First Day Out After Having Baby

Yesterday was my first day being out of the house, on my own, driving myself, since my daughter was born. I still can’t believe she’ll be turning two weeks old this week. Time is really flying by as a new parent.

To be more accurate, my first time out of the house since we came home from the hospital was last week. My husband and I took our daughter for the routine one-week follow-up wellness check, but that was a short drive to the pediatrician’s office. Today was me, myself, and I in a car, alone for the first time in nine months. But I digress…

Missing baby

First I kissed my daughter a million times and said I’d be back soon. Then I drove to my first stop, DuPage Medical Group, to drop off the MyChart form I had picked up on Friday to fill out. This form would give me as a parent the ability to access and manage my daughter’s healthcare information and communicate with her doctors electronically. From there I made a quick Starbucks drive-thru run for my regular tall green tea frappuccino (no whip); a mom’s gotta stay hydrated afterall. Next I stopped by Carson’s at the Orland Square Mall and Kohl’s to return two gifts we had received from out baby shower in January. All the while I was missing my daughter.

Since becoming pregnant my daughter had been my constant companion. Running errands was one of the ways I felt like I was communing with her. For instance, I loved knowing that the music I was playing in the car could maybe influence her musical taste. I felt like we were sharing these moments in the car some how, the same way you do when you are out of your mother’s womb. With our unique physical connection severed, it felt lonely in the car though. It was strange having the seatbelt tautly fitten over my waist, my coat completely flat before me. I missed my bump, I missed having my baby with me.

What’s the worst thing that could happen?

After I left Kohl’s I received the strangest call. It was from an animal clinc in St. Charles, IL called Loyal Companions Animal Hospital & Pet Resort. The woman on the phone told me the form I had tried to fax reached their office by mistake and that they were going to shred what they had received. My eyes bugged out. I asked for more details and it turns out that the form I had dropped off at DuPage Medical Group had been mistakenly faxed to this animal clinic. Adrenal washed over me and I called DuPage Medical Group, but darn it the only number they give out for all locations is the main line (a.k.a call center). I was connected to the medical records department, but they said they would transfer me to MyChart. Instead, I was transferred to Rush Hospital and the woman who picked up at Rush hung up on me when she realized I had been transferred incorrectly.

I had one more stop to make which was the Epilepsy Center in Orland Park, to make a donation. I knew I couldn’t let this MyChart mistake go, so I decied after I dropped off the items I wanted to donate that I would drive back to the DuPage Medical Group office to correct the error in person since I couldn’t get a hold of the office directly over the phone.

Bad drivers

As the gentleman from the Epilepsy Center went back in with the items I had brought for donation, I took my foot off the brakes and was about to put my foot on the accelorator when a car sped right in front, almost hitting the front of our car. I pride myself on being a good driver, and thank goodness my foot went the brakes as quickly it did, but honestly it was either luck or some guardian angel that saved me. A couple seconds too late and the car, as well as myself, could’ve been really hurt.

“My God…” I thought. It all happened in that slow-motion way that only happens in surreal situations. And n those terrifying seconds I caught a glipmse of the driver and passenger as they sped by; an old couple. Who I presume to be the wife was in the passenger’s seat and incredulously she was looking down smugly at the nose of our car like it was a bug. Likewise the way her husband was drive was just as arrogant. Who speeds in a parking lot?

Dying is probably the worst thing that could happen to you if you do finally get out of the house following child birth, but you can’t let mortality and the bad drivers of the world make you into a shut-in. You and your baby deserve to go out and enjoy all the pleasures of this world.

After a minute to catch my breath I slowly put my foot on the accelarator, inching carefully forward to see if there were any other speed demons coming from the left or right.

You have to be your own advocate

Through the drizzle I arrived at DuPage Medical Group safely. I saw the lady who had collected the MyChart form from me an hour earlier, but she was busy. I was greeted by another woman at the front desk who was visibly disturbed to learn of the faxing error. The form had not been thrown out thankfully and the woman said the fax number that was entered originally was one digit off. I was polite and didn’t make a fuss about the mistake, the whole “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar” approach I’ve mostly found to be true. Also, I’ve been very happy being a DuPage Medical Group patient, rather than make a stink I just wanted to resolve this thing positively. What would drama and anger do to help the situation? Nothing but create bad feelings on both sides.

The scary thing is, it’s the following morning and I still haven’t received the confirmation e-mail I was told I’d receive pretty quickly. I’m getting nervous…When I told my mother, who works in healthcare, about what happened with DuPage Medical Group she said “No system is full proof sweetheart. You have to be your own advocate and stay on top of things period, and keep good records for your family.” Sad but true. Maybe I’ll try calling DuPage Medical Group later this afternoon, I don’t feel like driving out again. At this point DuPage Medical Group needs to make the effort.

But the take away from this hour and a half excursion? It’s normal to miss your baby, it’s normal to feel some guilt and worry, but don’t let these feelings distract you or bring you down. Remember that you are the same woman you were before pregnancy. You need to resume your responsabilities and the things that you enjoyed doing before baby. What helps is reconnecting with those things that fueled and empowered your sense of self before baby. For me, a frappuccino is always a great pick me up; it’s a weekly treat that instantly picks me up. And if all else fails, think of your baby as your treat at the end of your running errands. I know when I came home yesterday, after everything, holding my daughter in my arms and having her little hands touch my face, I set aside the stresses that befell me during my short time out of the house. That’s the magic of babies, they make you forget the bad things and focus on the good.

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