Friday, November 10, 2006

The Accidental Hospital Tour

My friend had a baby Tuesday.

Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life, this seems so commonplace. So normal. But I am here to tell you, there is absolutely nothing commonplace about it. Babies are nothing short of miraculous.

I stopped by the hospital on my way home from class Wednesday morning. As I was entering from the third floor of the parking garage, two women came out. One of them looked up at me with tears running down her face and then looked back down at the ground while the other put her arm about her shoulders and whispered something in her ear. Once inside the doors, a larger group of people, perhaps somehow related to the two women, were crying and comforting each other.

They had obviously received some bad news.

And I walked past, unaffected by their suffering. It struck me for a moment how close I was to their pain. How I could almost reach out and touch it, but my life would not be altered by it. And it seemed odd that I could be happy and excited while they were grieving...odd and not quite fair.

I looked around a bit and found a volunteer working at a desk and asked her where the maternity ward was. She directed me to the sixth floor. I loaded the elevator and pressed 6. A surgeon walked in behind me, wearing a very glum and not at all friendly expression. Then we were joined by a lady on a gurney and her attendant. This young man looked very young. Like barely-out-of-high-school young. And he kept looking over at me, which made me somewhat uneasy.

We arrived at the sixth floor and everyone filed out, including me. The young man asked me, "Can I help you find something?" He has a slight accent. Australian, maybe?

"Yes, I'm looking for Maternity," I answered, wondering if I had the correct term. I've only had three babies. I should know this information.

His quizzical expression fades to a knowing smile. "Oh, you're on the wrong sixth floor." There's more than one? "This is surgery." No wonder he kept looking at me funny. "Go back down to five, then cross the bridge to the north wing. Then go back up to six."

Aha.

Back to the elevator.

I follow his instructions and find, what I believe to be the elevators in the north wing. It dings and I go on alone up to six. It's a short ride. The doors open and I am quite surprised to find the floor completely demolished. Power tools are whining and men in hard hats are all over. I step off, not quite sure if I should or not. One of the hard hats comes to my rescue and immediately sends me back down to five. Apparently the north wing is a little further north.

Back to five, heading northward.

This time, I think I've got it.

A young mother arrives at the same time I do, pushing her toddler girl in a stroller. She turns to reveal a very pregnant tummy. The little girl is adorable. And I fight the urge to hand her a business card and tell her how sweet her girl would look in a bow. Instead I smile at her and ask how old the toddler is. Turns out she is turning two just a couple of weeks after my Baby. The mommy is having her new baby the following week and is there to tour the facility.

I feel a pang of envy. Just a little one.

I love babies.

So, I must be heading the right direction, given the pregnant mommy is going the same way...right?

Wrong.

After arriving, again, on the sixth floor, a nurse directs me to the ninth floor.

All I want to do is visit my friend and her new baby. Does ANYONE know where they keep the babies in this friggin' place?! I mean, they do still have them here, don't they?

After meandering around the hospital for about half an hour, I finally make it to the right place.

I'd better get to hold that baby.

The new dad greets me looking tired but very happy. I find my friend with the lactation consultant, learning to feed her precious baby boy.

And I tear up.

I just can't help it. Newborns make me cry.

He is so incredibly small. And so breathtakingly beautiful. And I can't believe mine were ever that tiny. If they were, it was only for about two seconds. It must have been.

When I finally get to hold him, I feel that pang again. You know, that envy thing. I am absolutely happy for my friend. Ecstatic. But sometimes I'd like to go back and relive that magical moment when you meet your baby for the first time. To go to that sacred place when a new life makes its entrance into the world. To stay in those sweet, tender, brand new moments for a little while longer.

Sigh.

He's exquisite. I cradle his tiny head in my hands and nuzzle his downy hair. He is perfectly still in my arms and seems to be completely aware of everything going on around him.

My maternal instinct is in hyperdrive. Seriously. My friend should consider herself lucky I didn't take the baby and run.

Instead I give him back to his rightful mommy, who is already hopelessly in love with him, and make my way home to my own babies, who are sure to get some extra snuggling when I get there.

13 comments:

Sarah said...

I've been in crazy hospitals with different floors. It's weird.

I love babies too- good job on not stealing one. :)

shannon @ rocks in my dryer said...

Oh, I bet I know EXACTLY which hospital had you on such a wild goose chase!

And LOL on the business card...

Heth said...

I know exactly how you feel. You are right, there is nothing commonplace about them, babies are little miracles. Must be why I have so many of them, I just can't repress that baby urge.

Im so glad you finally found the maternity ward. It sounds like it was well worth it.

Diana said...

what is it about that baby smell that makes us nuzzle their fuzz? (at least, i think it's the smell, I do it to every new baby, trying to get the nostalgia from my new baby days)

I totally get where you're coming from...my ovaries twitch just thinking about it.

heartsjoy said...

Okay, you had me crying by the end, those moments are the best. I'm so proud of you for leaving him with his rightful mommy...lol. I also am hospital challenged whenever I go. Why must they make it so complicated? We are trying to see loved ones already! Glad you made it and thanks for sharing how beautiful he was!

Antique Mommy said...

Well written. I loved this passage:

"And I walked past, unaffected by their suffering. It struck me for a moment how close I was to their pain. How I could almost reach out and touch it, but my life would not be altered by it."

You captured the essence and drama of all that goes on daily in a hosptial.

Mom's Secret Life said...

Exactly!

Mommy the Maid said...

I'm just about in tears. I have baby fever so bad right now.

Domestic Goddess said...

lovely story and yes, hospitals are all too maze-like.

yerdoingitwrong said...

aw. I can't wait!

Michelle said...

awww! That was beautifully done! I'm right at a point in my life where I have to consider if two babies are it, or one more. *sigh* I think I'm gonna go snuggle my two right now.

thebarefootpoet said...

My son was crawling around on me and turning my printer on and off, on and off, on and off, as I read this. I leaned forward and just pushed my nose into his cheek. Nothing like him.

Baby smell??!! I won't go there. I will say too much apple juice has explosive capabilities.

But Momma said...

What a great story! I've been in hospitals and walked down hallways where you're thinking, "Am I supposed to be in here?"

Do you think you get a break from the baby urges before you start getting the grand-baby urges?

I sure hope so. *sigh*