Yesterday was the dreaded vaccination day (aka rip mommy’s heart out day). Needless to say it was a major baby and mommy milestone day.
Mommy milestone: I had to learn to control the urge to not punch people in the face who are trying to help Noah – even though they are hurting him.
Baby milestone: Noah learned that life sucks sometimes – and it sucks a lot on vaccination day.
I know how wonderful vaccines are. I know how lucky Noah is to live in a country where he has the opportunity to receive such wonderful medical treatment. Even so, how could I as his mother not feel heartbroken having him get his first set of shots.
If you were a fly on the wall in the Teall household this week you would have probably died of boredom. All buzz has been about vaccinations. Kevin and I already researched backwards and forwards the pros and cons about vaccinations before Noah came along and had without a doubt decided Noah was going to be vaccinated. But what we weren’t pro for was the pain. So last week I set out for some miracle cure for vaccination pain.
All week I sputtered out ideas and advice that I had found to help babies get through their shots. Although I had a slew of tips to try none of them said, “Oh, mom you can get them for him,” or “now vaccines can be given via osmosis.”
The thing that I hated the most is that Noah had blissfully been going through the first few months of his life in a little happy bubble oblivious to any fear or real pain. Vaccination day popped that bubble and then ran it into the ground.
I am not going to sugar coat it, it was bad. Worse than I thought it was going to be. I should have known how far south that visit was going to go when Noah cried when they gave him the liquid vaccine. When I saw the tray of weapons syringes I almost took Noah and ran like a wild woman out of the office.
Kevin had been a champ all week while I did the all the dreading and anticipating Noah couldn’t do and all the freaking out I already knew I would do (and then some). But when the time came to give Noah his shots Kevin swooped him up, his tough guy exterior was gone.
The cry he made when the nurse gave him his first shot I am pretty sure took days off my life. I cried. There was so little comfort I could give him. He can’t anticipate yet. He couldn’t understand that this pain was temporary. He couldn’t grasp why he was feeling this. He can’t even understand our pathetic attempts to sooth him. He is just in pain, it hurts and he is sad.
Despite my knock the nurse out mama bear feelings, the nurse really was an angel. It was over in less than a minute. All 5 of the shots. As soon as she put the bandaids on him I swooped him up and he curled into a ball on my chest. The nurse left and told us to take our time with him in the room until he calmed down. I fed him and held him close. Kevin held both of us.
We took him home and he napped for two hours. In my head I was thinking he was just going to sleep it off and wake up my happy go lucky baby. Oh, how wrong I was.
Kevin left for work for the night and no sooner had he pulled out of the driveway Noah screamed a scream I had never heard before. His fever set in and he was shaking from the chills. He didn’t want fed, he didn’t want binky, he didn’t want anything but to be paced around the house, while rocked, in a swaddle and sung to….for three hours.
He never stopped fully crying. The little whines and whimpers and his little tears running down my shoulder, it all broke my heart. So we both cried and paced the house.
I had my mom come over and she comforted both of us. She told me about when I was vaccinated and how scared she was. She stepped in for singing, swaddling, pacing, rocking duty and we just let Noah ride out the rest of the day how he needed to.
When Kevin got home that night Noah was already asleep. I couldn’t bear to let him sleep alone so he fell asleep on my lap. Kevin picked him up and even though Kevin was running on fumes he took him to the rocking chair and while Noah slept Kevin told him about how worried he was about him and how he told everyone at work about what a “big boy” Noah was.
All the love Noah was surrounded with yesterday made me feel and hopefully him feel better. I will never get used to seeing Noah hurt and I know that this is just the beginning. There will be more shots, skinned knees and a few broken hearts to heal down the road. All I can hope for is that even though I can’t protect Noah from feeling pain I hope that all the love Kevin and I have for him will make it a little easier.