**Hopefully, that header makes you cringe.
Don’t worry. I’m not some nut job thinking immunizations are part of a government control operation, or a profit-center for Big Pharma, using kids as guinea pigs for weirdly unknown (yet nefarious and clandestine) research. You know, the people that think pertussis somehow equates to a little scratchy throat you treat with cough drops.
It’s just that I think I’ve discovered the single kernel of truth in their position, the little thing they probably don’t want to admit drives their weird hatred of keeping their kids healthy and, you know, alive: Giving shots to your baby is awful.
See, Collins got her 2 month immunizations last week, and I, all God-gave-us-science-so-let’s-use-it ounce of me, hated it.
I hated the lead-up during the visit, the shots themselves, the aftermath, the whole damn thing.
Am I glad she’s immunized and adding to the herd immunity of our lives? Yep. Was any part of it even remotely ok? Nope.
Here’s the thing: we’ve spent 2 months loving this girl (way longer, really, but let’s just use her birth as an arbitrary point), learning about her, and getting her to trust and love us. It’s an honor, really. She bounces her arms when I play guitar for her. She smiles and coos when Jessica sings. She follows us with her eyes across the room when we dance (Yes, Saturday nights are 80s dance party night in the Xmas house. Why wouldn’t they be?).
Collins knows that when I pick her up, she is safe. She is held close and comforted and whatever she’s feeling, she can express it or she can be calm. I’m here to hold her either way.
But then I handed her to a nurse she’d never met before, in a white room with a cold, paper-covered mattress, and allowed–actually, let’s be real, I directed–the nurse to jam a thin needle into her thighs and make them hurt.
I know, that’s not what really happens. But what else could she think. I hold her when she hurts, when her tummy is upset, when she’s scared. Now I’m giving her over to those things?
No wonder she’s been fussy and frightened and scared for every night since.
Can I talk about those needles for a second? Holy. Crap. I got a flu shot today and the needle used on Collins was way bigger. Those needles seemed longer than her thighs are wide. Jessica and I both thought “How did it not hit her femur?”
Ok, maybe it wasn’t bigger, but my tiny, flabby upper-arm area is, proportionately, the size it should be for a needle that size. Maybe I should mention that I have the garden-variety, totally-male fear of needles here? Jessica worried that I’d pass out when she got her epidural. It was a totally legitimate fear, too.
Again, to any pediatric professionals reading this, I know, it’s just the way it is. It’s not some Lovecraft-ian horror device. It’s a shot. Kids need them, and adults have to give them.
But damn, is it rough.
I’m sorry, little girl. I guess being a Dad means doing what you need in the long run, not just for now.
I know you’ll trust me again. I just hope it’s soon.