A Pain in the Rash

by Alison Friedman in Marvelous Madelyn, Mommy's Musings

There’s never a dull moment in the Friedman household. Just as I’m finally well and able to be more hands-on with Madelyn after my nasty infection, Madelyn is battling an a-hole of a diaper rash. It started out as the classic red tushie and I thought I had conquered it, proving to be a rockstar mama while recovering with gauze in a hole on my tummy. WRONG! Rockstar? More like a mockstar. Ugh. After a strict routine of air drying and Maximum Strength Desitin that seemed to help make the skin clear nicely, the diaper rash came back with a vengeance and now I’m on mission to kick it for good.

At Madelyn’s one-month check-up on Friday, I mentioned my recent battle to Dr. Baby and she prescribed a special cream that would help because it wasn’t just any old diaper rash, nooooo. My daughter has to be all special and get designer diaper rash that comes in the form of a yeast infection! No, not that kind. Just yeast. On the skin. On the tushie. It makes angry red bumps that glisten on top of the cheek, or, as Dr. Baby describes it, “beefy looking.” Lovely. No more Ruth’s Chris steak for me.

So, $48 later (and that’s after the co-pay), this miracle cream was purchased and I dashed home and, of course, researched the heck out of it on the Internet. Why I do the Googling after the purchasing, I don’t know. I learned that its ingredients consist of zinc oxide (Desitin), white petroleum (Vaseline), and miconazole nitrate (basically Monistat cream), all over-the-counter ointments that can be purchased for a total of under $20, but this rookie mom fell for the prescription all-in-one version. I feel like a sucker, but then again, I also don’t want to be playing chemist and figuring out the proportions of each ingredient. We started using this miracle drug (and for $48, it better be!) on Friday morning and as of now, I don’t notice a huge difference yet.

The rash has improved slightly, but I still wince every time I change Madelyn’s diaper and see her little behind looking so red and painful. Mommy instincts have kicked in because after three days of seeing this monster, I am now one pissed off mother bear who has become obsessed with killing this rash that’s eating away at my daughter’s perfect tuchus. Looking at it makes my own skin hurt and then my heart sinks and my stomach turns with sympathy. The diaper change usually ends with tears welling up in my eyes because I’m so frustrated about this rash and only want the best for Madelyn. She’s barely five weeks old and she has a file at the pharmacy with her first prescription in it. Can’t she just have a clean record for, like, the first year of her life? Is it fair that she — we — are already dealing with a pestering — albeit, rather benign in the grand scheme of things, thank goodness — ailment?

I want her to always know only good health and never feel irritation from anything. I know this won’t always be possible or hold true as we humans have our ups and downs with our health, but I now officially know the feeling of wanting to trade her discomfort for my comfort.

In my very early days of mommyhood, I was dealing with my c-section infection and experiencing extremely painful incision packing sessions twice a day. The ordeal would only take 20 or so minutes, but I would cry through the whole thing, curling my toes, and biting on a free finger. The rest of my hands were clenched in my mom’s as she held me for comfort and distraction from the awful procedure. I never looked at the infected incision site, but my mom did and knew exactly what was going on down there. When it came time for the doctor or nurse (or even, sometimes, Bryan!) to pack the wound, she held me tight, squeezing my hands, and narrated the process so I knew there’d be an end in sight. During the first few days of packing sessions, through the tear dropped slits of my closed eyes, I could see my mom grimacing with me and becoming emotional. Once, in a breakdown of pity in my dark bedroom, I sobbed and sobbed about how unfair this turn of events was and vented about the excruciating pain. And then my mom cried with me.

Clearly I needed a few more weeks and regular mothering practices — like changing painful diapers — to finally understand why my mom looked just as miserable as I felt. And she was in one whole piece! She felt no physical pain, obviously, but it’s now dawned on me that she was feeling emotional pain for me, as she worried about my condition and wanted the situation to be over. Just because I am an adult, I am still her child and seeing me suffer was probably killing her.

I am 28 years old and my mom cringed about my open, infected wound. Madelyn is just over 28 days old, and I am torn up about her flaring skin. No matter the age of her child or how long she’s been a mother, a woman’s compassion for her kid is powerful and ongoing. I’m part of this club of women — the mothers club — and I know my membership comes with a lifetime of worrying and concern. I just wish I knew the secret handshake to banish this ugly diaper rash and get Madelyn’s little booty back to normal.

  1. K
    9/16/2011 9:26 PM

    And now you probably understand why our mothers sometimes treat us like we are still babies…

    Fiona has had some diaper rash issues and also had yeast. When she has a rash, I sometimes use those cotton make-up removal pads with a little bit of lotion instead of a baby wipe. They are much less abrasive. Also, Desitine and Aquaphor work really well on diaper rash, and I’ve heard Triple Paste is the best stuff ever, though I have never used it. Good luck!

  2. Aunt Pattie
    9/11/2011 9:15 PM

    Alison!!! It takes me forever to read your blogs because I have to keep wiping tears away so that I can see!!! You have an incredible gift. Don’t stop writing and rest assured you will get that nasty infection under control! Sooner than later I hope for you and sweet little Madelyn.

  3. Katy
    9/11/2011 9:05 PM

    Ouuuuuch!!! I really hope both of you feel much, much, much better in the coming couple weeks.