Friday, March 12, 2010

Shouts Outs

I've been thinking a lot lately. This will, ultimately, result in many, many blog posts.

On our many drives, I, honestly, miss Jake when he's in the backseat. Seriously. I wish he was able to be my co-pilot. But, I have to settle to have "long distance" admiration of our little boy. Stupid safety.

I mention this because when I'm wishing I could Britney-Spears him in the front seat, I'm thinking of how he's soo incredibly expressive. He likes to laugh & point, grab things within (& outside of his) reach, squeal to both get a laugh & show he's enjoying something. I find myself congratulating my uterus on a job well done, and going back to the day he was born.

When I first found out I was pregnant, after intense happiness & celebration, job one was to manipulate our insurance so that I'd be able to deliver off post. I was a woman on a mission. I made countless phone calls to Tricare, printed appropriate paperwork, verified coverage of the various aspects of pregnancy....I was gettin' her done (I loathe Larry the Cable Guy...but I couldn't resist). There was no way on God's green Earth I would deliver on post. I'd deliver in the commissary, at 6pm, on payday before I allowed that to happen. & my efforts paid off.

The first office I called, to see if they accepted my newfound version of Tricare, was the fateful office on Memorial Drive that would leave me with the best pregnancy/birth experience I could have ever imagined. They were all so wonderful. I felt like I was their daughter/sister/niece/various female relative titles. They showed me that kind of care. When I walked up, they'd say "We gotcha, Samantha. You don't need to sign in" or when I made a joke about stirrups you'd assume came from a 15 year old boy, they joined in on the laugh, or when they remembered where our conversation left off from the previous month's appointment...I knew it was an incredible office. Gary loved it, too. I mean, it got to a point where if they said "jump" we'd ask "how high?" So, when they told me I had preeclampsia (still not over that I had that just because. Pregnancy is weird. At least it wasn't my fault!) we knew we didn't have to worry at all. And, even though I constantly begged them to let me continue my 3 days a week on the elliptical and 2 days a week of yoga, they'd tell me "Hell No" each time, with smiles on their faces.

Jake's Uncle Kevin said Gateway Medical Center looked like a prison from the outside. And, although he is entitled to his opinion, he is wrong... ;) It's such a nice facility. And, PRIVATE! Not that I care too much about the various fun exams that go on when you're in labor, but I was excited to be in private rooms because we didn't have to worry about accommodating another person's stuff. We had all our stuff all spread out & loved it. One room was intended for labor & delivery, and the other for postpartum. Jake, however, decided to have a third room in the mix because he entered this world via the natural means of brights lights, a 4-5 inch opening, & a mama getting a head massage (with sweet nothings whispered in her ear) from the anesthesiologist. What every girl envisions when she pictures the day her first child enters the world. Ahh, the operating room.

But, from start to finish, Gateway was an amazing facility. Well, before I continue my shout outs, I do have to say that I had to drop the hammer on one of the lactation consultants. There were two total, & I'm not sure if they had some 'good cop bad cop' thing going on, but I gave a piece of my mind to one of them & she certainly changed her tone. Hey, I'm mama. HEAR.ME.ROAR. She was a total a-hole, though. Gary assisted in the hammer dropping, but I'd have to say my words were pretty cunning & she retreated...
To continue: From the moment we checked in, to the moment we checked out, we were taken care of. Everything was explained in great detail by anyone who came in to get to know me better. I couldn't pick a favorite nurse because they were all incredible. They'd wake me with gentle rubbing when they came in to check me, they'd sit with me a minute, and/or watch TV with me, while Gary went home to tend to our dogs, they'd gently remind me that after 12 hours of pitocin contractions that not only was I thee.woman., but I was entitled to pain meds if I said so---they made it known that they'd do the asking if I said to jump, they respected my wish to go natural (until after the 171st hour of labor without any further dilation). They'd let me breathe quietly through the big contractions without interrupting me. They were the bomb-diggity. I guess there is one nurse that was most memorable, though. It was the graveyard shift nurse with long hair who called me a different condiment/ingredient each time she walked into my room; "honey" "sugar" was all good!

The rooms were so nice, too! The room was bigger than most master bedrooms. Had pretty woods floors, & cabinets to match, a pull-out couch long enough to accommodate my 6'3" husband, had a mounted, flat screen TV...greatness! I don't know if other hospitals have this also, but "waitresses" would come to my room twice a day so that I could order meals. &, if I didn't want anything, they'd bring me something anyway--just to make sure I was taken care of. Good ol' southern hospitality!

The postpartum nurses dressed me, offered to help me shower, talked with me. I'm just so thankful for them being such wonderful people. They'd ask if I had any questions & would patiently await my response. Oh, and I am soo loving that after cutting me open, my fantastic OB sewed me up with such precision that the sizable tattoo on my left hip looks unaltered. She even did a mini celebratory dance when she checked me at my 6 week checkup!

(just for funsies---It was like 3am my first day postpartum, & Gary had gone home for the dogs & Jake was off in the nursery--not by choice, he was getting something done--I was hobbling over to my bed & had the urge to sneeze. Sweet baby Jesus, sneezing after having a c-section is a fate worse than death.)

My whole experience was so great that I wish I had some way to thank them, the entire staff. Everyone who treated me as if my pain/happiness/thoughtful moments were their pain/happiness/thoughtful moments. The only thing I can really equate my experience to was when I got braces at 16. I cried & cried & cried because I just knew braces were going to look awful, but the orthodontist was the nice, old grandpa whose stories you love to hear. I remember saying that no matter where I end up in the U.S., I'd take my kids to that orthodontist. I feel the same about Gateway. It's not an impossibility for me to have our next child at Gateway, & I'd be honored to. The nurses, paperwork ladies, nursery girl (she'd always assure me it's ok for Jake to stay in the nursery for a while, but I couldn't! Only for procedures!), hearing test woman, of course my awesome OB ----Wait! Don't cue the music!

It just means so much to me/us that those people made that day as perfect as they could. I'd recommend Gateway to a friend. I actually think I should contact head people at both Gateway & Old Navy & make some dinero from blogging my love of both institutions!!

Seriously, though, I could not have asked for more.

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