April 01, 2008

Counting the blessings

Two days ago I hit the wall. The big, black parenting wall. Sometime in the murky hours of the morning it all just rolled into a great big ball of 'can't do it' . I resisted the urge to get into the car and drive off, not looking back. But it was tempting. I feel ashamed to admit it, but there it is.
I am nostalgic for the days when Harper would feed for ages then lie back on my lap with milk running down his chin and a sleepy look on his face like he was drunk. He was happy, pain-free, satisfied. Those were good days. Now I have to coerce him to eat anything because he's started to link food with reflux pain. I am lucky to get five minutes of eating out of him. He spits his reflux medicine back at me and I get so angry - I want to yell 'but this will help you! Don't you want to feel better?' Instead I try to talk calmly and sweetly to him in those high pitched tones he loves, and scoop the spat-out Gaviscon back into its cup for another go. Thank goodness we have bibs galore.
But a phone call to Bronwen (I am lucky to be part of a health service that includes my midwives, one of which, Bronwen, is a lactation consultant) and she's round within the hour rubbing my back and getting the Gaviscon into him herself. She allays my fears that my baby is starving and tells me to hang in there with the breastfeeding though it looks like luxury to just stick a bottle in his mouth. She wakes me up to myself, and I'm able to take a few steps back from the wall, put the car keys back in my bag and let myself off the hook for a while. Harper, sitting in his bouncinette, caws like a crow and hoots at the toys hanging on the baby gym. He's happy.
So today, things are much better, though I feel like we are getting by by the skin of our teeth right now. Plunket tomorrow, to check out if Harper is still the weight-gaining machine he was four weeks ago, or if this reflux is really affecting his health in more ways than just the pain. In the meantime, I'm reading Keri Smith's blog, who agrees with me that there is no 'right thing' in this parenting lark, and to accept that it is what it is, whatever it may be. And counting my blessings, of which these are the highlights:
1. The Postie
Awesome dad, keeps me calm(ish), takes good care of me
2. Friends and family
Especially those that provide us with food! If you know anyone with a young baby, cook them dinner tonight and take it to their house. It's one of the best presents you can give them.
3. Knowing that he will grow out of this
I met a woman at the Plunket Family Centre whose four-month-old boy screamed after every meal from day one of his life. And she got through it. So will we.
4. Harper
He's an awesome kid, who really is incredibly strong about all this. It must be a shite existence for him sometimes, but he still manages to giggle at his mother singing Incy Wincy Spider off key.


rhiannon said...

Aesop was a reflux baby. He wouldn't sleep without being held for the first few months of his life, was constantly bringing everything back up and was really hard to settle.
You're right, he will grow out of it! I promise!

Sarah Lee said...

I really, really feel for you. It's so hard being a new mother, especially when your poor baby is suffering so much - and I know you are suffering equally with the extra care you're needing to give when you'll still be recovering yourself.

I'm so glad you've got great support networks.

My first child had terrible latch problems, but we got through with the help of a great lactation consultant.

I'm five year's into 'it' parenting, with two children. They are such a blessing - but take everything you've got. Good family and friends and help round the home and in the kitchen is so essential. When bubs is so young it's so impossible to find the energy to do much.

Very best wishes and really hope things improve for you all soon.

HUGS, Sarah

sas said...

Sending you lots of positive, lovely thoughts. My niece had similar issues and in the end they went the forumla/bottle route. Raffi is a thriving almost one year old - no right answers, just choices :)
This too will pass and all that...

Mel or Phil said...

You can do it - don't give up! :o)

Tamsin said...

I really feel for you - my sister's son Caleb also has reflux. He really hates the Losec, and spits it everywhere - mainly because he thinks it is delaying dinner time! but without it he will throw up copiously, poor thing. It is getting heaps better, and doesn't take hours to feed him anymore (he's 5 months old). Sounds like you have great support - hang on in there!

kimberlee & Lies said...

Sorry it's so tough on your little guy and you! I remember the Gaviscon for my sisters wee twins. And their little pain-sqeeks... My sis tried to come to terms with what she called her 'anxiety-moments' such as feeding and getting the reflux babies to sleep by sticking to a routine (done this, check, done that, check, ...), so she felt better about doing everything she could for her little loved-ones...
Sounds like you're doing exactly that K. THAT MAKES YOU A SUPERMOM don't forget!
XXX Lies

Anonymous said...

I know I said not to listen to everyone's advice, but rules are made to be broken ... here's something you may wish to ignore
had a cursory look, might be helpful ... follows my personal bent on foods affecting kids ...
hang in there, love Julie fr akld

Anonymous said...

Keep doing the best that you can and you will get through it. I am looking at our 14 month old toddle around with a huge smile on her face and remembering a year ago when we wanted to give her away. She had refulx but the medicine does work after you get them to take it and the dosage gets set. Best part is (heard this from multiple people too) is that reflux babies seem to tolerate pain much better and are easier as they get out of it so the pain now will get paid for with a very fun, happy, laid back baby in a few.

Anonymous said...

Kimberley: I may have mentioned that we had almost exactly the same kind of problem with our second. It only really got manageable once we found the right drugs, which in this case was ranitidine.

It's a pity that drugs must be resorted to... but screaming, unhappy babies are a kind of torture for their parents that is very hard to bear. (My right ear has never stopped ringing!)