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'Grins and Needles' - Sophia's immunisations

I know I am not the only parent who dreads their child having their immunisations but perhaps I am the only mummy doc who does?

Again, medically, I know exactly why they are required, what each vaccine entails and whereabouts they will administer the injection; but on the morning of the intended torture session, I always feel very very nervous. I would rather have that needle injected into my leg 100 times over than see my baby in any pain/discomfort. But oh well…that’s not an option is it?

I try to plan my day around the appointment and often leave the day free just in case the little one feels unwell afterwards.

Today was Sophia’s 16 week injections, the last set of jabs before she turns 1! A reminder that this is the last of them for a while!

Before clever doc went to work, I double and triple checked he didn’t want to take the afternoon off to be there for his daughter during the appointment. Of course I didn’t need the moral support or encouragement, I was the strong mummy clever doc!!!

‘You don’t need me to come along do you?’ he says patronizingly. ‘OF COURSE NOT!’ I reply. How silly of me to even ask. He reminds me that I administer injections to patients all the time so what was the big deal? The big deal was that this is my baby, my innocent little girl who does not know what is to come later in the day and who inevitably will shriek when that needle is inserted and then look at me with those helpless eyes. If she could talk, she would ask me why I am subjecting her to this and then to protect her from this evil pain.

Clever Doc goes to work and I resume the strong mummy clever doc.

After Sophia’s afternoon nap, I wake her a little earlier to get her ready to go to the GP surgery. She is oblivious to it all and I feel sad. The grin on her face lights up my day already. I make one last (desperate) call to Clever Doc to inform him we are about to leave and he reminds me to check we have enough Calpol at home.

At the surgery where I am extra early to make sure I don’t get stressed out rushing around, I wait in the empty waiting room. Before I know it, Sophia’s name is called and I walk her to the room. I look at her and she is grinning at me again wanting to play and all I feel is guilt. The nurse talks me through the vaccines, I don’t bother telling her I am a doctor and that I know all of this already. I am using the time to calm myself down internally. Then it is time for the first of three injections. I start breastfeeding just as she is preparing and as soon as she puts the first one in, the ‘no noise’ cry starts. Sophia goes red and looks at me in despair. I try to calm her down and shove my breast in her face only to hear the same with the next 2 injections. All I can think of is thank god its over now! I dress her quickly and button my shirt thinking I will feed her properly in the waiting room before we go home. ‘Mummy you look very stressed,’ says the nurse. ‘No, no I just want to get out and feed her as she hasn’t been fed since I woke her from her nap’ I lied. I didn’t feel comfortable to admit I was stressed. After all, why should I be? I know all of this.

As soon as we got home, I gave Sophia some Calpol, a great big kiss and played with her. I called Clever Doc to update him and then breathed a huge sigh of relief. My baby had no idea what just happened half an hour ago and all she wanted to do was play. She then displayed that familiar grin on her face again for me to see. Until next time I thought!

So what’s the moral of the story? Being a doctor does not mean you are better prepared for these things, nor does it mean that you don’t go through all the same insecurities that other mothers do. At the end of the day, we are all mothers and face the same decisions, insecurities and struggles no matter what profession we are in.

Let me know how you cope with your little one having their immunisations? Did I overreact or do we all go through this mental battle during these situations?




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