How Not To Be a Birthzilla

 I haven't written for a while.  Baby #4 was born on June 22.  We have been very busy being a family of 6. The laundry alone might.just.kill me. The rest, however, has been wonderful.  We have started our home school year (officially opening our school this year!), we have traveled to all the 3 regions of North Carolina and we have begun preparing for middle school (yikes!).  I finally have few minutes to share...
On this last hospital stay with baby #4, I overheard something strange.  As one of my postpartum nurses left the room with an intern, I heard her say, "She's wonderful, so obviously, she'd be a ONE".  I realized that during our five minute meeting, she had not only assessed my health, but also my attitude.  I started thinking about that.  It seems strange that anyone could be in a bad mood after just giving birth to a bouncing baby, but it really does happen.  I was happy my attitude had mattered, after all, I had put some thought into making my stay pleasant for everyone.  Here are a few things I did to make my stay as good for my nurses as it was for me.

An Attitude of Gratitude 

     It should go without saying but....
Gratitude goes a long way on a short maternity hall.  A gracious smile, a small compliment and a big, fat thank you can make anyone's day.  I teach my kids to be thankful, so why shouldn't I practice what I preach?  After all, this woman, my postpartum nurse,  has brought me buckets of ice chips, removed staples from precarious places and changed my giant maxi for days.  The least I can do it thank her....often.

 Bare Down then, Bare Gifts

     Before my last two c-sections, I took some time to make these little marshmallow pops as thank yous for visitors, volunteers and nurses, and they were a hit.  They are easy, inexpensive and adorable.  I offered them to anyone and everyone who came into my room during my stay from the midnight shift nurses, to the hospital photographer. When my 3 year old daughter came to visit, she passed them out as well.

  At one point, a night shift nurse got so excited, she sent all her friends from the desk in to get one too!  We all giggled about their enthusiasm as they tiptoed in one after the other to snatch another whenever they woke me for midnight vitals checks. 
 They were super simple to do:
$.97 marshmallows, a small bag of white melting chocolate, lolly pop sticks, lolly pop bags, colored easy, so cute, and OH! So appreciated!





     I'm a woman, I'm 100% Italian and I live in the South....I love to talk and truthfully, people who don't like to have conversation, get on my nerves.  
My labor and delivery nurses took an interest in my life (what I do for a living, how many children I have, where I got the Kangaroo Halter Top i packed in my hospital bag, so I took an interest in theirs.  I asked them about their shift, if they had children at home, how long they've been nursing and if the birth center was busy during the full moon.  I noticed that one seemed a little sad and through conversation she told me that her son's best friend had just been struck by lightening.  I promised that I would pray for them and I checked in on his progress whenever I saw her.  She appreciated that (the boy was OK, by the way). It was something simple that I could do.

 Be understanding about interns

    When our first son was born, I remember writing in my birth plan that I did not want any interns to examine me...That almost makes me laugh now! Anyone with multiple children knows that modesty in a birth setting is a laughable concept. 
Truthfully, though, haven't we all been the "intern" in some fashion or another? 
   When a nurse or doctor introduced their intern and politely asked if it was OK for them to assist, I enthusiastically agreed.  Guess what! I survived.  Interns are well supervised, and professional.  Let's face it, medical school has already weeded out the bad ones!  
 The nurse who came to remove my staples brought a really lovely intern with her and after removing the first few staples asked if her intern could continue.  You see, I knew a secret.  After a c-section, you are so numb in the incision area, that you don't feel a thing. Staples are removed without anesthesia because you simply don't need it.  So, that intern got her first shot at staple removal and did a fantastic, professional job.  I made light small talk during the procedure and everyone was calm.  

 Be understanding when things don't go as planned

    When I posted about my birth plan, I explained that I sprinkled with with a little humor and a lot of thankfulness and trust.  I told my medical team that I trusted them.  I didn't make demands, I made requests, and my team followed my plan to the best of their ability.  
During my surgery, however not everything went exactly as planned.   Due to a fairly severe case of scoliosis, my anesthesia did not take as well as it should have.  I was feeling a lot more than I should, but the only other option was to be "put out" and I desperately wanted to remember the birth of my baby, so we (my husband, myself and our medical team) made an elective decision to continue.  That being said, some parts of my plan could not be followed safely.  I was unable to have immediate skin to skin for the safety of my baby.  So the doctor handed that sweet little boy to my husband who held the baby up to my face while continuing to hold my hand with his free one.  
   The next day, the head anesthesiologist came to see me.  We chatted about the experience and I took the time to tell him how wonderful the doctor that did my spinal was.  I told him the truth, it didn't go as expected, but his staff did everything right.  I also asked him to thank the anesthesiologist for me, explaining that he sat behind my head through the entire surgery, squeezing my hand like he would his own wife and talking to me about anything and everything he could think of just to keep me calm.  I had confided in him that I was very nervous about feeling sick during the surgery and he worked very closely with the monitoring nurses to make sure my blood pressure stayed perfectly stable.   He was positive and nurturing and I was extremely grateful.  No, it didn't go as planned, but that was not anyone's fault.  Going all birthzilla on the medical staff would not have changed a thing.  I was grateful for what WAS done and that it was done with my best interest in mind.

All this being said, my mama didn't raise a door mat either and while I was always very polite, I was also very strong when it came to non-emergency, elective procedures that I had taken the time to research and make decisions about in advance. In those cases, I allowed the staff to do their job and explain the procedure and why they felt it was necessary and then politely told them what our decision was for our child, explaining that we had done extensive research and had spoken to our doctor who agreed with our decisions.  Again, when met with a smile and a polite but firm response, there was never any argument.  I think it helped that my husband and I had obviously done our research and were not wishy-washy about our decisions.

What about you?
Have you had any positive hospital experiences because of extra steps you took?  I'd love to hear about them!