“Phantom Baby”

Still from Amblin Entertainment’s 1995  “Casper the Friendly Ghost.”

Borges somewhat famously wrote of a fictitious(?) “Chinese dictionary” in which animals were categorized as:

 (a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (1) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies.

Well, after the birth of my daughter, I’ve discovered a similarly enlightening set of categories. All matter in the world can be divided into two categories: “my baby” and “not my baby.” And when those categories get fuzzy, the world gets kind of terrifying pretty quickly.

I awoke around five in the morning today, needing to go to the restroom. There was something warm on my left arm. The room was dark. I felt with my right hand, wondering what was there: had I picked up the baby when she was fussing and fallen back asleep? This has happened before. Not outside the realm of possibility.

Reaching in the darkness, I could swear I felt my daughter’s hand. I felt a little further, wanting to make sure of where her little head was before I moved. Newborns’ necks aren’t very strong, after all! But I felt and felt, and couldn’t find her little nose or ears.

I felt back down, and again felt her hand, which is only ever limp and not balled into a fist when she’s asleep. I found it. Okay, so we have the baby’s hand. I then, with my right arm, trying ever so carefully not to disturb the baby on my left, felt for the switch to my bedside lamp. I couldn’t find it. Jesus, why do I keep so much crap on the bedside—and then CRASH! Shit, I knocked something down! I’m going to wake the baby!

Frantically I felt around further until I eventually got the light on. I then looked to my left arm, only to find on my left arm… Just a bunched-up ball of sheets, warmed by my body and slightly sweat-soaked.

The light now on, confused, I immediately ran around the bed to find my daughter peacefully asleep in her bassinet. Two categories of matter—”my baby” and “not my baby”—and when the lines get blurry, shit gets weird.

I stumbled sleepily to the restroom, and as I left, My Colleague was getting Test Subject V up for a feeding. She said the same thing had happened to her before. “It’s weird, right? It’s like phantom baby!”

Tripadvisor Review for a Birthing Center

View from the postpartum recovery room at Mt Auburn Hospital the day after Test Subject V was born.

My Colleague and I had an amazing experience at the Bain Birthing Center at Mt Auburn Hospital. The nurses, midwives, lactation specialists—the entire team— were helpful, caring pros. I’d recommend it to anyone.

My Colleague was induced after 41 weeks and change, so the stay was especially long, because she wasn’t  in labor when we came in. Given the long stay, it felt a bit like a stay at a hotel. Little details like the fact that we ordered meals off what looked like a room service menu only reinforced that impression. 

We soon started, despite the great experience we had at the hospital, to make “Worst. Hotel. Ever.” jokes. 

Bain Birthing Center at Mt Auburn Hospital

Downright Painful. Would Not Recommend.

This hotel was just weird, and frankly uncomfortable. I’m a frequent business traveler, and I can honestly say that I’ve never had a hotel experience like this before.

I’ll start with the good. Check-in and check-out were a breeze. They didn’t seem to even have a set time for checkout! The bellhops and the folks delivering room service not only didn’t stand around “hinting” at wanting a tip, they outright refused tips!

But that’s about it for the positives. As for the negatives:

  • Even though we requested a single King suite, we were only given one double bed. The first night one of the staff helped me find a cot, but after that, I was left to sleep on a chair.
  • The staff was constantly touching and prodding my wife. It made both of us extremely uncomfortable, and I’ve never seen such a thing at any other hotel.
  • There was no transparency with regard to price. When I asked about the price of the room, I was told that it would depend on my “in-shur-ence,” whatever that means. Even the room service menu was devoid of prices! I never saw a bill or a price the whole time I was there. When I asked about this upon checkout, they again told me that it would depend on my “in-shur-ence” and that they’d bill me. Maybe this is okay for high rollers, but I can’t see how most Americans could stay at a hotel without knowing the price until after. I have a tight budget!
  • The doors literally didn’t have locks. I couldn’t believe it myself. But to make things even worse, staff kept coming in every hour or two to “check in” on us. I had zero sense of privacy.
  • Finally, to add insult to injury, after the second night, we were required to share our room with a small bald person who would periodically scream for no reason.

I’ll be honest, when the bill comes, I may refuse to pay. This was, without a doubt, the worst hotel stay of my life.

This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Vera S, Midwife at the Bain Birthing Center at Mt Auburn Hospital, responded to this review
Responded 3 weeks ago
We repeatedly tried to explain to this gentleman that we are a hospital and not a hotel, and that the “little screaming man” he kept complaining about was, in fact, his newborn daughter. We recommended having him checked for head injury to his wife, but she told us that he is “always like this.”