How I Learned To Throw My Mommy Weight

It was like watching someone be tortured.

A grunting Chinese doctor clawed at my 5-week-old’s arm with a needle with the focused intensity of a grizzly picking at a carcass, as a young nurse fought to hold her down.

It was a sweaty June night and we were jammed together in a windowless, unmarked room in the hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) where Savannah had been admitted.  Caught under the examination light, I watched the grunter blow out vein after vein trying to insert an IV in her tiny arm.

Desperate for a diagnosis, I said nothing, though suspected it was the endocrinologist’s oversight that landed Savannah back in the hospital.

Until then the doctors had ignored the telltale warning signs – low blood sugar, jaundice, off lab results – and my concerns that something was amiss.  One Neo-Natal Intensive Care doc even had the audacity to say, “Sometimes it takes newborns a while to ‘perk up.’”  Her seizure, two days before, ended that theory.

Just when the screaming became unbearable, the doctor somehow managed to insert the IV.  After an hour of hysteria, the room went quiet, taking on an after-the-battle vibe.

“That doctor is an idiot,” the nurse hissed, examining Savannah’s pockmarked arms after he had left. “You need to put your foot down and throw your mommy weight around.”

A neophyte mom, unhinged by my daughter’s circumstances, I was a professional victim.  I was shocked, but relieved, by her advice, which became more profound when I learned the grunter could have numbed the arm.

The next morning when the medical team reappeared with their needles, I demanded the supervising physician.  I was still rattled and the request was out-of-character, but the sassy nurse convinced me Savannah’s medical treatment relied on me.  And only me.

One response to “How I Learned To Throw My Mommy Weight

  1. Bravo to the sassy nurse and to you for listening.


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