And it wasn't just my mama, but all the mama's I know said there'd be days like this. Days where the newborn babe doesn't sleep, is fussy, is gassy, doesn't settle and you're exhausted, at your wits end and wondering when the reprieve will come. Yes, mama said there'd be days like this. What she didn't say was that there'd be months like this.
We're now well into month two with our little man and unfortunately almost every day (who am I kidding, it is every day ... every single day) is riddled with his poor tummy troubles. He's extremely gassy and uncomfortable most of the day and night. He grunts and groans and squirms, drawing his tiny little legs up to his belly and stretching them back out. He does this whether awake or asleep and when asleep he'd wake himself up crying every 15-45 minutes. It's been so troublesome, we've been to the doctor about six times, have had medication (that didn't work) and had an ultrasound on his stomach (that showed all clear). That's a lot for a little guy just 10 weeks old. Heck, it's a lot for the mama at 32 years old! The only consolation came when we showed the doctor a video and (again) explained what was happening and she acknowledged this isn't normal behaviour for a baby. Yes, some grunting and groaning, some squirming, some fussiness is all par for the course, just not to the extent that our little man seems to have it.
So, whaddya do? Apparently ride it out and hope for the best, which is what we've been doing for weeks. At the doctor's direction and chats with the public health nurses, we've been through the full array of formulas - first on the standard 'as close to breastmilk as possible' followed by a gentle one for fussy/gassy babies followed by a thickened one that's supposed to settle better in their tummy followed by the lactose-free (which made him ten times worse than any of the others!) followed most recently by a soy formula, which seemed to settle Hudson the most. Really, it has been just trial and error. As is the case with the infamous 20/20 hindsight, I should have just listened to my mother five weeks ago when she suggested trying soy, given both my sister and I were intolerant of milk, as was my nephew and one of Des' nieces. Mother knows best. I know that, so why I didn't listen to her is beyond me.
Anyways, fast forward a month when we finally switched to soy, we saw some improvement within hours of introducing it. He can now sleep up to (but not necessarily) a couple of hours without waking, though he stills squirms and grunts and groans throughout his sleep, we have more happy time with him than we had previously and he goes a little longer between feedings. But, he still wakes himself up despite still being sleepy, still keeps us up all night with the constant motion and noise and is still fussy for large portions of the day. After another week of that, we were back to doc who suggested that we continue to soy for a few more weeks. Her theory is that Hudson is sensitive to milk, so his little insides might be agitated and inflamed after weeks of being exposed to it and he just needs a little more time to adjust. So, we resumed riding it out and hoping for the best.
In the meantime, we're still desperate for sleep and comfort for our boy and the return of some sense of normalcy in our (new) lives. We have been/are willing to try just about anything to get it. Now, don't get me wrong, there are lots of helping hands pitching in to make the time pass more restfully, including my mom and sister, my sisters- and brother-in-laws and friends, all willing to take their turn holding and feeding and (not)sleeping so D and I can get that solid night's sleep to re-energize for the week ahead. And I fully recognize that is much more than many new parents get, though many new parents also get babies that sleep semi-contentedly for longer than 20 minute stints, so I call us even-steven.
In an attempt to discover some untold baby-whispering secrets, I posted a video of the boy doing his thing on Facebook soliciting advice from anyone willing to offer it. Most of what was offered, while very much appreciated, we've already tried. We take care to feed him slowly, burp him well and keep him upright for a while after feeding. We tried Oval drops, which were like giving him water, and Gripe Water, which seems to help a little, but since we started that just after introducing soy we're not sure whether it was the GW or just the soy. Either way, we're not going to play with it to find out. We walk him, rock him, lay him across our knees, sit him upright and pat/rub/massage his back, all of which helps him settle for short times, but doesn't ward off the issue for long. We tried swaddling tight, which stopped the fussing and initial gassiness, but didn't help with sleep. We tried sleeping him on his back (which until very recently was an absolute no-go and sent him in to fits), on his side, on an incline, upright in his swing, even on his tummy while we watched closely. We've co-slept, cradle-slept, and playpen-slept. We tried holding him on our chests while we slept. Each has offered temporary relief, but none helped more than the other and none helped consistently.
This weekend, we tried a new combination of warm bath + massage + clean PJs followed by a story + bottle + good burping + upright snuggle time followed by a nice tight swaddle + placing him on his back on an incline + in his own crib. The only thing new in this mix, other than the combination, was the crib. We avoided that up til now as everyone said he was too small for that yet, but as it was the one piece of advice we'd not yet tried, we gave it a go. The first night went OK, with some decent sleeping. The second night, not so much. As with all the other endeavours, the results were not consistent.
So, with no further improvement and another few rough nights under our belts, we decided we'd had enough. Not willing to wait another three weeks or more before seeing a pediatrician,we were off to the Janeway last night to see medical professionals who specialize in children and determine if there was something more we could or should be doing. After all was said and done, we concluded that even though the nurses and doctor were excellent, they're all just guessing and there's really no answer. We were told it 'could' be a number of things - possibly his tummy adjusting to finally be milk free; possibly the just bothered by the number of formula changes he's had even though it was the right course of action to take; possibly a combination of that and some reflux, and perhaps he wasn't kept on zantac long enough; remote possibility of a UTI; or possibly just be colic even though Hudson doesn't show classic signs of colic. They really don't know and as he's otherwise healthy (putting on weight, good colour, regular bowel movements, eating well, etc) there's no need to do any invasive testing now. And if you ask me, I think they say it's possibly colic just because they don't have another explanation.
From here, we're scheduled for a pediatric clinic next week and were sent home with bottles to collect urine samples to rule out a UTI. Now that should be fun, catching the pee of a 2 month old in a bottle. Happy Monday to me ;) Otherwise we were assured it is ok to ignore his noise and squirming at night, so that's what we're trying to do. That, and continue to ride it out.
I, again, unabashedly and unashamedly am open to any advice mamas & papas wiser to babes than I can offer while we ride this out. And while mama may always be right, she was wrong when she said there'd be days like this. It really has been months. The only saving grace at this point is mama also always said that things start to even out in new babes around three months and that seemingly-elusive point-in-time is just two to three weeks away. I hope mama's right about that.