Thursday, March 12, 2009

file this under: DUH

If you're sick of listening to me moan, then you might want to move along. Nothing but whining to see here this evening.
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So.

I've been reading some books lately, trying to figure out what is wrong with my pain in the ass sweet precious flower of a daughter. Last week, I started to think that things were getting so much better. She was sleeping through (most) of the night. She was crying less during the day. Gabe was still scrumptious, and (thank you thank you thank you) still sleeps beautifully.

This week, however, has been a disaster. Nighttime sleeping has gone down the tubes. It takes me HOURS to get her to go to sleep at night. It something takes me over an hour to get her to take a 20 minute nap during the day. She fluctuates between wild smiles and raging unhappiness constantly. I'm exhausted.

There. I said it. I'm really fucking tired.

And then, while I was reading one of the books, I skipped ahead to the chapter on "fussy babies" and right there, in black and white:

Persistent low-intensity fussing, rather than intense crying, characterizes infants diagnosed as having colic... it is usually described as an unsettled, agitated, wakeful state that would lead to crying if ignored by parents... Even if they [parents] spend more than three additional hours a day, more than three days a week, for more than three weeks "feeding" them at night to prevent crying, these parents do not think their baby is colicky because there is so little crying... they had long and frequent bouts of fussing, which did not lead to crying because of intense parental intervention.

Folks? Josie definitely has colic.

I almost laughed out loud when the book characterized colic as having to spend more than three hours a day, three days a week, for more than three weeks, soothing my child. Three hours a day? I might spend 8 hours, 10 hours, sometimes it feels like 24 hours, soothing her. I rock her, feed her, talk to her, sing to her, bounce her around the house, let her nurse to pacify herself for hours in the wee hours of the morning. We try baby Zantac and probiotics. I cut out dairy, vegetables, chocolate, spices, soy, and I even try to limit my wheat intake, just in case.

All this time, I kept thinking that because she didn't scream and scream for hours on end, she couldn't possibly have colic. I know, though, that if I didn't do handstands to make her happy, she would spend hours out of every day screaming. As it is, I've had to come home from the movies because she won't stop crying. I never go anywhere without her. I'm dreading a dinner date tomorrow night (our first) with Josh because I know she is going to cry endlessly with my mother in law for those 2 hours while we are gone.

The relief that I felt when I read those sentences is indescribable. It makes no sense to me, why would I be happy to learn that there is no solution? Why would it make me feel better? But it does. I feel almost a sort of validation. I'm crying all over again writing this, but reading that chapter makes me feel like maybe it isn't my fault. Maybe it isn't what I'm eating. Maybe it isn't the antibiotics I took for the mastitis (my pediatrician's suggestion). Maybe it isn't my breastmilk (my mother's CONSTANT suggestion). Maybe it is, but maybe it is just colic.

Maybe she is going to get better soon, just because of age. She is turning 3 months old on Saturday, and although I dread the passage of time with a ridiculous intensity because I don't want my babies to get bigger, maybe, just maybe, things will get better. Maybe I won't have to sit here for 3 hours rocking her to sleep next week. Maybe she won't be up fussing from 1am until 8am. Maybe she'll show me her beautiful smile more often. Maybe I'll be able to play with Gabe for a while every day without holding her in my arms. Crazy, for that to sound like a luxury, but it does.

I love Josie so much, I don't even have the words to describe to you how having her in our lives makes me feel. I look down at her and wonder how I could have made this beautiful, perfect, sweet little creature. I press my face against her cheeks or into her neck and I cannot imagine not feeling her glorious weight in my arms all the time. It is like falling in love all over again. I thought my heart would burst with adoration when we had Gabe, but somehow I love her just as much. Somehow it feels like I love them both MORE. With this unsettling intensity that throws me for a loop daily. I want to swallow her whole.

It'd be nice, though, to be able to get a coffee with a friend without feeling tense. It'd be nice to not check my phone obsessively in the darkness of the movie theater. It'd be nice if she was just happy. If she felt well all the time. So for now, I'll be hoping for her to feel better. Soon.

7 comments:

Ninotchka said...

Here's to a light at the end of the tunnel. I loved this post. Eres bella! Se te quiere mucho.

Summer said...

It does make sense that you feel relief. You now have a better way to understand the problem, you know it's not because of something you're doing or not doing, and you know that there's an expiration date. Here's hoping that expiration date is soon... like today!

Chatty said...

You remember how bad Nephew #2 was with the colic? That he was "branded" by the grandparents (horribly unfair)? He absolutely grew out of it, and I want to say it was around 4 months. I remember it was right around the time of his Baptism....

She is such a sweet precious creature! And it is NOTHING you're doing (the colic that is, you can take full credit for the sweet precious cretaure).

Anonymous said...

I know it's hard, but have you considered formula? There are some sensitive versions out there that pediatricians can recommend (sometimes its even covered by health insurance). My two babies had similar symptoms and I cut everything out of my diet too. It didn't work to solve their colic, but it did make me hungry and cranky. The formula seemed to work, although I admit I spent hours crying over the decision. Just a thought.

Meika said...

I think I'd find this realization a relief, too - things will get better! There's a light at the end of the tunnel!

I was a colicky baby. My mom still tells me about it. I think she's actually kind of mad that my kids aren't as demanding as I was, which tells me that my behavior was pretty darn traumatic if that's still her reaction 30+ years later.

You're doing great. Hang in there!

Emily said...

We managed to get the screaming and fussing under control, but I am right there with you with the sleeping. Tonight I started rocking her at 7pm. It's 8:27 and Dave JUST came out of her room, and I have no doubt I'll be going back in in a few minutes. It takes FOREVER to settle her to sleep at night, and FOREVER to settle her for naps - and naps are the worst, because it's all that rocking and soothing and the nap lasts what, 20-45 minutes? I wouldn't mind so much if she was taking two long naps a day or something. But she gets tired so easily and needs another nap and won't even CLOSE HER EYES unless I snuggle her tight and rock her. It is hard. We hit three months today. I am holding out hope that things start to get easier at four. I'm thinking of you.

Shannon H said...

I had that exact same moment when my son was about 11 weeks old, he was soooo fussy and I finally bought some books (similar to yours) and was absolutely giddy to learn It Wasn't Me, It Was Colic! I promise it will get better, probably around 4 months, though you might not realize it till 5 months and you're Eating Dinner at the Table. ;-) Good luck, I hope you get there soon! (PS If you haven't tried white noise yet, the hairdryer helped both my colicy kids a lot.)