When my baby girl was born it was hands-down the best moment of my entire life. I had tried so hard to have her and she was finally a reality. She was HERE. And she was perfect. And I was ecstatic.
Sure, she cried a lot. But I thought all newborns cried a lot. Edie was my first baby so my husband and I didn’t know any different. Every night in the hospital she cried all night, every night. The midwifes would come in all night suggesting we rock her this way then that way, then try wrapping her tighter, then a little looser. Holy moly. We were starting to think we had no idea what we were in for.
By the time we got home and had clocked only five hours sleep over five days, we were lucky enough to have a visit from Midwife Cath who taught us the bed, bath and bottle routine and then seemed to help her settle at night for a decent stretch. But during the day? Sleeping was pretty much non existent. If she did sleep it was only on my chest. Every time I would lay her down she would turn bright red and scream. So, for the first 10 weeks, she was in my arms all day, every day. Except when we were walking the streets in the baby bjorn, because I knew I couldn’t put her down in the pram. I didn’t know why, all I knew was every time I did, she would scream.
Every time I mentioned this to anyone they would tell me that that’s what babies do, ‘they cry’. I felt silly, like I was complaining. I felt so lucky to have this beautiful little person in my arms and I didn’t want to whinge. But I still couldn’t believe that babies cried this much? Surely not. Nothing I did worked. I wanted so badly to make her happy, to stop the crying, but nothing helped. Other than being on my boob, so I’ll admit some days she spent so long on my boobs I swear I was starting to look like a cow. When people wanted to visit, instead of suggesting times when I wouldn’t be feeding like a lot of mums do, I would tell people to come when I knew she’d be due to feed so I knew she wouldn’t be crying.
I’d notice other mums and babies everywhere I went and wondered why everyone had it together but me. It was starting to break me. I am a outcome-orientated person and like to ‘fix’ things, this I could not fix. I started to resent my husband for being able to head off to work each day and have a lunch break and eat his lunch with BOTH his hands. I couldn’t remember what that was like.
It wasn’t until Edie and I arrived at a maternal health appointment in tears (both of us) and my maternal health nurse took Edie and after failing at trying to calm her down, suggested I take her to the doctor because she thought by the way she was arching her back, she had silent reflux.
I followed her advice and she was right.I felt terrible that all this time she’d been in so much pain and been so uncomfortable and I didn’t know.
Edie went on medication right away and soon after, she was a different baby. It was incredible. She began sleeping during the day and I began putting myself back together. It may only have been ten weeks but it felt like a lifetime. I can’t imagine going on my much longer the way we were. I thought it was my fault, that I couldn’t make her happy, that I wasn’t good at this motherhood thing. Finding out there was an actual reason for the crying and trouble sleeping made me feel like maybe I could do this after all.
If you’re a new mum reading this, or know one, and this is sounding all too familiar, go and see your GP or maternal health nurse because it can be treated.
If you’re in my area, let me know and I’ll hold your baby upright while you eat your lunch.
Have you had a reflux baby? What are your tips?