This has been an exciting month, and by exciting I mean kind of awful. It started with you not sleeping at all during the day. Then it became crying when you were awake. Then it turned into screaming uncontrollably when you were awake. I’d spend an hour and a half trying to soothe you to sleep, only to have you wake up howling after 10 minutes. Driving was a nightmare. I wept a lot with you.
We couldn’t figure out what was bothering you. It didn’t seem to be colic, whatever that is. Were you overtired? Too hot? Too cold? Too stationary? Was it too quiet? Too loud? Were you allergic to, or bothered by, something I ate? The stress of all your crying was exhaustive and scary.
Then my friend Susan suggested reflux; her baby girl had it. The symptoms matched up. Not sleeping for long periods? Check. Waking up crying? Check. Arched back during nursing? Check. Gagging/coughing/gasping during feeding? Check.
Your pediatrician wasn’t available to see you for another week, so I went to another guy. He said reflux was possible but suggested I try “soothing techniques” to calm you down before we tried other interventions. Orly?! I felt like punching him. WHAT DO YOU THINK I’VE BEEN DOING, DOC?!?!
You’d been crying the entire appointment. Then, like we were in a movie or something, he picked you up and you immediately stopped. Oh, and then you fell asleep in his arms.
We spent the next few days trying the techniques (feeding you smaller amounts more often, keeping you upright for 45 minutes after eating, etc.), and they helped. But you still seemed like you were in frequent pain, so I said I wanted something stronger.
Your pediatrician did not want to prescribe medication before confirming it was reflux, so he sent you for an upper GI series. Thank goodness for Grandma Z, who came with us. I couldn’t feed you for five hours before the scan, so I was terrified of how you’d be, how I’d be.
You looked so tiny and fragile underneath that huge X-ray machine. You didn’t cry once; I was a mess. I had to feed you a bottle of white, chalky, oh-so-disgusting barium while the physicians held your limbs so you wouldn’t move. Watching the liquid snake down your esophagus and into your stomach was part fascinating, part weird, part terrifying.
Then, we watched on the monitor as the liquid shot right back up into your throat. Your pediatrician referred to it as “severe reflux” when he called with the official results. You were on Baby Zantac by the next day.
And, oh, what an amazing difference it has made. Your unexplained screaming/crying has stopped. After a feeding, you look – dare I say it – happy! You pump your legs and arms, you wiggle around. You started smiling! You’re sleeping 6-8 hour chunks at night, and during the day we almost have a routine.
(At this point I thought of describing the horror it was when the barium came out of you, but I’ve decided to spare you that. You’re welcome.)
Now that your reflux has settled down (along with my stress level), I’m really trying to concentrate on enjoying our time together. This is my last maternity leave, and I’m more than halfway through. Part of me wants to sit in the rocking chair and just stare at you and cuddle for the next several weeks. It’s hard to find these times; the work that goes into having two children is just insane. I’m still getting used to it. Will I ever?
Your brother continues to be fascinated by you. If you knew what the word meant, you’d probably describe him as annoying. He’s 4.5 years old, so his way of showing interest and affection is to be what Dad and I call “all up ons.” He leans on you, pulls your legs, squeezes your cheeks, gets his face (and body) right up into yours. You probably think his name is “Charlie, no.”
You weigh somewhere around 11-12 pounds and your face is definitely getting rounder. People tell me you have the perfect head. I’ve discovered you love head rubbies, so you’ll fit right into this family. Your head is downy soft, as new blonde fuzz begins to replace the hair that fell out after you were born. I love rubbing your head as your eyes get droopy.
You still smell amazing. Your eyes are crystal blue, curious and bright. Your skin is smooth perfection. Your grunts and snorts are precious.
We are about to leave 2014 behind. It’s been a rough year for our family, for the world. Yet, your arrival is like a brilliant light that pierces through so much of the darkness.
I’m heading into 2015 full of hope, gratitude and joy.