Thursday, May 31, 2012

on labels and doctor visits

For some reason which I haven't really figured out yet, I'm totally resistant to allowing myself to be labeled. Except relationship labels - those are fine (wife, mother, daughter etc). When it comes down to occupation, parental style - basically everything thing else - I resist madly and try to prove myself outside the label. For example: I've been a... stay at home mom... (yep,  I just used those words) for almost three months now. If someone asks me what I do, I pause, searching my brain for an appropriate answer, and say something like, "nothing" or "hang out with my kid." Not that I actually do nothing but... I can't say it.

As a new mother, the worst label this year was "a first time mother" - and every time someone said, "oh it's okay - you're just a new mom" or "all first time mom's go through this..." I'd internally berate myself for having failed the name game. At my three-day postpartum check up at the hospital, the nurse told me "you're acting just like a third time mom" and I literally wrote it down in my journal (which I've yet to write in again!) and underlined it with pride. No better compliment!

And yet.

When my kid gets sick, I throw it all out the window and act just like the first time mom I really am. I'd be willing to bet that her medical records probably have a sticky note attached to them - NEUROTIC NEW MOM! After all, the pediatrician doesn't know me outside my relationship with the clinic, and all she knows is that I call literally every.single.time Ellie gets sick.

And of course, like any good for profit business, they always tell me that I'd better bring her in, "just so they can take a look at her." :) (in fairness, I really do like and respect the pediatrician office we go to). And so far, with one (minor) exception, she's been diagnosed with a virus every time.

We've probably spent at least a thousand dollars this year on my new mom habit. We've even had one bill labeled "fussy infant" under Reason For Visit. We spent one night in the ER, visited urgent care, and gone to the pediatrician more times than I can count. Just so I can be told everything that I already know, which I've read on every website which google will generate while I search her symptoms in the middle of the night looking for the magical diagnosis or cure. And yet we go in anyway, because in the back of my mind I think, "but.. what if...?" And when we leave, I tell myself that next time she gets sick, I'll behave a little more rationally. And then next time she gets sick, she goes right ahead and comes up with a new symptom or new pattern to her sickness and it all starts over again.

This week was no exception. Out of nowhere on Monday night she spiked a fever of 102.6. In the middle of the night she was burning up at 104, and by the next day, even with tylenol, it was measuring 103.6. I tried my hardest, really I did, to not call the pediatrician, but by Wednesday I caved and in we went. And guess what she has? A virus.

Of course, I've been warned that with viruses like this one, it's quite possible she'll sprout a little rash over her torso, so I've been on spot watch all day. And sure enough, tiny little red dots have appeared little by little over the course of the day. It's normal. It's benign. They won't hurt her and it's just the virus running it's course. I know this, but tonight I find myself thinking, "maybe tomorrow I should just call.."

Sigh. I'm not immune to First Time Mama label after all, not in the slightest.

baby girl doesn't feel so hot

she's trying to escape the doctor's office

rough night = morning snuggles with dad-dad

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