Other than Cancer, Colitis, or Chlamydia, I don't think there is a more dreaded 'C' word diagnosis than Colic. I briefly recall the nurse at our baby class reviewed some of the typical profile features in parents who have colicky babies; scientists, computer programmers, people who deal with numbers and/or logistical reasoning. I'm not quite sure why, but for some reason, I just tuned her out when she mentioned the 'C' word. Husband listened carefully as he noted that we (although mostly him) seemed to fit that description perfectly.
The first two night at home with Jate were tough. She cried for about four hours before finally settling. For some reason, we didn't panic. She was getting used to being in her new home, we were still learning to care for her without the safety net of the nurses in the hospital. We searched the internet for ideas and things started to improve. She settled into a pattern of eating every 2-3 hours and we could get her changed, fed and back to bed in under an hour! Around day 7, she started to become a little fussier, which our internet research confirmed was likely due to a growth spurt. However, her fussy periods were isolated to the day time, which we felt we could manage. Two days before her two week mark, she exhibited her best day ever. She fed more frequently, closer to every two hours, but it was a day without any fussy episodes. We thought we had figured out her routine and that we had a 'good' baby. Then it all went pear shaped.
The night before her two week check up she returned to the inconsolable crying she had exhibited on her first nights. We noted that her abdomen seemed distended and chalked it up to gas. We had an appointment with the pediatrician then next day. He looked at the picture of her distended belly and commented that she was likely very uncomfortable, which would explain her crying, but he issued the c-o-l-i-c warning. I was in denial. My baby didn't have colic; it was just tummy troubles. We gave her Gripe Water and Simeticone, and performed various baby massage techniques, which seemed to settle her stomach. Yet the crying didn't stop.
Once again, it seemed that we had managed to fall in the unfavourable side of the statistics. We hit the colicky baby lottery. "The good news about colic," offered the ever optimistic Co-worker, "is that it's only a few hours a day and it's temporary!" Only it wasn't isolated to a few hours a day. Her crying was non-stop. All day. And all night. Nothing would soothe this baby. I thought I was so prepared as I read The Happiest Baby on the Block cover to cover before her arrival. She's basically told the 5 S's that they can shove it. We have a Sleep Sheep and a White Noise machine. Not helping. Noises from the vacuum, washing machine and dishwasher? Nothing. Not the bouncy seat. Not even the Rock and Play. My parents (especially my dad) will sometimes be successful with rocking her, but she doesn't seem to respond if I try it. I think she just appreciates me to be her food source. Ours is more of a business relationship. The one thing that will work to get her to sleep is a walk in her pram. However, she'll scream her head off for the first few minutes as we walk down the block, which invites stares from the neighbours, as I can feel their judgement. What a terrible mother she must be!
I cry inconsolably too. Husband and my mum and dad have all tried to reassure me that this isn't my fault. I'm not doing anything wrong. It's the colic and colic sucks. Intellectually, I can accept this. It's much harder to grasp it emotionally. I feel so unprepared and inadequate. That I'm not meeting my baby's needs. I know how fortunate we are to have a healthy full term baby, given all the potential pregnancy complications, and I know we're so blessed to have a baby at all. I still feel as if it might be some type of pay back. A reminder that maybe there was a reason why we couldn't conceive on our own, and this is our punishment for side stepping the natural order.
Colic starts between 2-3 weeks, peaks at 6 weeks and disappears by 3-4 months. We've been searching everything we can find on The Google about colic, looking for one more trick to try, but that line keeps haunting me. This is my going to be my life; not for the next few days or weeks, but months. Colic is going to consume my maternity leave. I'll be begging to go back to work. According to my paperwork from the DS, I'm still scheduled to go back 6 weeks after my delivery date. Give me a schedule full of patients with chronic pelvic pain. Anything will be easier that this. I'm almost afraid to be around her. How will I be able to bond with her? So many people have told me, "enjoy this time! They'll never be this little again!" Yet, I can't wait to get past this point in time.
No one said it would be easy, but I never thought it would be this hard. At least a dozen times a day, we express our gratitude that she was a singleton. Amanda G, Jen S, Amber, Kimberly Q, Audrey, Unprolific, Suzanne and Co-worker; you all are my heroes for having twins. Husband has done the maths on how many days until we hit the three month mark. I know there is light at the end of this tunnel and that it will get better. It just seems so far away. I focus not just getting through the day, but managing hour to hour. My parents have been so helpful, watching her so I can take a shower or grab something to eat. I know I need to take advantage of their assistance while they are here, but it makes me feels as if I am unable to care for my baby and it serves to remind me that I'll have to cope when they leave.
I thought dealing with infertility was hard. I know how to cope with the emotional aftermath of a failed transfer, but it didn't prepare me for this. Or did it? There were times we could have stopped pursuing treatments. I had proclaimed that I'd never do IVF. If we did decided to try IVF, we'd only do one cycle. Jate came into our lives because we were persistent. It's time to apply that persistence again. Start over with the 5 S's. Try the baby carrier again. Give the Rock and Play another go. What didn't work yesterday might work today. We just have to keep trying something. It will get better. It has to.