Saturday, August 23, 2008

First Time Parenting

Although I became a parent in my mid-thirties I always knew I would be a good mother. I had practical experience with babies – I started babysitting for family when I was 10 – back in the days when latch-key children were common and trust was instilled in precocious children. In this day and age a 10 year old caring for a newborn would probably be seen as some sort of neglect but I did my job responsibly and efficiently and managed to keep my charge from harm.

I can also remember holding a newborn baby in church as a teenager. I felt such joy and looked forward to the day when I would be holding my own child. Little did I know then that my day would come 20 years later. With my life experiences out of the way and all of the boxes checked – college, grad school, international travel, marriage, home – I was ready for baby. I talked to my best girlfriend about her experience (her child is 9 months older than mine) so that I could be prepared.

She gave me the usual litany of things to do – like birthing classes. Being a mom that was having a scheduled c-section I thought the birthing class would be a waste of my time. She tried to convince me otherwise by noting the childcare aspects of the class. I still passed because sitting with other moms preparing for their natural births would at minimum make me feel envious and potentially would start the waterworks (My scheduled-c was necessary because I had uterine tumors removed. I wanted to try for a natural birth but was told that it posed too many dangers for myself and my baby).

So, sans childbirth class I forged ahead and had my bouncing baby boy in a procedure that went fairly quickly, with no problems and my recovery was actually much quicker and easier than after my surgery 2 years prior.

During the days of recovery in the hospital my son was by my side 24 -7, except for when he was being weighed and bathed. I began to realize that a refresher course in childcare might have been helpful. Between trying to nurse my son, keep him from crying and recover from surgery I would forget things. Like - oh when did I last change the baby? How frequently do I change the baby? I soon began changing him about every two hours and applying Vaseline to help heal his circumcision.

When I got home I asked my aunt about A&D ointment and if/when I should use it. She said she’d noticed a little redness on his bottom and told me I should always use it as a preventative measure against diaper rash. At that moment I felt my first failure as a parent – I had not been giving my son the proper care. He didn’t have diaper rash but I was crushed nonetheless. I know now that it is all a learning experience and perhaps the hormones were working on my emotions but I did feel defeated.

From that point on I slathered A&D ointment on my son. No one could accuse me of neglecting the care of his bottom. The same aunt was amazed at how quickly I was going thru the ointment and reminded me I only needed a little. I forged on and no diaper rash ever reared its ugly head on my watch.

When I returned to work and my son began daycare I dropped him off with pumped milk, diapers, change of clothes and of course the A& D. I was informed that they only used it when necessary but he would be okay. Somewhere down the line something happened. My baby’s smooth as silk bottom was covered in a circular raised bumpy rash. Although my son didn’t seem to experience any discomfort I decided to go to the internet to find a solution.

Apparently he had a fungal diaper rash – so I treated it with Lotrimin and it went away. When I was able to get him to the doctor it was mostly cleared up so the treatment worked. My aunt called me and asked if I had heard about Vusion – for diaper rash that didn’ t go away by normal methods. I hadn't but was on the lookout for the commercial for future reference. After finally seeing the commercial and visiting the website I knew that it would have worked for my son’s rash. It is only by prescription but if your child ever has a severe diaper rash go to your doctor and ask about Vusion, if I knew then what I know now I would have done so.

I guess if diaper rash is the worst thing that happens to me as a first time parent perhaps I really am a great parent after all!