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  • News from the delivery room.

    On a rainy May 5th, 2011, at 0855 AM, our son, Berk Ozuduru, was born.

    While my in-laws and I were waiting outside, a nurse rushed out of the operation room and ran toward me with a big smile and large amount of tip expectation – it is a common practice in Turkey to tip these kinds of people who brought these kinds of breaking news on the basis that your generous act toward a nurse, will be rewarded back as a good luck and bright future to your new born – I was not interested in hearing the sex of the baby which is a old habit practiced by nurses around the world who happily yelled at you “it is a boy!!!” in the age of monthly ultrasound check-ups. You already knew that fact and it was old news, since it made the headlines months before. It is definitely not a common, I have to add, practice to tip an obstetrician for the same news; the reward will be slap in the face most probably and of course, search for a new doctor.

    It was around 0900 AM I saw my son, at the time we had decided, after months long discussion, to name him as only Berk Ozuduru. No middle name. Period. My wife has one middle name and in the bureaucratic written exchanges in Turkish bureaucracy, it is either misspelled or missed out which causes some incurable headaches later on. Having two names is and will be a problem, always.

    So, my mother in law and I were looking at the baby behind a window. One doctor and two assistants were busy measuring, weighing, running some basic tests on him while we were taking pictures, and looking quite excited and happy. Then the news came, my wife was ok and she was about to be wheeled back in her room. Since that I saw the baby, I wanted see my wife as soon as possible to make sure that she was really ok.

    One of the assistants left the glassed room and approached me. Yes, I said, I was the father. Then she handed me an empty folder on it only Berk Ozduru was written, our last name was misspelled as usual. I was told by this young medical school student of last year, probably, that I needed to run this folder and had it entered the system by the people sitting seven floors down. To reach those mysterious guys, I needed to take the elevators which sometimes stop at the floor where you stand and press the elevator call buttons so many times that your fingers hurt.

    I looked sheepishly at this young assistant and obeyed everything single word I was told thinking for some unknown reason that not doing whatever I was told may jinks my happiest and most excited moment in my entire life. After waiting for the elevator for days, loosing track of how many signatures it was required to have the god damn file to be opened, and yelling couple of people for not helping me quick enough so that I could get back to up, I arrived back at seventh floor with the attitude of a war hero. I handed the file back and learned that I needed to run the same things over again, for my wife this time.

    In Turkey, although we have the highest number of Facebook users, and we have one of the highest Internet connectivity in the world, we still have to be physically be somewhere to get the paper work done. The hospital has computers everywhere hooked up to a large network system and for some puzzling reason, one has to go downstairs and come back up and go back down again for registration. This is how we tackle unemployment issue; by over hiring unqualified staff some of whom is there only to sign a piece of paper, or others to put a stamp on it, and the rest is to make an entry to a century old database system.

    I was surprised to see how good my wife was feeling when she was brought back from the operation room. A mid-sized bandage was plastered to her lower abdomen, not one single drop of blood was visible – this was an interesting fact for me because I assumed to see my wife covered with blood-. She said she was not feeling any pain. I was relieved. Then, the doctor who took care of our baby in the new born unit came into room to congratulate us. We asked when we could see the baby, then she informed us that that might take a little while since that there was an anomaly in his breathing frequency. When, they told, a baby was born with c-section, sometimes, they could not manage to deposit the liquid in their lungs, which then could cause difficulty in breathing.

    There was nothing to worry, we were told. He would be ok in an hour or so, the second doctor who entered the room also supported the first doctor’s views. However, things did not go the way we initially told; Berk Ozuduru came and slept with us six days later after staying in the newborn intensive care unit and taking antibiotics to get rid of the infection caused by the very liquid in his lungs. For new parents, our shocked and puzzlement tripled; we were in the dark and could not comprehend why we could not leave the hospital sooner.
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