Thursday, May 19, 2011

Is Something Wrong Here or Am I Just REALLY Bad At This? (Nursing and Sleeping Issues)

I'll give you a hint (I wish someone could have given me a hint at the time!!):  Ian did not turn out to be a typical baby/child.  I'll try to remember to bold the clues;  usually the things that made me think that I must really suck at being a mother, when, in reality, they were clues to what the real issue was.  When I go through all of this in excruciating detail, it is because blogging is EXCELLENT free therapy I hope that someone else who is having a similar experience will read this and find it helpful somehow.

We brought Ian home from the hospital, so excited that he was OURS and we actually GOT TO KEEP HIM!  He cried a lot, and wouldn't sleep for very long.  During the day he would sleep for 30-45 minutes at a time, and at night he woke up EVERY 1-2 HOURS ALL. NIGHT. LONG. FOR. A. YEAR.  I finally gave up on the futile job of trying to sleep woke up the first morning that we were home with him, and I was so tired that I HONESTLY COULD NOT REMEMBER WHAT WE HAD NAMED HIM!  I remember sitting there, trying to remember, going through the (short) list of names we had made before we went to the hospital (which didn't help me because the name we picked wasn't on that list...).  His name finally popped into my head, but I couldn't fathom how I could NOT REMEMBER that!  (I also couldn't fathom how it could get to be 5:00pm and I was still in my pajamas.)

By the time we got home, the nursing agony had started:  toe-curling, involuntary-gasping pain EVERY TIME HE LATCHED ON, which was, of course, every time he woke up crying or was otherwise inconsolably unhappy.  (Remember how I was so excited when my water broke because I was sure they physical suffering was almost over?  Um, not so much.  The nursing agony lasted for THREE MONTHS.  I cried quite a few times when it was time for him to eat again.

Day 3 or 4 or 5 I was sitting on the couch when I suddenly noticed that my shirt was all wet.  I was surprised because I hadn't given much thought to that whole "milk coming in" thing, but I had sort of figured that I would just wake up one morning and it would be there.  It made me laugh that I was so surprised when it had just "come in" in the middle of the day.  I hoped that Ian would be happier now that there was actual milk, but no.  I didn't realize that he wasn't latching on correctly (THANK YOU, FRENULUM you bastard!), so he wasn't getting as much milk as he would have liked.  (My amazing shoot-the-milk-out let-down reflex ended up being a blessing here because at least he was able to get something!)  I was QUITE AMAZED (and in pain) when my normally, er, orange-sized chest was suddenly sporting two CANTALOUPES!

At Ian's 2-week check up he was furiously screaming, as he often did, when the doctor walked in, and the first thing the doctor said was, "Well, he's a demanding baby, isn't he?"  I was *SO OFFENDED* (HA, HA, HA, HA, HA! Oh the hindsight!) that he would say such a thing about my PERFECT baby! 

I became concerned when Ian wouldn't have a stinky diaper for DAYS ON END (there was a good reason that his first food was PRUNES), and he would become INCREASINGLY CRANKY as the days wore on, but the doctor always said, "Oh, b*****fed babies just use it all and sometimes don't have stinky diapers as often."  He always gained weight and measured big on the charts, so the doctors never concerned themselves with things like the lack of stinky diapers, the nightly 4 hour screaming session, the sharp-sounding, explosive gas, the frothy, dark green diapers he would eventually have...they always said, "Oh, it's colic.  Some babies get colic.  He'll grow out of it."  I decided that what colic ACTUALLY means is:  "I'm sorry.  I don't have the time or inclination to figure out why your baby is SCREAMING IN PAIN for HOURS EVERY DAY."  I searched the Internet for any helpful information, but all I could find was that he might be lactose intolerant.  I tried changing my diet, but it didn't seem to help.  I would dutifully nurse him on each side for 10 minutes, switching back and forth until he seemed to be finished, just like all of those CURSED STUPID WORTHLESS baby magazines instructed.  Just recently I read an article that mentioned all of the symptoms he had and said that those things could be due to the baby getting too much fore-milk and not enough hind-milk.  DING, DING, DING!  The article mentioned that one way to take care of this problem was for the mother to pump a little from each side before she nursed the baby so the baby would get less fore-milk.  Sigh.  Oh HOW I WISH I would have know that at the time!  But I had tried pumping, to see if it would be any less agonizing than nursing, and I'd never been able to get any milk out, even when I was certain the milk was there.  I felt bad at the time, and I STILL feel bad, that he was so miserable, but my ONE comforting thought was that I never just let him scream;  I would put him down and walk away for a few deep breaths, but I didn't listen to all the people who told me to just "let him cry it out" and "he'll learn if you'll just..."  I comfort myself with that thought now when I wish so desperately that I would have known what to do to help him at the time.

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