Hospital

In A Place Far, Far From Disneyland



The nurse hung this sign on Tamara's hospital door after she, well, read on.

Having my son was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life but the hours and days following his birth filled with breastfeeding struggles, massive meconium explosions and general post partum loveliness were better described as, well, horrifying.

I literally sat around naked from the waist up sobbing and pleading with both my baby and my nipples to GO-GO-GADGET NURSE! My son had elevated bilirubin levels and was having blood squeezed from his tiny heel every couple of hours. Nurses were in and out of our room for hearing tests, blood pressure checks, temperature checks (other gross checks that we won’t mention because, ewwwww!) My incredibly supportive husband was crouched on a flip out chair with a stiff neck trying to fumble around with newborn diapers while playing spokesperson for our family by answering calls, emails and visits from well wishers.

We even had to take a picture of our son’s boy parts NEXT TO A RULER to email to our out-of-town mohel (because when you’re Jewish and two weeks early, apparently, size matters.)

I know I’ve painted a pretty scary picture but to be completely honest — it was probably worse than I’ve described. I remember my husband looking at me the first night we sat with our screaming bundle of joy and saying, “Why the hell didn’t anyone tell us about THIS PART?” In retrospect, I think they did but in our own naivete we ignored them.

Today, the The New York Times reported that Disney has piggy-backed on an already annoying program to weasel their way into your hospital room hours after your baby is born. In my opinion, this is a new marketing low for Disney. I didn’t care what I brought my baby home WEARING just so long as they let me bring him home. Trust me, Mickey Mouse couldn’t have been farther from my mind, and a free onesie wasn’t going to change that. I didn’t appreciate the sample bag of formula being pushed on us, (in a “Baby Friendly Hospital” no less) and you can bet the girl from Our365 had some choice words for me after I threw her out of my room for asking to take pictures of my yellow baby.

But the real kicker happened while my husband was out getting sandwiches and the person from billing came down to my room to congratulate me on the birth of my son and collect a $250 copay. I had a total naked freak out on her ass. One that sent her running and was apparently loud (and profanity-laden) enough to prompt my sweet nurse to tape this sign on my door for the remainder of our stay (because apparently the nice sign wasn’t obvious enough?)

I have no apologies for my actions during that time. I strongly believe that the hours post partum are a sacred time for parents to bond with the new life they have created and everyone else can wait. Marketing, advertizing and strategic product placements have infiltrated our lives through every vector possible but my hospital room is not a place for your propaganda. Don’t get me wrong, I love free stuff just as much as the next person (after all, we’re still Jewish) but leave it in a basket outside my door. If I feel it is appropriate for our family, I might just take it. And your company’s respect for my privacy during this difficult magical time might just be the best first impression you could possibly make.

Tamara Reese

Tamara Reese, MPH, CHES is a stay-at-home Mama and consultant in the field of Maternal and Child Health. She is a contributing editor to Kveller and her work has been published in academic journals, La Leche League USA, Brain, Child Magazine and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Tamara lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, two boys and ginger-baby daughter. Her passions include child injury prevention, gentle parenting, and breastfeeding advocacy. #YouAreAGoodMama

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