I find the whole process of having injections really quite horrid and the anticipation beforehand about how much it might hurt is really quite stressful. I recently had the flu jab at work and it took my colleague and me going in together and holding hands to make it even slightly bearable. As the injection man ran though the endless list of side effects we both looked at each other, beads of sweat appearing on our brows, as we contemplated if it was too late to make a run from the death jab.
The injection man, whilst running through how we might die, proceeded to tell us how he had injected all of the X-Factor contestants, including One Direction (apart from Harry, he was apparently chatting up the nurse). I think he was trying to distract us, but all I kept thinking was how inappropriate his name dropping was. I don’t care who he has stuck a needle into. I am certainly not impressed that he saved Leona Lewis from having a bout of flu. I just want it over as quickly as possible.
And then, like all injections, it was over in a flash and it only hurt a little bit going in. Afterwards it hurt a lot. It felt like my arm was going to drop off. Still, it’s better than getting the flu. Just.
So yes, I really don’t enjoy getting injections. What I enjoy even less is watching my baby have them. This hurts a lot. And the older they get, the worse it gets.
The first time he had them he was two months old and having never had to do it before I was really scared for my boy. As we went into the doctors we were directed to the relevant area and quietly joined the row of equally terrified mothers with very tiny babies. Looking back I can’t believe how small he was. The waiting area was deathly silent apart from the sudden scream of a young baby from behind closed doors. It was like something from a horror film.
As the mother and her baby exited the room everyone looked up with anxious eyes all silently looking for confirmation that ‘it wasn’t that bad’. We never got it. Every woman that came out looked ashen faced, with tears in her eyes and a bright red screaming child hanging off of her.
When it was our turn hubby and I walked into the room with the boy in my arms. He was all happy and smiley and none the wiser – ignorance clearly is bliss. As the nurse explained what was going to happen she instructed me to get out his leg ready to be injected. All the while I was talking to him in a really high pitched ‘everything-is-fine-nothing-to-worry-about’ voice. I wonder if he was aware mummy had turned into a squealing maniac.
So we are now fully briefed by the nurse that not only might it hurt, but he might also have side effects, which involve a temperature, sleepiness, being unsettled, being grumpy and not being himself. This is before the bloody thing has even gone in his perfect little leg. My mummy neurosis and the fear that something awful might happen to my baby is now in overdrive.
The nurse asks if we’re ready, we both look at each other like one of us is about to get the electric chair and slowly nod. I’m holding the boy trying my hardest not to look anywhere but at his face as he smiles at me completely oblivious about what is to come. Hubby gets the worst job of holding his leg. Well I thought this was the harder job until his little face went from smiley to contorted in pain as the needle went in. I swear he looked at me with a ‘how could you do this to me face’. He cried, my eyes welled up with tears and I look down to see a bit of blood coming out of his leg. It was horrific.
As my baby’s cries went from 4 to 40 decibels we were told we were done and to give him Calpol if he experienced any of the aforementioned symptoms. As we left the room, all the mothers looked up at me with the same panicked look in their eyes. There was nothing I could do to reassure them. It was that bad.
Thankfully he didn’t get any of the symptoms, but I still spent the next 24 hours in a panic that he might have a temperature. Or in my vivid imagination become the first baby to die after his jabs. Seriously. I barely slept.
The next time we went back I was at least a little prepared for what to expect. We were both a little older and wiser and ready for action. What I didn’t know was that this time it was two injections. One in each perfect little leg. Great. As the first one went in, he (we) didn’t react too badly. A little wince, but nothing like before. The second one went in and all hell broke loose. Not only did he scream, but he was also much more mobile this time so he almost wriggled out of my arms. I think he’s scarred for life.
Last month we had the 12 month vaccinations. A booster for the earlier ones and the big one – the MMR. I was never in any doubt about whether or not I would give my son the MMR. I 100% believe children should be vaccinated, but I remember how controversial it was so getting it felt like a bigger deal than the first few.
It’s okay I thought, we’ve done it before, we’re old hands at this injection malarkey. What I hadn’t thought about was that this time there would be three injections.
So in we go to the see the nurse who happens to be the slowest person I have ever come across. Anyone with a 13 month old knows that you have a very small window, if any, where they will sit still on your lap. It took her what felt like 3 hours to prepare the needles as my son is getting more and more wriggly and bored. As she’s doing this my neurotic mind once again starts wandering and all I can think about is that she might actually be a psycho and that she is filling the needles with poison. My heart actually start racing as she comes over and stabs his leg with the first one.
He starts screaming. The second one goes in. He starts screaming even louder. I hold onto him as hard as I can and tell him over and over that it’s going to be okay. Then the third one goes in and again he looks at me with a ‘what the f*** are you letting them do to me’ face, screaming the surgery down. I have never felt guilt like it.
What I should probably tell you is that my son has had a cry like an adult since he was born. It is LOUD. The loudest cry I ever heard. The nurse actually looks traumatised as she hurries us out of the room, once again telling us of the possible side effects. Once again I don’t sleep worrying he’ll die.
Thankfully his next lot aren’t until he’s 5. Hopefully I’ll be over the trauma by then.