02 April 2012

Second week on neonatology

Babies. Very small babies. I come in the morning, and they're all wrapped like little burritos with their heads sticking out. Wrapped - three blankets, each tucked in three different ways, as if you wanted to ensure they could never ever get out of their burrito-blankets if they wanted to.

So you approach the crib, very cautiously. Like a ninja. Survey your territory. Where's the nurse to give you disapproving looks while you're taking apart the burrito-blanket? Not around? Excellent.

Then you look at your little masterpiece. Boy or girl? Doesn't matterSurvey your territory. Find out where those corners are. You've got less than 10 minutes to unravel the burrito and listen to the heart. Like a bomb. More importantly, mess up the unraveling with sudden or improper movements and you will unleash the fury of a thousand dragons.

Slowly, you start to tug at the corners of layer 1 of the burrito. Sometimes you realize you have to turn the baby. Can't arch its back at all, else it'll wake up. You then do some complex calculations in your head, find out where to provide pressure points and roll that burrito like a plane banking into a turn. Boom, blanket corner out.

Rinse and repeat. Do your exam. Finally, very quickly wrap that baby up as fast as possible while still maintaining movements around its principal axes. Often, the baby will wake up. All you need to do is rub its back while making clicking noises from your palate - tk tk tk tk tk tk tk tk tk tk - and it calms down.

Leave the poorly wrapped burrito in its half awakened state and rain down some burrito destruction elsewhere.

Sometimes, it'll wake up completely and start crying. You have to pick it up and hold it (support its neck!).

In that moment, right after it stops crying, it fidgets. It fidgets like never before. He's fed, consoled, hydrated, warm, evacuated* and ready. Its sole purpose in life is to get away from you. It knows nothing else. It puts 100% of all of its energy and every underdeveloped neuron it has into strategizing ways to remove himself from your vicinity/arms. And your job? To employ some Red Queen Hypothesis business to keep three steps ahead, and not provide any kind of feedback but a firm grip. Turn into the human Cesar Millan and show him who's boss. Do it right and he becomes terrified at your sense of control and awe-struck at the show of confidence.

*No. 1 and No. 2

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