So last Monday, Rynn got her 2-month immunizations, and I foolishly thought I was going to have a Good Day afterward.
We started the morning off well, rolled into the appointment on time, and she was in a good mood. Got measured (long for her age), weighed (now as big as a good-sized roast), and was all kinds of cute for our friend who works there, Nurse S. Then The Good Dr. rolled in and she was in rare form: she goo-ed at him, and gurgled, and smiled in a way that told me she intended to flirt her way out of a rectal temperature check. This was a success, leading me to believe that The Good Dr. is susceptible to flattery. (Must remember that…)
A Good Visit thus had, Nurse S wanders back in to give the vaccines. 4 of them. The first one was oral, which, of course, Rynn promptly spit back up as soon as it was given. I sadly watched about $25 roll down her cheek and soak into her onesie. The next 3 were shots. When Nurse S pulled the caps off the needles, what does Rynn do? Gurgle and smile and look cute. Completely oblivious. I, on the other hand—her tattooed, pierced mother—marvel at how long those needles are and wonder if they might not actually go right through Rynn’s tiny thigh and out the other side. However, I retain a suave, confident-seeming persona and casually ask if Nurse S got the right needles. Maybe those are for some bigger kids, perhaps? Ones to whom the adjective “skewered” wouldn’t apply afterward? Nurse S just laughs this off because she is nice. I realize that she thinks I’m kidding.
Then, in a feat of amazing efficiency, Nurse S skewers my daughter: double-tap the left thigh, a little twist, and single-tap the right. LITERALLY only about a second per shot. I’m amazed. Not only is that the fastest administration I’ve ever seen, but my daughter took it like a champ. Not a squeak. All my tattoos obviously gave my daughter some kind of incredible needle-withstanding ability. I take a moment to be proud.
Still in awe, I glance up from Rynn’s legs to her face and instantly break into a full-body sweat when I notice that she is purple. PURPLE. Like, blood-blister purple. And her mouth is open as far as it can go, but nothing’s coming out. I have time to realize that she has just experienced the most excruciating pain of her short life faster than she can take a breath before she gets enough air to produce noise. And it’s not even a full-bodied scream because she apparently couldn’t wait long enough to take a full breath. Her shriek sounds like a rabbit’s death scream. It really does sound like she’s in the process of being drawn and quartered.
She gives these high-pitched little barking cries, the loudest noise I’ve ever heard ANY child make, and I am not able to keep my cool. I pick her up to soothe her, notice a little bead of blood trickle down one thigh…
…and it’s at this point that I think it’s important for you to know how I react to situations of extreme, immediate stress. When I’m in a situation where I’m suddenly and unexpectedly thrust into a situation of distress, I laugh. And I’m not talking a nervous titter or a small burst of chuckling. I LAUGH. Loud, cackling, explosive laughter so uncontrollable that I can’t talk. It’s like I just saw The Funniest Thing of My Life. Nurses at my old dr. used to fight over who got to draw blood when I came in because needles make me nervous.
Likewise, in this instance, I become extremely distressed at my daughter’s trauma. So how do I express it? By laughing so hard that I can’t even get the words out to soothe her. And I’m pretty sure Nurse S thought I’d lost my mind. I’m standing there, holding a screaming, purple baby, and staring at her while laughing my ass off. I see Nurse S give me a strange look, so I try to play it off. (You’d think I’d have learned by now that never works. Maybe..?) As I’m trying to catch my breath in between cackles, I go, “It’s just that…you nailed her so fast…and she couldn’t…she couldn’t even…take a breath fast enough…to scream!” Like this is the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen. Like my child is not about to pass out from lack of oxygen or trying to scream herself hoarse in under a minute. (Note to self: that did not help the situation. Don’t do it again.)
Rynn quieted down after
seven years’ of screaming a minute or two and was perfectly fine. Life was back to good. A male nurse came down the hallway and was all, “Did you hear that baby?! Whose kid WAS that?” and I was like, “I have no idea, but I feel REALLY bad for them.”
God help me, but I think I’m going to have to learn this parenting thing The Hard Way.