Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The first six months

I wanted to share this not to buy sympathy, or scare moms-to-be, but give give you the real truth. Being a mother is not easy but it is rewarding in more than one fat little way. I wanted other moms who are going through it to know that they are not alone. You can make it through too. You ARE an amazing mom.

As Mother Day came and went, and after Brady turned another month older, I have found myself reflecting upon the last six months.

I read some of my posts, and I'll be honest. I can't remember some of it. To be perfectly honest, I can't remember A LOT of it. Much of what I wrote was sugar coated. Do not get me wrong, I love being a mom. He is my entire world, and has change my world in a way I never thought could be humanly possible. The love I feel could not be known but only by a mother herself.

Looking back, the past six months have been the most amazing, yet the most difficult journey I have ever faced or may ever face.

When we brought Brady home, I was so in awe. Incredibly smitten, head-over heels in love! Knowing the outcome could have been much worse, I didn't want to let him go, and wanted to overdose him in kisses, and snuggle him until he was 25. Those first two weeks were the honeymoon phase. We would stare at each other, and he'd make his silly noises. Then, he would cry and I'd think it was cute.

Then, reality, or as I call it, reflux kicked in around 4 weeks. He cried all the time. Not just that typical newborn cry but whole body shaking red faced cry. I cried a lot. I was exhausted, and knowing my baby was in pain made me hurt too. I felt always on guard. My husband wondered what was wrong with him. I wondered too. I did a lot of research. Cut out everything....dairy, caffeine--some of the only things that were getting me by in life at this point. The more research I did, I learned that a lot of kids with reflux are hypersensitive (react to stimuli such as loud sounds, and bright lights more than the average kiddo...ahem, plastic bags?) and reflux would subside by six months. It gave me hope (and now I laugh at that!)

Looking back, I wonder how the hell I made it through. I wonder how my husband and I still like each other. I wonder how I could ever contemplate wanting to do it over again. I wonder how I survived on hour blocks of sleep, or slept sitting up comforting an uncomfortable baby. I felt isolated, and sometimes alone.

Looking back, I remember my 6 week OB appointment, he screamed bloody murder and someone said to me, 'wow, he sure has a temper;' the trip out to dinner for my MIL's birthday where we had to leave because he wouldn't stop crying, or his Dr. saying over and over that he was just colicky.

'Just colicky?'

A lot of people shrugged it off as colic. No big deal. Just a mommy and baby who can't seem to figure out life.

I thought about punching those people directly in the boob. Yes, the boob.

Telling a new mom their child is just colicky is like saying, you just cut off your right arm but oh well, who cares! You cry because they have labeled your child a cranky baby, a bad baby! One article I read even said that my baby was allergic to life. What that does to a mother, well, is not something I can even find the words for.

Even though I was technically house ridden, I didn't want to leave. I was terrified. Every time we left the house, it was like a game of Russian Roulette except for that bullet would get me every time. Screaming. Driving would settle him, but I wasn't allowed to stop, or he screamed till he turned blue. We had a few scares where he turned himself blue because he was so upset, or choking on reflux and I found myself stopped in time, and had to remind myself to take a breath.

I won't lie. I think I sugar coated it not only to spare the mothers-to-be, but to protect myself. I had days when I felt like a failure. I wasn't cut out for this mommy thing. I had to be doing something wrong. I WAS doing something wrong, I was sure of it. Normal babies sleep. Normal babies are peaceful. Normal babies do not projectile the entire contents of their stomach across the room.

As months went on, and as Brady grew, (and the reflux meds were changed, and change, and what he ate changed, and changed, and changed,) life got a bit easier. He became the happy baby that I love more than life itself. We all smiled more. We laughed more. We went shopping together, went to the park. We did normal things that mommy's and baby's do. We are still waiting for him to 'get' the whole sleeping thing.

Last Friday, I had the day off. We ran a few errands. Then, just the two of us went to Bread Co. where we had lunch together.

Such a simple act but looking back, it is a huge feat. There was no way I would have ever thought we would have been able to do that. No way could I bring my 'colicky' baby to a restaurant.

Such a simple act made a working mommy so happy as we usually eat lunch with someone else.

Such a simple act could not make me feel more like a mom as the old folks there doted on him, and played peak-a-boo that sent him into a contagious laughter. I found myself smiling.

Looking back, those first few months were not easy, but in a way, they make me appreciate him so much more, love him tenfold.

In a way, I am thankful for my 'just colicky' baby. The way I look at him and the overflowing immense love I feel today is because we survived together. We made it though. I made it though .

I can do this mommy thing.

and I can do it well.


The Wilson's said...

What an awesome post! Thank you for sharing and being honest. Everyday is a new challenge, and it makes us all better for it. Jackson didn't have colic or reflux... My MIL did accuse him of having colic once because he cried when she held him... and I still want to punch her in the boob for it!

Lisa said...

Oh, Amy...I could have written much of this post myself. Although, Olivia's reflux started almost immediately and got under control sooner, I know that feeling of dread when headed out of the house. The uncontrollable, loud sobs of pain, the constant worry of "when" she'll start crying again. It's amazing how they can then turn into the happiest beings in the world, isn't it?

Dee said...

Evan cried ALL THE TIME! But he's 2 1/2 now and I'm not gonna lie to you, the kid is still challenging. He NEVER stops..ever and is always getting into something. But I look back on those early months and wonder how anyone can handle all that crying(he seriously screamed ALL THE TIME-reflux) but it just takes a mommy! :)

Isabella on the other hand is a dream baby and never cries-I didn't know they made babies like that. :)

Mary said...

Thank you for your honesty, Amy. While many mothers are blessed with "normal" babies, there are many who struggle with those early months like you did. It must be so difficult seeing your baby cry until he turns blue and feeling helpless and exhausted. I love that you two had the opportunity to have lunch together and that it was a peaceful, happy experience. Brady is such a doll and you are an awesome mom.

Maria said...

I also appreciate your honesty Amy!!!

Angie said...

what a great post. And not so great. Not so great that you had to go thru that. But thanks for your honesty about it, it must have been so hard. I'm so glad Brady is feeling better and that you guys got thru it together. You're a wonderful mom!

N. said...

Thanks for being honest, Amy. And you're right you can do it, and you are doing it, and you're doing an amazing job! I'm so glad things are getting easier, and you're celebrating the small things.

sanjeet said...

What an awesome post!
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