I'm pushing my debut Ask a Disgruntled Dead Baby Momma column back a bit (yes, notice the subtle title change) to get this other thing off my chest first.
The inspiration for today's musing - a rant, actually - comes from The Dude (who, I'm pleased to report, has now amassed an even GREATER tribe of hens to cluck and coo about his Dead Baby Daddy woes and related drama!).
For those of you who don't worship The Dude like I do and therefore might not be aware of his KuKd background, allow me to enlighten you: his wife delivered their fetus/baby/something-in-between at four months gestation. Ah, the familiar and perplexing horror of the late miscarriage, sometimes called (bizarrely) a "spontaneous abortion."
There was one thing the Dude said a while ago that really stuck with me. Here is a slightly shortened version:
"Why in the hell were we put into the same wing as all of the other mothers that just gave birth. I understand for the delivery but not once we were transferred to another room for the night. All night I stared ad posters of babies on the wall and heard babies crying in other rooms. It was torture.
The part about it that's the hardest is when they put the baby in my arms before I was sure if I was ready for that. The image of a dead body that is so underdeveloped is more disturbing than I can describe. That image will be locked in my head till I die. In case I ever did forget, they gave us pictures as a reminder."
As someone whose experience almost precisely mirrors what The Dude is describing (except that we dodged the fetus-holding after lots of pleading and bribing the doctor with promises of beer after this ordeal was finished), his words produced a rather visceral reaction, almost making me spew my morning coffee across the living room in a milky-brown stream.
Man-oh-man, was I pissed.
Here's what I've come to believe about the medical and social work community, particularly the religion-infused medical and social work community: they all think they know what's best, and they like to plow blindly ahead and adhere to what they "know," without pausing to consider if it's really the right thing for the patient. Of course, they probably DO know more than we do, what with their advanced degrees and, in some cases, apparently frequent consultations with Jesus on how to handle sensitive matters such as KuKd.
Sometimes I feel like facilitating an informational conference call for doctors, nurses, and social workers involved with KuKd situations. Here are some things I would say:
1) Please don't assume that just because I got knocked down five minutes ago, I automatically turn into a hysterical retard without any thinking capabilities or opinions of my own. This is a confusing and horrible time in my and my husband's lives, but trust me, we'll get through it. You may be calmer than we are, but that doesn't make you smarter or more morally correct. If you have any suggested coping strategies, you are welcome to gently and objectively put them out there as possibilities, but if we say "no," which we probably will, deal with it.
2) As an example: do not set my 16-week fetus into my arms just because you believe it's the right thing to do, or because that's what normal mommies and daddies do when normal babies are born. THIS IS NOT A NORMAL, LIVING-BABY-DELIVERING SITUATION, in case you didn't get the memo. Not only does holding the fetus not help everyone, it actually HURTS some people, like The Dude (NOBODY messes with The Dude without talking to me first. Ka-peesh?).
I'm not saying that there aren't some KuKders who WANT to hold the fetus, or that there's anything wrong with holding the fetus. Some might want to, but some might not. Neither way is better than the other. I'm simply saying that KuKders should get temporary elevated status, simply for being suddenly up a shit's creek with no paddle, and not pressured to do things that make us uncomfortable. I almost couldn't beLIEVE that amount of pressure we got to hold the fetus.
I wanted to ask the nurses and doctors: do you see anyone throwing confetti on us and handing out foil-wrapped chocolate cigars in blue or pink pastel color, or hoards of friends and relatives showing up to congratulate us? No, you don't. You're thinking of something else, an entirely different scenario. I do not want to hold the fetus. So sue me.
(I know, I know. If I don't hold the fetus, I'll regret it for the rest of my life, and possibly even roast on a stick in hell after I die. As I said, I'm not stupid. So, you're allowed to ask me one time, but be willing to accept "no" for an answer without further discussion. In your world, it might seem like I'm rejecting my baby. But in my world, it's not my baby. It's a fetus who never became a baby. And even if he/she DID become a baby, what's left is merely the under-developed SHELL of that baby - an empty symbol that means nothing to me.
So quit insisting that your view of reality trumps mine. This is a situation where I get to be right. I'm the star of the pity-show here, not you. BOO-YA.)
3) On a similar note, do not sequester me and my husband in the regular labor/delivery ward for a week, ostensibly because we are *real parents* who just delivered a *real baby* (unless you have asked very politely and gotten permission). What the hell is UP with that! Whoever thought of that idea is clearly on crack. It's like sending the world's poorest man to the Emerald Palace with fifty-dollar bills hanging down from the ceiling. You can look, but don't touch!
As I said, I think you're confusing us with somebody else. Sarah Palin's daughter, perhaps? She just a baby right? Yeah. Nope - that's not me. Stop doing NY Times crossword puzzles at the triage desk and pay attention!
4) Please stock up on orange Popsicles for patient consumption. You always seem to have plenty of the not-tart-enough grape and cherry, but a shortage of tart-n-tangy orange. And get rid of green and blue altogether; people don't really go for those after age twelve or so. Oh, and a better DVD selection would also be nice - Shaun of the Dead, Team America, Raising Arizona and the entire season of the British Office would all be welcome titles for this KuKd momma.