December 17th, 2009

talk to the hand

Flu Policy Issues

So, originally we had this nice plan that Margaret would attend the birth of her baby brother. This was not because we are especially crunchy granola people, but the pattern of our life so far is that Margaret does stuff with us. We take her out dancing with us about one Saturday night a month, so of course we'd take her along to the birth. Also, it eliminates any potential child care issues. Really, it seemed like the obvious plan, especially since we're hiring the same doula we used last time, which frees Warren up to watch out for Margaret with the doula takes care of me.

Mt. Auburn had a great policy about letting siblings be present at the birth. As long as there was one grown up designated to care for each child they were fine with it. Note the use of the past tense here. Effective November 2nd they have changed there policy and now no one under 18 can be present for the labor. This is part of their new flu policy.

I am kind of put out by this. I think it's an overreaction, not to mention not particularly effective in our case. Margaret has been vaccinated against both seasonal flu and H1N1. I'll be the first to admit that little kids are known for their prowess as disease vectors. On the other hand, if the change in policy is for flu specific reasons, then it's irritating because Margaret has had her shots and thus can't be a vector for that. Sure, she can touch stuff and spread any virus already on the ward around that way, but a little vigilance with the hand sanitizer could solve that issue.

I'd really like to have Margaret with me. I like my little girl and I enjoy spending time with her (though occasional breaks are welcome). I want her to be able to see her brother born if she's up for it. Assuming my labor is slightly shorter than last time there will still be a fairly long stretch where we'll be apart, and then there is the added issue that someone needs to look after her. Jomkwan would be the obvious choice, but the thing is she can't work more than 10 hours a day. I think part of the reason we've had such a positive experience with the au pair program has been that we've stuck very strictly to the rules, and Jomkwan has regular hours that she can count on working and well-defined periods where she is off-duty. If I go into labor in the evening again I can't very well say "Hi Jomkwan, I know you just worked a nine hour day, but can you look after Margaret overnight on no notice while I'm in labor, we'll contact you in the morning." My family is an option, but they'd have to drive up from New York, and given that there's at least a two week window in which the baby is likely to come it's really not ideal to have them camping out here waiting. Also, Margaret tends to be unhappy if she doesn't have me or Warren or Jomkwan present. Anyone else is unauthorized personnel. This makes the 'impose on friends' option a hard sell. I mean I can probably get takers for the job of taking care of Margaret overnight on no notice while I give birth even with the understanding that Margaret will likely scream bloody murder for the majority of the time, but it's not exactly something I'm anxious to put people through. Of course Warren could just stay home with her and very likely miss the boy's birth, but that would not be fair to him or the boy. In short, the new flu policy is not only irritating, it is highly inconvenient to me.

Of course I doubt Mt. Auburn is going to change their policy for me even if I point out my kid has had her shots, etc. Beyond venting about it here there is nothing I can do.