Monday, February 9, 2015

It's a fine line between bouncing and shaking

My daughter is 5 weeks old now, and time seems to have flown by.  There's a piece of me that can't believe that if she hadn't been a c-section delivery I'd be going back to work next week.  I'm not ready.  I'm glad I have a little more time.  I don't think I'll be ready even after my 9 weeks are up.  It's such a huge transition to make, and it seems like there should be a lot more time given to people to figure out life in this situation.  I think European countries have the right idea.

What we've experienced in the past 5 weeks has been a roller coaster.  Life swings back and forth between "Wow, she is so beautiful and awesome" and "I don't think I can possibly do this".  She's not always an easy baby.  There are days when she does nothing but cry when she's awake and there seems to be no reason for it.  She shrieks non stop unless there's a bottle in her mouth, or she nods off, and she hates her pacifier so that's no help at all.  Then, on occasion there are days when she's mostly fine.  A bit fussy on occasion but not the same shrieking as other days, and those days are great.  It's just that they're more rare than the ones with the shrieking.  We're trying to figure it out and resolve why she's so prone to shrieking, but it seems like there's not always a reason for it.  We've switched her formula and started giving her drops for excess gas and that has definitely helped, but there are still days that are just hard.

Last week we had a day where she screamed all day.  Literally, all day.  Then we were trying to go to sleep and she wouldn't stop shrieking.  Since my husband is back at work, I handle all overnight feedings and also get tasked with settling her down when she doesn't want to go to sleep.  I spent over 3 hours trying to calm her while she screamed non-stop.  Around 1:00 a.m. I found myself reaching my breaking point.  I had gotten her sort of settled and the second I shifted her position in my arms she started screaming all over again.  I started bouncing her, which seems to be the only thing that settles her down, and I realized that I could easily start bouncing her harder and I was frustrated enough to cross a line from vigorous to violent.  I choked out a "God dammit!" through my gritted teeth and tears and laid her on my bed and backed away from her, afraid that I could cross a line I wasn't prepared to cross.  My husband heard me and woke up, took a look at me standing there, horror stricken and tears streaming down my face and picked her up to resume bouncing and comforting her.  All said, it took another hour to get her to finally calm down and go to sleep, and when she finally did she only gave me an hour before she woke up again to be fed.  I spent the night on the sofa with her to prevent her from waking my husband up again, and when I finally got her to settle down after he bottle I got another few hours of sleep, but the night was spent feeling like the worst person alive for getting so frustrated with her.  There was literally a point where I looked at her and said "SHUT UP!" and I felt so bad.  She's a baby, she can't help the crying, she probably didn't feel well, and I was telling her to shut up.  I felt terrible for getting so frustrated, and wondered if I'm the worst mom ever for breaking like that.

The good news is that we're slowly turning some corners.  She has a cold, so her nose is stuffy and congested which is making her cranky, but things are changing a bit.  The gas drops are helping with some of her fussiness, and the past two nights she's been sleeping through the night.  She's given us at least 6 hours per night, and when she wakes up she's mostly all smiles and good moods, which has been lovely.  Today has been rough, because she doesn't feel well so she's cranky, but I'm hopeful that things will get better when she's feeling better.  I hope that this is the start of a new routine for us, and that she is starting to settle into a good pattern.  We still combat pre-bedtime screaming and a lot of fighting going to sleep, but I'm hopeful that we'll soon turn a corner on that too.

I guess that despite the struggle, the good thing is that when she's in a good mood, she's my favorite little person ever.  She's learning to smile, and her eyesight is sharpening so she's starting to notice things around her and take interest in them.  She is beautiful when she's sleeping.  She's starting to look for us more when she hears our voices.  When she's settled, she's snuggly and sweet.  She's learning to not hate baths as much, and we're learning that car rides equal instant sleep for her.  This weekend she discovered her tongue and has started blowing spit bubbles, and sticking her tongue out, which seems to amuse her.  There have been a few times where she's found her thumb and started sucking it.  These are little things that I just love about her, and even though there are moments where I'm crying at 1:00 a.m. because I don't know how to help her or get her to stop crying, there are moments when I look at her and all I can think is "Man, she is so awesome".  I guess you take the good with the bad.


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