Friday, June 25, 2010

Harper's Colic

(I know I have mentioned before that Harper has colic, but I know that I downplayed its severity.  This is the real story of Harper's colic.)
My mom had warned me before I had Harper that I had colic as a baby.  Wade's mother warned me that he had colic as a baby.  Therefore, I concluded, our baby would also have colic.  All this meant to me was I would have a baby who screamed all the time.
But what is colic, really?  I looked it up on and realized I was pretty much right:
"All babies cry, but sometimes a baby will cry for hours at a time, no matter what you do. This extreme type of crying in a baby between 3 weeks and 3 months of age is called colic. Although it is upsetting for parents and caregivers, colic is normal for some babies.
Doctors usually diagnose colic when a healthy baby cries harder than expected in a "3" pattern: more than 3 hours a day more than 3 days a week for at least 3 weeks in a row. Colic is usually worst when babies are around 6 to 8 weeks of age and goes away on its own between 8 and 14 weeks of age."
There are no causes, no reasons for colic.  It may be because their nervous system isn't developed.  It may be due to a "sensitive temperament" whatever the hell that means.   Harper's "episodes," as I like to call them, began when she was three weeks old.  This is her 12th week and she will be 3 months on the 29th.  Maybe, just maybe, we will get lucky and this will all stop at 14 weeks.  I've heard tell, though, that we may not be that lucky.  Some go to five months or, HEAVEN FORBID, 7 months like this.  YIKES.
For a first-time mom (and I'm sure it's the same for those who have multiple's just quite a shock for a new parent) when this all began, I was a complete wreck.  Absolutely nothing would calm her down.  I felt like a failure; like the world's worst mother.  I don't believe in letting a baby cry it out and I felt that that was what I was doing to her.  Some nights she screamed/cried/wailed for 2 hours and some nights she would go strong for 5 or 6.  It is only frustrating because there is no cure, no simple way to help her.  I look at my baby with her pouty lip and my heart just falls to pieces.  She looks at me with eyes begging for help.  Momma, why can't you make this stop?! That's what those beautiful blue eyes are asking me.  I apologize over and over to her during her episodes.  I tell her I love her more than anything or anyone else.  I hold her close so she knows I'm there for her.  There's no worse feeling in the world than knowing you can't help your baby.  There were a few times where it was all day and all night crying.  And just when I was about to the breaking point, she got better.  At about 8 weeks old, she was happy during the day.  She gave me her first smiles.  We played and I sang her songs and read her storybooks.  The nights were still bad, but it was those days that made it all worthwhile.
And then last week happened and she was back at it.  We tried the vacuum cleaner (which worked a handful of times).  Harper is very content outside because of all the noise, but that wasn't an option thanks to the massive amounts of rained we endured.  If it wasn't for my mother (!), father, and husband, I don't know how I would have gotten through these weeks with my head still attached.  I know I would have made it through because she's my baby, my world.  But they all kept me sane.  When I needed to fall down exhausted into a chair or eat or even go to the bathroom, they were there to step in.  There's nothing like a good support team to get you through the bad times.
I broke down and bought some organic gripe water last weekend.  It's supposed to help with hiccups (which she gets at least 2 times a day), teething, upset stomach, and gas.  I've been giving it to her twice a day, sometimes three times.  I don't know if it has really helped, but this has been a glorious week.  Lots of "talking," smiles, rolling over (!), kisses, and oh so much more! 
Dealing with a colic-y baby is an adjustment.  It's so difficult at times and completely exhausting.  But I wouldn't trade one millisecond of my moments with her - good or bad.  Even though I hope and wish that her colic episodes are coming to an end (or have ended!) she is my everything and I will do my damnedest to make sure she is happy, healthy, and thriving no matter what.

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