Yesterday was Mackenzie’s U4 checkup, traditionally done here in Germany during the 3rd and 4th months of life. Her official weight was 5.6kg (a little over 12 pounds), length 59.5 cm (23.43 inches) and her head is 40 cm (15.75 inches) around.

There were a few things tested and checked but it we were in and out in about 30 minutes which wasn’t too bad.

  • The doctor used a pen light to track whether Mack follows the light with her eyes – she did = Pass
  • The doctor pulled Mack up by her arms into a sitting position, watching if Mack stretched her legs out in front of her. She did not = Pass
  • The doctor felt her chest to make sure her liver and kidneys were nestled up under her ribs. They were = Pass

She also listened to her heart and mentioned that she didn’t seem to have a preferred side of the head or even be laying on her back much since there were no flat spots. Then the doctor got down to real business, asking if we were ready to immunize her today and then she explained that she’d give her a shot in each leg. While the doctor was out of the room for a few minutes getting the needles together, I breastfed Mack a little since it was getting to be that time and she was a little fussy. I read that breastfeeding immediately before or during the shots can help calm the child and I was hoping to achieve that with Mack also. I wasn’t sure if she would actually keep eating while getting the injections but at least she wouldn’t be starved which gives her a reason to cry already.

I was still holding Mack when the doctor came back in and she went right to it. She said about 90% of babies don’t even react to the shots – I find that hard to believe. But Mack took it like a champion. She cried for maybe a minute and then quieted down, sorta looking around like, “Why was I just crying again?” The doctor prescribed very light pain pills in case the injection sites become a problem and Mack starts crying. But so far Mack has been her usual chipper self and was giggling with us this morning already, not to mention extremely talkative last night. ๐Ÿ™‚ Ayla, our 100 pound Newfoundland doesn’t even take her immunizations that well. She completely goes nutty when she feels the shot entering her blood, that slight burning sensation. You would think her tail is on fire the way she hops around the office.

Mackenzie’s next round of shots is in 4 weeks. Then she has a reprieve for 2 months. Getting shots is never fun but the things she could get without the immunizations are scary as well. I’m not saying go out and give your child every injection under the sun – or that they should all be piled up on top of each other. We don’t even do that to our dog for the simple reason that you don’t know how they’ll react and if there is a problem, you have no idea what went wrong with any of those 7 immunizations. But avoiding the immunizations altogether wasn’t an option for us.

That doctor’s office seems completely overwhelmed. When I arrived at 2:50pm for my 3:00pm appointment, the doctor was at the front desk signing prescriptions for people wandering in. The office opens at 3 on Fridays but apparently that’s not a sure thing either and if kids are sick, the doctor works. While she was doing the checkup, she was interrupted no less than 5 times: the phone rang, her assistants walked in with questions, she had to write down something for another patient – a complete madhouse. She was talking to me, to them, to whoever was listening – and I have to say that as a foreigner, it was not so easy to follow her at times. She looked at me like I was an idiot when I asked her about the pain killer prescription again – but better safe than sorry, right? At least I wasn’t too scared to ask which is my usual M.O. ๐Ÿ™‚

Do you remember getting shots growing up? I mean I don’t remember them as a baby but I can recall almost getting kicked out of middle school because I missed a round of shots that we didn’t even know were required. They we’re so bad but I was pretty old by then. Now I’ve gotten rather familiar with needles. When you’re pregnant they take blood all the time and are constantly pricking your finger for a few drops of blood to make sure all your levels of who knows what are where they are supposed to be. Sometimes you just have to be strong and power through…