My first daughter slept for the first six weeks she was home. I laid on the couch with her asleep on my chest and was serenely happy watching her breath. I knew immediately the first time I held her that I would want a second child. When I found I was pregnant with my second child (planned) my heart was over-joyed. From the moment we conceived and thru my pregnancy every single thing was different. When we were graced with her presence and she yowled and yowled my OBGYN said "This one is going to be a drama queen".
And so it was foretold, our second one didn't sleep often and 7 days in we discovered that are poor sweet baby girl had a good case of colic. I was sleeping on the couch so my husband and 2 year old weren't disturbed by the constant crying at night. I was utterly exhausted and when nothing I did could calm my sobbing newborn, I started to feel like a failure.
My definition of colic - The inability to calm your crying baby. To console, comfort or solve what feels like unending pain in your newborn.
Every day at the same time she would wake up, her body would tense and the crying would start and then it wouldn't stop for almost five hours. I would walk, rock, sing and snuggle. I googled, asked the pediatrician and changed formulas. Nothing would work. My pediatrician initially thought we had a milk allergy and we went through the roller coaster of changing formulas and trying every soothing method in the book. When the crying would start, I couldn't think straight, I could do nothing for my two year old. Thankfully my husband was able to take her out and do things with her because I swear she was starting to get PTSD from all the crying. I made sure everyone was taken care of, except for myself. I never had bad feelings toward my poor baby but I had bad feelings for myself.
I felt like a horrible mother
A failure for my husband and two year old
An exhausted, covered in spit up, cranky, nervous mess.
Her colic lasted 4 weeks and 3 days and on the day the crying didn't happen I almost missed it. By this time I learned how to just get through it. I planned meals ahead, showers ahead, outings for the husband and child, I had finally accepted that there was nothing I could actually do. I had to wait it out, be patient and hope that my beautiful daughter wasn't in too much pain. More importantly, I learned how to Survive Colic.
Every mom knows that having a child in those first few weeks was completly overwhelming but I was blessed with amazing parents and friends. My mom would come over and hold the baby while I sat outside for a bit in the silence. I had friends that visited and had no judgement for me. They held my baby and chatted about the every day things that distract you and calm your mind. I had two neighbors who would walk her in her stroller around the neighborhood and that would keep her from crying. I learned so much about my self in those four weeks and what it means to have good people in your life. Once I was able to get in a groove here are the five things I did to survive Colic.
1) Most colicky babies have a certain time they start crying. Prepare for it. Have something for yourself to eat and nothing to "do" in that time frame. An unexpected need for anything or an unexpected visitor doesn't help when you have a crying baby.
2) Make sure if you can that you get out for fresh air. I walked and walked my crying child in her stroller. It was the ONLY thing that worked. Thankfully I lost almost all my baby weight. I also walked with my iPOD on to help me relax.
3) Ask for help from your husband, your parents, your friends. Anyone that you are comfortable with in these moments.
4) Don't be so hard on yourself. You are not a bad mother, you are doing nothing wrong. You do not have a baby that hates you. Do not isolate yourself from everyday life.
5) Smile at your baby, even when he/she is crying. It will make a difference to your heart.
Remember, it will not last forever. I promise. When it ends it feels life changing and with that comes a certain amount of peace and confidence. However, the memory of colic still sends a shiver up my spine and gives me sweaty armpits. My daughter just turned two and I have tried to write this post three times. The emotion overcame me and I wasn't able to complete it. My advice may sound easy but let me tell you how I figured these things out. From me hitting rock bottom and climbing back up.
My hair was dirty, my c-section hurt , I had throw up in my hair and I was alone with my baby. I was so frustrated and desperate to stop her pain. We had just spent $112 dollars on a fancy formula that made the baby vomit like a water fountain. It smelled like metal and was sticky on us both. It had been 9 days of crying. I had cleaned her and changed her and watched her tight body and curled fists as she screamed. I placed her in her swing and swung it left to right (colic solution) and I was so depressed (only with myself, not with the baby). I was sobbing on my kitchen floor wondering why I was such a bad mom and so I called my own mom. She knew by hearing my voice. She came, I showered she packed a bag and said she was taking the baby for the night.
"If you are tired honey, you are no good to anyone. Get some sleep, take a shower and rest."
I cried and cried and told my mom that she would be up all night and she would be exhausted. My mom just looked at me, gave me a hug and took the baby for an overnight. I showered and waited for my husband and two year old to get home. I held her and we played. I got a full nights rest in my bed and not on the couch. In the morning, I got up and looked at my baby chart and saw that a pattern existed. I got organized, did some reading and went to pick up my baby girl. I needed her and she needed me..that night when she started to cry and I began my stroller walk. I sang to her from that song "Ho, Hey" from the Lumineers. She was and still is soothed by the sound of my singing voice.
So show me family
All the blood that I will bleed
I don't know where I belong
I don't know where I went wrong
But I can write a song
This was a really hard time but when it ended we settled into life with two kids, she stopped having colic and then at 17 weeks old she began to have seizures. It is another entirely different story that we are still writing. She is a wonderful little girl, full of love and snuggles and I couldn't be more blessed.
Have you survived colic? What ways did you use to get past the "stage" as they like to call it?