I call them the "TALL Family." That's because when they enter the exam room, Mom, Dad, and both grandparents tower over me. They're all over six feet tall. As they place their very LONG baby onto the exam table, Mom suddenly bursts into tears.
"He hasn't stopped crying since we got home," Mom weeps. "It's been four very long days. We waited so long for this baby, and now we must be doing all the wrong things!"
Sabrina had indeed waited a long time--three miscarriages, two years of infertility work-ups, and then, at last, little (and long!) Jakie.
I start Jakie's physical exam. When I check out his hips he starts to fuss. Eight eager arms reach out immediately to comfort Jakie. But he seems to cry even more. The next time he cries, I suggest that we add a new ingredient to the mix. "Let's watch him just a second when he cries and see what happens."
I turn Jakie over to check his back and he starts to fuss. I then lie him gently on the table and talk softly over his face. "Little Jakie, can you help calm yourself down? Are you listening, little Jakie?" Jakie pumps his arms a second, then hesitates, then looks off to the side and stops crying. He looks relieved, as do his parents and grandparents. Mom then swoops up Jakie in her arms with a big smile and a hug.
Parents who have suffered much loss before the birth of a baby often see their young one as very fragile. For parents such as these it is especially magical to be able to see their newborn participate in calming down. Parents then see his capacities, his abilities, and his strength.
Two weeks later I saw the "Tall Family" again. As Mom was leaving the waiting room, she told me how calm and happy Jakie is. "We're a team now. We help him, and he teaches us every day how to be the parents he needs us to be."
Mom glowed as she marched out. She looked ten feet tall!