed Conner, and is actively ready to get out of there right friggan now! She dresses Conner in his cold weather gear and …..now…… we ……wait.
Bundled up against the cold we wait. An hour goes by. No release paperwork comes. No explanation comes either. Another hour goes by, no paperwork, no explanation. Finally after a two and half hour wait a different nurse comes by and asks why we’re bundled up?
Huh, we’re discharged!? Why else do you think we’d be all dressed up like this!
She giggles “Oh I see, yeah, you’re girlfriend is discharged, your son isn’t”. Well what does that mean? “It means, sir, that you can’t leave until the baby is seen by a pediatrician”.
Ok, I guess that makes some sense, “When can he been seen by a pediatrician?” I ask, not quite mad, but definitely letting my displeasure be known. The nurse replies “Oh, well, I guess when you call yours to the hospital, but we have one on staff he should be here around 6pm”. The kid isn’t 2 days old, I never thought that getting a pediatrician was needed or necessary to get out of the Coral Springs Home for Wayward Daddies!
“Ok, is the kid so far healthy?” Yes. “Is there any reason to believe that status is going to change between today and tomorrow when I can get a pediatrician?’ No.
“Very well then, we’re leaving, RIGHT NOW!”
“You can’t do that, Sir”.
“Hell I can’t! Its my kid, your domain over me as not being next of kin ended the moment he was born! So yeah, we’re leaving, right the hell now, Susi get your coat on, we’re leaving.”
I get out into the hall leading to the exit and the nurses have put the ward on lockdown because some crazy father is attempting to leave with his family!
“Nurse, I suggest that you open this door right now and allow us passage”. “No, I’m calling the cops, you’re trying to kidnap the baby!”
“Nurse, you can’t kidnap your own baby, and its especially difficult to do so while the mother is carrying him! Now we’re bundled up for the cold and over-heating, open the damn door!”
The nurse not used to people using logic against her authority has run out of options: “I’m calling Coral Springs PD to alert them of you kidnapping!!”
“Ok fine, but here’s whats going to happen, while you’re doing that I’m going to use my cell phone here (I take my phone out of my pocket) and also dial 911 (dial 9 1 1) and when they pick up I’m going to lay out a scenario that sounds a lot like you attempting to detain and imprison me without justification, which I believe is a felony in this state, so, ball’s in your court now, you gonna let us go or go to jail, which is it?”
She’s now completely had it. Unsure of whether what I say is correct or not and not willing to take the chance, she does what a good underling should do, she gets her boss: the Charge Nurse. The Charge Nurse comes from nowhere, essentially she coalesced from vapors, looks at me, see’s that I’m madder than hell, looks at Susi who’s mad and embarrassed and then says “My my, well, it seems as though you guys are ready to go!”
I’ve got Ronnie’s voice in my head at this point: “Mrs Charge Nurse, If you seek peace, if you seek an end to hostility from me, if you seek resolution, Mrs Charge Nurse,….MRS CHARGE NURSE! Come here to this door! MRS. Charge Nurse: Open this door!” Only I would think of a cold war analogy while to trying to non-kidnap my kid from a hospital!
“Well, gee whiz, there’s no reason to make a fuss, if you don’t want to wait for a doctor to discharge your son, which by the way, I’ve noticed you are not a doctor and probably shouldn’t be making health judgements on his behalf, well then, if you think you can take medical responsibility for your boy, I guess you can AMA”.
“Oh my god I hate this place! Lady; 1. As I understand it, until he’s 18 I’m going to be making this and many more decisions on his behalf with or without consulting Doctors. 2. I don’t know what an AMA is and I don’t care, but if it gets me out of here without the Police being involved I’m all for it!”.
The unruffled Charge Nurse is now suitably ruffled, I have that effect on people! “Well, now an AMA stands for “Against Medical Advice” which is what you’d be doing if you take your son from here before he’s suitably discharged, and you wouldn’t want to do that now would you….?”
“Uh, so now you’re a doctor and giving me advice???”
“I can see you’re just one of “those” people and I’ll just be a minute while I get you your AMA”. She says, voice full of saccharine, but not before she looks at Susi and says “I’m so sorry Honey, “they” can be difficult, if ya’ll need someone to talk to we have a great departme…” which is where I jump in “GET THE PAPERWORK!!”
AMA signed, boy bundled into jacket, and we’re finally past the the prison doors. Homeward bound with my family for the first time, but not before yet another nurse has to check out whether or not I properly installed the car seat for my son, as its “hospital policy”. I was about to scream obscenity’s as loudly as possible in her general direction until Susi points out “it will take longer than if we just let her do the car seat!”
Well, nurse says the seat was put in properly but she’s unhappy with the car. Really? Can this get worse? I carefully explain that this was the only option as my other car is a sports car and the seat wont fit in the back. She finally acquiesces and lets us be on our way. Its now 1pm in the afternoon and we’d spent the bulk of our day simply trying to get home!
The good part of all this, besides the whole becoming a Dad thing, was that I learned to never again be in situation concerning my family where I had no rights and no course of action if events go badly, never again allow people to interfere with what should have been a very joyous occasion. We’ve since ditched Dr. OB/GYN The Shit, never ever went back Coral Springs Medical Center, and have had 2 fantastic easy breezy deliveries at West Boca Medical Center producing both Ashley and Alexandra.