Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Breastfeeding discrimination at it's best

I've always loved that Alanis Morisette song (yes folks, I am old) anyway, onto the point

How Ironic is it that the day after I create this blog about my opinions....... the day after I email our representative about the status of a breastfeeding in public bill that is being voted on, I find myself the victim of breastfeeding discrimination to a degree that even I could have never imagined. You see, I usually get myself into trouble because I purposely put myself there, today........ trouble slapped me upside the head out of nowhere.

My previous post mentioned a CT scan I was scheduled for this morning. Got my not-so-happy ass up at 6am, we got all 6 kids up and fed and dressed and over to a friends by 7, and pulled into the hospital parking lot at 8:10. I was due to have radioisotope dye injected into me so I wanted to nurse Nathan before I went in since I couldn't for 24 hours following (not really true as per studies done on the subject, but better safe than sorry).

Since I needed to be there at 8:15 I grabbed him out of his carseat and fed him as I walked in, before leaving my car I made sure that my shirt was tucked down around his mouth and I tucked a receiving blanket under my arm so not even the skin on my side would show. I'm not the type to just go flashing my floppy ta-ta's for everyone to see after all.....

I walk in there and was surprised that I didn't even get the chance to sit down before being ushered into the registration room. I signed the consent to treat forms and the lady got a phone call and when she was finished she said I could stay in there for a few minutes and they would come get me.... how nice of her.......... right? Little did I know they were assembling a team of "hide the lady doing that god awful thing called feeding her baby" tyrants just outside the door.

The lady who initially had brought me to the room, let's just call her NK, came in and told me to follow her, they were taking me to a private room. Well jeez, this is some service! I'm still oblivious to the apparent seriousness the situation to the extent I ask her if I can take the baby with me for now and she tells me yes. ( stupid Kat, they don't offer private rooms to everyone, just ladies doing that god awful thing called feeding thier babies) We walk through the waiting area and I notice a man, whom I had not yet met, now leading the group that was NK, me with Nate, Jack, then Craig pushing the stroller. We barely exit the doorway when a lady appears from the left saying in a rather panicked tone "there's PEOPLE down the hall". People? in the hall? is this an extraordinary event?

The man, lets just for no other reason than to be sassy call him O*. Just for fun. Ok? Still with me? So O stops abruptly, NK* (is that even how you spell that? hmm, someone leave the correct spelling in my comments will ya?) ........... ok so NK* nearly runs into him, I nearly run into her.... Nathan, poor baby, almost became a little bitty sweet sandwich, Craig gets out the door with Jack and steps beside me, Jack between us.

Now, I'm still slightly stupified. I'm beginning to realize that this is not the way they treat everybody. Maybe they think I'm famous?

O* and NK* turn around, now facing me side by side. The door has closed behind me, it's a bit cramped in this big ole hallway.

So O* finally speaks. He says to me "we are taking you to a private room but there are people down the hall"...... silly me, I actually thought this fine gentleman, who glancing at his name tag I find out is the director of Radiology, is THIS concerned about MY comfort when nursing my child, bless him and his dear christian soul......

So me, being stupid, said "Oh, I don't mind!" to which I heard in reply........ "But other people DO"............ Ooooooh.................... you didn't.............. did you actually just say that?............ I have this 8 second mental monolog (ok, another one I can't spell).

He then asks me if I want a blanket. For a second I had that flash of fear, you know the fear you get when your having that "i just realized I'm naked at the prom" dream? And I look down certain my boob, colon, or something is hanging out............. whew, nothing is........... oooh they mean do I want to put a blanket over my childs head! Yeah, no.

I tell them that I dont' eat with a blanket over my head, and my son doesn't either. In a very hard to muster sickeningly sweet voice. I start to take a step forward and O* and NK* take thier own step TOWARD me, crowding all 5 of us in about 3 feet of space. The door is closed behind me, there's a wall to my left, Craig with the stroller is to my right, and O* and NK* are almost counting my nose hairs. I'm TRAPPED and slightly confused.

Then IT happens. I don't know why this happens, I really don't. I HATE when it happens.......... I started to cry. Shut up, I'm a girl we do that sometimes. So I try my best to fight back the tears and NK* , bless her heart...... for a second pretends her soul isn't overtaken by satan and puts her hand on my shoulder. To which O* did something that completely and totally made me realize that this wasn't going to end pretty. He actually reached out, removed her hand from my shoulder, held it down and stepped between she and I! Can you imagine? For a second I felt a small twinge of sympathy for the poor old bat, her own boss treating her that way! Then I realized that it was myself, and not her that was facing trial by fire at the moment and snapped out of it.

O* is now about 2 inches from Nathan's body. WAYYYYYYY invading my comfort bubble. I start to panic. I say that breastfeeding is natural. He agrees but says that people are bothered by it. I am now sobbing like someone stole my birthday (oh hey, can someone please do that? I dont' wanna turn 31) I ask him "can YOU see anything?" I mean after all, if someone is close enough to count your nose hairs, they ought to have front row seats to the tit show right? He tells me "no........ but other people"

Ok cracker-jack, what people? The people with the x-ray vision? have you spent so much time in the radiology department that your brain shriveled up along with your testicles? Do patients in this unit have superman powers? ................

Did I say any of these clever and witty things? Sadly, no. I just stood there, tears running down my face, absolutely dumbfounded. Here I am, stuck in the corner, nowhere to go, O* and NK* staring me down with thier x-ray vision, a baby on my boob whom I now cannot remove without O* seeing way more than I want him to, stuck. Finally I mustered up the voice to simply state that I was going somewhere else then and pushed past NK* and went to the care where I finished feeding Nathan while sobbing uncontrollably. Craig was right behind me with Jack and then went back in and started writing down names, bless him and his good thinking.

Nathan is up, part 2 of the story tomorrow
*- Nicknames have been changed from original posting to protect the innocent (me) from further problems.......... well, ok, one further problem


InsomniacRed said...

WTF! You are in a doctors office, of all places, you think they would be supportive of you feeding your baby. After all, is it not the doctors that usually say that this is best for the baby?!

jill said...

i am still breastfeeding my son (now 26 months) and am constantly amazed at the stigma over breastfeeding. i cannot fathom how people can be so digusted and horrified by our bodies being used for their intended purpose. sorry you had such an awful experience at a doctor's office, of all places. not that i'm some radical whipping out my nay-nays (as my son calls them) in public all the time but i think it is important for women to stand up for their rights. i really like your blog. keep on keeping on.

Angela said...

I have been reading your blog and you've got my emotions all over the place. I know this post is old, but I am infuriated and on fire about this! You are the woman for getting them in trouble and bringing it on! Good for you! I am especially amazed this is in a hospital! Holy COW! Somebody talk me down!