The little one celebrated his 3-month milestone yesterday, and the time has flown by. It’s simply amazing watching just how much the little one has changed, and watching the cycle of eat, burp, sleep, repeat give way to awake times where his personality is shining through. I’ve been keeping a video of him, one second from each day, and it’s incredible to watch it back and see how far he’s come in just a few short weeks. However, the morning after the celebratory day, I find myself mentally preparing for the 12-week injections.
I guess in any circumstances, these visits can be daunting for any new parent. The little one is just adjusting to life on the outside world, and learning about himself and the people around him, and he’s suddenly subjected to an enforced period of illness, that’s brought by a quick scratch to the skin. It can’t be fun at all. Thankfully, they’re likely to remember the experience far less than the parents will, but as a new mum, the first injection experience is etched in my mind already.
The first injections
Until the first visit, I’d never heard him scream in pain, and it’s not a sound I want to hear often. Now, sat with my laptop the morning, while the little one’s asleep, I find myself mentally preparing for the 12-week injections, trying to work out ways I can make it better for the little man. It may sound crazy, but I’ve just spent the last 20 mins in his nursery as he sleeps, trying to select an outfit that I hope he’ll be comfy in. Even as I type I’m very aware that that sounds a little OTT. I guess I’m just keen to do whatever I can do to make him (and myself) feel comfortable and reassured.
Typically, it’s a grey and cold morning, and so I’m keen to ensure that the little one is wrapped up well. I’m a bit of a winter lover, and love the feeling of being wrapped up warm with a cold breeze on my cheeks – I’m hoping in some part that by being warm and toastie the little one will feel comforted as he travels to and from the surgery.
Preparing for the 12-week injections
I’m quite a pragmatic person, but I’m also compassionate, and this new little human has given me a responsibility of care like I’ve never known before (although family dogs do come close). I must confess I already ensured that this day is completely given over to looking after whatever he needs after the surgery visit. Lots of cuddles and compassion are going to be the order of the day. Ensuring that mum stays calm and positive is also going to be a huge help to him as we make the trip to the surgery, and actually, writing about it currently is helping me to get into the right mental space.
Thankfully, my partner’s able to come too – he won’t be allowed in, one of the biggest shames about the current season (with partners missing out on scans, key appointments etc), but it will help me and the little one greatly knowing that he’s waiting in the car for us to come out.
Differences of the season
Even though the lockdown has been easing, the papers are currently full of speculation of a second wave. This can make any visit to the doctors daunting. I’m so grateful that the doctors have now found a way to see the babies to deliver the vital inoculations, but, as the papers are so keen to shout about today, we are not out of the woods with COVID, and so it adds an additional level of anxiety to any trip to a healthcare professional.
Goodness knows what the little man currently thinks of the doctors, but the visits must be confusing. Gone (for now) are the smiling receptionists and the waiting rooms full of people in various states of wellness waiting patiently for their appointments, many usually eager to coo over a new baby. Gone is the queue waiting to get in. Gone is the general reassuring hustle and bustle as others come in and out of the appointment rooms, showing the new little human that this is all perfectly normal, and many people have to do it.
Instead, it’s replaced by the need to wait in the car, phoning into the reception to let them know we’ve arrived. Then waiting with the little one in the car to be beckoned in by a person wearing full PPE gear. Next, his parents too have to don their face masks, covering the reassuring smiles, and hoping that a jovial tone in their voice will be just as reassuring.
Visiting the doctors in COVID times
Any visit to the doctor for us is currently following the same routine. As we walk into the surgery there’s no bustle behind the reception desk, instead we’re quickly ushered to the bottle of hand santiser on the wall. This is always an interesting task, trying to juggle holding an infant, and also appropriately cover one’s hands in sanitiser at the same time. However, the job is done and then it’s quickly into the nurse’s room for the appointment.
The surgery now sits eerily quiet, with only a faint hum of voices of others in distant rooms. It’s all a far cry from the bustling surgeries that I remember from my own childhood vaccinations – the games in reception eagerly awaiting small children to distract them from the imminent task at hand. Instead, it’s a quick usher along the corridor and into the nurse’s room. The nurses of course do their best to smile reassuringly at the little one from behind their masks, but I can’t help but wonder what the little man makes of all this.
It’s time to go
It’s time to go now, to get the little one up and start the day. The writing has helped me to appreciate the strangeness of the season, and I hope that sharing these thoughts may help others not to feel alone in the journey of new parenting in these very strange times.