The last 8 weeks have been tough…I think it’s impossible to sugar coat the newborn stage unless you’re using social media but in real life…it’s really really hard. I don’t want to feel guilty for saying that either. By saying that I am not detracting from all the wonderfulness of it, all the details I never want to forget and even parts I wish I could relive for the rest of my life…but it’s really hard too.
Especially when your baby is in pain. Wallis has suffered from bad gas pain since about her 3rd week of life. She has all the colic symptoms except for the inconsolable crying…she is consolable…except it means we’ve had to console her 24/7 or she would cry a lot. She never gets a good rest because the gas pain wakes her up all the time and so she’s pretty exhausted and it has been a constant battle of bad days and nights blurring together unable to see an end in sight and fearful there really isn’t one.
We have tried and done EVERYTHING to soothe her pain but nothing has worked and that kind of madness will break anyone because you love them so much and it’s scary, and painful for you to be unable to really help and forced to just wait. These are moments I will be happy to watch her grow out of and move forward.
It might not sound like it, but Wallis is truly the most terrific baby and I swear if she didn’t have the gas pain we’d be spoiled by her happy spirit…and luckily with each passing week we’ve gotten to see more and more of her gorgeous soul despite the issues and that has been immensely gratifying. I have tried to hold on to each one of those moments. The times in the morning when she’s not being fussy and we can just chat and I sing to her. Her first real smile…that was incredible! I’ve never worked so hard for more smiles since then…she has the best smile, the best giggle and honestly, her cry is so adorable that you just want to eat her up! She plays with her hair while she falls asleep, she recently discovered how to suck her thumb and if we say, “its time to burp” she puts her hands straight up in the air and sticks her little bum out.
There are so many ways we are lucky when it comes to Wallis but of course nothing is perfect and we’ve had our struggles.
It took me awhile to ask for help…I am lucky to have my parents nearby, something I didn’t have for over 10 years but now they’re here and willing to help — but you see as a new parent you’re cloaked in a sensitivity that is hard to let others in. I felt defensive of Wallis and worried my parents would think something was wrong with her…so I kept them at a distance arranging times for them to see her when I knew she’d be fast asleep from exhaustion of a day unrested
It didn’t help the way my parents would reminisce about my brother and I at this stage and how it seemed they had forgotten the tough times and could only remember the good… made me unwilling to let them in – let them see how much my heart was suffering and how truly exhausted I was.
I finally told my mom how it made me feel and she told me I had it all wrong and then proceeded to share some of her tough times…how I had problems with formula and would projectile spit-up sending her and my dad into a frenzy trying to find a formula that wouldn’t make me sick while they were living in a foreign country and how much they worried. Then there was my brother who actually had inconsolable colic for a month and they spent hours driving aimlessly and walking him from room to room as he cried.
Hearing her reveal how they too had been scared, had struggled, and had faced obstacles that did get better but at the time felt endless melted my defensiveness and I felt as though she understood me for the first time since becoming a new mom. Even if our experiences had their differences what they shared was love and how that love impacts every thought and action.
I started to let her help me after that…to come over and hold Wallis so I could get a shower, take the dogs out, eat and use the restroom. Having her around helped me to see some light in days that had gotten dark.
The GOOD news is that at last we’re seeing real improvement in the gas pain department now that Wallis has reached 2 months! The week before she was to turn two months each day got a bit better and a bit better and now that she is 2 months we’ve noticed very little gas pain. Now she appears to be dealing with some silent reflux (sweet mercy) but that’s easier to manage than gas pain, so we aren’t nearly as stressed.
Who knew 8 weeks could move so slowly and yet so fast…I suppose all the other parents out there did. One of the hardest things is how every day is exactly the same AND yet, how every day is entirely different, making it impossible to plan or predict how you might handle the day which is very hard for my Type A personality and for me working from home — but we’ll get there, I’m already seeing some patterns forming and hopefully those patterns will eventually turn into a semi-predictable schedule.
Overall, this has been the greatest time of my life and sure there have been moments where I’ve envied the pre-baby days or saw a couple without kids and wanted to tell them, never waste a moment of it fighting because once you have a kid you’ll never have this freedom again! but even with the extreme exhaustion and uncharted water flooding my mind…I have to keep my heart from exploding from the love I feel for her every moment I’m with her and the ache I feel for her, when she’s been sleeping on her Dad and I haven’t held her in a while.
This quote has been going around but that’s because it’s perfection in describing what parents feel, Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest. – Debra Ginsberg
Two months ago my heart started beating outside of my chest and I haven’t been the same since.