I’ve been back at the blood draw station again. I’ve said before how being needle-phobic, I felt empowered after coping with four draws in three hours for the Glucose Tolerance Test. But that doesn’t mean I need to keep returning to the blood getting people. Surely that would test any phobic’s mettle?
But this time, my need to return was not for me but for my 19 month old Eliza. As is routine at our paediatrician’s for babies over a year, Eliza needed a blood draw to test iron levels amongst other things. Due to her ongoing poop strikes, her doctor also wanted her blood checked for allergies to milk etc.
I’ve put this off for months and months. So many things about the process managed to let it slip right off the must-do radar, not least of all, my own problem with needles. But when I did remember to remember, the issue of baby veins always made me quickly forget it again. How amongst all those cherub-chubby folds can veins be found in such little people? Surely I couldn’t put her through that....
So last week I just decided to do it. Motivated by getting to the bottom, of Eliza’s errr, bottom issues and aware that in a few months I’ll have even less reason to remember to do it, we sped off to Blood Draw HQ.
I’d tipped shelf-loads of $1 toys into my shopping cart while amassing my Toddler Distraction arsenal for our flights to and from Scotland last month so after browsing the collection, figured with three bags (not including my diaper bag!!) I had enough gadgetry to keep her occupied while the blood getters did their thing.
But not a wooden puzzle or colouring book left my bag trio – just the portable DVD player with her favourite show. It was a risk putting my good cards on the table at so early and critical a stage. Where can one go from there?
As the blood getters flexed their tourniquets and sharpened their needles, I fixed up the DVD player. They explained I should put Eliza, then in her stroller, on my knee.
‘Hi sweetie,’ one cooed as I negotiated her from the stroller straps. Eliza eye-balled her with typical contempt before then shooting me a suspicious look. She may be just a toddler but she knows when her mother talks ten to the dozen, it’s because she’s nervous about something.
Trying my best to feign calm, I went to put her on my lap. Except, my lap is not the roomy, inviting accommodation it once was. Due to the expanse of belly bump, lap space is at a premium. I hated not being able to cradle her into me as the blood people prepared to do their work. Instead she sat what seemed like acres away, perched precariously on my bony knees.
Being the inquisitive soul she is, Eliza seemed more intent in finding out what the ladies with needles were doing than with her show. Despite pricking both her left and right arms, a vein could not be found. Eliza was terribly upset, I was now talking twenty to the dozen in attempts to calm her and the DVD player had only just survived a crash to the floor c/o a flailing toddler leg.
A superior was summoned and meanwhile I was given heated pads to try warming Eliza’s hands and get her blood flowing better. Those 15 minutes bought us quality calming time and when the boss-lady arrived, Eliza was contentedly watching her show.
There were of course more tears and kicks but eventually the blood was got. Eliza had shuffled so far down my ‘lap’ she was almost on my feet. Once her Band-Aid was on, it only took a few Goldfish and a Graham’s Cracker before the tears and the snotty nose were gone altogether.
We emerged back into the waiting room Goldfish-sprinkled warriors. We’d done it – the toddler, the bump and I. Triumphantly I met the eyes of the other two people in the waiting room. Dirty looks! Not a sympathetic smile, or empathetic nod – just sheer filthy, ‘how dare you keep us waiting’ disdain.
But nothing was getting to me. I may be third trimester tired, pelvic-problemed and lacking in lap space, but I, a needle-phobic still got my little girl through her first blood draw. And no number of dirty looks could take the sheen off that for me.