The first time I walked into the doctor's office when I was pregnant with my first baby, the nurse handed me a cup and motioned me toward the bathroom. “Fill 'er up,” she said.
I hated that part of the routine. But – fill 'er up I did. Because even if the process disgusted me, I wanted to do everything I could to make sure that the baby growing inside me would be healthy and well-cared for.
When my second pregnancy rolled around and I scheduled that first prenatal checkup, I went in dreading the cup test. As I pulled my van up to the door, I prepared myself for the worst. I checked in, settled myself into the uncomfortable lobby chair and tried to think of anything else.
The nurse came out the door, cheerfully called my name and led me back. We passed right by the bathroom and went into the patient room.
“Don't you need me to... fill up a cup?” I asked, thinking desperately of my overly full bladder that I had kept intentionally full just so I could release its contents when asked.
“Oh, we don't do that anymore.” The nurse shook her head and shrugged. “The Powers that Be decided that we could find out everything we needed to know from the blood tests.”
Great. I loved the blood tests just about as well as the cup test. But I would have had to do the blood test anyway – at least this way, I only had to do one embarrassing test.
See, this is the thing about the Powers that Be. I don't like change. Sure, I hated the cup test, but that was how it had been done for years and now this mysterious Group goes and changes the system on me. What if they only thought they could figure out everything from the blood tests. What if they were risking the life of my baby by doing so? I had a few harsh mental words for the Powers that Be – as I stared at the nurse, I warned them in my head that they may just become the first group of Someone's that would change their title to the Powers that Used to Be Back Before They Messed With My Baby.
Fast forward a few years. I had just delivered my third baby in the hospital and the nurse came in to “instruct” us on newborn care. My husband and I snickered behind our hands at the thought that we needed instruction for newborns. We had just been mulling over shared memories of scads of all-nighters and colicky babies and explosions from diapers and teething screaming sobbing creatures hanging onto crib railings. Desitin, Balmex, Butt Paste, Greer's Goo. Johnson & Johnson. Gerber. YoBaby. We could name them all.
The nurse pointed to the cord stump on our new sleeping darling. I nodded, knowing I should save this poor woman the trouble of explaining to what she thought were inexperienced parents how to clean the area.
“I know, we just clean it with a q-tip and rubbing alcohol,” I said. My husband had made a special trip to the store last week just for the rubbing alcohol because I had sat straight up in bed in the middle of the night and gasped, “We forgot to get rubbing alcohol for the cord stump!”
“Actually, no,” the nurse said, making us swing our eyes to her face in surprise. “The powers that be decided a year or so ago that rubbing alcohol actually acts as a 'pickling agent.' Meaning that the stump will fall off much sooner if you don't use alcohol on it.”
Oh. Okay. Hm. So we took our brand new baby girl home and put away our ginormous bottle of rubbing alcohol. We didn't clean the stump and boy did it smell like rotten potatoes after a couple of days.
But if fell off after 4 days. It took two to three weeks for the baby's older siblings' to fall off. Guess the Powers that Be knew what they were talking about after all – at least that time.