Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Baby With Colic

Let me tell you a story. A story about my first family picture experience.

I arranged a session at a decently priced studio and was super excited to have our first family pictures taken. We were going to use them as Christmas Cards. I had adorable, red and cream ensembles for the kids and the hubs and I. I packed us up and we headed to our session. Upon arrival, Travin, my then 2 month old baby boy, began to cry. Atley, my 1.5 year old was eager to explore this new area and started running around.

I decided to try and breastfeed the baby, but he wouldn't latch. Our session began, screaming baby and all, so 28th Atley still refusing to sit still. I could tell our photographer was frazzled. She didn't use a single pose I'd suggested and kept staring at my infant like he was an alien from Jupiter. I calmly explained, "He has colic. Please just keep shooting." 45 min or flying bows and kicked off shoes later, I left the studio in tears.

I was SO disappointed that our photographer was unable to capture the "perfect" image of me and my family. I wanted my children to look like Gerber Babies, smiling affectionately, with me and my husband romantically holding hands behind them. I bought the CD anyway because I felt so dang bad for making every employee there listen to my boy cry until his lungs might burst, but I was sure I wouldn't like any of the pictures because....well....we just didn't look happy.

The longer I scanned through the images, and let the anger from the photo session fade, the more I discovered the pictures didn't capture two perfect children who behaved well all the time, and two happy parents who never felt exhaustion and helplessness. No, the images on the CD captured PERFECTLY my family the way it is. 

My son has colic. My daughter had colic until she was 9 months old.

For those of you who don't have experience with this, may you forever count your blessings. Yes, I know I'm luckier than some women who never have the opportunity to be a mother, and I'm so thankful for that each day. However, there is a very real pain associated with having children with colic and only those who have been through it know why. 

There isn't a super clear explanation for colic. The babies just cry...and cry....and cry. It is the saddest, most horrific ordeal any mother could go through. It is like Ground Hog day, and every morning you wake up thinking, Today will be the day!! I'll make them happy today! And every day, you fail. Your baby cries until they are blue in the face, writhing and contorting their bodies in unexplained agony. They look you in the eye, with tears rolling down their cheeks. And their heart says to yours, "Mom, I don't understand. Can you fix it?" 

I probably sob just as much as my babies during these beginning months. 
No, my dearest, most precious creation. I cannot fix it.

Oh, and yes. The babies are in pain because when you take them to get their shots, and they hardly cry, because it is nothing know your offspring is living in torment. It KILLS you inside. Even during the rare moments of quiet, or sleep, or smiles when they choose to appear--those smiles make you feel like you're floating on a cloud of exaltation, soaring through the pearly gates of heaven, on a high only 12 Mountain Dews could bring--, the hurt does not have time to heal because the next day, at the crack of dawn, it begins all over again.

Are you an animal person?  Do you have a bird, or cat, or gerbal you take to Starbucks with you ? I'm a dog lover myself. Imagine, every morning, your dog's leg was snapped. You had to listen to your beloved pet cry and whimper, day, and night, and nothing you did helped. Plot twist, every morning for the next 9 months your dog woke up with a new broken bone. Good luck staying sane.

It is a million times worse with a baby human. (no offense animal enthusiasts. Its just natures law)

But that is as close to explaining the emotional toll in words I can think of.
Now throw in a few exciting trials like getting the flu, having a husband that travels for work, often 7 days at a time, and the fact that it is 10 degrees outside so you're vitamin D deficiency is accumulating with stress from lack of out door activities.
With an active toddler, sometimes I HAVE to put Travin down so I can take care of her needs. Which means blood curdling cries until I can see to HIS needs. I'm fortunate if I have a second to pour a bowl of cereal, which I try to consume while cradling/bouncing a baby, and juggling a toddler who is climbing all over us. Food is a luxury...which usually ends up on my floor.

 I'm a firm believer in God and His plan for all of us. I know somewhere, deep down, this is God's way of "succoring me" to come unto Him. Since I have a tendency to forget to pray, and rely on the Spirit, He is allowing me to get down on my knees and pray every hour of the day. Having to go through this torture, twice, is a growing moment for me, and it is definitely teaching me to pray more consistently. Obviously, I haven't learned my lesson yet...side eye....or my children would most likely be happier. Nonetheless, I will continue to try and pray frequently and listen to God's prompting for how I can comfort my sweet (evil) little ones. Joking. Sorta.

In the end, I know they grow out of colic and become cherished (still evil) toddlers. Joking again. But really. 

I hope anyone who has a baby with colic knows they are not alone. And that there isn't anything you are doing wrong. You cannot always fix it, and that's okay. I know that feeling of failure and heartache and wanting more than anything to transfer their suffering to you. Maybe, in a tiny way, it helps us also understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ more. I'm so sorry you feel hopeless. I understand that burning desire that is half desperation to find a solution and half desperation to flee. I understand the guilt for even thinking you would want to leave. Of course it is only temporary, to find some solace and calm, to find a place to think and screw all your nuts and bolts back in, but it still shocks you that you would want to. Its okay. Its necessary even, at times.  

In conclusion, I'm so glad with how my pictures turned out. My Christmas cards were a HUGE hit, with the caption, "Silent-ish Night" successfully bringing smiles to faces. I will forever remember these hard days and nights because I bought this stupid CD. This image here happens to be my favorite, because it depicts exactly how my kids felt. Atley was so over it. And Travin was taking in a deep breath, gearing up for a big scream. My children are beautiful. And hopefully I am too, even when I am bald, because I pulled my hair out one by one.....

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