Saturday, December 29, 2012

Science vs. Gut

Everything is more relaxed with the second child. You learn not to freak out at every sneeze, cough, or fart. You learn that crying, though unpleasant to listen to, is just a means of communication and sometimes they are just saying that they don't like what's going on, and it won't kill them to cry a little. You learn that babies are generally pretty robust. Heck, you might even think you have something a little, just a little, figured out with this being a parent thing.

And then something happens to cause the nervous system in your gut (yes we actually have one there, but I'm not talking about that) takes over. This "Parent gut" nervous system does not succumb to logic, nay, it screams "DO SOMETHING! THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG!" in the face of what could be just a paper cut. Being a scientist by day, I would like to think that I usually do a pretty good job reigning in this extra gutsy nervous system. But that's where I was mistaken, that it could (or should) be reigned in at all.

By now you are probably wondering what happened. Let me assure you that everyone is OK -- more than OK, great. So here's how it went down.

Friday, while I was running an experiment and simultaneously trying to troubleshoot some problems my undergrad research assistant was having, I got the following text from our au pair:
"I think that [my daughter] swallowed part of in ear headphones.i am not sure but i can not find this fraction. dont know if it is plastic or elastic? she is ok. but i dont know what to do?" I called my husband and he rushed home to figure out what was going on. After some consultation, I felt proud of us that we decided to call the doctor rather than rush her to the emergency room (given that our daughter was nothing but her usual bubbly self). Turns out no ER is going to take an x-ray or anything else of a baby unless it's a battery or there's a respiratory problem. So it was watch and wait.

Fast forward a bit to Monday. Sunday night she had an awful night of sleep and then she seemed just upset. The au pair thought she felt something on her bum when she was changing her diaper and texted us. We, once again, rushed home. This time we were resolved to bring her in given that we already had an appointment because earlier in the day I thought she might have an ear infection because she had a cold and had so much trouble sleeping.

So you all can probably guess, the doctor saw her, and declared her in excellent health. On the one hand, phew. On the other hand -- sheepish smile -- once again parent gut won.

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