Today is Halloween, and in typical Northern New England style, mermaids need to wear winter coats before they go out trick-or-treating. If you grew up around here, you remember working really hard on your costume and then being forced to cover it up with a ski jacket. Sigh. All that hard work and no one got to see your fantastic Princess Leia or Superman costume.
Your parents were just trying to keep you safe.
When my mermaid attempts to jump from the couch to the chair in the living room, I ask her: “What is mommy’s number one job?” She answers: “To keep me safe!” That softens the blow of taking away such a fun activity.
If moms knew that there was one, cost-free, non-invasive test that can keep the tiniest babies safe—don’t you think they would do it? Wouldn’t doctors and nurses and others whose job is to keep children safe think it is a good idea to perform this simple test? The answer is yes. The test is called pulse oximetry. Many hospitals in Maine already do this simple test on all newborns. Some do not. Does yours? The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association recommend that all birthing centers do this test as a matter of course. I am working to make it mandatory in Maine.
It is scary to think that a newborn in one part of the state might be sent home with an unknown congenital heart defect and another would be tested and able to live a long and healthy life…even if they have to wear a coat over their costume.