I read this guest post today on Motherlode by a father about his colicky baby and his Post Traumatic Colic Syndrome. It immediately brought me back to the early months with Hayley. When Hayley first came home we had a few weeks of little to no weight gain. I had been readmitted to the hospital with preeclampsia and we all just thought it would take a little bit for Hayley to adjust. She was a delightful little baby with very dark brown hair and eyes as blue as the sky. Just like her brother did, Hayley captured my heart from the second I saw her.
At about 4 weeks Hayley started crying all the time in the early evenings. With Derek we called it the witching hour. It was a time when the only way to keep them calm was to hold them tight to my chest, swaddled or in the baby carrier, and bop, sway and shush them to sleep. Only with Hayley she wasn’t consolable and the crying was screaming. Unless you have truly experienced this you would have no idea your baby was capable of this. I remember day after day of dreading the moment it would start. Being anxious all day; yet having just a tiny bit hopeful that MAYBE it wouldn’t happen today but it always did. Nights turned into weeks and sure enough as Hayley would scream I would find tears pouring out of my eyes. To hold my baby as she was screaming and nothing would help calm her, would always make me feel utterly helpless and like I was failing at being her mother
During this time Hayley still wasn’t gaining weight and there were some weeks she actually lost a few ounces. I stopped nursing and put her on regular formula, gentle formula, soy formula. Nothing was helping. I called the doctor and we discussed the possibility of reflux. I had gotten advice from many mothers through online boards and facebook pages and decided that Hayley had silent reflux. She was arching her back during feedings, kicking her legs, bouncing on and off the bottle and had wet sounding hiccups. The pediatrician put Hayley on Zantac and in a few days she seemed a bit better.
About 2 weeks later, I knew it was coming, the screaming started again. OMG it was so awful. Add on top of that I also had a toddler to care for and make sure he knew he was loved. It became so difficult. I would cry at the drop of a hat and didn’t want to be near anyone. I didn’t want visitors because I hated the look of “poor you” or the “can I do anything to help” or even worse “omg I don’t know how you deal with that” I didn’t want to go out for the same reasons. Relationships suffered and some were lost due to me not wanting to talk to others and the anger I felt over others never even asking how things were. I was jealous of people talking about their babies and how “good” they were.
I remember the night my parents were over and Hayley had what was one of her worst evenings ever. I could see on my mothers face, that this wasn’t right and she was shocked to see what I was becoming used to. I was crying at having someone else see what I knew wasn’t ok, yet had no idea how to fix. I called the pediatrician who told use to buy Similac Alimentum and to see a GI Specialist. Alimentum, as many mothers of reflux babies refer to it, is like liquid gold. It works a miracle but costs so much money. We didn’t care though, anything to help Hayley grow and stop crying.
We spent months and months taking Hayley to her GI Specialist. In the beginning the impending doom of hearing she wasn’t doing well always made me so anxious the days before each visit. I remember at one point early on hearing how we needed to get her to thrive. It was so shocking to me that my baby could not be thriving. I hated seeing other moms proudly post their babies stats or weight gain on facebook when I couldn’t get my baby to gain any weight. My baby was 8 pounds 6 ounces at birth and now she wouldn’t even gain an ounce in 3 days. I hated going in public especially once the vomiting started. .
We finally found the right combo of Ready to Feed Alimentum ($300+ per month if you were wondering), 1 teaspoon of Earth’s Best oatmeal per two ounces of formula, 2.5 ml of prilosec given 2x per day given in doses of 0.5 ml at a time and if she vomitted during dosing we had to start over (she would vomit about 1/4 the times we were dosing), Born Free bottles with Avent variable nipples used on #2 and the Bissel little green machine. My husband became a professional the taking apart the carseat and swing to wash once she vomited. Hayley slept in her carseat till she was 6 months old and once that didn’t work she slept next to me where I would hold her propped up for most of the night.
Eventually Hayley started jumping from the 5th percentile to the 12th, 14th 20-something and finally now at 21 months eats like a champion, with a big old toddler belly and is in way above even the 50th percentile!! Now Derek calls Hayley a penguin because he thinks she looks like one. The first time he called her that, I cried but now I look at my little happy penguin waddling around and I feel nothing but joy!!