Time For Juno
A night in the life of every parent.
By Robin Hill
You toss and turn in your bed to try and find that comfy spot (a space that has become far more elusive in recent weeks). You flip the pillow, but it makes no difference. Your mind races, leaping from one unfinished tangent to another, totally unable to switch off. Then you hear it. A whinge reverberates down the corridor. You hold your breath, hoping it goes away, but you hear the whinge again entreating into your bedroom. The subtlest of cries begins to transform into a full-blown tantrum and you realise all hope is lost. You decide to give up on sleep.
Here you are again, hunched over, cradling your newborn in your arms. You stare lovingly at the being that has brought you so much joy, yet so many sleepless nights. You attempted to stem the flow of tears, but as they say, ‘there ain’t no rest for new parents’. The tears are one thing, but in truth, there has been much bigger worry plaguing your mind of late. A concern that keeps you up at night. A question about your baby’s health. Anxieties flush through you as you grab your phone and decide to quickly Google the problem.
After an hour of non-stop searching, you are no closer to finding an answer. Instead, you are only gripped by a more intense anxiety and lost in a sea of misplaced views and advice from unknown sources. You squeeze the bridge of your nose with your fingers and feel the pain behind your eyes. You try to remain calm, but your adorable baby is still whinging and moaning. ‘Enough is enough,’ you decide. You will call your local GP when they open and put your worries, and hopefully yourself, to bed.
You realise it’s Sunday. ‘F@*#’.
As soon as the clock, which you’re pretty sure is running slow, strikes 8 AM you call your local GP. Hold. Hold. Hold. Hang up, try again. Hold. Hold. You’re through! On the coldest of mornings, the receptionist’s voice is warming and assuring, but you can’t get an appointment for a couple of days. ‘Great. Another couple of sleepless nights for me.’
Buzz-Buzz. Your phone vibrates with a start, almost as if it were surprised itself. Your friend, another new parent, has sent a link…
Juno. The child healthcare advice app.
Your head feels fuzzy, perhaps slightly delirious from lack of sleep. ‘Why not!’, you yell within your own head (remembering that you are trying to get your baby to sleep). After signing up with ease, you are able to contact a specialist paediatrician. You describe the spots on your baby’s face and send a picture to go with it. ‘Is this really going to work?’ you ask yourself.
The kettle boiled, tea is brewed and before you know it – a notification pops up on your phone. One of Juno’s child healthcare specialists has got back to you.
The tone is reassuring, the advice is clear and a wave of calm rushes over you. The relief is palpable as the worries, which clung to you only 10 minutes before, subside into nothingness.
You type, ‘Thank you.’
The doctor replies, ‘You’re welcome. Let us know if anything changes’.
And like some sort of magic elixir, you and your baby are fast asleep. The weight of the world lifted off your shoulders. The tea you made is over-brewed and will no doubt go to waste, but who cares.