Full Moon Baby

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

When I was 8 months pregnant, my husband and I were given the hospital tour.

“The maternity ward,” said the nurse in a singsong voice, “is a wonderful place to be.” 

She showed us the birthing areas, the shower room and the nurses’ station, complete with flowers and chocolate bon-bons on the counter top.

“It’s never very busy here,” she continued, “so you are pretty much guaranteed a private room and that way, mom, baby and daddy can stay together and be comfortable.”

Reality is such a bitch.

I went into labour on Monday afternoon. My daughter was born on Wednesday night. I don’t fancy doing anything that feels good for longer than one, maybe two hours – tops, so needless to say, being in labour for 48 hours was not on my bucket list.

By the time it was over, everyone involved was elated, and exhausted. My parents – now proud grandparents - drove home to their beds while Geoff, the newborn and I were taken to our room – a semi-private room.

“We’re experiencing a busier than normal November,” explained the orderly. 

The comfy bed that was promised to Geoff during the hospital tour was non-existent. Instead, he slept on a chair he snatched from the nurse’s station.

Complications during childbirth combined with a dose of negligence ("You mean you could walk before you came in?") necessitated a weeklong stay in hospital following the birth of my daughter. So, we did eventually get our private room and Geoff, did get his bed… a cot he “acquired” from some other floor under cover of darkness. Not that it mattered much, as any time we dared to close our eyes, nurses whooshed into our room, waking us up, to make sure we were resting.

Through it all, we delighted in the new addition to our family – a healthy, happy baby girl whose hospital release papers were signed five days before mine. But, on one particular night, near the end of our "stay", we were certain the walls were going to come crumbling down.

I’ve never had a restful sleep during a full moon. At this point in my life, I don’t know if I’ve just bought into the folklore and conditioned myself to stay awake when the sky is bright, or if I am genuinely affected by the position of our Earth.

During our time in hospital, we endured a Harvest moon - or maybe it was a Hunters moon.

Either way. It. Was. Hell.

Here’s the thing. Newborn babies cry. A lot. But no amount of weeping can compare to the chorus of howls that can be heard in a beyond-capacity maternity ward, during a full moon.

Nurses were in and out of rooms all night long. As soon as one baby had settled, another, down the hall would start up - followed by another, and another until the ward was awash in the sounds of tiny lungs expressing extreme discontent. According to one caregiver, it happens every time the moon is full.

By the time 4am rolled around, I decided I’d rather be back in labour.

No, really.

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