Thursday, March 11, 2010

It's her Party and She'll Cry if She Wants to...

In honor of National Colic Month (not that there is such a thing but there should be) I am going to regale you with the first precious weeks of Princess' life.

She looked like a porcelain doll when she was born. She was tiny, and perfect. I mean seriously. My mom carries the hospital picture in her wallet and people STILL stop her when she flips it open to pay for something. I think she does it just for the reaction, but hey, whatever floats your boat Grandma. She was angelic.

And for about a week, she stayed that way. Sleeping, nursing, making angel faces with her little perfect face....

Until one day. When she began to cry.

...and she didn't stop for EIGHT WEEKS.

If you've had a colic baby, I'm pretty sure right now you're experiencing what I call the Colic Sympathy Flashback Shudder. (This may or may not be followed by a period of heavy drinking.)

I was a first time mom, ladies and gents, so I was pretty sure that My Baby was Broken. Anyone who has ever heard a colic cry knows that it differs STRONGLY from a "normal" baby cry. It's sort of like those SAT questions, you know, black is to night as sun is to day or whatever. Only it's like cry is to colic as butter knife is to chainsaw! It's totally crazy. And there's nothing YOU CAN DO.

We did what any normal parents would do. We freaked out. (I should mention that I had a leeeetle post-partum that may or may not have been royally screwed by the colic.)

Does she have a fever?!
How the hell should I know!
Where's the baby thermometer?
I don't know, check in your ass!
She's screaming! Is she hungry???
Why don't YOU breastfeed her then!
Her FACE is red and she isn't even breathing she's screaming so hard!
We have to call the DOCTOR!

This is just a sample of course, it was FAR less coherent than that in reality.

The next day, we dutifully took her right to the doctor. She looked her over and very kindly, patiently, and slowwwwly explained that there was NOTHING physically wrong with Princess.

I'm pretty sure it's.....colic. She said.

But I'm NURSING her. I replied. Clearly the doctor did NOT understand I had been a model pregnant mommy, had a fabulously short birth AND was getting a gold star for nursing despite wanting to chop my own boobs off given the agonizing pain of Princess latching like a tiny angel-faced lamprey.

Welllll, colic isn't very well understood and it WILL pass. Usually by three months of age.

Oh I'm sorry Doctor McGenius, did you say MONTHS???

Yes, yes she did.

So we took our lovely red-faced screaming angel home. The Man zipped back to hiding at work, and I sat on the couch. Crying. She cried and screamed, I cried and called Grandma.

Weeks passed. I thought about running away to Vegas. Surely she'll understand when I explain The Colic to her, I thought. Most colic babies have colic TIMES, like from 3-7 pm say. Princess? If she was AWAKE, she screamed, screamed as if all the goblins in hell were attacking her wee precious body.

I went in for my 6 week check and immediately burst into tears when my favorite Nurse of All Time, Anne, asked how I was holding up. Ahhhh, she said. Looks like we have some Post-Partum. And colic! I added.

Then she said some magic words. Honey, she said, that baby is not Jesus Christ. You won't go to hell if you put her in her crib, let her cry and take a shower. Then, she gave me Zoloft.

At 8 weeks, Princess turned a corner. She opened her eyes instead of keeping them shut as she howled. One day, she looked at me AND SMILED. I remember thinking, Holy Shit, this baby has double dimples! Who knew?

And then she became a Happy Baby. We had made it through the dark forest of colic. (But barely, just barely.)

Once Princess stopped shrieking through the days, and I got some sleep, I didn't even need the Zoloft, but Anne's words stuck with me. I didn't have to be a perfect mom. Just a good one.

For the record, the longest crying stretch? FIVE HOURS without a break. This may be the reason when we discovered our surprise pregnancy with Cassanova that I had a nervous breakdown. (He, of course, barely cried at all, and is still my more mellow child.)

So if you're a colic mom, or dad, take heart, it does end. And until then, let them cry for 20 minutes and take a shower. You can't hear them in the shower. Trust me. And because I'm nice, here are some Colic Calming ideas:

*Swaddle them like a taco
*Swing them in the baby swing
*Pace circles in your floor while patting them
*Bicycle their legs around
*Take them for a ride in the car
*Put them in a basket and leave them on your neighbor's porch
*Call Grandma or Grandpa and tell them to come over. Now.
*If you're not nursing, fill a blender half and half with daiquiri mix and rum. Drink liberally
*Sleep while they sleep and cry while they cry
*Find a good doctor for YOU
*Run off to Vegas and return when they're 4

Just some ideas, not ALL of them work. (Obviously joking about the abandonment, drinking, etc. Do NOT blame me if you try those!)

Comments, questions, colic?