*Ahem*

Well.

That was fun.

“E is lovely. She is so pretty, and basically happy.”

Famous last fucking words.

So you may have noticed that I disappeared for a couple of months there. That’s because my still-very-pretty daughter decided that it would be a good idea to have reflux.

And?

COLIC.

Holy god.

Two weeks ago the colic finally began to resolve, but there were about 6 weeks in there where I longed for quiet and sleep as the man lost in the desert longs for water. I searched frantically – the internet, the library shelves, folk remedies, modern pharmaceuticals – looking for any way to make my daughter please stop crying, for the love of god. We swaddled, we bounced, we gripe-watered, we babywore, we did Zantac, we did Prevacid, we did Mylicon, we did white noise, we did baby massage, we did swinging, we switched to Dr. Brown’s bottles, we sat her on top of the dryer, I read The Baby Whisperer, I read Why Is My Baby Crying?, I cut all dairy and soy out of my diet – you name it, we tried it. Finally I had to admit to myself that she’s just going to have to grow out of it. And then the very next evening, she slept from 7-9 PM. And I nearly wept with joy.

E's home for most of her second and third months

E has turned out to *not* be an easy baby. She is intense. Every day gets a bit better, but there were days in there where she would be awake and not fussing or crying for maybe 10 minutes of the day, tops. She constantly had to be jiggled in some way or she would fuss – either in the Moby Wrap, the bouncy chair, the stroller (only on a bumpy surface), or in the car (though she screamed at every stop sign and red light). There were days when she was in the Moby for 8-10 hours because it was the only thing that consistently allowed me to eat or wash bottles or take a shit, for god’s sake. My back hurt like hell when she finally went to bed (usually between 11 and 12). I would hum nerdy songs I had sung back in the day while pacing, and soon I had worked my way through all 24 Italian Songs and Arias, G. Schirmer’s entire volume of Arias for Mezzo Soprano, and every show tune I could remember. Going out in public was out of the question unless we wanted to annoy everyone in a 2-mile radius.

The colic started on the week of her due date (at 6 weeks old) and started settling down right at her 3 month birthday. She’s still fussy frequently, but having our evenings back is too fantastic for me to express.

E in her Vans from her Aunt Pru

There were days when I felt like I was thisclose to losing it. Usually a good long cry in the shower would cure me, but not always. I know that moms of colicky babies are at high risk of developing PPD (40-45% do, according to a study I read), and I understood completely. I read Heather Armstrong’s book while pumping and nodded vigorously. It didn’t help that E only calmed down when I had the Moby on – Brad just wouldn’t do. So I would finally lie down for a much needed nap and I’d hear the meltdown start in the next room and know that the only way to stop it would be “Wrap Time,” as we came to call it. I wish I had a pedometer, because I bet I was walking the equivalent of three marathons a week. The pounds came off, which I’m sure most people wouldn’t complain about, but with that and the oversupply and the pumping and the never having time to eat because every time I would start eating or cooking she would cry, I became practically gaunt in the process.

So yeah. It’s been a hell of a two months.

But now! Now it is December, and E is 14.5 weeks (9 weeks adjusted), and things are looking up. She smiles socially now and then (especially when she’s just woken up), and just started gaining some head control this past week.

E likes to be naked, adores bathtime, and looooves to go outside.  She’s up to a whopping 10 lbs. 7 oz. and has multiple adorable chins. She looks more like her father every day. And she sucks her thumb, while keeping the rest of her fingers straight, which is pretty much the most adorable thing I have ever seen in my life.

She starts day care on Monday, which makes me nervous. I was in day care from 6 weeks on and we know that I turned out fabulously, but I was an incredibly easy baby, according to my mother (Brad was evidently an extremely easy baby as well. So much for genetics). E is just so high maintenance, and I hope they figure out how to calm her down so she doesn’t spend the entire day fussing and crying and being and making everyone else miserable. Brad pointed out that he’s sure the day care staff has dealt with fussy babies before. But I get nervous all the same.

I’m still pumping, but I’m down to 4 sessions a day and I realize how incredibly lucky I am to be able to still have such a good supply despite cutting back. I pump before work, at lunch, after work, and before bed, and get around 40 oz. a day. Mooo. E nurses once in a while, but I think my oversupply causes problems because there is frequently much pulling away and crying and coughing. There’s also the whole if-I-don’t-empty-fully-I’m-painfully-engorged thing, and she still only eats about ½ as much as I make, so pumping is necessary anyway. I’ve just had to accept the fact that I’m going to be exclusively pumping for a while. It’s never something I thought I’d be doing, but there you go. I’m able to do it, and it’s cheaper than formula, so it works for us.

In other news, we’re still looking for jobs in the Midwest to try to get closer to our families. Brad has a big interview in a week and a half for a job in Kansas that would greatly increase his salary (allowing me to stay home for a while) and be a fantastic career move for him. I’ve also just applied for a very desirable job in Iowa. We’ll see what happens. We’re really hoping to be out of here before spring.

Later this month, we are sorely tempting fate by doing our multi-state Louisiana-to-the-Midwest holiday road trip. Usually E likes car rides (assuming we’re in motion), so we’re hoping it goes well. But if you happen to see a crazed redheaded woman trying to throw herself out the passenger side window of a red Chevy Malibu cruising up I-55 N, you’ll know that it ended up not being such a good idea after all.

So that’s my news since September. I am so grateful that she won’t remember any of the past couple of months. But I will. Ohhhhh, I will.

4 Responses to “*Ahem*”

  1. Loving the smiley photo. You sound like you have had a truly torrid time. Took me back and not in a good way. But the true horror of the experience did fade for me and they get so cute once they are over it. Sorry you are having to go back to work already. When I rule the world I am getting better maternity leave for you Americans.

  2. The only “easy” baby is the one that’s been doped with benadryl so don’t sweat the idea of what’s easy and what isn’t. Babies are only easy for those who aren’t new parents.

    With Aitch, my letdown was so sudden, I would have to recline back horizontally to avoid a coughing fit. My husband could hear her gulping from across the room.

  3. Sam did that reflux/colic thing for seven months during which he also demanded that I not put him down EVER. That sentence you wrote about trying to nap and hearing the meltodwon begin made mys tomach churn in remembered anxiety. I lost twenty pounds and had PPD despite never ahving been pregnant with him. But he did grow out of it! And I gained all the weight back! (Not so excited about that last part.)

    E is the most adorable baby I’ve seen in a long time and I’m so glad she’s doing well for you now. I hope your trip goes well! And try not to throw yourself out of the car…maybe bring some ear plugs just in case.

  4. Caught your comment on the recent AskMoxie Nursing post. I’m another Stirrup Queen follower and mom of a 4pd 6oz preemie who surprised us in July 6 1/2 weeks early.

    And yes, the hospital rental pump and I had a “special” relationship up until a month or so ago when my awesome lactation consultant let me borrow a pump in style gratis for my now 1x daily session.

    I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know how strongly I felt about making sure my Little One got breast milk until (a) she was early and in the NICU, and (b) taking the easy way out and switching to formula didn’t occur to me.

    Hurray for healthy and thriving 6 week preemies and their Moms! Happy 1st Mother’s Day! :)

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