Today Karol had her 15 month 'well visit' with our favorite pediatrician, Dr. Fishman. Dr. Fishman also happens to be considered pretty much the best doctor in the DC area. We are terribly lucky she's in our insurance plan!
Anyway, the overall appointment was great. We got in our little room and had to strip down to diaper only, but they turned the heat up and Karol certainly didn't seem to mind the freedom. Karol flipped through a magazine, bounced on Mommy's knee, and played with her shoes until the nurse came back to take her measurements. Here are the results:
Weight: 21 lbs 8 oz (up from 20 lbs at 12 months)
Height: 32 1/4 in (up from 31 in)
Head: 18 in (she's still got a head)
As you can see, Karol's growing pretty well and still pretty tall. Matt and I are constantly reminded of this as we are always putting untouchable things on higher and higher shelves.
We had a few more minutes of playtime before Dr. Fishman came in for the exam. Karol has always been good at the doctor's, but the past few times she's gotten a little anxious when they need to touch her. She makes a quiet, uneasy sort of whine when they are using the stethoscope or the ear-checker thingy. Though she was a little shy, Karol did have the opportunity to show off her nose-finding skills. Dr. Fishman said her motor and language development seems right on track, so we are happy about that. The doctor also recommended that we start taking an iron supplement, as Karol is a little low on some sort of blood thing.
Speaking of which, having a toddler get blood drawn is an absolute nightmare. It's required in this messed up state at 12 months, though. When the results came back a little low, they originally wanted Karol to do it again to make sure, but there's no way I'm putting her through that again. Luckily Dr. Fishman said today she suspected the results would be the same and that Karol probably just has a mild anemia, like me. She recommended an over the counter iron supplement that is supposed to be very tasty. I hope it really is. Karol loves taking children's Tylenol because of the grape flavor, but of course it's very rare we resort to Tylenol.
Next came the hard part. The shots. After a long talk with Dr. Fishman, I decided to give in to the chicken pox vaccine. This one is normally done at the 12 month appointment and I chose not to have it done then. Matt and I talked it over and, in light of the 12,749 other shots she had to get, we didn't want to put her through yet another one. The nurse who had given us the other shots at the 12 month appointment actually commended our decision, saying that so many shots at one time could be just plain overload to a child's system.
It's not that I don't want to inoculate Karol at all for the chicken pox, but at one year old? I really don't see the need. I know it can be a dangerous disease, but the chicken pox used to be a right of passage that all young children had to face. And how much do we really know about the effectiveness of these new vaccinations? I prefer to wait a few years on any new vaccination to see what the potential outcomes are.
On the other hand, if there truly is a way to avoid the blotched itchy torture of chicken pox, shouldn't I take that opportunity for my child? Dr. Fishman did make a good argument. She said that just recently she treated a child hospitalized from chicken pox...presumably not vaccinated for them. She also made the common sense argument that getting it done now, along with the mandatory tetanus series completion, is more bearable (for Karol and me) than doing it on its own later.
"Getting a shot at all is the traumatic part, whether it's one or three," Dr. Fishman said, "and then it's over with and she's not getting a shot every simgle time she comes in." Of course, she has been getting them every time so far, but the doctor said that will be done after the two-year appointment. After today's shots, Karol stands to get one more series for Hepatitis A containing 2 shots 6 months apart, at the 18 and 24 month doctor appointments. Then we're in the clear until Kindergarten. Whew!
So, after Dr. Fishman left we waited a long while for the nurse to come back with the dreaded needles. I felt like the pastor that talks to the death row inmate just before his deadly shot. We played 'This Little Piggy,' which Karol thought was hilarious (she can say "wee, wee wee!" now), and drew with a pen on the paper they put over the cushions.
Finally the nurse came back. With a tray of scary needles. I hope babies don't smell fear the way some animals do, because I couldn't help but be anxious. And we did it. Karol sat on my lap while the nurse put a shot in each thigh, followed by bright yellow band-aids with cartoon characters on them. Karol cried. I wouldn't say she wailed, but she did sob for several minutes after the fact. And no amount of cuddling and consoling really makes me feel less guilty for letting it happen to her to begin with. All-in-all, Karol did exceptionally well, even during the shots. No kicking or flailing. She was like a little martyr there on my lap.
Something so strongly counter to Mother's Intuition can't be the 'right thing to do,' can it? I guess modern medicine would suggest otherwise.
I'm sure those shots hurt me a lot more than they hurt her in some ways. From now on, I'm scheduling Karol's doctor appointments for late in the afternoon. I don't care if it's less convenient, starting the morning with shots just ruins the whole day.
I should just make Matt take her. He's better than I am at handling the vaccinations.
In other news, the semester is rapidly approaching an end for both Matt and I. I will feel SO much better once I get this final project turned in! Matt is doing really well in all of his classes, so he's optimistic about his grades. The next step: The massive summer internship search effort. The summer internship is a huge thing for MBA students, so we are really working hard to get the perfect one. It will be interesting to see where he ends up, and how that will affect our little (well, not-so-little) family.