Monday, August 13, 2012

Happy Baby, Hell Yeah!

So, after 4 months of “unsettled baby” (as described on the referral to the paediatrician) we finally have a happy boy!

I don’t think I can describe the joy, the relief, the “oh my god I cant believe it” feelings that this brings. To have a little man who is finally comfortable, who is finally smiling again – all the time – well, its just so precious. I don’t think there is anything quite like having to watch your child in pain, miserable and in constant discomfort, and feel so powerless to fix it.

Being sleep deprived doesn’t help you cope, and I know I keep banging on about that. The pediatrician discussed with me the fact that a mother who is chronically sleep deprived is only separated by something like 2 points on the Edinburgh scale for postnatal depression. That’s when I started to cry… because I knew that I had to do something, to save myself. I had never felt so desperate, or alone in all my life.

Docs diagnosis: Colic – OR – an infant form of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

I thought: “Colic - at 8 months –are you for real?”

He said “I’m one of those doctors who actually believes in Colic”…

He said: there is definitely something wrong, digestively. He also suggested that some of his problems stem from the fact that Koby has been unwell, in one form or another, for 4 months… part of his issues are the fact that he has come to depend on comfort from mama. He is waking, wanting me. This is a habit that needs to be broken.

And break it we did. Boy oh boy did we break him of this.

More on that in a sec…

Doc prescribed some medicine that needed to be made at a Compounding Chemist. Some drug that would help settle his digestive system.

I also casually mentioned to the doc that Koby is really “burpy”. Like, 3 hours after a feed, he’s still burping. He suggested we try peppermint water, to help bring the burps up. Now, I thought we’d tried everything with Koby, but I had NOT previously tried peppermint water.

Then I drove 30 minutes to drop off the prescription to the compounding chemist – was told it would be ready the following week.

So we went home, and got onto the peppermint water…

(Homemade – drop a peppermint mint or lolly into about 20mls of boiled water. Let dissolve and cool down. Administer with a dropper – about 2-5 mls before each feed - this lasts 24 hours for us, he's had it every day for the last week and a half)

That night was the worst night ever. I don’t think either me or hubby slept a wink. Koby screamed pretty much all night, he wanted comfort. When I tried to settle him, he just got more upset. So I just laid in bed and cried and cried, determined not to feed him to sleep, which is what he wanted. Hubby got angry, and then angrier with Koby. We stuck it out, awake all night, having deep and meaningful conversations at 4am… more tears, more frustration.

Next day, we moved him from the nursery (beside our bedroom) to his new bedroom, at the other end of the house. We knew he needed to cry and learn to self settle on his own (without us going in, as that just makes him angry) in a way that the rest of us were disrupted as little as possible -- so the move had to happen.

In the meantime, I continued to give him peppermint water.

And I put him to bed in his new room that next night, expecting the worst. And yes, he woke up 3 times, but he put himself back to sleep within 10 minutes each time.  Amazing what he can do when his tummy isn't bothering him.

Each night has improved out of sight, and within a week he started sleeping through the night, not waking at all… not feeding at night either…

And peppermint water? Wow. What a difference. I’ve since learned that peppermint is what they prescribe to patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Peppermint has a soothing effect on the digestive system. And Koby has stopped clenching his tummy, stopped being a bag of wind, stopped bringing his knees up to his chest, stopped being miserable in the middle of the night.

He has now started eating 3 big meals of solids per day, and already starting to gain weight.

I have even started eating gluten and dairy again, and he’s still happy and settled (despite having a headcold, and cutting another tooth this week!)

I had to go pick up the order from the compounding chemist, but so far it sits in the fridge, untouched. I don’t plan to use it at all, unless we have a major backslide.

And I cant describe how amazing I feel. Friday night I actually slept for 7 hours straight. I cant even remember the last time that happened. Incredible. Even more so because I've been suffering really badly from insomnia lately too.  But now I feel like I can be a good mama again, give my undivided attention, have some energy for my children, instead of being the exhausted zombie that I have been for so long. More than anything, I feel HOPE.

And its long overdue… Can I get a “hell yeah”?!


linda said...

Hilary- you poor thing! Didn't realise you were going through such bad times. Well done for breaking the cycle of waking for feeds- that must have been so hard but so worthwhile too. The pics are delightful- must make you feel like a bubble of sunshine seeing that happy face!

Magda said...

HELL YEAH!!! I felt so happy reading your good news.

Pip said...

Glad to hear the good news Hilary and you and Koby! He is so cute!

Liz N said...

Fan bloody tastic - I recommend peppermint tea to adult IBS sufferers and I think it works better than a lot of the proprietary formulas - good stuff!

Sandra said...

Hell Yeah!!! from me too.

I love peppermint tea but would never have thought to give it to a baby, your formula sounds spot happy for you. Both my girls were colicky (sic) so I have some idea of what you've been going through.

Wishing you many more sleepful nights xxx

Hilary said...

Thank you Linda, yes I was really struggling, I dont even think I realised how much until I was talking to the doctor. But the smiles make it all worth it :)

Thanks Magda, its so good to have a happy baby again!

Thanks Pip!

Liz I'm so amazed at the success of something so simple - it seems to be working for us so I'm just going to keep giving it to him for now. Happy to avoid the drugs too!

Thank you Sandra, he is still sleeping through so fingers crossed it continues! Colic is pretty tough isnt it? Such a hard time, and such a relief when it ends :)

Hilary xx