Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The human shield

This morning I had a soulful conversation with a coworker on his first day back at work after his wife gave birth ten days ago to their first child, a beautiful baby girl. It's hard, he said. Verbally he wandered aimlessly, describing the foggy terrain those of us who have had newborn children before all remember with an involuntary shudder. Among the stumbling points he described with the toneless voice of a PTSD sufferer, he told me about taking their daughter to her first check-up on Friday. The nurse needed to prick the bottom of her foot for a blood test, and his wife cried, he told me. More than the sleeplessness, more than the disruption of everything familiar, more than the neediness of this new creature, her crying frazzled him immensely. And then he asked me some questions about the daycare center.

I answered his questions and tried to deliver reassurance but throughout my day I kept thinking of her crying in the pediatrician's office. How could she not? I thought. And at the end of the day, I sent him an email message. Think of this, I typed. For nine months she focused her every action on protecting your baby, keeping her warm and cradled and safe. And those nine months led up to an enormous climactic moment, and she thinks she's done it. She's accomplished this goal. The biggest goal she's probably ever accomplished. And then she finds out: that was the easy part. Her baby's on the outside now, and she can't protect her. Not even from a pinprick. Sometimes, mamas just need to cry.


We think L's fever finally broke. We think (we hope) that she'll wake up tomorrow her usual happy and cool-forehead-ed self.


I took E back to the ENT tonight for yet another follow-up. The tube in her right ear is still blocked. We're trying one more thing: stronger ear drops to dissolve the blockage in conjunction with strong antibiotics to dissolve whatever's lurking behind the blockage. We go back in two weeks. If this doesn't work, Dr. Earl said she'll have to remove this tube and put in a new one. And oh, there is no sufficient way to tell you how desperately I hope we never have to go through that procedure again. Pin It