Saturday, September 30, 2006

Don't Worry

I found this great article called, "10 Newborn Worries (That You Don't Need to Worry About)". I so could have used this article 7.5 years ago. Not only would it have saved me a lot of stress, but it would have saved my pediatricians office about a hundred phone calls (give or take a dozen).

I can't even remember why I called Dr. Jones' the first couple of times. But I do remember hunting for the phone number while in a dead panic and thinking, "I'd better memorize this number so I don't have to look all over for it." In the first few calls I also learned a couple things.

1. When calling the pediatricians office, identify yourself. I think the first few times I called I just launched into what was going on and how panicked I felt. After blurting out everything I could think of the receptionist would say, "Uh-huh. And your name is?"

2. Tell them the vital info about your child, namely age and gender.

3. Make sure you're talking to a nurse. The best way to do this is to ask, "May I speak with a nurse?" Most of the time the person picking up the phone at the doctor's office is a "bubble-gummer." (Bubble-gummer is a family term meaning, "Person, usually female, who's greatest skill appears to be chewing gum." Can also mean,"Person lacking any obvious skill, including gum-chewing. Occupation is often answering phones. See also, dumb-as-a-brick.")

After having committed the pediatrician's number to memory and now knowing the vital info the office needed before I could get help, I was armed with what I needed to get help with the everyday urgent situations of having a newborn. (What? You didn't have everyday urgent situations when you had a newborn? Perhaps you could say I'm high strung...)

The first phone call I remember went something like this.

Me: Hi, my name is Jenna and my daughter is 2 weeks old... (Whew, there's the vital info.) ... and she's got blood in her diaper.

Nurse, with panic in her voice: Is her diaper full of blood?

Me, after a long pause: Um, no. It's like a dot.

Nurse, with sigh of relief: Oh, that's perfectly normal.

Now, reee-ally. How did I miss that in all of my reading? Yet here it is #3 on the article of newborn worries.

3. Blood in your newborn girl's diaper. During pregnancy, a surge in maternal estrogen levels can stimulate a female fetus's uterus. Within the first week of life, it's not uncommon for baby girls to have a mini period in which the uterus sheds a little blood.

Number 5 also would have been good to know about.

5. Soft, squishy poops after every feeding. Breastfed babies may poop after each feeding because breast milk is so quickly digested. (Bottlefed babies may have less-frequent bowel movements.) As far as the squishy issue is concerned, most newborn poops are soft simply because babies are on an all-liquid diet.

I had heard over and over that diarrhea is the number one killer of children under 12 (or 7, or 3 or 1 or something like that. Point is, diarrhea is deadly--beware!) So imagine after changing several days of poopy diapers, Emma has a BIG ONE. Naturally, I call the doctor's office in a panic.

Me: I think my baby has diarrhea.

Nurse: How do you know?

Me: Well, you know how when the baby poops it sounds like an explosion?

Nurse: (Snickering.)

Me, impatiently: Well, after my baby just did that little explosion, it sounded exactly like water pouring into her diaper.

Nurse, laughing: Ha, ha, ha. She's just fine. Ha, ha, ha.

Actually the nurse might have been nicer than that, but the message I got was 1) the baby's fine and 2) you, the mother, are a nut job.

I have to admit, seven plus years and four kids later I find this story just as amusing. It makes my insides quiver until I finally laugh out loud. Whoo-boy! I'm a funny one.

But if I had just had this article, I probably could have thrown away the whole "What to Expect the First Year" book. Because I would have had all of the information I needed right here.

Fortunately, when my second child, a boy, had problem number 9, I knew not to panic.

9. Swollen breasts on a newborn girl...or boy! Those same hormones that cause baby girls to have a mini period can also swell the breasts of babies of both genders. Alarming? Yes. Temporary? Absolutely. Worrisome? Not at all.

Me: Anson finally lost his baby breasts today--got milk all over his shirt.

Friend: Is that normal?

Me: Totally. In the olden days they called it witch's milk and tried to collect it 'cause they thought it cured stuff.

Friend: Wow. That's pretty weird.

Me: Very.

(As a side note, you can be glad that I write more eloquently than I speak, because, obviously, I talk like an idiot.)

So as you see the "10 Newborn Worries (That You Don't Need to Worry About) is very important reading. Please click here and pass it on to anyone you know who is expecting her first. It'll save her, and her doctor's office, a lot of stress.

1 comment:

Mel said...

I totally know what you mean! My first kids (twins) ended up at the doctor's office all the time. My youngest child, now 4, has never been to the doctor, other than for her vaccinations. I'm so much more laid back this time around (and better educated!).