Sunday, June 16, 2013

This moment


I am writing this post while bouncing my sweet crying newborn and it devastates me to admit it... my beautiful baby is one of THOSE babies. A colicky baby.

I have a colicky baby... again

Why is that so hard to come to terms with?

Why do I worry so much about labeling her?

 She is so much more than fussy.
I want other people to see that too. She is sweet and cuddly and alert and an old soul that has eyes that connect with my spirit. I want our family and friends to love her, not hand her back.
Not compare her.
Not talk about her negatively in anyway.
She is my little baby. She is innocent and deserves connection, acceptance, and love.

We all want our babies to be the "the Gerber babe": Nurse like a champ. Sleep through the night. Contentedly coo in a bouncy chair. Self-soothe. Charm everyone they come in contact with.  Pose perfectly and take perfect pictures. 
The ultimate Angel Baby.

When  things turn out differently, there's this grieving period, I think. Mourning the baby you THOUGHT you might get and coming to peace with the baby you have. Pretty as she is, as much as I cherish her, I have been working through those less-charming feelings and emotions. The truth is it's not just her it's me. If I were someone else I could handle it better. If I didn't get overwhelmed so easy. These are the things we NEVER want to admit to people:

I just want to check into a hotel alone for a couple of days. Eat, sleep and watch tv.

I wish being a mother of two was still an exciting "someday" and not a difficult NOW.

It's not fair that I get robbed of enjoying my newborns.

These aren't pretty feelings. It puts knots in my stomach to confess them, and I am daily struggling to reconcile them and get through to the other side. Dealing with my faith at times like these is rough. 

Did you not hear my prayers for an easy baby? 

Is this not my dream job? I signed up for this willingly!?

Why did I do this again?

Isn't it hard enough dealing with the stresses of juggling two children's needs and the fog of sleep deprivation and the baby blues?

I'm pretty hard on myself these days... I feel foggy. Inadequate. I feel frustrated. I need to keep going to see the light at the end and to keep pushing to get there.

I could write about it all day... talking about what makes it "colic", describe why I think it might be acid reflux, talk about how I have gone off dairy to see if it helps. Go into the details of how she seems to know when I am not using both my hands to soothe her, and immediately wails until I give both hands back to her. I could talk about all of the suggestions I will get. It's all been said and done. I have tried it all. In the past and now again. Not that I don't appreciate advice and theories... I've just been dealing with this for so long already that most of the conversations have been had. I have read all of the books, the advice on slings, shushing, swaddling, swinging, car rides, white noise. 

Gripe water? We give it to her. I think it's a placebo for ME more than anything. Mylicon? We use it. Allergies? Maybe. I just talked my pediatrician and he nonchalantly tells me to try cutting out cabbage, broccoli etc. I wish there were more of an urgency to help my seemingly in pain little one. But it's common enough that there isn't.

The truth is, among all the tricks, ideas, stories, and everything, it's probably just going to take TIME. The cure of TIME.
 What it is, is a sweet baby that is high-maintenance and needy. Very particular in what works to calm her, to get her to sleep, to keep her asleep. There is a LOT of crying. Intense crying. We're lucky that she's not the WORST colicky baby ever--- we do get some good days, and good half-days. But when it's bad, it's exhausting, and frays the nerves of everyone in the house. 

So. For now... it's just good for my heart to get the story out. To confess that my baby isn't the Angel Baby we all hope for. To purge a bit of the guilt for feeling frustrated at my life right now. It's not pretty. Any of it. Her crying. My feelings. The mood in the house a lot of days. But. We're managing.

 My main goal is to get through it and come out still excited. Unchanged in my hopes of her. For now I will look upon her sweet sleeping face and let myself love every bit of her while she is quiet and still. Find new ways to do things with one hand. Accept help. Accept that I look a mess and my house reflects my state. I am trying to pray more. I am trying to listen to what I am supposed to learn from all of this. Trying not to let myself think I deserve this, or think that it's punishment.

Much of the time, I am just coping. Getting from one moment to the next. But sometimes, things are good. Sometimes she is alert, curious, and Chloe is petting her and talking sweetly to her, and Adam is playing with our Chloe and giving her the attention she needs.
 We are a team and  I am so thankful for him.
 He has really stepped up.

Little things get us through. 

I don't want to lose this entire period of her life, when she is so perfectly tiny and lovely, to grief and stress. I am grateful for the photos I worked so hard to get in her  first week of life...  
I want to remember her tiny toes and strawberry blonde hair. 

I want to remember the incredible circle of support and amazing meals everyone so selflessly provided.
I want to remember her little piercing eyes. Her perfect little lips. Her cheerio mouth. 
I want to remember how she slept in our arms ALL THE TIME (And love that we got that time with her instead of resenting that it took us away from other things.)
I want to remember the incredible joy I feel when she gives us 10 or 15 minutes of sweetness and contentedness.
I just..... just want to remember that this, even this, is beautiful.

So. That's all for now.  This baby wants BOTH my hands most of the day, and I'm gonna give them to her. She needs me. And I'm okay with that. because one day she won't, and I'll wish I was back in this moment holding and rocking my warm sweet little newborn.


  1. Leah, I'm so sorry. This was comforting and therapeutic to read. There are days I feel like this, and I'm not in the same situation. I love your perspective. No one is better suited to be her mom than you are. We're thinking about you guys.

  2. Oh Leah I am so sorry! Colicy babies are SUPER hard! I remember just not knowing what to do with my little Lukas. I tried everything. Eventually he just grew out of it. Now that he is older I know it was just his personality (super strong willed and doesn't give up if something doesn't go his way.) He has always been hard tantrums for hours. I wish you were closer so I could help you. It took us two years to get pregnant with Lukas and then when we had him he cried all the time I kept thinking what the heck I prayed so long for a baby and now HF was like here you go! I am glad you have a sweet husband it makes all the difference. Blair was a good baby but I think going from one babies to two is so hard. I think it is harder then going from two to three. Let me know if you need to talk. I won't offer advice just a sympathetic ear cause sometimes that is all you need.

  3. Leah,
    I know just what you are going through! I prayed and prayed for an easier number 4 and he was my fussiest. Can't count how many days I just bawled. But I was also able to realize that I can difficult things (and somehow still want more kids...). Then one day it was over.
    Please let me know what I can do!

  4. Oh man do I know how you feel. Never had a harder time in my life and I swear she's still colicky! HA! Good luck. I wish I lived closer so I could help! Hope it doesn't last as long. Don't feel bad for thinking that way. You are a great mom.

  5. Leah! I know what you mean about not wanting to "admit" it because you don't want people to think negatively of your kids - I feel that way all the time about Ava when she is driving me up the wall. But I think it's SOOOO good to be able to talk openly and honest about it and it's okay to admit that it is freaking HARD - we all still know you LOVE her! And almost always I find when I DO admit my frustrations, people usually are saying they feel/have felt the same way and I feel much better. Even though you know it will someday end and she won't be colicky is still ridiculously hard emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually. I really would LOVE to come get Chloe for a couple hours whenever you need a break - maybe while Piper usually sleeps so that you can take a nap. Or a bath, or just have some time with just Piper. Just PLEASE let me know how I can help!

  6. Use ear plugs. You will still be able to hear Piper, but the screaming will be distant. You can take care of her just fine without the noise. It really helps to calm nerves. Hours of screaming feels like shoulders tight from listening to fingernails on a chalkboard to me. The ear plugs make a huge difference. Good luck.

  7. Beautifully stated, Leah. You are a blessing to your children! You are loving, kind and patient. Perhaps the Lord has answered your prayers in His perfect way--you see, your children need YOU. Though you may feel, in part, gypped--Your greater desire would be to give your all--yes, sacrifice your will--to these special souls. I admire your willingness and strength. I admire your vulnerability in sharing your feelings.
    I love you,

  8. Leah, I appreciate your blog posts so much. I love that you can be totally honest with your feelings. I remember those days so well with Lily and it is so hard. I cried right along with Lily because I was so exhausted. We tried all the things you mentioned with gripe water, mylicon drops, eliminating all sorts of things from my diet, swaddling, rocking, bouncing, midnight car rides, etc. It turned out that Lily did have acid reflux and colic. We let her sleep in her car seat and then we piled some books under her crib mattress so it was elevated. I had to hold her upright for 30 minutes after every meal, morning and night and that seemed to help. I wish I could help you out more! Just know that I love you and that I am thinking about you and praying for you. I think it is true that Piper is so lucky to have such a loving mom as you are. Hang in there!