When a baby yawns it’s cute. Their small pouty mouth opens, cheeks like steamed buns rise up. When the baby is yours, most of her actions are cute. She blows air out her mouth. Lays on her back and shakes her arms and legs. She wiggles her toes. Grabs her toes. And, sucks on her toes. Her expression is amusement mixed with curiosity, as if to ask, whose toes are these?
When your baby gets a CT scan, it is not cute. When there is a bump and a blue bruise on her head, and your health insurance cannot be reached in order to pre-authorize the CT scan, which the doctor says is needed, and which it’s best to be performed at the imaging center, instead of hours spent in the emergency room with a six-month-old, who is still in the process of getting her vaccinations, and so you charge the full amount, and your infant is swaddled, then wrapped in lead, while the technician puts lead covers on you and tells you to keep her head still, and she’s screaming, just screaming so loud, her throat raw, her face red, and the scanner whirs and spins, while the platform on which you’re holding her slides into the spinning device, it’s awful. When you wait to hear the results and worries flood your mind, it’s awful. It’s awful driving home with your partner on the phone with the doctor. It’s awful to worry about whether or not your baby should go to sleep. It becomes better when the news from the doctor is good news, but still, it is only good news along a spectrum. It is good news, because it’s not the bad news. There is still the bump, the color-changing bruise, the worry. There is still the image of your child, your baby screaming, afraid and restrained, unable to speak, while the scanner spins and brings her in. ∞