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Baby's First Day Stray Notes
On modern postpartum rooms and things you definitely shouldn't say to your wife after she just gave birth
• It’s kind of weird when you think about a baby’s very first day of life. You forget that it’s their actual freckin birthday. There’s no cake or anything but it’s like the ultimate birthday of birthdays.
So, I wanted to tell you how our baby Pep celebrated hers.
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Note: I’m not neglecting our baby as I write this. She is currently in a sleepsack (a straitjacket infants love), conked out and looks veddy cute.
• After baby Pep was born on the morning of Thursday, July 28, Anna and I were ushered to the postpartum unit one floor down.
Chalk it up to my lack of awareness, but I had no idea this was part of the experience. I was under the impression that a) baby was born, b) we check out, then c) have the “oh my God, what do we do now” moment at home.
Around 3 a.m., Anna, Pep and I moved from floor 12 to floor 11 at the hospital. I asked the doctor if it was kosher if I did one final sweep of the operating room to see if I left anything behind. I did! Knew I forgot my charger. Grabbed it, put the Apple product in my bag and went back downstairs.
Now, this postpartum unit, which had a sticker price of $15,000 for our one-night stay (thank you Anna Paone for teaching me the term “sticker price”) wasn’t exactly a full “room” per se. There was a bed for Anna, a small chair for me and a plastic bassinet for Pep. Sure, it came with cable but I’ve stayed in Motel 6’s with more space.
The icing on the cake was that we had a shocking lack of privacy. Inches away from us, separated by a cloth divider, was another woman who had JUST given birth.
This poor lady who was just a couple feet away from us with her newborn was now subject to Anna, Pep and I making hella noise as we got settled into our cozy confines.
Thankfully, she was a trooper. A second time mom. In fact, her older kid had an ear infection or something so her husband stayed home to watch number one and she was all by herself. This didn’t phase her though. That’s a hero.
Anyway, back to our side of the postpartum unit.
I was in full-on paranoid mode and wanted to make sure we watched the baby all night long to ensure nothing happened. So, I devised a plan that was quite dumb in retrospect.
The plan: switch off sleeping every ten minutes to watch the baby.
Yes, after 29 hours of labor, I asked my wife to wake up every ten minutes and watch the baby rather than sleep. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Almost a month later, I’m happy to report that baby Pep was fine the whole time. Our active little sleeper muttered, whinnied and winced in her sleep but was totally cool.
Sorry, Anna. I know I said it IRL but here it is in digital print too.
6 a.m. or so rolled around and the woman who was a glorified napkin away from us initiated conversation saying, “Congratulations!”
Finally, the ice had been broken. She told us her story, we told her ours, laughs were shared. Hey, maybe it wasn’t so bad being stuck in a stupidly expensive unit with a stranger. Later, her husband came by and we compared babies. They sort of looked the same.
SIDE NOTE: Not to stereotype but a lot of babies look the same. Kind of like character actor Paul Sorvino (RIP). They also all sound like Janis Joplin (also RIP).
At this time, I thought Pep was special because she kept doing this funny thing with her tongue where she would stick it out and roll it up.
Turns out all babies do that. Oh, well.
BACK TO THE STORY: Walked over to the bathroom in our unit. That was a mistake.
Our nurse/hall monitor/food delivery person/lecturer about “everything we were doing wrong” Sherri (who looked and sounded just like the Lisa Ann Walter character in “Abbott Elementary”), told me “YOU CANNOT USE THAT BATHROOM. IT’S JUST FOR THE WOMEN THAT GAVE BIRTH, DADDY.”
Forgot to mention that everyone that worked at the hospital called me daddy all day long.
That was a perk.
So, I went to the faraway hall bathroom. Couldn’t get anything out. I was constipated. My wife pushed out a baby and I couldn’t drop a deuce. Wish I had a doctor yelling at me to “PUSH, DADDY.”
Went back to the room, dissatisfied. My mood quickly changed when I found blueberry pancakes, eggs and one of those apple juices in a plastic cup where you peel off the top waiting for me.
I remembered, “Holy freck, we’re parents now” and looked at our baby for a good hour or so.
Then, I went on my phone and texted my family. Then, some friends. Then, my old boss to see if he would be sympathetic to ghost-firing me (he wasn’t). Then, a famous comedian’s manager to see if he would be interested in signing me now that I had a baby? He wasn’t.
They did both say congratulations though.
Baby Pep pooped twice. Prior to the pregnancy, I wondered how I would deal with changing a baby almost every day. Well, that, and how the whole not sleeping through the night thing would work. And if I would be good at holding the baby (for a while, I actually wanted to hit a goal weight so my baby would be impressed by my physique when they first met me lol).
On day one, I am happy to report that the poop was not so bad. If it’s your kid, you don’t care. You just want to make sure they’re completely safe, secure and wiped. And let me say, our baby stays clean. We’re very thorough. I don’t think my butt has been as clean as hers since I was a baby. So she has that going for her.
The real hard part (and it continues to be difficult to this day) is putting clothes on a baby. It’s crazy but literally on day one, little girls are wearing elaborate, cute outfits that are more complex than any of the free t-shirts I rotate throughout the week.
Didn’t think of that one.
Once Pep’s onesie was on, Anna and I sat back and relaxed. This glorified hotel for babies that I didn’t know existed was pretty nice. Maybe I’ll stay there again if I can cobble together a cool $15K.
Sherri (the Lisa Ann Walter one) came back and stressed us out with paperwork, a billion notes and reminded us that we HAVE to watch the mandatory “Shaken Baby Syndrome” video, daddy.
Now, I DEFINITELY want to stay there again.
Our neighbor was discharged and waved a friendly goodbye to us. We didn’t get their names but we’ll miss them forever. Goodbye, fellow daddy and mommy.
For a few hours, we had the whole room to ourselves. We were kings.
I debated sleeping on the other hospital bed they left behind but thought it would be too risky and we’d find a charge for it on our itemized receipt so I passed.
Instead, Anna and I sat together with Pep some more who appeared to be dreaming of how freckin’ sick the womb was. I’d go back if I could too.
I had so many questions for her that she couldn't answer. She is a baby after all.
A little later, I got a bit jerky and told Anna to be extra careful when she wipes down Pep.
Once again, that was a boundary crosser.
Folks, do not critique your wife who just gave birth even if it’s about wiping technique. Lavish praise and nothing else.
Started snapping photos of mommy and baby to make up for my faux pas. One pic was particularly artful and I had to send it to a film school pal.
Little did I know that Anna’s full boobs were in the shot.
I leaked my wife’s nudes on the day of her baby’s birth. My b.
Thought about setting up an IMDb, LinkedIn and Gmail for the baby before passing out again.
An hour or so later, I was awoken by our only visitor, Anna’s dad.
Said to our baby, “Pep, meet your first Boomer. They mean well.”
Anna’s dad had brought me a COVID test as I requested to make sure I wasn’t getting anyone sick. Scored myself a negative but later got scolded by Sherri. “DO NOT TAKE COVID TESTS, DADDY. I’LL HAVE TO KICK YOU OUT.”
Good to know.
Pop Paone informed us that the big news stories for the day were that Russia traded spies for Brittney Griner and Joe Manchin is coming around on climate change. Years later, when I tell Pep this, I’m sure she’ll be supremely bored.
The day I was born was the day of the 1988 All Star Game and I’ll always be the first to tell you that A’s catcher Terry Steinbach won the MVP that day.
I love that fact.
Highly doubt Pep will be excited to relay to anyone that Joe Manchin was still in office on her birth date.
Opened the blinds and just like that, baby Pep widened her eyes for the first time. Guess the July light shining in from outside was overwhelming to her. It would be to me too.
Pep’s new grandpa left and Anna and I watched the very amateur, very mandatory shaken baby syndrome movie. The casting was off, the baby shaking barely believable. Shake it like you mean it guys!
Soon after we finished watching, my heart was warmed when I got to witness my baby’s first fart.
That’s my girl.
Around midnight, a doctor came to take Pep for her “24 hours of life” tests. What a way to end a bday. Anna and I watched closely from outside the operating room. We didn’t want them to mix up our baby.
To combat this from possibly happening, Pep and all the others were wearing multiple tracking devices. Yes, all newborns have little IDs on them to prevent mixups.
Amazingly, the little one slept from 1-6. I think she even dabbed once or twice while passed out. Once again, that’s my girl.
We got up bleary eyed at 6 a.m.
Sherri, amazingly still working, told us that because Anna and I have different last names, we would need our marriage license for the birth certificate, daddy. Of course, I didn’t bring the license. I didn’t end up picking it up that day either. There was no way I was leaving Anna behind. So, I stayed.
A new couple joined us.
Pep was officially no longer the youngest baby in the room, nor was I the only daddy.
This pair had had a much more traumatic experience than us. The woman underwent a C-section and her husband (maybe boyfriend but still daddy) was doing everything he could to ease the tension. He made innocent jokes like “I can’t wait to swaddle the baby. I’m pretty good at making burritos!”
She replied, “I think you should go to a hotel.”
Not reading the room, I butted in and made it worse saying, “Hey! If you guys put your baby at an incline in their bassinet they sleep better!”
Turns out their baby was in the NICU.
What I should have said was nothing.
Went back past our thin curtain and realized, yep, Pep is still the youngest baby in the room.
Realized how lucky I was and changed the background of my phone to cute baby Pep.
Finally, it was time to check out. I gathered all of our Trader Joe’s snacks, go bags and most importantly, baby.
Told Sherri as we left that she looked like Lisa Ann Walter. She dropped the thick accent and genuinely asked me, “Is she pretty, daddy?”
I said, “Uhh, yeah.”
The discharge was incredibly informal. They were like, “Peace, daddy” and I was all “Later, fam” and that was basically it.
Anna’s family picked us up and I nearly passed out in the elevator carrying Pep. I got weak. My knees shook.
Somehow, I was hit with a cosmic wave of energy. I realized, our baby will never need us as much as she did on day one and made it to the car like a champ.
40 minutes later, we were home.
We did it. We really did it.
If you want to support me and Anna, there is one thing you can do that technically won’t cost you a cent.
All you have to do is IF you’re buying tickets on StubHub, Vivid Seats, Ticketmaster or SeatGeek for any event at all including NFL or NBA, just go to NJ.com/live-entertainment and access the site through one of the stories I’ve written.
To reiterate, you don’t have to go to a concert, show or game I wrote about— simply using any link of mine will count and I’ll make $$$.
More on Pep pretty soon.
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