I think I know what it feels like to be a new-born. Right now I find myself in a completely alien environment, I have no idea what anybody is talking about and after 3 days of chronic sleep deprivation I have no concept of time and don’t know if I want to eat, sleep or just hide under a blanket.
Why the disorientation? It’s because I’m staying with T in the maternity ward of the hospital. We are together as a family unit for the very first time. She is absolutely fine, glowing, even, and despite the tiredness, a heavy fog of bliss hangs all around us. Unlike the UK, mothers are required to stay in the hospital for up to a week after delivery. There are no locum mid-wives in this part of the country, the area is too sparsely populated, so they make sure baby and mother are fighting fit before they release you back into the world. But our enforced stay, instead of feeling like a prison term, has manifested multiple unexpected benefits.
For a start, the Kalamata easy going, way of doing things means that visiting hours are pretty much a moot concept. So I’ve been spending 24 hours with mum and baby. There are two beds in our room. T quickly bonds with the other new mum, and the multitude of relatives that come streaming in. We exchange chocolates, sweets, Greek delicacies and a plethora of well wishes. I’ve never known so many different ways to say congratulations.
Apart from the bonhomie, another fringe benefit of the Kalamata Hilton is the 24/7 expert assistance on call. This small hospital has 17 mid-wives plus doctors of every speciality buzzing around. Our little guy didn’t turn up with a manual, so every query, about bed, bum, boob or barf is answered within seconds at the press of a red button. The Greek midwives are highly efficient, the deft dexterity of their baby ninja skills putting our cotton-wool fingers to shame. It’s a great relief to have these guys on board for the first few days.
As for the little guy. He does what babies do. Sleep, eat, look cute and supply us with hugs on demand. So apart from the size of the bed I’m quite enjoying the hospitality here right now….
Words of the day
- να ζήσει – live long (lit. may it live) – (na – zee-say)
- να το χαίρεστε – a blessing (lit. may you enjoy your baby) – (na – toe – herr-ess-tay)
- καλή τύχη – good luck – (kall-ee ti-hee)