Thursday, June 26, 2008

Now I get it

There are so many things that I used to hear about, from my own parents, from friends with kids, even from strangers, that I couldn't fully understand until I had my own child. Now, all of those things make perfect sense.

Yesterday, N. was two months old, and of course with that milestone comes a pediatrician's visit complete with vaccinations. Oh, how I was dreading that visit.

We woke up yesterday at the usual time, and were in a pretty cheery mood (with the exception of the fact that my poor little man hadn't had a poo in about 4 days, but that's another story for another time). He had his breakfast at 8:30, and his lunch at 12:00, and we got ready to meet Hubby at the peds office for 2:30. I put N. in the Moby, since I still can't handle the megastroller on the stairs with him in my arms, and we set off.

Usually, N. falls asleep within 3 minutes of walking in the Moby, but of course this time he was looking around, not wanting to miss a thing. We got to the office, and went in to get weighed and measured by the nurse. He was really chatty with her, which was a good sign, and then he was still pretty chatty with us while we waited for the doctor to come in. He giggled and babbled through the whole exam, and seemed to be in a great mood. Then, we had to wait about 15 minutes for the nurse to come back with the shots, and those were the longest 15 minutes of my life.

She finally came in, and we determined that he wasn't getting just one needle, but three separate ones plus an oral vaccine that supposedly tastes horrible. The nurse gave him the oral one, which he sucked down like a trouper (she was surprised), and then we prepared for the torture.

I purposefully didn't look at the needles to see the gauge, so I have no idea how big they were, but I'm sure they were awful. I grabbed N.'s little hands and got into his face, and at first he was only a bit fussy. Then, the nurse jabbed the first one in, and he yelled. Thankfully, it wasn't the torturous shriek I was expecting; it was only slightly louder than his worst cry so far. Then came the next two shots in his other leg, and he didn't like those much either. I was desperately trying to keep the tears from leaving my eyes, though, because I know that he was hurting. I swept him up into my arms, and he settled fairly quickly; I then fed him before we left, and he slept the whole way home.

What I now understand is how it is that I can feel the pain of another human being. I'm a very empathetic person, and I hate to see my loved ones hurting physically or emotionally (like most people), but this connection to my child is so different than anything else I've ever known. My brain knows that he only felt the shots for a moment, and that they were for his own good, but I literally felt physical pain while I held his hands and kissed his cheeks, knowing that he was hurting. I would have taken the shots, had blood drawn, gone through anything, if it could have kept him from hurting for those short moments.

This is how he looked when we finally got around to heading to bed. The photo was actually taken 4 days earlier, but this is how he looks pretty much every night, after his bedtime snuggles with Daddy :-)

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen

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