Things that no one ever told me about newborns, Part II

Let me preface this post by stating that I know that some people are going to totally take this post out of context and get huffy. I'm so not interested in any judgmental comments or emails, so save the drama for your mama, y'all.

Meeting your baby for the first time. It is amazing to see that round little tomato face after so many months of wondering what he/she will look like. In the movies they would have you believe that instantly you feel so bonded to your newborn. And some women do. A lot of women don't though. At least not at first.

I felt disconnected to my daughter after she was born. I had to have a c-section after an intense 25 hours of labor, two hours of which were hard, non-stop pushing. The epidural did not work, so really it was as painful as natural childbirth. On top of that, horrible sciatic pain which had cursed me through out my pregnancy. All leading up to being a little bit out of my mind with pain for such a long time.

I wasn't too torn up about having to have a c-section. "HOW FAST CAN WE DO IT?!!!" was my reply I believe.

After she was 'out', she had problems breathing. Her arms and legs were blue, and that blue, that eerie blue, was creeping up her lower body and up to her chest. I felt like I waited so long while they were working on her (and I was being stitched back up) to see her. When they brought her to me to look at (not hold), I could only look at her for a few moments before I had a reaction to the drugs they gave me and I threw up. She was then taken to the nursery where she had what looked like a baby astronaut helmet put on her that gave her oxygen. It was hours before I'd see her and actually get to hold her.

I wasn't able to breastfeed. It was not the end of the world, but I felt like a failure. I think part of me felt like I wasn't as bonded to her because I wasn't able to breastfeed. What can you do though? You take what you have and you just deal with it.

Then came the colic.

Any colic survivors out there? High fives to you moms and dads that made it through colic.

I don't think anything in the world can completely prepare you for colic. All day long, all night long, the crying rarely ends. After weeks and weeks of crying, it is no wonder that I was very depressed. Taking care of this beautiful daughter I had been blessed with was the hardest thing I had ever done. Much harder than her labor. Harder than anything in my whole life.

What can you say to moms and dads dealing with a newborn that has colic?

HANG IN THERE. You can read all the articles you want, try out miracle blankets and gripe water, but in the end, you are left with a crying baby most days. You are going to feel so alone, so sad, so exhausted and disappointed. You had imagined a little angel baby would be arriving, and instead, this little squawking, tomato faced devil child is your kid.

IT DOES GET BETTER. I know it seems like it never will. Just hang in there. You don't have to fake a smile. You don't have to tell everyone that things are great. You don't have to do anything, except hang in there. Hang on for dear life.

The hurdles we faced together initially left me feeling disconnected to my baby girl. That too, gets better. You are perfectly normal if you feel that way too. Just know that if I can survive it, you can too. Believe it or not, in a few weeks or months, it will be a distant memory. OK, maybe a VIVID memory, but you get my point. Slowly but surely, that baby will starting smiling, start cooing, and in my case, turn into that little angel you always hoped for.


AM said...

Amen sister. The first 4-6 months are SO HARD. And no one ever tells you that. (for fear of scaring the daylights out of you.)

Congrats on making it this far! It gets easier and more fun as the time passes.

Anonymous said...

thanks AM! :)

Anonymous said...

It does get easier, I did it eleven times so it must.(lol)
You have a beautiful baby, enjoy everyday no matter how bad it gets.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. Good to know I'm not the only one struggling with raising a newborn or in my case three newborns.


Frantic Home Cook said...

Good to see someone talking honestly about this. I had two babies. One slept for 4-6 hours when I brought her home and didn't have colic. The other slept only off and on for about 1 hour stretches and had such terrible colic that the doctors tested her. Hubby was on the road, my parents were gone and I had zero support. That wasn't the delicious baby time
I had envisioned. But she outgrew it and is a great easygoing kid.

Those early months can be really, really tough. Especially with hormones and sore nipples and exhaustion.

It gets easier. If any mom is feeling stretched, enlist some help and get some rest. Don't feel ashamed to admit that you're sad or overwhelmed. We all were.

Thanks for writing this!

Karen Erickson said...

Ah it's tough, I remember those days fondly and not so fondly.

It does get easier though different ages bring different situations. Just cherish these moments now because next thing you know they're five and yelling at their little brother at the top of their lungs. LOL

Anonymous said...

I think it is great that you are sharing this. I had a similar experience with my first and felt very alone.

Know that it really does get more fun and if you do have a second know that a planned c-section is MUCH, MUCH better than the birth and recovery you went through this time.

Marylin said...

oh I know that feeling. Our second child wasn't colicky but he was a screamer... a non-stop scream-unless-i'm-being-held kind of baby. that went on constantly until about 3 weeks ago when I went onto anti-depressants and he had a major (read excriciating for me!) growth spurt.

Well done on getting through the colic! You have the most beautiful daughter - be proud!

BC said...

Ali, I loved reading this post and really love your honesty (and sense of humor!) about the whole thing. Congratulations on getting through the toughest part and surviving like a champ!

Mary D in Texas said...

My son is 24 years old and I still have VIVID memories of his colicky days. It does, of course, get better. Those were some long, lonely days and nights. I went on to have two more children neither of which ever had one bit of colic.

Keely said...

Great post, Ali! Zoe never had colic, but I understand what you wrote. Being a mom is not all flowers and sunny - it's crying baby, spit up, puke, poop and no sleep. I admire your honesty and know it will be helpful to other mom's out there. :)

Willie & Waylon said...

Well said!!!
It does get easier! Now just keeping up with her crawling, pulling up, balancing on toes.... I love my girl so much! She is already 8 months old... it has flown by!

{Karla} said...

while never considered colicky - my third child cried and cried and cried and cried.

Some how I made it.

It definitely gets easier!


Amy said...

Your experience sounded exactly like mine. I had expected that we would have this incredible "this is it" moment and it didn't happen. I thought he was a great kid, sure, but I didn't have that feeling until much later. I think this is a big motherhood myth. I grew to love my son, but it took time. I suffered through a milk allergy, colic, breastfeeding issues, going back to work, postpartum was rough. I wish people wouldn't gloss this over so much. Of course, I had another little baby later and had some difficulties, but nothing like my first. It did get easier and each child is so different. It just takes growth and learning about one another before I think you hit that magical time that you think is going to happen as soon as they rest them on your belly :)

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your post so much! It's good to hear a realistic view.

suZqZ said...

Ok. I've had it easy so far. We're at 6 weeks and my only complaint is that he's killing my boobs. Breastfeeding is painful for me... but he's gaining weight and a happy boy. Gotta keep it in perspective, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I just stumbled upon your blog today, and I love it! I am the mommy of a 9 month old baby boy who had "colic" for the first 3months of his life. Ahhhh, those were the toughest, longest days of my entire life and no one quite understood what I went through... I wanted to punch the lights out of people who said, "Oh yeah, babies will cry." But this was different. It was constant crying. We changed him, rocked him, cuddled him, fed him, loved him... but he still cried... for hours... non stop. It was heart-wrenching. Hours of listening to "white noise" on the radio (which seemed to be the only thing that calmed him). Tons of money spent on Dr. Brown bottles that supposedly reduced colic. I too was depressed. I cried alot with him in my arms. I would put him down in his cradle and walk away and cry. The doctor said it would end around 3 months, and sure enough, when he was about 13 or 14 weeks old it stopped. He was better. Finally I started to enjoy having a newborn baby. You're right, what parents need to do is hang in there, don't give up, don't lose your cool, and it WILL get better. Now, my baby is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. Although, my hubby says no more kids in fear of the next one having colic too. Oh well. Keep up the great blogs.