It’s just a big scary needle, Mommy

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For the last few days I’ve been thinking about the phrase, “I’m sorry but do you have children” that is so often used on TV by concerned parents. It has always confused me a little. It didn’t seem very powerful, and surely anyone whether parents or not can relate to and have feelings for small children. Nevertheless, the people on TV always seemed to instantly understand that that phrase ended the argument.

It fascinates me how quickly you can get feelings like that for someone. It hit me the first time when I was dating Marcus, and even more so after we got married, that I had developed such deep feelings for a person that I hadn’t known existed a year earlier. I realized that learning to love someone truly comes through hard work and effort. Those feelings had come from actively spending time together, trying to see one another from our best sides, living together, learning to overlook faults and going through difficulties and solving problems together.

Again this September I experienced this. I gave birth to a tiny little baby who cried a lot, kept me awake at night and gave me a lot of nasty diapers to change. But still I found that I loved her so much. The difference was that I had already gone through a lot of the hard work with her – nine hard months of pregnancy, not to mention labor itself.

Since then every day has brought more hard work and difficulties, only teaching me to love her more and more.

Today we took Baby to the doctor to have two shots. And I got to feel just how much I loved her! She had had one shot before – the day she was born – but back then I mainly remember being exhausted and Baby didn’t seem to mind much. Today was slightly different.

The nurse was very very nice and made us all feel very comfortable. I undressed Baby, who got really happy and excited – loves being naked! When I was done, the nurse asked me, “Are you the one who will be holding her?”. I said that I was, but her question suddenly made me realize that the situation might be about to get unpleasant. She informed us that she was going to give Baby two shots and that she would do the one that stung the most last. We took our positions. I started rubbing Baby’s tummy, Marcus started talking to her and stroking her face, and the nurse raised the needle and pierced my baby’s skin. For a few seconds there was silence and Baby didn’t even blink. Then she closed her eyes, took the deepest breath that seemed to last hours and let out the loudest scream she could muster.

It was the saddest sound I had ever heard. And there was nothing I could do. Marcus and I both burst out, “It’s okay, Baby” “You’re alright”, “It’s almost over”. I looked up just in time to see the second needle disappear into my baby’s leg. This time the reaction was instant. Baby jumped a foot into the air and tears rolled down her cheeks as she screamed, if possible, even louder. It hurt my very soul. All of my instincts were yelling at me to pull out a boob and pull her close and never let go. Marcus seemed to be feeling the same cause he snatched her up as soon as the nurse had slapped on the band-aids.

A couple of minutes later the nurse held open the door for our traumatized little family.

The nurse said the next vaccinations are in two months. I was seriously considering not showing up. That I’d rather take my chances with measles and polio than go through that again.

(I need to go change my nursing pads)

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