Tis the season of family traditions, holiday memories and laughing at the same old family folklore to be told at the dinner table yet again. For many of you, this will be your baby’s first Christmas – the official beginning of watching the holiday seasons take new light and perspective as you see it through your child’s eye. It truly adds to the magic of the season….even though it also tends to add to the exhaustion.
In 2013 my firstborn turned one month old on Christmas Eve. I’ll never forget that first Christmas as a parent. Even though my daughter was still in that newborn floppy neck stage and had absolutely NO idea what was going on around her, everything felt more magical and fresh that holiday season. But it was not all toasty fires, roasted chestnuts and glistening snow. Oh no. One of my favorite memories from that season was very humbling as a parent and has definitely been added to our family’s list of holiday stories to be retold yearly at the dinner table.
I was practicing my baby-wearing skills and had my little one snuggled in a Moby wrap. We were spending the day with my parents – celebrating, having a good time and enjoying every little coo and even the cries of our newborn. Totally normal, nothing out of the ordinary in our blissful world of a holiday baby.
And then the baby needed her diaper changed.
No big deal. We do that ALL. THE. TIME. I grabbed the necessary items, tickled baby’s belly and started to remove the offensive diaper. But then I saw it. In the diaper was a red-ish brown, squishy, slightly sticky blob of a thing – about the size of a pencil eraser. It was just a wet diaper, no poop, so this was out of place. What was it?
And then I knew. Dried blood. It just had to be dried blood. What else could it be, right?!
Now as a seasoned mom of all things gross, surprising and worrisome, if faced with this scenario I would pause, take a deep breath, say a quick prayer and go forward with hopefully some calm and logic. However, I was still a rookie so I opted to go into full freakout. I yelled for my husband because I could not handle this alone and if our conversation had been recorded it probably would have gone something like this:
Me: Husband!!!!!! Get in here now!!!!
Hubby: What’s wrong?
Me: Look at this. I just went to change her diaper and THIS was in it by her butt crack. What do you think it is?
Hubby: I dunno…it’s kinda gross….
Me: Do you think it’s blood?
Hubby: It could be blood. Shit. Is this blood?
Me: What do we do? What do we do??!??!!
Hubby: I’ll google it. You call the advice nurse.
Hubby googled, I called and waited for what seemed like forever for a nurse to answer.
Nurse: Hello. How can I help you?
Me (all in one panicked breath): I have a one-month-old baby and I went to change her diaper and a pencil eraser sized blob was in her butt crack and it’s not poop it’s reddish brown squishy sticky and I think it might be dried blood I’m not sure if it’s dried blood she seems ok but I’m not sure what’s going on.
Nurse: Ok. Can you tell me about what time this all happened?
Me: About 3 minutes ago.
Nurse: Did you notice anything unusual today about your baby’s behavior or activity?
Nurse: Ok. I’m going to put you on hold to confirm with a doctor and see when we can set you up with an appointment.
While on hold, hubby informs me that Google has failed us in yielding any comforting results. We start talking about the day:
Me: Ok think, did we do anything weird today? Did the baby act weird? Did she sleep too much? Eat too much?
Hubby: No. I don’t think so.
Me: Ok let’s go through the day. Anything weird? Anything at all?? How did we fail as parents?!
Hubby: We woke up about the normal time and kiddo had a bottle. We had breakfast. Kiddo had a quick nap. We all got ready and headed over to your folks place.
Me: Ok Ok. Why is this taking so long? Should we go to the ER? Why is the nurse not back on the line yet??!!!!
Hubby: We had lunch with your folks. Your dad made us try that weird bread he had ordered. Then we…
Me: Oh my God!
Me: The bread!!!!!! I think the dried squishy blob is a raisin from that stupid bread. (Groan. Palm to face.) I had been wearing her while we ate. I even had to brush off all sorts of crumbs when I took her out of the Moby. A raisin probably fell in and went down her clothes while I was eating. I feel like an idiot!!!! (More groaning)
Hubby: Yeah….this pretty much looks like a baked raisin. But hey, at least it’s not blood.
Me: I feel so dumb. I want to curl up and die! I’m hanging up…
Hubby: No, don’t hang up. Just tell the nurse what happened. (He had the gall to chuckle then – but he quickly stopped when I suggested that HE speak to the nurse….)
For the record, I should have hung up. But as if she knew we had just figured out our daughter’s mysterious ailment, the advice nurse came back on the line informing me that she had scheduled us an appointment early the next morning with our pediatrician.
Tail tucked between my legs, I informed the nurse what we thought had happened, apologizing profusely for any waste of time the call may have caused. But the nurse, though understanding and kind, insisted that we go to our appointment the next day.
Probably to have us examined as parents….
Sheepishly we went the next morning with our happy healthy baby to the doctor’s office. I felt like the queen of all idiots and a failure as a mother. Our pediatrician was so sweet about the whole thing. He came into the room saying, “Hmm so it sounds like we’ve had some trouble with a runaway raisin. How are you guys doing today?” He just treated it all so nonchalantly and patiently listened to us apologize over and over for wasting his time. He checked out our healthy baby, encouraged us to trust our gut if we ever thought something was off with our kiddo, and advised that we maybe stay away from raisins for a while.