Anyway, this nurse looked surprised because I’m usually blank when she walks in. I went numb almost as soon as I was admitted into the hospital. So numb that as they told me I was quarantined, I floated outside of my body and had the conscious thought, “hey look at that, my nervous system just shut down!” It wasn’t hard to go almost full catatonic as they filled me back up with 2 pints of blood and an obscene amount of pharmaceuticals. But anyway, that wasn’t why my nervous system shut down. It was because I was told I couldn’t see my baby anymore as they wheeled me into isolation. Silver lining? I had a room to myself with a harbor view, and the fleeting thought that I might get a full night’s rest for the first time in almost a year. The rest of it though? Fucking miserable.
Anyway, much to the shock of just about every nurse, doctor and specialist that came my way, I was still nursing my almost 9 month old. They looked at me like I was fucking crazy when I begged them to find me a breast pump considering I was half conscious due to the fact that I had half the amount of blood a human needs to survive in my body. And here I was nursing on demand all hours of the day and night, only to be separated from my child without even saying goodbye. But my mama bear was strong as ever inside of me, much stronger than my physical body that’s for sure, and they fucking knew it too.
Anyway like I said, most of the time, they came in, I was catatonic staring out the window at a cruise ship parked in the harbor. But God forbid they’d make the mistake of mentioning my baby or my family, I’d just started screaming like a lunatic. I could see the whites of their eyes behind the plastic hazmat masks before they turned a heel and got the hell out of my room.
So yeah, I’m ripping off my hospital gown with my teeth because I have this IV in the crook of my left elbow rendering that entire arm useless, and I have to get my breast pump on. Hot tears are streaming down my face because I know if I don’t pump soon, my baby won’t have any milk for the night, and since it’s been almost a week since I’ve seen him, I don’t want him to forget about me. To be honest, I feel pretty forgotten in isolation. My husband only came to see me once for 10 minutes before leaving to get the baby from the sitter. I know he’s terrible in stressful situations and I could see him shrinking in this one, but that didn’t make me feel any better about it. Anyway, my family was thousands of miles and time zones away, so they were nowhere to be found. And friends? Well, let’s just say getting sick the same day you give birth to your first child puts you in a whole different type of isolation. So you’d think that should’ve prepared me for this. Nah, no dice. I’m just fucking lonely, and my milk is drying up which makes me feel like an even more worthless mother than I thought I was before I got admitted. I mean, I couldn’t even pick up my baby for the last month. I’d put him in a chair at the edge of the shower and lay on the floor of the tub while the water veiled my tears.
Anyway, I thought that was rock bottom. But it turns out, ripping off your hospital gown with your teeth and screaming at a nurse is the new bottom. I must have scared her enough, or sparked whatever compassion compelled her to pursue a career in nursing in the first place, because she walked over to me, helped me attach the pump, and looked at me with love. She said I was an amazing mother. I cried as I thanked her for being so kind, and asked her to forgive me for being such a bitch. She smiled, and for a moment, I felt less alone.