Monday, August 13, 2012

Survival mode

There have been MANY wonderful moments in the last two weeks. James is growing more and more interactive, and I feel like we have "conversations" when I talk to him and he coos back. He is smiling a lot and making more sounds - so fun! He is still the cutest thing ever and we love him more than we ever thought possible. We continuously thank God for him!!

But there have also been many low moments. A week ago Monday I lost it - cried literally all day as I cared for him and all evening as my husband did to let me get some rest and try to pull it together. I kept reading that fussiness peaked at 6-8 weeks, but I felt like James' fussiness was getting worse (he was 8 weeks). He was crying while eating sometimes, sleeping worse, and had developed this scream that scared me. I called the pediatrician's office that day because I wanted to know if this was normal behavior or if something could be medically wrong.

Based on the fussiness while eating, pulling off the b.reast, wheezing in his chest, and his general unhappiness the doctor thought he might have silent reflux (he doesn't actually spit up much). We started him on medication and I felt like there was a huge difference that very night! Unfortunately I kept crying because I felt so terrible thinking about my baby being in pain for all this time and I kept chalking it up to "normal fussiness." Sigh.

Another struggle is that his weight gain is still not great and he is dropping in the percentile charts. Is he not getting enough food? Is it the reflux or my milk supply? So I've become really stressed about feedings - he still cries and pulls away sometimes which makes me feel even worse. I am taking fenugreek and pumping after every feeding, and we are even weighing him on a food scale before and after every feeding to make sure he is getting what he needs. So far he has been within the normal range during the weigh ins (according to Kelly mom breast fed babies eat 25 ozs on average, but the range is 19-30 oz per day), and he had 22 ounces on our test day. We have been supplementing with the pumped breast milk to at least get him to 25 ounces. I have been stressed as family has pressured me to give him formula (which I am not against doing if necessary, I am just not convinced it is required yet), and even my husband starting talking about it which upset me. Now that we are weighing him my husband and I are on the same page, but it was stressful feeling like it was me vs. the world and second guessing myself at the same time (am I starving my baby?).

Between all of this, we have basically stopped doing anything other than go to church on Sunday (and even there I sit in the cry room with James). I don't even get out of my pajamas until later in the day, we are declining any social outings, and I haven't gone to my weekly mom group. I want to do whatever it takes to help James thrive AND keep my sanity, but I must admit it has been hard for me to realize I can't particate in a lot of things right now. Even little things. People in my mom groups keep emailing the group to coordinate going for a walk and I honestly can't do that. But I am jealous that other moms of babies around the same age can! My days feel the same and the 2-3 hour cycle is rough, and the thought of being anywhere fills me with anxiety that he might start crying and I won't be able to soothe him. Again, it is worth it and on some level I know this is only a short season, but it has been hard not knowing when we will feel like we can re-enter the world. I always thought I would be the mom who would carry her baby everywhere.

I thought things would be easier by now, and I am trying to come to terms with how emotional and difficult it still is. There ARE things that are easier - I am getting much more sleep than those first few weeks most nights - but I didn't realize becoming a mom would be so hard and that my baby might not be as easy and portable as I expected. But as cheesy as it sounds, I have been amazed at how much I love my boy and wouldn't even want that easy portable baby I had imagined - I want him!


Jennifer said...

He looks like a healthy, happy baby. It will definitely get easier.

We had a baby that strikes me as similar to yours in many ways. Ours did not get over her colic until she was maybe four months old. It started improving around 3 months. Some babies may improve at 6 to 8 weeks, but I think it is very common for it to last longer.

We went for about 6 to 8 weeks of 3 to 4 hours of crying every night. It was very, very difficult in so many ways. But now - our baby (6 months) rarely, rarely cries. it is just night and day. I look back on how hard those days were and wonder how we got through it- but we did. you will too and things will get so much easier, and you will feel better. Some babies are just harder than others.

There are also more "little" babies out there than you might think. As a mom of a little baby, I always feel better when I meet others who have small (weightwise) babies like mine.

Amber said...

My little girl was 7 pounds, 9 ounces when she was born and then consistently dropped on the growth charts afterwards. She's perfectly healthy, just has "small" parents as our pediatrician says. I think you're doing a perfect job!!!

Anonymous said...

Hang in there mom, it does get better! He is so adorable, alert and bright-eyed. I know it's easier said than done, but try not to stress. You are doing a great job. Sounds like he is getting enough milk and it is pretty common for babies to have reflux. I think guilt is a
pre-requisite for motherhood!

KC said...

I just want to hug you. It is so overwhelming and you need support. One of my friends in my mommy's group has a son with reflux and he is very fussy and cries for long periods of time. He hates the car seat and won't go in the stroller. Honestly as hard as it sounds you need to get out. People understand that it isn't anything you are doing and you need other moms to talk to. Is there a time when he isn't fussy? Could you go out with just a couple of moms that you are comfortable with.
It will get better but this must be very difficult. I know how deeply you love James and it must be terrible to see him so upset. I hope things get better soon!

Jen said...

I'm feeling the same frustration with adjusting to motherhood. After all our years of infertility its just not how I thought it would be and it just takes time to get used to. Since we adopted I don't have the post partum feelings you might but I make it my goal everyday to get dressed in jeans or capris and shower at least every other day :) Now that temps here have cooled a little we are also trying to go for a short walk everyday. The stroller is more difficult since I also walk the dogs but the moby works great and he always falls asleep in it. We have had a portable baby since the beginning, its not easy but you just have to get out and do it. I'm much more sane on days we get out of the house!

Mrs. V said...

First, I think you are doing an absolutely amazing job! James is such a cutie, and you are an awesome mama!

Second, is it possible that he is tongue-tied? I only ask because another blogging Mama just posted about her son and his growth. Here's her blog:

I'm totally shooting in the dark here, but you may find it helpful. If not, I'll keep rooting for you and James! :-)

Anonymous said...

I just want to encourage you to keep Bf'ing, and know that you aren't alone! My little guy is now a social, entertaining, flirty, happy 15 month old; but he was very much like your little one in the beginning. I am pretty sure we barely left the house for the first three months! Getting out was so tough because he was so fussy, and I always felt like such a horrible mom. Once we started going out to moms groups I realized he wasn't the only fussy baby out there, and moms are pretty understanding! :) You are doing awesome, trust your instincts, and try not to worry too much (although it comes with the territory). It will get easier, but it might not be until the 3 month mark.

Amanda said...

You were talking about how your baby seemed like the only one crying at your mom group... maybe that's because all the other mother's with the fussy babies decided to stay home too. You are not alone, but motherhood can be very isolating. I'm convinced that we should still live in tribes where the women raise their children together. We'd all be a lot healthier if there weren't so many moms making it look so easy and hiding their dirty laundry. Your problems aren't insurmountable. And from personal experience, I'd recommend therapy. Get the anxiety under control now before it becomes more of an issue and you'll be happier in the long run. Taking care of yourself is taking care of your baby.

I had a fussy baby. Michael nursed to ease the pain he felt from the reflux and gas caused by his food allergies. We didn't realize he had food allergies until I went back to work and my diet changed and he got a lot worse. I felt terrible when I realized it too. Michael nursed 24/7... so he didn't cry much, but if he wasn't nursing, he was crying. So I nursed him ALL THE TIME.

I'd love to see you keep breastfeeding. Have confidence in your supply. You are doing right by doing things within your power to continue nursing. Let him comfort nurse if he doesn't (in fact, if you do the 5 S's, when he nurses, you just pat and it creates that little jiggle), it helps build supply and he'll transfer a little.

My personal opinion is that colic is a kind of awful mix of a whole bunch of troublesome problems that are hard to fix... and together seem almost impossible. But, don't despair. The medicine is helping. You already know good soothing techniques. So hopefully the rest of the puzzle will unravel.

I'd encourage you to examine your diet... if there are spicy foods that you like to eat or foods that make you gassy, try giving those up for a couple of days (and beware of pumped milk if you weren't excluding those foods when you pumped it). Be especially aware of "fake fiber" like FiberOne bars... those caused us all kinds of problems. I also have a theory that Michael was allergic to all the foods I ate the most of during pregnancy (soy, chickpeas, black beans... since I'm a vegetarian). We got it down to a science. I could eat a certain amount of one of the trigger foods and we could predict almost exactly when the spitting up would start (it was about a 5 hour delay to make it into my breastmilk). So if you tend to indulge in a particular food (dairy being one of the most common culprits), be suspicious of it.

You don't have to go on a super restrictive diet. Just single out a food at a time. Give it a couple of days to get out of both of your systems. Take notes and see if you think he seems better (trust your gut here). If you think eliminating made a difference, then eat a good helping of the food and see if he gets worse following it. It is a bit of a pain, but if you start to notice any problem foods, then that will give you motivation to go on.

And if you are still concerned about your supply, there can recommend the source that I got domperidone if you are interested. Supplementing with formula is an option too.

You can do this! :)

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work!

Our little guy had/has reflux, and it can be very frustrating! He has always been small, and now almost 2 he is barely at the 50th percentile. He was on meds until 4 months ago, and even with that we would have our ups and downs. Don't be surprised if James does really well for a few weeks/months and then goes backward...growth spurts are wonderful, but they throw off the meds, and dosages need to be changed!

Hang in there, it does get easier! Be thankful he isn't spitting up!

Becca said...

It doesnt necessarily ever get "easy", but it definately gets "better". For me, it wasnt until my baby was about 12 weeks old that I felt my head start to lift out of the cloudy fog and I started to feel a little bit normal again. I remember calling my sister (trying not to cry the whole time) and asking her when it would get easier. She said "I know it sounds like a million years from now.. but it will seem better around the 3 month mark" and she was right!! I remember reading something some dad had written that said he noticed it seemed to get easier every 3 months. And I have to totally agree with him,too! At 3 months things become "bearable"... at 6 months things become "kind of actually enjoyable".. 9 months things are "getting fun" and at 1 year you will look back and cry thinking about how much you've been through (and if youre anything like me, how happy you are that you made it through the first year!!) =D

My little guy is 20 months old now and even though we are coming out of that whole baby phase... now I deal with tantrums and pick up his crayons under the kitchen table atleast 27 times a day. So, like I said.. it doesnt get easier so much as it just becomes more fun and it gets better.

I will be praying for you!! ((((hugs))))

Sarah said...

I can totally relate to this post because it was bad in the beginning. There was a A LOT of crying in this household. The baby and the adults. My husband and I look back and think "How did we get through that?" She has gotten MUCH better. But she still is a bit difficult to take places for a long period of time. I have learned to be in and out of stores quickly. I always thought I would have a baby and be able to go for leisurely outings with her. But it didnt turn out like that. Hang in there. Everyone kept telling me it would get better with time, and it is! Slowly, but it is! And its okay to cry. Just because we love them with every little cell in our body, doesnt mean its still not really hard sometimes xo

E said...

oh man, this sounds so much like what our first few months were like. It was just so hard. I wanted so bad to enjoy that time after trying for so long but it was so hard. I cried every night, too. I had nursing issues (baby was a lazy nurser and not gaining and I did have supply problems) but I kept at it for 6 months. Now 2 years later I am so glad I did. The only thing that kept me going was going to a BF support group and literally taking it one day at a time. It was so hard in the beginning to know what the cries meant-hungry?tired?wet?, etc. The Baby Whisperer book helped me a lot.
Don't be hard on yourself, you are a first time mom and who knows? I have a friend with 9 kids and she said they all were different babies.
Hang in there, this time is very challenging. God made you a mom because He wants you to be one. He will give you all the grace you need. Prayers and hugs your way!

Anonymous said...

Oh Momma, I am right there with you! I am afraid to take my Owen out because I don't want other moms to wonder what's wrong with my baby. I love him so much and I don't want people to think they're lucky they don't have a fussy baby. I consider myself lucky to be his mom.

My little one was also a preemie so all of his milestones go by adjusted age. It took 3 long months for him to smile. We're just now at 8 weeks adjusted age and his fussiness isn't getting better. I cringe at the thought of waiting until 3-4 months adjusted age.

You are doing great! You are feeding him and loving him. Those are the most important things you can do.

RMCarter said...

I echo everyone's comments. You are doing an amazing job! K was on meds for reflux, and hers was the silent type too. She only needed them for a few months and has been great ever since. Praying for you guys!!

Veronique said...

Hang in there! Things will get better. *Sending prayers and positive thoughts your way*

Leah said...

I really struggled with the transition into motherhood. I had wanted my baby girl for so long, and then when she came, I worried about everything. She had the worst colic, so much like you, I just avoided the public. So there were days we didn't even leave the house. My daughter was about 6 months old before I really started feeling like things were coming together.

Just know that you are a wonderful mama! Your boy may always be on the petite side. My daughter is, yet very very healthy. Things will get better.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there! I think after having gone through infertility and struggling for so long to conceive, that now that it has happened and baby is here, you just want things to be easy and go smoothly. I at least felt this way after our journey through infertility and surprise natural pregnancy. I think realizing that once baby is here we're sort of thrown into the "normal" category is tough! And I am yet to meet a baby who doesn't cry - those other mom's will totally understand!

Do you have a baby carrier/Moby wrap? That worked well for my daughter and it was nice to feel like I could have a free hand while still holding her. The hardest thing for me about going out wasn't necessarily if she cried, but the sheer amount of stuff I felt like I had to take along! And if I packed a bottle of pumped milk just so I didn't have to nurse in public, then I was having a hard time knowing that I'd miss a chance to pump and I didn't want to ruin my supply. But it always went fine. I just put too much stress on myself to be "perfect" when I didn't have to be. (As a side note, I keep an extra diaper bag in the car with lots of extras - diapers, wipes, clothes, toys, etc. This way, if I were to run out in my bag I carry, I don't have to worry about not having something! I just have to be sure to swap out clothes for the next size up/season.)

I think the days of what feels like constant feedings (every 2-3 hours) are some of the hardest as far as your freedom to come and go. It seemed like by the time I was done nursing, got everything packed and ready, I'd have an hour to go out before the next feeding was due. Maybe get everything you'd need to go out around the night before so it's done, nurse him right before you go, and maybe he'll be content to just sleep or check out his new surroundings. He might benefit from getting out just as much as you would!

It does get easier. But it also gets harder in some areas! Tantrums, anyone?! :) It is worth it though. So worth it! It truly is the toughest job you'll ever love. Soak it up and know this too shall pass - all too quickly!

The Hansens said...

I have been reading your blog since before you got pregnant, so I have followed your journey for awhile. My husband and I had our first baby on May 7, so she is very close in age to James. Honestly, I feel like I could have written EXACTLY what you have written in many of your posts. I too cried non-stop the first several weeks. The anxiety of taking her anywhere made me feel literally trapped at home. I went on a very low dose of Zoloft, (which my doc says is safe for breastfeeding), and it made a HUGE difference. Evie also has silent reflux, and her meds have seemed to help quite a bit, but she tends to outgrow the dose very quickly. We struggle with feedings as well - she cries, struggles, pushes me away, etc. But it has gotten better. And like you, I research everything. I constantly change my mind on our parenting methods and then second guess if I'm doing the right thing as soon as I hear/read of someone who disagrees with our style.

Hang in there, mama. And know that your blogs have truly encouraged me. I don't feel so alone knowing that there are other moms with babies who have higher needs. Thank you for being open about your journey.

Words Like Swords said...

Oh honey you are doing a great jbo and EVERY mother goes through this to some degree. My daughter has reflux and I remember for the first 3.5 months crying a lot because I felt so horrible that I could not ease her pain. Having a newborn is SO MUCH harder than anyone can imagine until they have one, and then to have reflux on top of it is just a kick in the gut. I promise you it will get better. Medicine and time help. With my daughter, it was almost like overnight a switch was flipped and she was the happiest baby I'd ever met. Imagine my surprise after months of her in so much pain.

Please remember you are doing a GREAT job and this will pass. James won't remember anything but his mommy being there for him!!

Anonymous said...

So long as your babe is gaining, no matter how slowly, he is thriving. Your body and his are working together to make sure he is getting just what he needs. You are doing a great job!!! Keep your chin up momma!

Sarah said...

I think it is so beautiful that you are so honest about motherhood. My first baby was a very fussy baby for about 5-6 MONTHS. I kept thinking it would go away by 3 months, yet she still screamed. It was very, very, very emotionally exhausting. I had many of the same concerns and things with breastfeeding. One of my friends said "stop reading the internet, stop looking at charts, etc. Just feed your baby. If she is pooping and peeing, then it is probably ok. Some babies are slower to grow in the beginning." That same little baby is now 4 years old and the most wonderful, sweet girl and totally normal weight and height. And she is thin...but, so is her mommy and daddy! We shouldn't expect much different.
Everything you are going through is so normal. At 6 months, it will be SO much better. That whole first year is hard with your first baby, but 6 months really will make a difference. You are doing a GREAT job!!!

Anonymous said...

Many, many hugs!

As many others have said... I remember being right where you are. "Things are supposed to get easier at 8 weeks, right?" We had reflux issues as well (I cut out dairy and fed from one side for multiple feedings-- it helped some!)...

Hang in there-- you're doing a great job, and sunnier days are ahead! Lots of love!

Melissa said...

I came across your blog a while back due to the same infertility story. We too were blessed with a miracle and as I read this post it sounds like I was typing it just 6 months ago. I cried a lot and felt guilty about that because of everything we went through to get our sweet boy here.
Just a few tips that helped me stay sain until it passed (and yes one day the crying stopped!)
1. We got his tounge clipped. It was preventing him from breastfeeding properly. Also our pedi. said that it would prevent him from having a speech problem later.
2. We supplemented with formula. We believe our boy really was starving!
3. We bought the book "Happiest baby on the block." That book (other than the Bible) is the biggest life changer ever. When our doctor told us to get it my response was "When in the world will I have time to read it!" I made time (We put him in his carseat and drove around while he slept and read it out loud!).

I am so thankful the reflux medicine is making a difference. It did not for our son. Gas drops in a bottle (not before or after) and gripe water helped some.

Something else I will promise you - by time he is 6 months you will have forgot a lot of the horrible feeling you are feeling right now. I thought it would scar me for life - but somehow when it ends you forget how bad it was!

You do slowly become part of the real world again. We secluded ourselves just like you are and it took time to transition back in the real world. We had anxiety about it, but we have finally overcame that.

I never post because I do not know you and use your blog as encouragement more than anything, but reading this post made my heart heavy and I knew I needed to share some of my story. I felt no one understood as I was going through it - but people do understand and I pomise you are doing an amazing job!
I will keep you in my prayers - as I have prayed for the child you hold many times. It is funny how connected you can feel to someone you have never met when your story of life is so similar. Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

Awww honey I remember those days. My daughter was hospitalized on her third day of life and we spent her first weekend in a children's hospital. We were told many times we may lose her.

So when I got her home healthy I wasn't prepared for the way I felt...I knew I should feel happy and lucky but I felt depressed and anxious and isolated. It's doubly hard when you've overcome an obstacle to having your baby to feel that way!

But I survived those first couple of months. I felt like it was harder for me than a lot of my friends. I too had trouble getting out of the house.

The two things that helped: getting out for a frappucino with a friend while my husband watched our daughter (those 20 to 30 minute jaunts saved my sanity!!) and just time passing.

My daughter is two now and I've realized I was dealing with postpartum depression, my unresolved issues with almost losing her, and I'm just not a 'baby person'! I love having a toddler, I wear eye liner, drink margaritas, and generally have rejoined society. It gets easier every month and one day you wake up and you feel like and expert. Hang in there!!

Mellow said...

Hang in there, and be confident you are doing great. He looks wonderful. Praying for you!

Liz23 said...

ack, I tried to submit a comment but it didn't submit. sorry if this is a repost.
Just wanted to say to hang in there. The first couple of months of nursing is SOOOOO HARD! It will get easier and better. My son is now 16 months--we are still nursing. I look back on those first 6 months or so and I can say that the infant stage is definitely not my favorite! I worried so much. People wanted me to supplement too. My son has always been on the skinny side but he's perfectly healthy. I never supplemented (but I think it's fine if people do!) You are doing everything perfectly momma! Trust in your instincts!