Saturday, January 26, 2008

Thank you for all of your wonderful encouragement and great advice. I'm realizing that the best thing someone can give to a struggling mama, aside from a full body massage and some sleep, is empathy. Just hearing that other people have gone through the same things and come out the other side is immensely comforting.

I'm pleased to report that the breastfeeding issues seem to have finally, finally, worked themselves out. Some things are still tricky (I know I'm supposed to start on the breast I ended on, but what happens if he finishes both breasts and wants the first one again, but only sucks for a few minutes? Do I start the next round on that one, even though it's gotten a lot more play then the other? Will that make them uneven and affect my milk supply? And when am I supposed to pump? After a feeding there's nothing left!) but after weeks of freak, I'm pleased to report that the kid is gaining weight. There was some concern for awhile - it took more than two weeks to regain his birth weight - but on Wednesday he weighed in at 10 lbs., 6 oz. He's also 2 1/2 inches longer. No wonder he eats so friggin' much. He has also made a full recovery from his scratched corneas but he doesn't seem to have learned much from the experience. I'm constantly pulling his fingers away from his eyes. This morning Matt told me that he looked down and Will was calmly sitting there with his finger jammed up underneath his eyelid.

Amanda has just run screaming from the room.

After all this you think I'd get a break but it seems that having the world's most adorable baby (next to yours of course) comes with a price, and that price is eight hours of nonstop crying. Yep, Will's got colic.

Anyone who's experienced colic has just run screaming from the room.

For those not in the know, colic is described as "extended bouts of inconsolable crying that last for three or more hours, at least three times a week, lasting approximately three months". The key phrase here would be three or more. According to my new favorite book, Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads (thanks Doyce!) colic is "A burst of urgent, high-pitched screaming that can go on for hours. Each wail can last for four or five seconds, taking the baby's breath away. A lengthy pause follows while the baby catches his wind, then it starts all over again. The level can get up to about 100 decibels, about the same volume as a chainsaw or leaf blower." Or as my pediatrician put it, If you've ever dealt with colic, you understand how teenage parents do terrible things to their children.

Yep, it's that bad.

I always though that colic was just ramped up fussiness. Yeah, no. It is a bloodcurdling, skin crawling, I'mdyingI'mdyingI'mdying shriek that doesn't stop. It's called the "pain cry" because your baby looks like he's just swallowed glass. Eyes wide with panic, body either curled into a ball or tight and rigid, tears streaming down his little face... And it lasts for hours. Seriously, words cannot describe.

Luckily our doctor's office was being visited by a pediatric specialist (or as I dubbed her, The Baby Whisperer). This woman was an absolute lifesaver. She told us that doctors used to think that colic was caused by gas or some GI problem but they think it's actually caused by an underdeveloped central nervous system. In other words, some babies have a particularly hard time adjusting to life outside of the womb. (So that's why the kid didn't want to come out...) Colicky babies need to fall asleep but their little nervous systems simply won't let them. This leads to anxiety and exhaustion and desperation to find something, anything, that will help them sleep. In our case, Will becomes convinced that the only thing that will save him is the boob. Which means he's only calm when he's on the boob. Which means that he's parked at the boob. For hours.

Eight, to be precise.

That's right. On Thursday Will was on my boob for eight hours. He'd suck and suck and suck and suck until he started to fall asleep, but as soon as he'd nod off his eyes would pop wide open again. And then the wailing would begin.

For hours.

I know what you're thinking; That's insane! Just put the kid in his crib! I would never allow that! Trust me, if it came between that or throwing your child out the window, yes you would. Luckily Will doesn't have it every day. (Thank you, baby Jesus.) It also doesn't hit at night (again, thank you) and there are things that will console him (well, two things actually). At least something will calm him. Some babies, nothing will. My mother told me about a woman whose baby screamed so hard she ruptured her belly button and had to have surgery. Will's wailing is bad, but at least it's not that bad.

And things are looking up - we've now gone three days without an episode. I read The Happiest Baby On The Block when I was nannying and we've been following his technique with great success. (And downloadable white noise has saved. our. lives.) This week and the next are supposed to be the peak of the pain scream so hopefully we'll have some relief soon. In the meantime I'm catching up on a lot of TV. Seriously, this writer's strike cannot be resolved soon enough. I can't believe I'm saying this but this season's Rock of Love might be too skanky even for me. (Say, what has Bret done to his face? And where's all the pleather?!)


Laura said...

Yay for you guys! Well, at least for the bf thing... I never really got that left/right thing down until my son got to the point where he would only nurse one side in a feeding. I actually felt my skin crawl when I read about the finger in the eye. Eeesh. So sorry about the colic, I (fortunately) don't have any experience with it. But it sounds like you have it relatively under control. Good job!

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Oh Ali! I'm so sorry!

Is there any info on colic possibly being related to food YOU might be eating? Eczema is like that, so I wondered if colic might be as well. I cut out a LOT of dairy, and the eczema is better now, I noticed.

Just thinking.

If I were you, I wouldn't worry about pumping at all. Your issues don't sound like they are production issues. The colic seems to be the bigger issue. Also, don't panic about not being completely even on which side you're feeding. Trust me, you will know if you're favoring one for too long - the other will get engorged. But if he's nursing seriously constantly, you don't really sound like he WILL let you get engorged.

If you are constantly emptied, there IS no time for pumping. Don't worry about it at all. I didn't pump to increase milk supply, instead I nursed by demand and took the supplements. And drank a LOT of water. I think that may work for you as well.

Also, many bf-ing issues get better after 6 weeks. The break in period is hell, as you've discovered.

Much luck with the colic.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Oh and 2 weeks to return to birth weight is perfectly normal, so no worries there.

Missy said...

Oh man. That is some rough stuff. But it sounds like you are finding ways to manage it which is a good thing.

I totally know what you mean about Bret's face. I was commenting just last night that he needs to tone down the eye makeup or something. I think he may have a fake tan too. Something ain't right. I am about to lodge a formal complaint about the boring attire that has been showing up at the elimination. His costumes are half the reason I watch! I think the skank factor was reduced slightly last night by eliminating Angelique. She served her purpose. And is it me, or is there enough collagen in the lips on the women this go around to float several boats? Good God. I am having nigtmares about those lips!

I should probably just e-mail this stuff huh....

Valerie said...

Oh my goodness, while I did have bf issues and thrush (avoid that at all possible if you can, take your acidopholis, don't eat too much sugar whatever, just avoid it) the boys did not have colic.

However I did do quite a bit of the human pacifiering. And speaking of uneven boobage, my bigger boob produced a little less milk. At least it was never the preferred side for either boy. Go figure.

sharon said...

Hey - but this sad, but still way too cute pic of a tearful Will looks like his Uncle Brendan! I know I've seen this look a few times before, just ask Matt!
love ya!