Saturday, November 14, 2009

I Heart Vicki Iovine.

If you don't know who that is, chances are you just don't recognize the name. Did you by chance pick up a copy of The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy when you first found out you were pregnant? If not, go running to the nearest Half Price Books. If so, the author was the fantastically honest Vicki Iovine. I noted early on that we seemed to have very similar thoughts about childbirth and pregnancy, so as my pregnancy starts to draw to an end and my childbirth and post-pregnancy reading commences, one of my first picks was The Girlfriend's Guide to the First Year of Motherhood. I've only just started it, given that I'm babysitting for a whopping 8-9 hours this evening (I've lost my mind is the only reasonable explanation for why I would agree to that!), and already I found a passage that not only I could relate to, but completely excuses my near fit at the obligatory rooming-in that my hospital requires. In my defense, as most new mothers think this is ideal, this is what this seasoned veteran (she has four children, our only obvious difference in personality) had to say about the practice:

Most hospitals now allow you to keep your baby with you in your room at all times if you are capable of caring for her yourself; in other words, you're not feverish or high on painkillers. This practice is called rooming in and it is quite fashionable for expectant mothers to insist that they will allow nothing but rooming in after their baby is born. I don't want to generalize, at least not on every page, but these rooming-inners are usually the same women who are marching behind the natural childbirth banner. In other words, these are women setting rules and standards based on no actual familiarity with having a baby. Not a good idea.

Give yourself the option of keeping the baby with you all the time or letting the nursery staff care for him or her while you attend to such luxuries as a sitz bath or sleeping for more than forty-five minutes. We Girlfriends implore you to rest as much as you possibly can for your way-too-brief stay in the hospital because you will not be allowed to lie down and be cared for again until you have your next baby, and by then you'll be feeling too guilty about the firstborn to enjoy it. You may think that you are fine and that caring for the baby is a breeze, but THIS IS A TRAP! You are high on a cocktail or adrenaline and infatuation, and your baby is going to wake up in a few days, never to closer her eyes again (or so it will seem). Your only hope, aside from a full-time nanny, is to hoard sleep now.

My thoughts exactly.

While I was explaining to my mother during her visit back in September my desire for the baby to stay in a nursery while I was in the hospital, she reacted in a way that suggested that this was a desire akin to running the dog over with my car just for the hell of it.

"Maybe you'll change your mind when you have her," she assured me, as though at twenty-four weeks pregnant I was already displaying qualities of an unfit mother.

"Doubtful," I assured her.

Sure enough, I'm still anti rooming-in. Too bad my hospital doesn't give a damn. I can see why the nurse might have been caught off guard by my question now, though. She thought I was a first-time mom. While technically that is true, there is nothing first-time about me, having dealt with two different sets of triplet newborns on a full-time basis, and having taken part in about 12046378462934 children's lives at this point.

On a slightly related (but less opinionated) note, here are some books I recommend to anyone currently prepping for the big day and the postpartum period:

Baby Laughs - Jenny McCarthy
Sippy Cups Are Not For Chardonnay - Stephanie Wilder-Taylor
ANYTHING by Vicki Iovine
The Pregnancy Bible (This is a great one for dads also, since there are detailed and illustrated how-to instructions for new babies!)
The Pregnancy Recovery Guide - Dr. Glade Curtis

I'm sure there'll be a much larger list to follow, but this is what I've gone through in the past week and a half, and the ones I would recommend!


  1. Yeah. I tried that an endless world of shit for it from the hospital, and they DID have a nursery.

    Now of course, I am the luckiest mom in the world cause Marianne LOVES her sleep...once she gets to that point. Getting her TO that point is another matter ENTIRELY. The child doesn't wanna sleep, but after some point realizes there's no way to fight it and goes to sleep...and then she sleeps...and sleeps...and SLEEPS.

    YAY! Thank God, I passed along my lazy sleep in till 8 AM genes!

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  3. I've been reading a lot of "serious" child-rearing prep books and definitley think I could use a break for some baby related laughs. Thanks for the suggestions!

    By the way, I totally agree about rooming-in. It might be nice to have the baby available all the time, but I also want the option of recovery time. If some recovery isn't necessary, then why do we give birth in a hospital??


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