Babby was two months old today.
We celebrated by going to the doctor where he screamed incessantly for an hour. Diaper change didn’t help him. Booba didn’t soothe him. The doctor and I had to talk over the crying.
“Is he often like this?” she asked (the entire clinic had heard him crying, with only occasional pauses when I put a booba-cork in his mouth, for the last half hour).
“Sorry, can you repeat the question?” I hollered.
And so on.
Last month he had been much better behaved at his appointment, and she had dismissed our complaints of “he never sleeps” and “he cries a lot” as standard parent whining. She told us she didn’t like to medicate unless absolutely necessary, and suggested we put some rice cereal in a bottle of breast milk for the colic.
But the screaming gets on your nerves fast, so this time she got serious and started writing scripts. We now have Peppermint flavoured Zantac, which I’m worried may give him a pathological loathing of candy canes in later life, as well as a (I believe) totally unnecessary prescription for thrush, because the doctor thinks we have it. I think that the “white” stuff she saw in my baby’s mouth was his tastebuds, since it doesn’t wipe away, which I tried to demonstrate. She didn’t try herself. In fact, she doesn’t touch the baby much at all, just with a stethoscope. Either she’s phobic of cuteness or just really unsure of herself. I’m pretty sure she’s younger than me. She’s probably scared she’ll break him.
Anyway, I didn’t argue the thrush thing much because I do get occasional shooting pains in my boobas for no apparent reason, which I have become accustomed to. Maybe it’s because of thrush?
So I took the scripts she handed me and promised, loudly, that I would bring him back if these didn’t seem to work. She repeated several times that he should come in for his next well baby at 4 months, but if these prescriptions didn’t work, he should defnitely come in sooner.
Ha. I thought. Now she sees what we’ve been living with, she isn’t so quick to dismiss this. Empathy is a wonderful thing.
Since my baby was not exactly creating the nicest impression, I was feeling rather harried, but I was soothed in a burst of motherly pride when the doctor started asking about milestones.
Then I mentioned that he can roll over from stomach to back, and she looked surprised.
“That’s very advanced.”
“He’s been doing it since he was six weeks.”
“That’s VERY advanced,” she said, looking shocked.
(Of course, you and I know that the reason he is so “advanced” is because he never sleeps. That extra time thrashing around SHOULD be good for something. Besides, he was two weeks overdue, so at six weeks he was really eight weeks adjusted, right? Still, it felt good that my baby was remarkable for something other than an ear-piercing “AAH! AAH! AAAAHH!!”)
I left feeling pretty smug about my smart, if screamy, baby. The good feeling is gone now, because I made the mistake of plotting Babby’s weight on a chart.
Now, when she plotted his weight at the clinic on the little Similac chart that she keeps in scads, she told me (over the screaming) that he was now in the 50th percentile. From where I stood, I could see that the dot fell a little below the 50th on her tiny chart, but that seemed fine. He was 50thpercentile last month, good and average, so anywhere near there is good. Then, this evening, I was thinking that since her form was a Similac brand form, it might be based on formula feeding averages and I was wondering if breast feeding averages were about the same. Out of idle curiosity, I googled breast feeding baby growth charts and found the World Health Organization’s specially-calibrated charts.
Then I doubled checked.
Then I triple checked.
…I think I might have misheard the doctor.
She may have said “fifteenth” not “fiftieth”. I had assumed that the flurry of prescriptions was entirely due to the screaming. But now, looking at the chart, I realized that I should have asked her to repeat more sentences as she had pointed to the plots on her little graph. The graph lines were all so close together that her pen had looked close to, if not quite on, the 50th percentile mark, but I now realize that it must have been further than I thought. I had spent a lot of time nodding at her all but inaudible descriptions of what his weight gain should look like over the next few months, knowing I could look up the same information when I got home.
I hadn’t realized that she might have been trying to tell me, gently, that he wasn’t gaining what he should.
Or maybe she’s incompetent and didn’t notice this drop. Or maybe (my favourite option) I’m missing something obvious and everything is totally normal.
I know he spits up a lot, but I never dreamed that he wasn’t gaining weight properly. I mean, I thought he was plumping out.
Should I be worried?