Before we had ever gone to the hospital I told DH that we had to do something about our transportation. The van was on the fritz. The Flexi-Floater ran well but it was like riding in a dust storm. There was no way I was putting a newborn anything, let alone my own newborn, in that car. DH had people scouting the countryside for appropriate wheels. Someone gave him a tip about a VW Squareback that had been sitting in a barn for a couple of years but it had been hauled out and fixed up. It was painted a bright traffic light green that made it stand out no matter what the season was. We paid the $400 and started driving home. Partway there, the car gathered itself together and released a loud bang. It was a horrible noise that signaled nothing good. The engine was blown. I have no idea what happened after that. Some way we got back to the house and a thorough inspection turned up a mouse’s nest in the air intake. The car was dead. We were back to square one.
This time, we toured the used car lots. It seemed we would have better luck there and we did. We ended up with a white Dodge Coronet station wagon. It wasn’t beautiful but it ran and it didn’t leak dust like a sifter.
But back to when I woke up on the Monday morning after surgery—I looked for the bandage covering the smiley incision but there wasn’t one. There was a band-aid covering my belly button. What the?? My OB/GYN came in to check on me and raised the sheet for a quick examination. “Well, I’ll be damned!” He wasn’t one to use profanity but this was a situation that took him totally by surprise. The surgeon had done the band-aid surgery after all. I was the first one to have a laparoscopic tubal ligation in that hospital. I asked if it would be a freebie since I was a guinea pig but that would have been too good to be true. Other than a very sore stomach from the gas expansion, I was fine.
Today, I would have been sent home not long after the surgery but the doctor chose to keep me in the hospital one more night. My DD was wheeled into the room in her hospital bassinet and we were officially rooming in. I was given the job of being a mother. She came with a supply of diapers and all the other things a baby needs to be fresh and clean. We were both finally as content as we could be away from the rest of the family.
That night, we slept. It was the first night I could totally relax. If DD squeaked, I was right there to care for her. I nursed her when she was hungry and did what came naturally. We were in much better spirits when we woke on Tuesday morning.
My bag contained a beautiful baby afghan DH’s mother had made and a white dress I’d brought to clothe the baby (no matter what the gender was) for the trip home. I’d stitched a complete layette but these were special. We were both dressed and waiting for DH when he arrived. We were checked out of the hospital and I felt like I’d been sprung from prison.
Mother was waiting for us when we got to the house. The boys were at school and would be welcoming their little sister later. When my sisters and I were born, the one giving birth was to stay in bed for days and days after. Mother was still of that opinion so I was consigned to the couch. The bedroom was too far away from the rest of the house for me to be happy in there.
The care of the baby, other than my nursing her and playing with her, was taken over by the Matriarch of the Tribe. I was still wrung out from my experience so I didn’t protest.
Besides being Chief Cook & Bottle Washer and Baby Sitter, Mother had also appointed herself Photographer. She had a Polaroid she always kept handy. The film was expensive so she was stingy with her photos. This was one she took and yes, that is DH’s hair. I would braid it before he’d go to work so his hard hat would stay on. Since he wasn’t flying for a living, he’d let it grow along with his mustache and beard. Mother thought he looked like a “Woolly Bugger”, one of her expressions from ‘way back when. To me, he was the man I loved no matter how he wore his hair.
My diet had not improved since I was a child. I wasn’t careful about what I ate and DD suffered because of it. I’m sure it contributed to her having colic for several nights and days. She would cry loudly. Her face would scrunch up and turn red and she’d pull her legs close to her belly. We were getting worn out from the lack of sleep and stress. DH could go to work and escape from it in the daytime. The boys could go to school. Mother, DD and I were at home.
DH was very strict with the boys and Mother didn’t approve of that at all. Looking back, Dr. Phil probably wouldn’t have, either. In the end, she used needing to get home as the reason she wanted to leave. She packed her bags and we saw her off at the bus stop in Ogallala. I was on my own.