Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Crying Game

Oh colic, how I did not miss you. What are the odds? The book "What to Expect the First Year" says the odds are 1 in 5. My odds are 2 in 3. My firstborn son (little man) had colic. It comes on with little warning. One night, about 3 weeks after we brought him home, he started having an all out crying/screaming fit. I tried everything, I kept trying to feed him because he kept acting like he was hungry, but any attempts to feed him just brought on more tears and frustration. We walked him, rocked him, swaddled him, patted him, rubbed his belly, everything. That first night my husband and I were both just beside ourselves trying to figure out what our newborn son needed or wanted. We tried everything. He just kept crying. That night finally ended with my husband rocking him and me crying in the bedroom. I just assumed that I was somehow inadequate. That somehow this crying fit was something that I had caused. Maybe I hadn't fed him enough, maybe I fed him too much, maybe I was such a lousy mother that I had no idea what he needed. It was one of the worst feelings. A mother, at the very least, should know how to calm their crying baby right?

Not when it comes to colic. There really is just about nothing you can do to keep your baby from these crying fits. You can try whatever you like, but very little calms the baby for longer than a few minutes. It's completely unnerving. The only thing that gets better is your ability to handle the situation. The first few nights are the worst, because you haven't yet learned to calm yourself down. You're in high anxiety because there is something wrong with your baby that you just can't fix. Of course really there is nothing "wrong" with the baby. Everything I've read says that the crying spells do nothing to harm your baby, nor does whatever causes them. The cause is still pretty speculative. It could be a number of causes, but the most popular opinion seems to be gas, or immature digestive systems... which I tend to agree with, as when the baby is having his crying fits he will scrunch up his legs and sometimes pass gas.

It's exhausting. And it really takes its toll on a person. I'm just glad that I started having babies later in life. I never would have been able to handle a colicky baby in my late teens or early twenties. I could barely handle it when I was 34! And I'm walking a fine line now at almost 40!

To be frankly honest, while I was dealing with colic in my first son, many times I thought how glad I was that I was his mother. If he had been born to someone else, who didn't have the patience and love for him that I had...

Colic is only supposed to last until the baby is about 3 months, but sometimes can last as long as 5. Little Man was colicky until he was about 7 or 8 months old. I just got used to it somehow. And really, after the colic phase had passed, I forgot about it like an old bad memory. Luckily, baby girl didn't have colic. I'm sure if she would have I would have thought twice about having another baby.

When Lazy Baby had his first inconsolable screaming fit a few weeks ago, I just thought that it was because I'd had rubens twice since the previous day - thought the sauerkraut had given him gas. Unfortunately, it was not a one night deal. It's been every night since. It starts a little after dinner time and lasts until about 8 or 9pm. Which is really one of the worst times for me, since it's wind-down and get ready for bed time for Little Man and Baby Girl. I just have to say thank God for Tweenie!! She has been getting the two little ones ready for bed and putting them to bed. And she's actually enjoying doing it. I haven't had to ask her to do it. I don't know what I would do without her. Last night after she put the two little ones to bed she actually organized my food cupboards! I'm going to have to do something special for her. Last night Lazy Baby's crying fit lasted unusually late: it went on until almost 11pm! I spent a good two hours in the bathroom with the water running - which most nights works pretty well (it usually puts him to sleep in about 15-30mins).

I just hope Lazy Baby's colic only lasts the typical 3 months. Until then I'll be spending my evenings walking the porch and in the bathroom running the sink!


April said...

I don't know how you do it. I am so thankfull that none of my kids had colic. I use to always say that God knew better than to give me a baby with colic because I don't think I could have handled it. I applaud you for haveing the patience to handle it. What lucky children you have.

Kelly said...

COLIC is the reason I only have one child right now. I just cannot get past it! Maybe next year I will revisit the idea!

~~Mel~~ said...

You are a strong woman with a whole lot of patience! Here's to hoping the colic doesn't last much longer.

Yay for Tweenie. I'm so glad she's been such a big help!

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