Friday, May 3, 2013

The Fussy Baby

So Jaxon is almost 6 months old now. Crazy I know. I am sure this is the first of many posts to update you on my little man.

I know I am not very good at serious, but I wanted to share about my first few months being a mom.  I was so excited to be a mom.  I have always wanted to be one.  I was so thrilled when we found out we were expecting. I would envision sweet sleeping babies cuddles, cooing, smiles, and just being overjoyed.  You expect no sleep, you expect some crying, but we all have visions of sweetness and sure I knew there was a lot more to it than rainbows and butterflies, but really how bad could it be?

Colic.  I'd heard of colic, I didn't really understand it.  Colic is defined as 3 hours of crying 3 days a week for at least 3 weeks. That I could have handled.  That would have been easy. Jaxon was beyond colic. It is basically an excuse for doctors to tell you that your baby is really cranky and they don't have a reason, so they will diagnose him with a phony diagnosis to make you feel better that your child has some type of problem to justify his out of control behavior. People tell you that it goes away after 3 months.  People tell you it is something you ate, or something that you need to eat. People tell you that you need to hold him upright, no you need to hold him on his stomach. People say you need to wrap him like this. Others say that you need to do it like that. People tell you that you need to soothe him like this. People tell you that his behavior is not normal.  People tell you to go see more doctors. People tell you their child was never like that. People-strangers, just trying to be helpful, or meddling or just plain ignorant keep on and on. I just stopped listening to people.
Jaxon was by far the fussiest baby on the block.  Nothing worked.  he could not be calmed. the 5 S's didn't work, and I couldn't even rely on a handy pacifier-something we are still working on. The boob only worked about 50% of the time, and he developed the talent of eating and screaming at the same time. On top of this, he had separation anxiety and a 6th sense to know when he had been put down-even while in a deep sleep.  Jaxon was held nearly 24 hours a day for the first 6 weeks. I did a lot of things I thought I would never do.  I became a co-sleeper, I nursed him to sleep any chance I got, I dreaded leaving the house for any purpose. I stopped caring about what I looked like (oh who am I kidding, I never really cared before), I stopped cleaning. I had one focus. Stop the screaming!!!!

Within about the first week of bringing Jaxon home, I noticed that he was not quite what I remembered most babies to be.  He was dang cute to be sure, maybe a bit skinnier, but a lot crankier. We all know newborns tend to be fussy, but I would watch other babies sit contently with their mothers, fall asleep in strollers, car seats, or with almost no effort on the parent;s part.  When they did cry, they were. cute muffled cries, and not shrieks of terror that could shatter glass. Jax had his own agenda and the lungs of an iron man triathlete.

I remember spending 45min-1hour of INTENSE rocking (almost shaken baby type rocking) just to get him to doze off, and within 20 min he would start to stir.  When he did, a wave of panic would sweep over me, my heart would race, I would tense up, and just pray he would stay asleep.  EVERY time he woke up, the screams were so loud that my ears would be ringing and most of the time, they didn't stop until he went back to sleep. I was too scared to sleep with him, too scared I would move and wake him up.  I just sat there as still as I could be and held him while he slept.

I did everything I could think of. I stopped dairy, wheat, soy, cinnamon, citrus, and basically everything edible.  I swaddled, I swayed, I put him down drowsy,  I demand fed, I schedule fed, I gave gripe water, mylicon drops. I rocked him on his stomach, held him upright.  He hated the swing, he hated his pacifier,  he hated the bath, he hated his car seat and the car. He hated EVERYTHING!. The only thing that worked was the vacuum. The loud white noise the vacuum made, was his match.  There were days when i couldn't stop the screaming that we would go in a small space, turn the vacuum on and I would just hold him.

Contrary to how it sounds, I was not depressed. Sure there were times where I was sad, but not for myself. Just for poor Jax. He had to come to a mom who didn't know how to make him happy.  It's quite humbling. Nobody wants the 'fussy baby' it is an excellent reminder at how ill prepared I was for motherhood, but If I wasn't laid back before, I am now the most laid back person EVER.

That littel rascal has the shortest little fuse, he is a time bomb.  We have successfully made it through church exactly 1 time since he was born. He would go from super sweet and calm, to catastrophic nuclear meltdown.  I used to plan my outings when he was REALLY tired. I could get him to fall asleep in his Bjorn, but I HAD to keep moving and bouncing. If I stopped he would wake up and the screaming tirade would start again. I would plan on an hour and just walk around target or Costco or just go on a walk to get out.  Those were what kept me sane. I never wanted to go anywhere with anyone for fear of when he would flip that switch. It was never a matter of if he had a melt down, it was when. I was too worried about stopping the screaming to have any fun.

I read that 6-8 weeks was the worst, that is where fussiness peaks and then it starts to get better. I thought it couldn't get worse.  I was wrong. I tempted the fates and they rose to meet the challenge. I really didn't think that I would make it through this period.  I remember one particularly difficult day, He literally never stopped screaming the entire day, and would not nap. Kevin came home, I handed him to him and just broke down the one and only time that child brought me to tears. It is just so sad to have such a sweet innocent child so upset, and there is nothing you can do to fix it. You just feel so sorry for him.

Then day 1 of week 9 happened. He got a little better. I had a few smiles that day-a few moments of playing and fun  Most people wouldn't notice a difference. He was still a terror, but that glimmer of hope helped me get through the next couple months, just taking it day by day. It did get better. Its still getting better. Is he a happy baby?...He's happier.  I have had people tell me how sweet he is.  How good he is. I still am surprised every time I hear that. I like to tease Kevin that he gets his grumpiness from his dad, who is remarkably never grumpy any more.

Were those first few months hard? Absolutely the hardest thing I have ever done. Would I do it again? A million times over if it meant I could keep the little devils.  Will I ever judge another person with a screaming child again? If I ever did before, NEVER.

I have to say that through this Kevin was amazing.  Maybe it was because he wasn't there all the time, but he helped check me .  He was so patient and loving. He would always just say. He is a baby, of course he is going to be fussy. He never got impatient or upset.  He always just loved him. Even in the middle of the night. Even in the middle of a store during a melt down. Kevin always kept his cool and always just carried on as if it wasn't a big deal. Of course he usually handed him to me to deal with, but if I was really strung out, he would take him and let me have a break.  He would help me to find humor in it.  And we always did. What else can you do. He is as wonderful husband, and if possible an even better father

I hope this didn't sound too negative. It was hard, but we survived and it gets better and easier every day. I am so blessed to have such a perfect wonderful, handsome, healthy baby. I am so blessed that he was a first child. I sure hope that my next one-if I am blessed enough to have one- will be easier, but if it isn't, I will still love that little one to pieces.

The faces of Colic


Thomas Family said...

Seriously amazing. You are Wonder Woman (or wonder mama). There's a reason he was sent to you because you rock the chill mom thing. :). And yes in all those screaming pictures he is adorable. And I didn't think it was negative at all....just matter of fact.

Jennie Holt said...

wow. you are amazing!! I could never be as positive as you, I can't handle my kids crying for more than 5 min!! He is super cute, and I really hope he gets happier every day :)

Erica Hill said...

6 months! Goes by fast. You are such a sweet mom and wife. They are lucky to have you. I'm excited to see him again.

Chelsey Meier said...

You are amazing Cathy! I love the pictures! Crying babies do make some awesome faces! I'm so glad you captured his! (They are also much easier to appreciate in picture form without the screaming!)
Chelsey Meier

Bev said...

Holy hell you are AMAZING!!! I hope to be as patient and awesome as you are when I have one of my very own some day!!

Brooke Clelland said...

But have you tried.... just kidding. Sometimes don't you want to say I'm his mom and know him best. I always love the old ladies hatching out advise at the grocery store. Once when Gavin was a baby i had an old lady at the deli counter insist Gavin needed to nap when he was perfectly happy in his car seat but she wouldn't drop it telling me to cover up so it was dark and on and on. Jaxon is lucky boy to have you as a mom.