What do you mean you don’t HAVE a nursery?????
This was my dumbfounded response when I toured the maternity ward (the only one in Santa Fe) where I’ll be delivering next month. The hospital where I had my other three children had one, and since all my deliveries were c-section and I wasn’t quite up to round-the-clock baby care the moment I came out of surgery, all my babies spent at least some time in there. I just assumed all hospital maternity wards had nurseries. They all used to, at any rate, as I’ve read many a mournful lament and many an angry diatribe from mothers who were deprived of crucial bonding moments because hospital staff insisted on taking their babies to the nursery for one reason or another.
Over the past several decades, rooming-in (where the baby stays in the mother’s room and sometimes never even goes near the nursery) has become more common, but at my old hospital it was an option rather than a requirement. Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s a good option. If a new mother wants to have her baby in her room every moment of her hospital stay, more power to her. But I’m going to be recovering from major abdominal surgery and facing a return home to four young children including a baby who will have me up every couple of hours for who knows how long, and those few nights in the hospital are going to be my last chance to get some sleep.
When I pointed out that I was going to be recovering from surgery, and wasn’t sure I was up to taking full charge of the baby for the entire hospital stay, the nurse blithely suggested my husband could stay with me and sleep on a chair that pulled out for that purpose. Since we have three other children my husband will caring for at home, that isn’t an option. And even if it was, I wouldn’t want him in that tiny hospital room with me, tossing and turning on an uncomfortable chair-bed, and I’d wake every time the baby did anyway. I liked being alone in the hospital when I delivered before; I don’t like an audience for my physical maladies, and I want to be alone again this time.
When I told the story to one friend (who had also delivered by c-section), she said that her hospital had had a nursery, then added, “But I couldn’t imagine who would want to send their baby there.” That’s the attitude most mothers giving birth today have, I’ve found. So I guess dinosaurs like myself, who are selfish enough to want a few hours of uninterrupted sleep while recovering from surgery, will just have to adapt.