Monday, February 25, 2013

High Needs Baby (Read: Colic!!!)

We were blessed with a high needs baby, a baby stuck in the "fourth trimester," a fussy baby, OK fine, a screamer!  From about 2 weeks to 10 weeks, if she was awake she was fussing, if she was asleep she was on me. If we stopped moving she started crying. She hated her car seat, her crib, her bassinet, and her bottle.  For about 10 of the 24 hours in a day she was swaddled in a sling and bouncing on an exercise ball.

I'm writing this post because as a mom with a new baby who seemed to be never content, I was desperate for support.  I gave up dairy and sugar in hopes that it would calm her tummy.  I gave up the notion of setting her down or sleeping for more than 2 hours at a time.  I accepted that we could not take her places after 5 pm.  I stopped going to my mommy-baby group because the happy babies who slept through the night caused me anguish.  I trolled the Internet for stories similar to mine and relished the ones that were worse.  Thank God for the mom who spent all night for a month driving on the freeways of Los Angeles.

The strain of having a baby that cries all the time was felt in our marriage and in my friendship with others.  I didn't want to talk about my baby with other moms because I felt insecure in my own mothering ability.  My neighbor Patti was my saviour, she would hold Callah so I could go to the bathroom or put away clothes, but most importantly she listened to me and hung out with me.  It was a lonely time being away from colleagues, friends and my family.  I felt isolated by a baby that I loved so fiercely that no one else (even her daddy) could say a negative word about her.

The funny thing is, as I write these words it seems like another person another lifetime ago that had those experiences.  Even though most evenings after 6 were spent with a pacifier, a bouncy ball, and a CD that played a hair drier; I still cherish those memories of the days (and nights) I spent with Callah as an infant.  In retrospect, what didn't I love about watching Netflix for 20 hours a day?  I couldn't push her in a stroller because she hated the stroller (I forgot to mention that before) but I got to wear her in a Bjorn as we walked around the neighborhood on sunny fall afternoons.  I loved that!  Yes, it was unpleasant to listen to fuzz blasting on the car radio to attempt to drown out the screams (which worked by the way), but compared to all the tiny little wonders of her new life it was a small price to pay.

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