I went to the local hospital today to visit a friend who had a baby yesterday. She’s a surrogate friend, and it’s kind of a fluke that I happen to be in town during the time of her delivery, so I was excited for the opportunity to go and visit. I stopped at Target first and picked up a small gift for her, and a gift for the baby’s parents.
I don’t know if all hospitals are getting tighter with their security, especially in the wake of the baby-snatching episodes that have happened the past few years, but this one is. I had to pick up the phone in the hallway and request to be buzzed back into the Women’s Center. Here’s how the conversation went (names have been changed to protect the innocent)
Nurse on other end of phone: “Can I help you?”
Me: “I’m here to visit a patient, please.”
Nurse: “Patient’s name?”
Me: “Karen …. Um, Karen.”
Nurse: “Last name please?”
And that’s when I realized that I don’t know this girl’s last name. We’re online friends who have only met in person twice before, and although she and I chat as part of an online group every day, I couldn’t think of her last name to save my life.
Me: “Well, I can’t think of her last name; I’m sorry.”
Nurse: “Well, I’m sorry too, but you can’t come in if you don’t know her last name.”
Me: “Can’t you look up her name? She’s expecting me. I know she’d say it’s ok if I come back. She’s the girl who delivered as a surrogate yesterday. I can’t imagine you have more than one surrogate on this floor” --- and I gave a little nervous laugh, because I just know the nurse was sitting back thinking, “Oh, yeah, some friend you are, you don’t even know her last name, you baby-snatcher you.”
Nurse: “No, I’m sorry. You cannot come in if you can’t give me her name.”
OK, how embarrassing was that???
So I had to call my mom at her house, and have her look up a phone number for me, so I could call a mutual friend to get her last name. Now, I’m all for security and everything, but I felt a little silly and stupid, I must admit.
Once I got her last name, I rang the phone again and requested admission …. This time, since I knew her name, the nurse buzzed me into the center. But once I walked through the doors, I realized I didn’t know her room number, either. I’m apparently a pretty worthless lump of a friend. So I walked to the nurses’ desk and stood in line to find out the room number. Good heavens, this was getting way more complicated than it needed to be. All I wanted to do was drop off a gift and say hello!
Finally the person in front of me finished whatever they were doing, and the nurse, the same nurse I assumed had given me a hard time about gaining access, and then buzzed me in, looked up at me, holding my gift bags, and said, “Hello, do you need to sign in?"
And I thought “Wow, they really are taking security seriously around here.”
So I said yes, and started looking around for a sign in sheet.
She asked my name, and then typed it into the computer.
Not only security, but high-tech security!
Then she said, “I’m sorry, I’m not finding you in the computer. Have you been here before?”
And I sort of paused, and said, “Nooooooooooo, I mean, I’m not really sure. It’s probably been a long time, if I’m in there at all.”
To which she responded, “But have you ever delivered a baby here before?”
And I paused again, thinking what on earth does that have to do with anything, and it’s a little Big Brother-ish, and said, “No, I’m just here to visit a friend, is that really relevant?”
And she replied, just as matter-of-fact as is humanly possible, “Oh. You’re not having a baby here today?”
Are you KIDDING ME??????
Um, yeah! I’m standing here by myself, with no friends or family, holding all my clothing and toiletries and supplies for my soon-to-be-born baby in these two small GIFT BAGS! And she thought I was in labor!
You know, I get asked all the time if I’m pregnant, which I can sort of understand, even though it’s rough on the ego. I’m a little chubby, the majority of my extra weight is in my saggy, stretched-out tummy, and I prefer baggy clothes. So while I despise it, I do at least “get it” when people ask if I’m having a baby.
But to imply that I’m so fat I look nine months along???!!
It’s not like I was panting, or bent over in a contraction, or moaning in pain, or there was a baby’s HEAD coming out from between my legs or anything!
But there you have it. I am obviously so ginormous that a labor and delivery nurse thought I was nine months pregnant and about to deliver a baby. I totally should have dropped my drink on the floor and pretended like my water had just broken.
I was so stinkin’ depressed that I went to my sister’s New Years Party tonight and ate an entire shrimp ring by myself, then followed it with half a platter of fudge. Of course, those calories were directly off-set by the four diet Dr. Peppers I drank, so everyone knows they don’t count. Right?
So. Does anyone have any suggestions for the New Year for me? Gastric bypass? Having my jaw wired shut? A six-month fast at an ashram in Oregon???? BULEMIA?!?!?!?!
Good heavens. I don’t even know what to think. Besides the fact I’m apparently about to have a baby, and nobody bothered to tell ME!
Happy stinkin' New Year.