I Hate Charles Schulz (Two Month Dr. Appt.)

I am scarred by these Band-Aids for-ev-er.

Wednesday was really hard. Emma Vance had her two month doctor’s appointment in the morning, and to put it simply, it did NOT end well. Thankfully, the appointment was good overall, or I’d really be upset.

To begin the day, I was responsible enough to remember that our doctor’s office was moving buildings in between our one and two month appointments, so I was really proud of myself for my good memory as I drove to the new location…only to find that they had been delayed and hadn’t actually moved in yet. (The construction guys were a bit surprised to see me walk in first thing in the morning, baby in tow!) So I had to re-pack the car to drive back to the old location, then joked with the nurse as to why I was a bit late. (NOT my fault, right?)

No harm, no foul, though, and Emma Vance was in a fabulous mood for the appointment, which always makes things easier and more enjoyable. (She even was kind enough to skip her usual pooping-on-the-scale-so-that-mom-has-to-clean-it-up-while-being-embarrassed routine!) In fact, she was babbling and talking away while being looked over, which made the doctor laugh and mention that E.V. talked an unusual amount for her age (a characteristic she got from Ryan); actually, I believe the words she used were, “She’s the most talkative two month old I’ve ever seen…” which may have been a compliment as much as an sympathetic warning for her teenage years.

“Oh, why hello doctor! Fancy meeting you here…”

“Yes, doctor, I am very aware that she’s chubby and talkative.”

E.V. weighed in at a whopping 11 lbs. 12 oz., gaining 2 lbs. 1 oz. in four weeks! She’s a healthy eater, which we all knew, but it’s been driving me CRAZY not knowing exactly how much progress all that time spent feeding her has made. Her weight is now in the 70th percentile, compared to the 75th percentile last month. She grew just over an inch, coming in at 22.25″, putting her height in the 55th percentile versus the 50th previously. And, of course, my big-brained beauty’s head grew a full centimeter to 39.4, but it’s slowly entering the realm of “not huge” now that she’s in the 80th percentile versus the 95th last month. Overall the doctor was pleased with her growth over the past four weeks, and that made me breathe a sigh of relief. We are on track!

Growing, growing, growing!

Then, of course, it was time to check her development, and as the doctor lifted her off the table to see how well she holds her head up, E.V. thought that it was exercise time and rolled her little body up to do a “standy” like we do at home. This alarmed and surprised the doctor, who I suppose thought that a two month old wouldn’t be interested in holding her little body upright like a mini human, but she clearly isn’t familiar with my daughter, whose desire to be mobile either through crawling or walking is second only to her desire to eat like a linebacker. The doctor exclaimed, “Oh gosh! She is STRONG!” as Emma Vance easily stood upright on the examination table with just a little help from the doctor. Atta girl!

And then when she plopped E.V. down on her stomach to check how long she could hold her head up while on her tummy, Emma Vance did well, moving her arms in front of her for leverage and kicking her legs behind her. There was a crack about her crazy hair thrown in there as the doctor checked out her neck strength, followed by, “Despite all this hair, at least her head is perfectly shaped…” (Consolation prize.)

Then came the bad part. Vaccinations. I’ve been locked in self-debate and agony over the proposed vaccination schedule, but have recently decided to follow it *almost* to a tee. The main reasons are as follows:

1. The point was argued to me that the vaccines have been studied only in the proposed manner, and have thus far not shown any actual significant clinical proof of causing the major problems people worry about (autism, etc.).  (As far as I can read, the “scary” stuff is all anecdotal, and I found that there are dozens of studies world-wide showing lack of statistical correlation between vaccinations and things like autism…) However, if you mess with the way in which they have been studied, you can’t look to that research for reassurance; you’ve changed the circumstances.

2. Herd immunity! In talking about the impending vaccinations with the nurse, I mentioned this term, and he looked at me like I was crazy–so much so that I told him it was a real term. “I know,” he responded. “I’ve just never heard a parent use that term before.” Dang straight! I do my research. Basically, if all or almost all of our population doesn’t get vaccinated against certain diseases, then we can’t wipe those diseases out. Thus, the less of the population that has immunity, the more the ENTIRE population is at risk. Although I do believe that every parent has the right to refuse or adjust their child’s immunizations, I also feel good about my contribution to society by having E.V. vaccinated fully and on schedule. So, you’re welcome, herd!

3. The doctor mentioned having “less Bad Days” by following the schedule and not spreading out the shots, which meant little to me before yesterday…but now it’s a big factor in my future decisions.

4. I was watching a documentary about the vaccine debate,which featured a video of a baby with pertussis. It was horrifying. Absolutely, mind-numbingly horrifying. An EMT in the documentary took it upon herself to record all of the cases of life-threatening, vaccine-preventable diseases that she came across in order to raise awareness. (Many people–including me–are numb to the horrifying reality of many vaccine-preventable diseases since we don’t deal with them in modern times, making us more cavalier toward the necessity of their corresponding immunizations. I later talked to my grandma, Mrs. Emma Vance, who recounted the horrors of being a nurse during the polio epidemic. Scary stuff.) Thirty seconds of watching a baby literally suffocate from whooping cough was enough to seal the deal for me. I was convinced.

So, after everything checked out okay with E.V., it was time for her shots…and it was hell. No, really. She got one shot last time, so I knew they’d have me hold her little hands while they did it. She disliked the one shot last time, but at this appointment she needed FIVE. (Plus did I mention that by the time she was getting her shots it was 10 minutes into her normal nap time?) Poor girl. I held her little hands, and she had been in such a lovely mood, I knew it was going to be bad. After the first shot, she looked at me, screaming and with big, salty tears as if to say, “MOM! Help, did you see how the bad lady hurt me?” The unfortunate thing was that I was still holding her hands and looking directly into her desperate little eyes as they continued the shots, and I think she realized that I was in on it. She looked so….betrayed. I NEVER want to see that look on her face again! Seriously, it broke my heart and I had to hold back my own tears. Three shots in one leg, two in the other, a dropper full of a sixth vaccine, and Emma Vance’s little spirit was broken.

I sat in the exam room for a while afterwards, just holding her and trying to get her to calm down, but I had this sense that she knew I had helped cause her pain. It was terrible. All I could do was stare down at those stupid Band-Aids covering my baby’s legs, marking where she was sore, and think how much I hate Charles Schulz. Stupid Snoopy. The Peanuts will never be the same to me again.

The doctor had warned me that she was going to be cranky and want to sleep all day, which proved to be accurate. We threw our normal schedule out the window, letting her sleep peacefully and deeply all day. After a few hours I did wake her to eat a little bit, and then I spent the late afternoon and evening holding her while she was passed out, mostly because I felt so guilty and I know that she loves feeling the warmth of being held while she sleeps.

When she was awake, she just bawled. Whether it was the cruel world or her achy legs I’m not sure, but it was heart wrenching. Now that we’ve been through our first tortuous round of immunizations, I understand why the doctor had used the “you’ll have less Bad Days” argument on me, and moving forward, I’m glad to group the shots together. Right now we have her four month check up set for the end of October, and the first thing I did was schedule Ryan to join me. No mom should have to suffer alone, and if Emma Vance’s going to have repressed memories of being vaccine-abused as a baby, you better bet that I’m not going to be the only face she recalls looming over her… :)

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