Yesterday Walt had his two month Well Baby appointment and received his first vaccines - three shots and one liquid. Your parents warn you, "It's harder on you than on your baby." Your pediatrician tells you, "He forgets almost immediately, so it's the parents that are really hurt when baby gets shots." Intellectually, you can know that it will be hard. But nothing can adequately prepare you for your baby's first shots.
I thought I would do okay because I made it through the heel sticks at birth without tears. And Walt had "slow blood," so it took multiple pokes and several minutes to complete each stick. But his reaction to the two shots in one thigh and one shot in the other was so awful; I was completely unprepared. His scream was this high pitch wail, different from any of his normal cries. His entire body turned bright red with the initial two shots, which were done rapidly, one after the other. His redoubled scream with the third shot was cut a little short as he ran out of air. And there was nothing I could do to make it any better. I really didn't think I would cry, but how can you not when your baby is in such distress?
I said out loud, as if to reassure myself, "It's better than whooping cough. He might not know it, but he doesn't want polio." But that's small comfort when every fiber of your being says, "There has to be a better way to do this."
We survived and Walt spent much of the day sleeping off the experience. I told Pete that next time, he's coming too because I can't contemplate listening to that alone again. I don't know why I think having Pete there will make it any better, but perhaps that's another mystery of early parenthood.