The Cadillac Birthing Experience?

The Cadillac Birthing Experience?

This African American Mom's Experience was anything but VIP

Denene Millner

by Denene Millner, January 30, 2012

The Cadillac Birthing Experience?

There are a ton of things I’ll never forget about the first time I gave birth—showing up with a Donny Hathaway CD in one hand, a beautiful pink and white-striped “going home” dress and a white blanket handpicked special for my Mari in the other; being scared to death of the epidural needle but grateful that it smoothed me out almost immediately; waiting for what seemed like an eternity to see my baby’s beautiful face; how I seriously believe I saw a white light over my OB-GYN’s head when she entered the room to help me deliver the love of my life. Mari’s baby soft skin against my breast—her breath as sweet as Heaven. I imagine Beyonce, who gave birth just a few weeks ago to Blue Ivy Carter, her baby with husband Jay-Z, will have these memories, too, when the R&B superstar thinks back to the day she had her most incredible performance yet: giving birth.

But that is probably where our memories of that special day part. What I most remember? That the hospital and workers where I had my first daughter sullied what should have been one of the most amazing days of my life.

I gave birth at a hospital in upper Manhattan—a renowned teaching hospital that, because of where it’s situated, caters to a poor, uninsured community, but, because of its leading specialists, modern facilities and state-of-the-art technology, also is frequented by well-to-do patients who consider it one of the best hospitals in New York. They made it very clear in the brochures and birthing plans that a regular ol’ birth there was neither more nor less than what a pregnant women could get elsewhere, but if you were willing to fork over an additional $800 or so, you could get the Cadillac birthing experience: a private room, extra personal time with your significant other, a special waiting room for family members replete with free refreshments, and a complimentary congratulatory meal—two steak and lobster (!) dinners and champagne for two—for the new parents. I promise you this: the words were so pretty I was convinced I was about to give birth in a posh hotel.

I did not.


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