Surgeon General, we’ve got a bone to pick


I’m looking for the Surgeon General. I’m determined to uncover who is this ambiguous being who has the authority to issue ominous warnings and rules on a whim, without ever checking with those it affects.

Surgeon General, we have a bone to pick.

Boruch Hashem, two weeks ago I gave birth to another little beautiful baby…boy! With the help and support of my dear friend Ep E. Dural, who always stands firmly and supportively at my side through each birth, (well, except at baby #3, which I still haven’t forgiven him for, but I will save that for another time!) I’m not a big fan of unnecessary pain, and I enjoyed every moment of the pain free labor and delivery, truly experiencing the wonder of it all.

And with the announcement of “It’s a boy!”  I couldn’t stop my response from escaping,  “Are you sure, can you check one more time?!”

They were sure, and I assumed that anyways, because by now I’m a tried and proven Mom of Boys. I’ve earned my title. What ten years and a band of boys have done to me is pretty wild. I can just imagine what another ten years will do…they’ll be walking on the ceiling, I’ll smile and wave and go back to what I was doing without even taking a  picture.

So back to the Surgeon General … apparently the Surgeon General is not a mom…because this Surgeon General decided that it was best for new moms if they closed down the nursery in this particular group of hospitals and require all moms to room in with the new baby….huh?

If you’re one of those moms who prefer that, well, we don’t talk the same language. The best advice I ever received was before my first was born…a dear friend advised me; send the baby to the nursery for the night!  For your good and the baby’s good! You will go home from the hospital well slept and you can catch up on your sleep deprived nights for months to come! Don’t feel guilty, you have to take care of yourself!

Yes, best advice ever.

I’ve gotten a good night sleep and come home a step ahead, not a sleep deprived mess.

Well, enter Surgeon General…with his new ideas.

Baby was born at 10:39 PM. By 1 AM, all quieted down and I was pretty exhausted. With the nurses finally giving me some peace and quiet, and the baby asleep in my room, I started drifting off…1:10 baby was up…fed him again, put him back in his little bassinet thing, laid back in the awkward hospital bed…1:40, he’s whimpering again…1:50 he’s back asleep, 2:20 he’s back in my arms…I adjust the bed, up and down, trying to find comfort and trying not to fall asleep while sitting up feeding the baby…after all, the nurses told me that the Surgeon General says not to fall asleep while sitting in bed holding the baby…yet another clue it’s not a mom, because falling asleep isn’t something a mom can control…

2:40 he’s back asleep…3:10 he’s whimpering…3:30 they need to check vitals…4:00 they need to clean the bathroom…4:10 he’s up…and I’m hitting the 24 hour mark of being awake…

Where is that Surgeon General?? You’re telling me this arrangement leaves moms well rested and more competent to take care of the baby upon arrival at home?!

At 5:00 am I call one of the friendly nurses and plead with her, please oh please can you watch my baby for a little so I can get some sleep…

And the nurses are so sweet and nice in this little small town hospital, and three hours of sleep is granted!

Ready to take on the day…of course, sleep while the baby sleeps…in between nurses coming in and out, doctors checking in….filling out paperwork, another cleaning crew to clean the bathroom, meals being served (my lonely kosher tray of a banana and an apple juice…it’s good my husband brought me some goodies of my own)…

And the day continues, with a total of 41 minutes nap time…And the night begins, I bemoan my tiredness to the visiting nurse of the hour, inquire about this know-it-all Surgeon General who obviously never slept in a room with a newborn or has never experienced interrupted sleep…11 PM we’re both asleep, 11:30 we’re both up, including the visiting nurse…12 AM we are both asleep, 12:20 we are both 3 AM I call a nurse and she kindly takes the baby for 3 hours…and a total of 3 hours of sleep is under my belt.

If I find that Surgeon General…I’m already planning my lawsuit.

I leave the hospital more sleep deprived than I’ve been in 5 years.

No, Mr. Surgeon General, your plan did not work. Depriving new moms of their precious little sleep is not the way to send them home to start motherhood responsibilities in their best shape and form.

I’m not a first time mom-you can’t sell me a boat like that.

And all the articles I’ve read that nursing creates the same hormones the brain secretes during sleep or something like that, so really, you’re just as well rested whether you sleep or nurse all night…I don’t buy it.

I remember sitting bleary eyed in bed, nursing my oldest, wondering where that hormone was and what was wrong with me that I was so tired…

Nursing at night is tiring. It’s sleep depriving. No sugar coating it. It’s not easy. Period.

But I do it anyway. For as long as I can, so long as it isn’t affecting my daytime functioning as a mom. It’s part of the uniqueness and joy of motherhood. But let’s not pretend it’s not tiring!

And hence the reason a sleepful night right after childbirth is so dire; to me, it’s like refilling  the fuel tank (which goes on empty after childbirth), and the full tank goes a long way.

So, dear Surgeon General, I will find you. And you have a lot of explaining to do.