The day Lawson had his first vaccinations is the day I realised how much becoming a mother has ruined my ability to hold my s*** together. It’s a funny story…
Twenty-four hours prior to his immunisations, I naturally spent a significant portion of time Googling.
‘How do I look after a baby with a fever?’
‘Can I use an oral thermometer under the armpit?’
‘Is it normal to cry at your baby’s first immunisation appointment?’
I now also consider myself an expert on Calpol’s post-immunisation guidelines. I had it covered from all angles, let’s be honest.
On the day of the appointment I found myself acting pretty weird around Lawson, trying to keep it very ‘hush hush’ that I was about to drag him to the doctors to have multiple needles stuck in his legs… I also found myself getting very teary whenever he looked into my eyes, I couldn’t help thinking ‘what am I doing to you, baby?’ (I’m welling up just thinking about it, to tell you the truth.)
Motherhood has also ruined my ability to have ANY perspective whatsoever, the fact that his immunisations are preventing him from getting fatal illnesses, for example. ‘Rational’ is not a word I would use to describe myself these days.
I played the emotional card with my husband (is it still a card if there are actual tears?), which ensured he was there with me at the appointment. I also made him hold our son during the procedure (I did feel bad about that one). The appointment went as to be expected; Lawson cried, I almost cried, Daniel even felt like Lawson somehow resented him for holding him down. That being said, it was over pretty quickly, and as soon as we shoved some Calpol down him (of which he was not a fan), he fell asleep. Probably dreaming about how much he used to love his parents.
None of this really surprised me. I was expecting to be slightly emotional at the appointment and then go home and enjoy cuddles on the sofa with my boy whilst watching Elf. Nothing really prepared me for the overhwleming paranoia that set in as soon as Daniel went back to work. My brain went completely off on one with ‘does he look paler than normal?’ ‘does he always breathe this quickly?’ ‘is he hot?’ ‘IS HE HOT???’ And so on and so on. You get the picture.
Overbearing crazy mama Hayley aside, in the evening Lawson definitely wasn’t himself. He was pretty grouchy and cried every time he woke up (I can’t even). Every two minutes, on average, my hands would frantically feel around his body – his forehead, his chest, his back, his belly – to see if I thought he might have a temperature. Safe in the knowledge that we only had a crappy Tommee Tippee oral thermometer that came as part of a set (which apparently isn’t even appropriate for use on babies… WHY put it in the set?!), my own mother’s words, ‘if he’s got a temperature he’ll feel like a radiator’ were all I had to go by. Did he feel like a radiator? Who actually knows. He was, however, hotter than normal, and my second attempt at giving him Calpol had resulted in a very sticky chin and sleepsuit.
In a slapdash attempt to put some sort of figure on his temp, I used what was supposed to be an oral thermometer under my baby’s armpit… That happened. Knowing full well that it wouldn’t be accurate, the reading of 38.1 still sent me into an absolute frenzy. In fact, my husband came up the stairs to find his wife lying down with the baby on her chest, tears streaming down her cheeks and blubbering ‘ring NHS Direct, 111!’ I’m fairly sure at this point it confirmed his suspicions that motherhood has turned me into a maniac. Nevertheless, he called NHS Direct, who further instructed us to attend the out of hours at the hospital. Off we went.
There is something to be said for a mother’s instinct. Unfortunately not so much to be said for mine. We had what can only be described as a very surreal experience at the hospital (where the doctor’s facial plastic surgery is only part of the story), our little Lawson had a temperature of 37.1… How embarrassing… Plastic surgery aside, the doctor was really nice about it, and seemed to understand my mum-induced paranoia.
I treated Lawson to sleeping in our bed (we’d both had a hard day!), enabling us to sleep off the events of the day and reflect on the fact that next time, I’mma need a decent thermometer that IS appropriate for babies.