Monday, January 9, 2012

Suburbs of Our Discontent

Blue Ivy, Beyoncé and Jay-Z's daughter, was born this Saturday at Lenox Hill Hospital in NYC. The couple reportedly rented out an entire floor for $1.3 million to ensure their privacy. (I'm pretty convinced that I didn't receive my Sunday New York Times this weekend because they didn't want anyone reading about it.) I guess if you have enough money you can treat a hospital like it's the Bellagio.

Ooh, there must have been so many pissed off yummy mummy's-to-be this weekend sulking around the Upper East Side sipping nonfat decaf chai lattes. And too bad for you if you're just some average shmo trying to see his twins in the NICU, like this guy.

Now, I have nothing against over-the-top luxury. I in fact welcome the day when I'll be able to open an Anthropologie catalogue and order its entire contents, including the online home furnishings section. But I do draw the line at keeping other new parents and expectant parents out of their hospital of choice, or the one that's closest to them. I spent as much time researching hospitals as I did researching my first book when I was pregnant. It's no laughing matter interfering with a gravid woman's obsessive need to control whatever she can before it all goes to hell on her.

I spent most of my third trimester finishing a book on midwives during Shakespeare's time and in his plays. On the one hand, I was grateful that the medical instruments and meds had come a long way since 1595; on the other hand, I did miss the female camaraderie that sprang up around most women's at-home births back then (hospital births didn't exist). They'd get to have a party for a month with all their girlfriends and gossip about things while the husbands cooked and stayed away from them. Sounds like a good time to me. I spent most of my post-partum days alone in my hospital room losing my mind staring at my jaundiced baby on a lights table--thankfully, one very kind nurse finally made me eat sone pudding, put on my shoes, and go for a walk.

Maybe Jay-Z and Beyoncé were just looking to recreate that party experience, since at-home births are so marginalized in our culture. I just hope they threw a piece of cake to that poor guy who was trying to see his twins.

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