My husband read all my blog comments to me over the phone while I was alone in my hospital room last night. It was so sweet to receive my aposolate of "cheerful conversation" back from my own blog readers.
Baby and I returned home today around 3 PM.
As always, I wouldn't be a Carmelite if I didn't have at least one final cross to carry from my hospital stay.
They brought me Communion at 10 AM. I had such joy to be able to kneel and receive our Lord. (It's the simple things in life that bring you to tears after child-birth!) It was great to have God, of course, but a timely Eucharist should have been a cue to me that I was going to need supernatural strength to get home.
Baby and I were discharged at 11 AM. We were both completely ready to leave the hospital at 12:01 PM.
However, my nurse couldn't find us a wheel-chair or a wheel-chair chaperone in the entire hospital for the next 2 1/2 hours! For that entire time, I was exactly one elevator ride and one 15 minute taxicab ride away from my home, my husband, and 3 adoring siblings who had set up a surprise "Zero" birthday party for my Tess.
It was hospital policy to refuse to let a new mother walk down the elevator by herself and or carry her newborn baby alone. Both gals MUST exit safely in a wheel-chair pushed by a special chaperone. The hospital had instituted a new, improved wheel-chair delivery system -which clearly was not working today. The entire Maternity Staff, especially the receptionist were beside themselves.
I sat alone in my hospital room with Miss Gorgeous and felt totally helpless. Mr. Benjamin was at home dying from the stress of prolonged separation from his darling girls. He called my room every thirty minutes asking for an update. There was no news to give him. My wheel-chair request had been received, but there was still no time-table on when my wheel-chair would appear.There was nothing he could do, as nothing in his darling 6 foot 5 inch frame counted as either a wheel-chair or as an officially approved wheel-chair chaperone.
As extra penance, I couldn't order lunch because I'd already been checked out of the hospital computer. Of course, you know how hungry breast-feeding a newborn makes you! I was seriously considering handing a complete stranger my credit card in an attempt to get a turkey sandwich from the Starbucks cafe on the hospital's main floor.
At the height of my self-pity, I turned on the TV. Something crazy was happening about six blocks from my hospital room. I'm sure it will hit the national news tonight- a guy, with a gun and/or explosives, held up the Discovery Channel's national office. The emergency news report puts things into perspective. I don't know if my delay was supposed to help with penance for that specific situation, but it suddenly felt like God could have a good reason to ask Tess and I to keep away from our home for a little while longer.
Finally, at 2:45 a lowly Maternity Floor Lab Tech with- a GIANT necklace of Our Lady of Gaudalupe -- got drafted to push me to the elevator with a wheel-chair stolen from NICU. There was only the three of us Mary's girls and lots of luggage, flowers (thanks Jen and Hallie!), a clunky carseat and that silly hospital policy to uphold. We had to put Tess inside her carseat and then put the carseat on top of my lap. A "IT'S A GIRL" balloon bopped the Tech all the way downstairs.
The receptionist cut off the last security band off of Baby Tess and we were finally free. The receptionist talked a mile a minute. Tess was so beautiful. I looked so healthy. I was too tired to do anything but nod. Finally, she asked the dreaded question "So this is number 4. Will you have more?" After days of dodging that question, I finally responded with the complete truth. "It's up to God," I said simply.
The receptionist broke out into a giant smile. "So you might be back! We might see you again?" she shouted. "That's fantastic!"
"Yup, that would be fantastic!" I said. "Next time, however, I'm bringing my own wheel-chair!"