Baby, But No Mom
May is moved from my home under the direction of the county worker. I am not provided an explanation and I have 48 hrs to get her ready. I call my worker and May’s counselor and I do not get an explanation. I am told that it was not their decision and they were not provided with any details. I am heartsick. I cannot believe this is a good thing for her. Maybe she wants to go and cannot tell me. Whatever the reason, I am powerless and May must leave. I start packing for her right away because I want her to have time to check her things and not to miss anything important. I put two of the books we both loved in one of her bags with an inscription telling her I will always love her. May’s county worker arrives to take her and she is allowed to take her turtle. They drive away with May holding the plastic turtle bowl on her lap. I have never felt so ineffective or helpless as a parent. It is with great effort that I carry on, and I need to because Shari is about to have her baby.
Shari’s water does not break and she does not have any pains but she is due and is bleeding the tiniest bit. I call the doctor and we are told to go to the hospital. Shari’s older sister is available and is at our house within minutes. I tell her to relax and not drive too fast. I reassure them I will be along soon. I take Ivy, Lea and Nina to my parents home and go to the hospital to be with Shari.
By the time I arrive at the hospital, Shari is being prepped for a C-section. Both Shari and her sister are frightened and panicky. Shari’s sister volunteers that she cannot be with Shari because she is too “scared.” These are just two girls, I understand. I tell the doctor I am Shari’s mother and I would like to be with her. I am given a sterile suit to put on and am led into the operating room. Shari is terrified, she did not expect a C-section. I move up very close to her on the wheeling stool and I lean against her and ask her if she wants me to be touching her. Shari wants me to touch her and stay with her. A beautiful baby boy is is born perfectly healthy. Since Shari will be in the recovery room sleeping, I go home and get the girls.
I promise the girls that if the hospital and Shari agree, we will go to the hospital and visit them as soon as possible. It is a very good thing Nina is in an extended day preschool. We are allowed to visit Shari the next day. I visit her secretly while the girls are in school. Shari has a fever, the baby is fine. The following day, I take Ivy and Lea to visit Shari and her new baby and she looks fine to me but the nurse says she still has a fever. I wonder if it is just because the room is very hot. That night Shari calls and tearfully tells me they want to discharge the baby but not her. I do not know what to say or do, I have never experienced any such thing. Later, when I am at the hospital, I am able to speak with the hospital social worker who met me before, the day I brought Nina, my toddler in with the broken arm. This order to discharge has happened because: When Shari sought prenatal services, the clinic was not covered by Shari’s insurance but another type which covers all minors who are pregnant and seek services but not the newborn infants. If I refuse to take the baby, the baby would be transported to another hospital covered by a different insurance. If Shari had chosen to breastfeed, the baby would have to stay with her but Shari has decided not to breastfeed and it is too late to change for insurance purposes. I agree to take the new baby home. I ask the social worker what the latest possible time would be that I could take the baby. I am given until 5pm this same afternoon.
Our house is ready for Shari and the baby. Ivy has given up her room for a short time and will sleep with me. I promise Shari that I will sleep in Ivy’s bed next to the baby. It’s a good thing newborn babies sleep a lot.
I am able to take the baby back to the hospital to visit Shari anytime I want and the day nurse in charge allows me to leave the baby with Shari until just before her shift is over. This whole incident is actually very smooth. I make a strict rule that no one is allowed near the baby without first blowing your nose and then washing your hands very well with soap and hot water. 12 and 13 year old girls are very good at feeding babies and I am very good at supervising. I have just one tough incident: One of the days Nina has no school and the big girls have school and while I am feeding the baby, Nina lets the dogs out and takes herself and the dogs for a walk. The baby and I walk down our street looking for them and this is the only time ever that all three will come to me when I call them and stay right with me until we are all safely back in the house. Nina and I take the baby to the hospital to Shari and she is discharged the next day.