One of us fainted and one of us handled her shots like a boss

My daughter Lila recently needed to have some tests run, which meant getting her blood drawn (and not a finger prick this time). My husband and I put on a brave front. “It’s not that bad, ” we said. “It will be over so quick you won’t even know what happened!” And the admittedly awful technique, “We’ll buy you that Rapunzel hair bow if you get through this!”

You know the drill. She sat in my lap. I held her legs between mine and held her arms while my husband tried to comfort and distract her. This would have been all fine and dandy but Nurse Penelope (not her real name by a long shot) was having a tough time finding the vein.

Penelope poked and prodded with no luck. Lila stifled her tears and tried to be tough. The big girl in her came out, and I was both proud and horrified at how she handled the situation. The minutes crawled by with more poking and prodding (albeit it as gently as possible), and still no luck.

Lila cried and squirmed, as Penelope still couldn’t get the vein. Then came the bright lights and blurred circles that come with lightheadedness. Followed by blackness, and the smell of ammonia as Nurse Penelope stuck a cloth up my nose to bring me back to life.

That’s right—I was the one who fainted. Just as Nurse Penelope finally got things under control with Lila’s veins, I crumpled underneath her. My big girl put on her big girl panties and dealt with it…and I didn’t.

I was pretty humiliated, especially when Lila said, “How come you don’t feel good when I’m the one who had to get a shot?” On the way out, Lila wasn’t the only one who got a fairy sticker. They gave me one along with a pat on the back, a wink, and a “We see it all the time.” Except I bet they don’t see it all the time! Have you ever fainted at your kid’s doctor’s visit? That’s what I thought.

Funny how I could get my blood drawn all day long and not pass out, but watching my daughter struggle with it was too much for me to bear. Days later, I couldn’t shake the way this experience made me feel: sick to my stomach with helplessness and full of empathy for parents whose children require extensive medical care.  The next time you stand strong next to your child, my hat’s off to you. And I might need to borrow your big girl panties for the next trip to the pediatrician.

About Stephanie Winans, President, Pregnancy and Pediatrics

Stephanie Winans is the Bundoo Vice President of Operations.


  1. Don’t feel too bad! When I was pregnant, I was in the waiting room at my OB’s office, and all of a sudden nurses were yelling to call 911 and the ultrasound tech ran out of her office and was calling for the doctor. I got a sinking feeling that something was wrong with the baby of the family that just went in there. It was an awful few minutes until the ambulance got there and wheeled the dad out of the room. He seemed okay but looked horribly embarrassed. When it was my turn, I asked the tech what happened. I’m sure she wasn’t really supposed to say anything, but we were a room full of preggos, so I’m sure they all wanted to assure us that everything was okay. Apparently, the ultrasound room gets really warm sometimes because of the equipment. The dad passed out. Simple as that. And the ultrasound tech told me that it happens a lot! So yes, it’s a completely different story, but passing out happens more often than you would think, and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about!

    1. Makes me feel better to know I’m not alone! And I guess there is no better place to pass out than a doctor’s office! 🙂

      1. Definitely no better place than the doctors office! Dont feel bad, I am sure it happens all the time. I happen to be a nurse in the operating room, and we get students, med students, residents, nursing students, etc, all the time. The soon to be healthcare professionals faint on us left and right! And this is soon to be their field of work! Happens to tons of people at any given time. And plus, who wants to see their child have to toughen up and take it like a grown up?!?! Keep up the good work (and go buy yourself some ammonia sticks!)

        1. Where does one buy ammonia sticks? You know- just in case. 🙂

  2. Oh goodness! This is the first I’ve heard of a parent fainting at their child’s visit to the doc! I do understand your pain. I’ll never forget the poking and prodding looking for a vein to draw blood in Ben when he was only a year old. It was the most painful thing I’ve ever had to witness. My mother was right there with me and I had to leave the room and leave ‘Nana’ to stay with him. I couldn’t take his screams and crying anymore. It hurt me so much to see him in such fear and pain.
    Way to go Lila though! What a brave girl!

    1. It is awful, isn’t it!? There’s nothing tougher than watching your child in pain.


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