By Gabriella Gometra
Many new mothers are caught off-guard by the kind of experience they and their young infant will have in their pediatricians’ offices. Be prepared for tears … from the baby and the mother!
When I was pregnant there were several things that I was not a huge fan of: the weight gain, the back pain, my daughters residence on top of my bladder; however I loved feeling her move and I always looked forward to my doctors’ visits where I could see her and hear her heartbeat. I thought I would look forward to her doctor visits as well: finding out how much she had grown, what percentiles she was in, all the things I could later brag about to my family and friends. I thought wrong.
Sure it was fun to find out these statistics, however they were not worth the torture they caused my little one. I remember our first visit; it was the first time I had taken her out of the house. We were discharged from the hospital the day before and we had spent our first night at home together. Since it was our first trip out and it was surprisingly chilly weather for Florida in January, I had dressed her in a long sleeve wrap onesie with tie-dye yoga pants with a matching hat and socks. She looked fabulous.
It had not occurred to me that almost immediately upon arrival they would instruct me to strip off all of her clothes, clearly they did not know how long it took me to get her dressed. My little sister was in town and had come with us because she wanted to be a part of this momentous first trip to the doctor. Her and my husband were busy discussing how “cool” the pediatricians office was with 3D wall art, and built-in examining tables that were made to look like fire engines, tractors and other various forms of transportation. They did not seem to notice that I was struggling to get the baby undressed without upsetting her. No one had told me this would be impossible, newborns hate to be cold and this office was freezing. She was not even allowed to wear her diaper.
Where was the doctor or the nurse? Could they not hear her screaming, did they not realize she was only 3 days old? I tried to wrap her up in the blanket, but that proved to be the wrong choice when she began to urinate. When the doctor finally arrived (4 minutes later) I tried to regain my composure, and put on a front that I had the situation under control and I was not like the other new parent amateurs.
The nurse put her on the scale, which seemed to perpetuate her anger even further. The doctor then removed her from the scale and proceeded with the examination checking her eyes, ears, mouth, listening to her heart and checking her reflexes. I thought the trauma had ended when he placed her back in my arms and told me I could begin to get her dressed. The one thing I do not understand is why the pediatricians make their offices so cold in the first place. Was this really necessary? I was elated the agony was almost over for my little one. I listened as the doctor told us that she looked great and that she was truly a beautiful baby.
Then I heard the words that I did not want to hear, one more test … they would need to prick her heal in order to check her bilirubin levels for jaundice. Jaundice was very common in newborns and they thought her skin coloring had a tint of yellow. I just assumed she had an olive complexion. The baby was finally calm when the nurse returned with a very large blade for what I was told was only going to be a “prick”. I held her in my arms as the nurse sliced her heel and began to drain her blood into two small vials. Did they really need that much? Finally it was over, we had her dressed, wrapped up and ready to go. It was then that I realized my shirt was really wet; it appeared that amidst the serenity of the screaming, urinating, examining and pricking that my milk arrived and I was now leaking through my shirt. What a disaster.
Needless to say this appointment did not compare to the fun I had at my prenatal doctor visits. And it seems there is no end in sight, 2 months, four months, six months and a series of shots (vaccinations) every time. I cried at the two month appointment, it broke my heart to watch her get stuck with those needles not just once, but one, two, three, four times! At her four month exam I brought one of those crinkle books to make noise and distract her, it worked for the first three but the fourth is a much larger needle and the tears returned. Maybe today her sixth month appointment will run smoother and I will change my opinion but some how I doubt this will be the case.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gabriella Gometra builds sites on diverse topics, such as http://mensmessengerbag.org, which has information about men’s messenger bags and Jansport messenger bags.