Thursday, February 17, 2011

Calculated risks

Lest it be under-commented-upon amidst all the schedule shifting and interior re-designing and minor health crises and work drama and so forth, there is an actual pregnancy happily progressing along as Baby #2’s due date approaches. Compared to the little guy’s epic trek from “the test is positive!” to “7 pounds 4 ounces!”, which was fraught with troubling developments, this one has been a downright breezy affair, and one which seems to be taking forever. That perception likely arises from the lack of epochal events to mark the passage of time during baby girl’s gestation, as opposed to her big brother’s First Time Mom Had To Be Put On Bedrest, Generally Normal Middle Part Waiting For The Other Shoe To Drop, and Second Time Mom Had To Be Put On Bedrest.

But perceptions aside, the pregnancy does in fact progress. My wife had a couple of appointments this week, and both were of the “checkup which does indeed verify that everything’s fine” variety, something for which I am incredibly thankful but which doesn’t make for really riveting blogging, I suppose. We got some good ultrasound pictures of the little girl’s face on Monday, though, and that was pretty cool. But it’s easy to shortchange the focus on that, when a big part of the reason why grandma coming up to help out on Monday was crucial was because there was still an empirical possibility that the little guy’s skin rash was a symptom of something viral which is extremely hazardous to expose pregnant women to (Fifth Disease), and my wife needed to see her ob/gyn but not bring the little guy along. Tension, conflict, danger, that's the sizzle!

I very much love this graphic.
And incidentally, I still think it’s weird how the whole thing with the little guy’s hives has resolved itself. He’s fine now; the crazy bright pink welts have all magically melted away with no real treatment (except Benedryl, hydrocortisone, and the cessation of a course of Amoxicillin) which bears out the pediatrician’s wait-and-see approach as perfectly rational. But the post-script is that from now on we are to answer any variation on the “allergic to any medications?” question directed at our son with an unequivocal “penicillin family of drugs”. Which on the one hand makes sense but on the other … really? Just like that? It seems to me like penicillin and its derivatives are really useful things to have access to, and it also seems like we’re just assuming he’s allergic to them without any definitive proof. Yes, I get that he was on Amoxicillin and had a furious skin outbreak and we took him off it and it went away, but I’m not 100% convinced that’s a slam-dunk QED. There’s multiple points at which it could be a coincidence. I guess I expected some kind of follow-up test, a referral to an allergist, something involving a lab and a piece of paper saying the little guy definitely has the marker protein for penicillin intolerance or something? (Granted, my understanding of science is a little comic-booky. Possibly a lot comic-booky. But still.) I don’t know. Given my own medical history I think a visit to an allergist is probably in the little guy’s future at some point no matter what; maybe when we get him tested to see if he’s as allergic to dust mites and timothy grass as I am, I’ll casually inquire about the antibiotics.

But now here I am again, talking about the little guy when I meant to give a little spotlight time to his decidedly non-troublemaking little sister. My wife and I, both being eldest siblings in our respective families, are trying to prepare ourselves to raise a second child without playing favorites and making the younger child feel like the overlooked afterthought. But man it is going to be tough, I can tell.

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