When I found out I was pregnant with our third, it was admittedly, a bit of a surprise. And on top of it, I was sick. Really sick. For the entire nine months, that little strawberry-flavored pill (aka Zofran) was my best friend and the only way I could make it through the day.
By the time June came, I was just ready to get it all over with. I was huge. I had heartburn just looking at a glass of WATER. I could hardly walk. Things had to improve, right? Get this kid out of me and then I can go back to capably coping with life and everything else that was required of me. Oh, how I longed for those afternoon naps with baby on chest. I was going to cry at that first birthday party because it had been blissful and babyhood was almost over.
And then he was born. I had blisters from nursing a voracious, tongue-tied baby before I ever left the hospital. We could tell pretty quickly that he had a different temperament than our previous two angel babies.
Somewhere around two weeks, our baby started crying. A lot. Not that weak newborn cry that tugs at the heart-strings, but a BLOOD-CURDLING SCREAM and he could do it for HOURS at a time. He would clench his little fists, his face would turn bright red, and he would scream. It would start somewhere between 5 and 7pm and it would last until midnight, sometimes later. Every single day.
If you have never experienced colic, just understand that it does something to you. It breaks you. It hurts you. It makes you irrationally angry. It causes a crazy swirling of emotions and thoughts. It doesn’t matter that the days are relatively quiet. That relentless period of crying each and every night affects your whole state of well-being.
I am an action-oriented person (often to my detriment,) and I wanted to *FIX* it. I wanted to stop it. I figured if I read enough books, did enough web-searches, tried enough techniques, I could make it go away, but nothing worked. We would just sit in darkness (light and stimulation made it worse) and he would cry. I would rock him for as long as I could stand it. Often feeling sort of limp and helpless, zoned out in an attempt to try and cope. Sometimes I cried right along with him. He cried for seven months.
So, I was addled from the screaming. I was addled from the irrational worry that someone was going to report us to CPS for baby-abuse (we are urban-dwellers with neighbors above and below us). I was addled by lack of sleep. I was addled because I did NOT have my stuff together in any way, shape, or form. This further addled me because I had this idea that this being my third kid, I *should* have all my stuff together. I *should* be able to handle this. I *should* love my baby. And let’s not even think about how life must have sucked for my older two boys.
Honestly, I didn’t like this baby very much. Not like the others. I didn’t feel bonded. I didn’t enjoy tending to his needs. Everything felt like a chore. I didn’t even really want to hold him, but he refused to be set down. So I resented him. I resented my husband for getting to go to work every day.
Finally around eight months, we took matters into our own hands and decided to attempt sleep training once again. This time, after serious determination on our parts, it worked. Around this same time, he decided he was done nursing and rejected me in favor of a bottle. Between the sleeping and the freedom of formula (sometimes it is better, okay?), I was starting to see rays of hope again.
Our story is so different now. Our little guy came out of his colic and by a year, he was a total delight. He is now an amazing sleeper. He has the biggest smile. He is incredibly goofy and loves to make his big brothers laugh.
So moms and dads in the trenches: It will get better. At some point it really will get better. In the meantime, hang on tight to your sanity. Set your baby down gently in a safe place if you get angry. And please, please, please, ask for help! If you are in Seattle, I will bring you food.
Related post: 26 Reasons I’ve Cried Since Having a Baby