Today was Luke’s two month check-up, which meant he was due for his first shots. We knew it was coming. We knew it had to be done. We knew it was unavoidable unless we wanted to be known as “those parents”, the ones who don’t vaccinate their kids.
I am not here to pass any judgement. Get the vaccine. Don’t get the vaccine. There is so much contradictory medical advice out there that it can make a new parent’s head spin. Don’t believe me? Look up the side effects of two month shots. At the least, your baby could get a fever. At the worst, a seizure. Eh, no biggie, right? I could understand why parents might have second thoughts. The way I see it, if I can protect my kid against a disease, any disease, why wouldn’t I?
As father, I did my best to prepare Luke by sitting down man-to-man for a pep talk. You can imagine how that went. “Now son, I don’t want to see any tears today. You didn’t cry when you were circumcised and trust me, that hurt a lot worse than this will.” At the end of it, he wasn’t all that impressed and I didn’t feel entirely effective. I wish I could parent the way I hypothetically did before I had a kid.
Just when I thought I had Luke settled down— Who am I kidding? —Just as my own worries were assuaged, we all heard a blood curdling scream from the examining room next to ours. Thankfully, Luke had fallen asleep in my arms by this point. If he hadn’t, I would have assured him that kid was a liar and a wimp. Nothing could possibly hurt that bad. The doctor laughed and said “I don’t blame her. She’s in the same boat as this little guy.” Ha ha. Very funny doctor.
Then the doctor excused herself from the room. I don’t know if it’s something they teach in medical school or what. My mom said that my doctor did the same thing when I was a baby. They disappear and let the nurse be the bad guy so they don’t have to be. I dont blame them. Who wants to be associated with a sharp needle poke anyway? On second thought, don’t answer that.
There really wasn’t much that I could do once the nurse came in, except offer moral support. She asked me to lay Luke down on the table and wake him up. I can’t imagine why she didn’t want to wake him up with the shot. I was secretly holding out hope that he would sleep through it. Back in the NICU, I watched the nurses change IV placements, insert an NG tube, and draw blood without so much as a whimper from him. Still I did what she said. Then I held his hand and kept talking to him in a nice calming voice. “You’re such a happy little guy. Daddy is so sorry for this heinous act of betrayal.”
Bex watched the nurse do the deed because I wasn’t man enough. The look on Luke’s face was enough to tell me when the needle had done it’s job. He yelped and he cried but only in the moment. He didn’t carry on. It ended as quickly as it happened and he’s spent the rest of the night pouting the pain away.
Lucky for him and us, he’s been quiet, tired, and grumpy since we brought him home. We worried about a fever when he started getting to warm but after a boob and a bottle he cooled right off and went to sleep.
Thank goodness Grammy was here for cuddles, hugs, and sympathy. Daddy and Mommy are still here for bottles and cuddling but who’s better than a grandma to cry to when you need some extra love?
This was the first but it won’t be the last shot or the last time we hold him when he’s not feeling like himself. So, I hope he’s learned a valuable lesson in all of this. Milk the extra attention for all you can.