30 Mar

I love Jack more than I love cheese!

It has been seven weeks and one day since Jack made is grand appearance! He is awesome beyond imagining and I love him so! He is my sunshiney love and when he smiles my whole reason for being is apparent. 

The last few weeks have been challenging. Chances are when you read that, you thought, “yeah, newborns are challenging!” If that thought popped into your cerebellum then you, my friend, are amongst a group of people who had a  similar thought. And that thought almost drove me insane! 

To be fair, there was a perfect storm of factors that together had a cumulative affect of exhaustion-induced psychosis on this new mom. My support team is wide-spread across the country and while emotional support came readily in ample supply in-person physical support was scarce. Nick has an uncanny ability to sleep through events that would wake a corpse. 

To add to it all, Jack was suffering. He was crying a lot and inconsolable many times. He was angry nursing, pulling off the breast and screaming, beating and clawing my chest, and choking. He was also comfort nursing so frequently my nipples were getting torn up with no hope of healing. Poor little Jack was also suffering apnea events, frequent, gassy and painful hiccups, green, mucousy diapers, and a dozen or more wet diapers in a day. He could not – and let me be clear when I say COULD NOT – sleep on his back. This doesn’t mean “mom wouldn’t put him down” or any variation of that. It means that my darling boy was in pain when he was laid flat on his back. 

To the ignorant, lazy, and/or egotistical medical practitioner, this collection of symptoms means a colicky baby, a difficult baby, or a bad mom. All of which are not only patently untrue but also in essence impossible. 

After weeks of seeking care and being failed left and right I finally broke down on Jack’s and my doctor’s office. She interpreted my emotional breakdown as an acute situation and wrote Jack a prescription for Zantac and instructed me to seek psychiatric help. That night, after Jack’s first dose of Zantac, our lives got back on track!

The most disruptive and stressful symptoms improved within thirty minutes of his first dose and that night Jack slept for the first time since his first few days of life without showing any signs of pain and discomfort. This means that I slept! It was as if someone had swapped my baby out for one that was the exact same except he wasn’t in pain. I even suffered a bit of anxiety in Saturday feeling as if I somehow “broke” my baby because he was sleeping so much. In truth, he was sleeping the correct amount!

This gave a name to Jack’s tormentor: silent reflux. This is reflux where the baby does not spit up and where they also gain weight and grow just fine or even better than fine. The latter is Jack’s case: he was 12 pounds 2 ounces and 23 inches at six weeks and three days. My big boy!

Now that the fog has cleared, I am stuck wondering what exactly causes my son’s extreme silent reflux. It could simply be an immature sphincter. But an immature sphincter does not cause the other problems. The other problems could be unrelated. 

Or he could have milk/soy protein intolerance, or MSPI. I’ll let you do your own reading into it if you’re interested. Simply put, it fits and more importantly, it is something I can combat on my own without affecting Jack too much. All I have to do is remove any and all sources of dairy and soy from my diet and wait. 

So begins my journey. I eat a fair amount of obvious dairy products: rice pudding, yogurt, cheese, milk… I don’t consume a large amount of obvious soy but I’m finding trace soy in the form of soy lecithin in just about everything. All of my favorite protein-rich snacks have whey protein in them. Thankfully, I can eat nuts! And fruit. 

The most difficult to find item so far is bread so today I’m going to make my own soy- and dairy-free bread using this recipe. Wish me luck! The results will be forthcoming. 
And even more than luck in the bread-making wish me luck in helping Jack. He’s the one who really matters here. I’m willing to do anything to help him because I seriously do love him more than I love cheese!

Have some photos because I love you!

07 Mar

Jack in the Fox!

Little Jack is one month old today. It’s been an amazing month, so full to the brim with love and joy. There’s been some dark spots to be sure but any sadness is overwhelmed by the sweetness of my baby boy. 

In the beginning, there were significant rough patches. I won’t go into too much detail but I’m not ashamed to admit that postpartum anxiety and depression paid me a visit. Things are improving slowly and steadily. I’m getting between four and six hours of sleep a night and snagging a nap during the day. The biggest frustration right now seems to be my milk supply. It’s so finicky!! I’m engorged in the morning and drained in the evening. I can’t wait for it to even out!

There are some significant things I want to remember:

All of the baby smells. I love every scent associated with Jack. I seriously love the otherwise repulsive smells. His diapers don’t smell bad at all!! 

His hands. They are so tiny and yet so big. I love how he moves them in his sleep. I love how he holds my breast when nursing. I love his grip on my finger. I love to kiss his fingers. 

Waking up and seeing his face. We are bed sharing right now because it’s the only thing that works. I love waking up and looking down and seeing him. He is so sweet and peaceful when he’s sleeping. 

Speaking of sleep… I love his sleepy expressions! He moves through a whole range of emotions while he sleeps usually starting with a gummy grin. I’ve seen smirks, sly smiles, huge grins, anger, pouting, consternation, surprise, and fear. All while his eyes are closed! Sometimes a laugh will sneak out. Other times, he will cry out in fear or pain. It’s all sweetly precious. 

Oh. Yes. Also, he is so cute when he cries!! He goes “ooo-WAAH!” and I can’t stand it. 

I’m sure I’m missing things but Jack just fell asleep so I’m going to try and snag a wink. Here are some photos I took of him at three weeks old and one on his one month birthday.