Thursday, 3 February 2011

Clinics and Vaccinations

Went to the baby clinic on Tuesday to find out if Joseph is putting on weight at the correct rate. It's a funny place, I had expected it to be a bit more... clinical to tell the truth. Actually what happens is you turn up whenever you like and weigh your baby. Then you go home. It's that simple.
They have about five sets of scales and changing mats and you undress your child, pop them on and record the result. You can then check the result against the growth charts they put in the back of the little red book. Every child has a little red book, to record health information, vaccinations, examinations and so on. Cue the usual Chairman Mao jokes, but I don't think he had a drawing of a teddy bear on the front of his.
Joseph has been almost exclusively formula fed for the last two weeks and I wanted to make sure he wasn't getting too fat too fast. He's certainly filled out quite a bit recently, so I didn't want to leave it too long before checking. They recommend going about once a month, which I will stick to, and it will be the first week in every month so hopefully I will remember. The upshot, by the way, is that he's just between the 50th and the 75th percentile for a boy of his age. He was born at the 75th, but during the period I was mostly breastfeeding he dropped to the 50th and seemed to be following that curve. Now he's gained a little more, but going by his birth weight, I suspect he'll be healthier on the 75th.
His vaccinations are due at 2pm this afternoon. I have decided to join the Oxford study group for this, and take part in a clinical trial. For those who think I am having my son punctured in the name of science, I shall explain.
They're not trying out any new vaccines, that would rather put me off the idea. It's simply to find out if all babies need as many vaccine boosters for Meningitis C as are currently given. Babies currently get 3 in the UK, but elsewhere in the world they are given less. If less are needed, the country can save a little money and children can be traumatised by the whole injection business a little less often.
It has one massive advantage, they are coming to my house to administer the injections. This is great news as my car is still suffering from its mysterious overheating problem and I don't have to bother my mum for a lift. The major downside is that he will have to have some blood tests when he's a little older, to check his immunity levels. Still, I think it is a good thing to be doing and I did discuss it with my GP as well. Roll on 2pm for the whole business to begin. Now, if I could only persuade him to sleep! He's woken up again, so I will sign off for now and finish this post later after the procedure.

Well, that was fun.
Not for Joseph. Actually, not a whole lot of fun for me either, having to listen to him scream! Baby vaccinations are what they call "intramuscular", which basically means they have to jab the needle deep into the leg. Ouch. Cue the screams.
He's ok now, having a little play on his mat but I have to keep stopping as he doesn't like me being out of sight for long. He seems fine, and I think he's forgiven me.
We are in the control group it seems, he has to have all the normal injections. The other part of the study is seeing if it makes a difference if the injections happen all in the same leg or not and Joseph has to have all of his in the right leg. I also have to keep a diary over the next few days, I have to measure if there's any redness or swelling and I have to take his temperature daily with a little under-arm thermometer. This is quite hard to do if your baby is a little grumpy and squirly.
Well, just have to see how it all goes.

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