In which I reach a new low, and try something new

Last Monday night I didn’t get much sleep. I went into work on Tuesday but felt just terrible, like I was getting the flu or something. My boss sent me home mid-morning. I tried to nap a little but Jamie demanded a lot of energy and attention from both Doc and I during the day. And Doc has a lot of work to do at the moment, several big jobs that he needs to devote a lot of time and concentration to. Jamie exhausts him during the day, and he rarely has time to do any work until I get home in the evenings.

By Tuesday afternoon, I was a wreck. My baby was in serious discomfort, I was completely worn out, and Doc needed more time and energy than he had available. I had to admit that we needed help. Something had to change. It’s not that we couldn’t take care of Jamie; we just couldn’t really do much of anything else too.

So we made a couple of decisions:

  1. I would call the lactation nurse in the morning for a same-day appointment, so we could try (again) to find some answers as to why Jamie feels bad all the time; and
  2. I called my mom. I needed to hear my mommy’s voice and reassurance. And I was going to feel her out and see if I could muster up the courage to ask her to come down and help us out for a little while.

I know, it’s completely insane to ask my mom, who lives 2,500 miles from us, to get on a plane and come give us a hand, but we don’t have any family here. We don’t have friends who can pitch in during the days to help with Jamie (everyone works full-time). We don’t have day-care or a nanny. We don’t belong to a church that a has mothers-day-out program.

As it turns out, it didn’t take much convincing to get mom to buy a plane ticket (surprised?). She was here 24 hours later.

I cannot even begin to express how grateful I am for that. She is the best mom in the whole world!

And Jamie’s behavior scared her. She has raised three kids and babysat countless other babies throughout her life, and she said that she has never seen a baby do things like stop in the middle of a feeding to scream and cry and growl like an animal in pain.

We visited the pediatrician and the lactation nurse, neither of whom seemed to think that Jamie is having problems. The pediatrician has always said, basically, that he’s gaining weight and thriving, so he’s fine. (Sigh) It’s like they don’t want to bother finding out what is wrong with him because he’s too little and “he’ll out grow it, anyway.” I’m about ready to find a new pediatrician who doesn’t think that we’re being overreactive parents.

So with little encouragement and no answers from our chosen medical professionals, we decided to take him off breastmilk for a week just to rule that out as a problem. The nurse recommended a formula called Nutramigen, which is like a super-gentle super-broken-down formula that the fussiest babies can usually handle. Problem is, it’s twice as expensive as regular formula. He goes through a $25 can in about three days. At least it smells better than the other formula that we were supplementing him with (Gentlease, which smells, as Doc put it, “like garbage and candy”).

I am cautiously optimistic that it’s working, at least to some degree. VERY cautiously optimistic, though. Jamie has fooled us before with a run of three or four good days in a row (such as when I stopped eating leafy greens). Ever since Thursday afternoon, he’s been like a different baby. Very calm, very relaxed, happy a lot of the time.

He’s still not sleeping all that well, and as a result he gets overtired during the day and crabby towards the evening. It’s hard to get him to nap for any good length of time, a lot of the time. Same song, different verse. And Sunday wasn’t the most fabulous of days, compared to Friday and Saturday.

Mom’s help has been invaluable. She’s taken over some of the night feedings, which allows me to sleep and Doc to either sleep or work. And she helps with the baby during the days, so Doc can work or nap or whatever. My sweet Doc has always done a wonderful job of getting me extra sleep (at cost to himself, of course, which always makes me feel guilty), but with Mom here too, I can get even more. I feel like I’m beginning to catch up a little bit, and when Mom leaves I will probably have a good amount of energy in reserves that I can draw from again.

We have an appointment with a pediatric gastroenterologist this week. Even though Jamie’s doing better on formula at the moment than he was on breastmilk, we want to take him in to see the specialist and see if we can find any answers. Our goal is to get him back on breastmilk if at all possible. I really miss nursing him. I hate pumping, and I especially hate getting up in the  middle of the night to do it. Our freezer is quickly running out of room to store milk. Hopefully we can find some answers soon, before we have to start tossing milk.

But, if it turns out that taking him off breastmilk is the best solution, then that’s what we will do and I will have no regrets.

Well… Okay, I might have a few secret regrets. First, that we didn’t try this sooner and saved our baby and ourselves months of agony. Second, I love breastfeeding Jamie and I will miss that bond, that closeness, the ease of feeding him however much he wants, whenever and wherever, at the perfect temperature. I can’t pretend that I won’t mourn that loss for a while.

But my baby’s comfort is my first priority. I gave him almost five months of nutrient-rich, antibody-rich breastmilk, and that’s a really good start. I would do ANYTHING to make him feel better.


  1. Laura

    I hope your appointment with the new doctor proves helpful. I think it is wonderful you have tried for five months. I have known a lot of people to give up after only a few days. Hang in there 🙂

  2. Carrie

    It’s hard to not have a few secret regrets in a lifetime of raising a child. You also harbor a whole lot of secret hopes. I’m so glad your mom can be there. Jamie will experience so many different pains in his life that you want to protect him from. One small positive you can take from all of this is that now you have that horrid experience of having it feel/be beyond your control to do much. (Your mom is probably still experiencing a similar heartbreak over your own pain over your baby.) If it is any comfort, that kid is about the cutest. In the pictures you post, he looks healthy and HAPPY. I’ve seen unhappy babies. Jamie looks content. Love to all.

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