We had Jimmy's 12 month checkup and vaccinations last week. I have to admit I was a little sad that we weren't seeing our GP in Brisbane. Ah well, the doctor we saw was friendly and we had a good chat. Of course Jimmy was weighed and measured by a nurse before we actually saw the doctor and another nurse administered the jabs, but at least the room we were in had windows and we didn't have to wait more than 5 minutes between seeing each of them, unlike our experience when I had mastitis.
Jimmy was really good while the nurse weighed and measured him - no squirming or fussing (win #1) - and
she commented on it, but I had to point out that he had no idea what was coming or why we were there. It'll be a different story next time. Jimmy impressed the doctor too, he was surprised that Jimmy has never had an ear infection, apparently Jimmy's ears are perfect (win #2), he was also congratulated us on the complete lack of nappy rash and marvelled at Jimmy's cloth nappy (win #3). The doctor tried to convince us that Jimmy should be in his own room, but we like our set up, all of us in together, and I'm pretty sure we all sleep much better. The doctor also said that Jimmy should be able to sleep through the night without breastfeeding, eh... I don't mind, the whole breastfeeding on demand thing is still working for all three of us and as we've pretty much decided that I'm not going to go back to earning money until we're back in Australia, there's no reason to try to hinder the breastfeeding relationship Jimmy and I have. That said, the doctor was impressed that we were still breastfeeding at 12 months (win #4).
We had a discussion about what vaccines Jimmy would be getting and the differences between the Australian and USA schedules. Turns out that Hep A is given earlier here than in Australia, and it's in 2 doses - one at 12 months and another at 18 months. They give Chickenpox (Varicella) at 12 months, not 18 months like in Australia. Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) is given later, at 15 months. The Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine is given at 12 months in both counties. It was the Meningococcal C vaccination that we ran into difference: in the USA it's not offered as a standard vaccination for infants, in fact it's not offered to children under 11 years old (but if you check out the USA link, it is offered in certain areas, as a combined vaccine with Hib); meanwhile, in Australia, it is one of the 3 vaccines given at 12 months, along with MMR and Hib. As we're in the USA, we basically have no choice but to go with their schedule, and hopefully we won't get too much grief from our GP back in Brisbane.
We thanked the doctor and waited the 5 minutes it took for the next nurse to come in, with our little red Queensland Health book (they copied a few pages to go with Jimmy's history), and 3 needles and 3 vaccines, and some pretty cute bandaids. We chatted about the Meningococcal C vaccine some more and then we had to hold Jimmy down on the bed. Honestly, it's much easier if he's sitting in my lap or Michael's because he's that strong that it took both Michael and I to keep him still enough for the nurse to get the Varicella and Hep A shots in one leg. Poor boy screamed. And then he had to have the MMR in the other leg. Cue more screaming.
Jimmy settled quickly enough, and was pretty good about the whole thing and even managed a wave for the nurse who gave him the vaccinations. Before we left the same nurse gave us an info sheet on Meningococcal C vaccine, and the first nurse gave Jimmy some stickers because he was starting to fuss again - Mumma and Dadee were taking too long to get out of the place.
But it wasn't over yet.
In the USA, they test infants for iron levels and lead. Yep. Lead. Because their building regulations are different, and they can just paint over paint, over paint, some places still have lead based paints on the walls (the doctors words). In Australia, houses built before the 1970s are tested for lead paint before renovations or repainting can be done, what happens next depends on the condition of the paint. We were happy to comply, especially we were a little curious to find out what Jimmy's levels are and it was only going to be a heel prick*.
I was feeling pretty good about it all as I walked to the next stop, while wearing and nursing Jimmy. I was a very proud mumma, with a rather sleepy boy to cuddle.
There was no wait when we arrived for the blood tests, we just signed in and went through the doors. Easy. Jimmy liked the phlebologist. Good. She said she had to take the sample from his arm. Oh dear. They weren't allowed to take samples from the heel of anyone over 12 months old. Ah.
Oh it was awful. The phlebologist was lovely and really good but Jimmy had no idea what was happening as she put the band around his little arm and brought out the big needle. Oh he screamed and cried and I cried with him. It seemed to be over in seconds, but what had really happened was I hadn't held Jimmy firmly enough and she hadn't collected more than a few millilitres. We were going to have to go through it all over again...
I was gutted. I'd let my little boy down because I wasn't firm enough when he needed me most.
We did though. I held him firmly and watched it all happen (I hadn't watched the first time) and even managed to put pressure on the entry site before there was a swab within reach.
Jimmy was less impressed with the phlebologist as we were leaving. She was very apologetic, but it wasn't her fault. Jimmy was still pretty good about it and managed a wave but not a smile. Oh well. Hopefully we don't have to go back there in the next 8 months.
Jabs and blood extractions done, Jimmy and I went to Radina's for a muffin for him and coffee for me. Actually, I think it was really all for me - I needed to appease Jimmy with a treat, and see him smiling and goofing around, and sit down and have someone else make me a hot drink. Jimmy seemed happy to outside again and probably didn't need a pumpkin muffin, but he enjoyed it all the same.
He's a great boy, is our Jimmy.
*Just a heel prick... a small sample of blood taken from the heel after it has been pricked by a needle.