We were wound up tighter than a two dollar watch.
Joe & I were first-time parents and everything felt so foreign. We didn't know how to get her to sleep. We didn't know how to swaddle her without an arm slipping out. We didn't know if we were feeding her enough. We didn't want to drop her. We didn't want to hurt her. We already had a bout with weight loss which landed us in the hospital when she was just five days old. We were hungry. We were tired. Most of all, we were stressed.
It was now the weekend and Emilija was just ten days old when we wake up to find her right eye swollen shut and outlined with soreness and gunk. I cannot believe our bad luck. Knowing I don't want to visit the hospital again, Joe & I contact our pediatrician to luckily find out they have Saturday hours for walk-ins with emergencies, first come first served. They open in just thirty minutes and we are fifteen minutes away.
With all three of us still dressed in our pajamas, we load up the car. I grab the diaper bag, an extra blanket, some pacifiers, and whatever else I can get my hands on. This being my first baby I really have no idea what I am supposed to bring on an outing. Just another thing to be stressed about.
Silence in the car on the way to the doctor's office. Joe is driving with his eyes half asleep; I am sitting in the back seat staring at Emilija wondering if she's going blind. As a new parent, you always think the worst.
We arrive and there's already a line of about twenty sick children with their parents waiting for the pediatrician's office door to open. I'm feeling defeated. This is going to take forever. And it did. After two hours of being in a waiting room with kids coughing, babies sneezing, and parents yelling we are finally called back.
Sitting in the examination room, I start to cry. Joe is pacing the room with Emilija in his arms.
It feels like someone is blowing up a balloon. And the more they blow it up, the more stressed we get. They keep blowing and the balloon keeps getting bigger and tighter. You can feel the anticipation as you wait for it to pop. Your eyes start to flutter shut and you slowly put your hands over your ears. It just keeps getting bigger and you keep getting more anxious. The balloon is stretching and you don't know how much more you or it can take.
I'm nervous. I'm stressed. I just want it to end. Will it ever end?
The nurse comes in and asks us to take Emilija's clothes and diaper off. Joe lays her on the medical table. I'm bent over so much that my head is almost buried in Emilija's chest. I don't want the nurse to see my tears. The pajamas are now off. I undo one side of the diaper. Joe frees the other side. I'm looking around for a trashcan. My tears have made everything blurry so I can't see. I feel a tear trail down the side of my nose
Then I feel it. Tiny droplets are hitting my forehead. I look down at my sweatshirt and they are making wet, round tracks on my sleeve. I hear Joe yelp and turn toward Emilija to find the source. She is peeing straight into the air, no penis required. A big, arching stream of pee. It looks like a fountain with excellent water pressure. And it is landing on Joe, me, the table, the floor, and everywhere. We both scatter, looking for cover. But there's no escaping.
Seeing no way out, Joe & I stop. We catch each others eyes and I see that he is smiling. My tears of tension come flooding out to resolve into tears of delirium. And I'm laughing. Joe's laughing. Emilija is unconcerned. The nurse looks unamused. And I'm laughing even harder, and crying even more. I can't help myself. I can't catch my breath and I am convulsing with laughter.
And the balloon bursts.
Anxiety empties my body. Tranquility replaces it. The longer we laugh, the looser my mind becomes. I'm free again.
Turns out Emilija's eye infection was a little case of pink eye. After seven days of eye drops, she was fully recovered. And after a good belly laugh, so was I.