First came the preemie
When Evan was born eight weeks early we assumed we would have some medical issues right off the bat. He did surprisingly well and had limited health concerns. We were very excited to take him home. And then the crying began.
Then came the reflux
During feedings Evan was very unsettled. I was not able to nurse right off the bat so my husband and I would alternate giving him bottles of breast milk. He would arch is back and make terrible noises all throughout the feedings. Then at bedtime we weren't able to sleep due to the grunting unsettling noises coming from our newborn.
At his doctor's appointment we mentioned it to the pediatrician as our older son had issues with reflux at this age. Immediately, Zantac was ordered and we were on our way to having our happy baby back!
One week later the noises continued, just not during feedings. But the back arching stopped. We increased the dosage amount and increased the frequency we were giving it per the doctor's instructions. But still, he was not happy.
And now the colic
By the time we went to see the pediatrician again after the Zantac dosage changes, Evan was nearly inconsolable most of every day. I was mentally exhausted. I could not put him down, not that it would have mattered as he screamed no matter where he was or who was holding him. It was so awful that my parents offered to come to the house to watch him just so I could do my dishes and take a shower. This was rock bottom.
We saw the pediatrician again. I had speculated that perhaps he had colic since he was crying despite taking the Zantac religiously. She agreed that he most likely had colic. Evidently it can be more common in premature babies because the intestines were not completely matured at birth. She recommended "Gerber soothe" drops each day. After consulting with Dr. Google, I also added gripe water to the regimen. We tried several brands and formulations. I eliminated all dairy from my diet. I stopped drinking carbonated beverages. I gave up eggs, gas producing vegetables and garlic. Nothing was working quickly enough.
Every night he would scream. I would lay him on my thigh on his belly to help him pass gas. One night he did so 17 times in a 10 minute time frame. I cried. Often.
To be perfectly honest, I had a really difficult time during all of the screaming. I don't think you fully understand what someone is going through with colic until you experience it yourself. My husband would get home from work and the look of concern on his face was apparent. By the time he walked in the door at 4:30 I was fried. Then our toddler would begin whining. I regretted my decision to have children a few times. Colic consumed me. My husband would go to sleep and I would sit in bed, holding a miserable baby while so exhausted. I would pray that I could just put him down for 30 minutes. But for a few hours that never happened. I could see how someone would end up depressed from having to endure a situation like this. It's not that you don't love your children. You're just so disgustingly exhausted that you just want quiet and happiness. It's frustrating.
And slowly these symptoms are resolving. He still gets gassy, but not enough to reduce me to crying as well. I've begun to include dairy in my diet again with the exception of cheese. I keep my consumption of that to a minimum. Occasionally I enjoy a soda. I had two eggs for breakfast this morning. We are still learning. I assume that by the time we figure it out, the colic will have passed entirely and we will have our happy baby again.
How would you handle colic?
Moral of the story
If someone you know is confiding in you about colic or a fussy baby, please offer to help them. They may deny your help, but they really do want it. I speak from experience. I tend to have too much pride to admit that I need help. I assume others are the same. Who wants to admit they are having trouble with caring for a tiny baby whilst maintaining their sanity? It's embarrassing. But it's normal. So help a new parent in need. They'll appreciate it.