Monday, February 4, 2008

Patience for the fussbudget

It's been one of those weeks that I'm sure all parents endure: The lovable little fussbudget whose smiles you cherish learns that she can torture you by denying them.

Atop everything, Hope seems to have a cold. We think. Otherwise, her wake-up-in-the-morning, look-you-in-the-eye and begin wailing uncontrollably routine is just downright cruel.

It's 40 minutes following that moment, after wiggling, bopping, tickling and cooing produce only more tears, that make you realize that talk of unconditional love is hollow without patience.

Neither of us have it in any great supply. Mo has way more. I start with the best intentions. Eventually, "There, there, Sweetie" deteriorates to "What's wrong?" and then "Dagnabbit, Hope!" The worst is this feeling of helplessness, inadequacy and failure to do something as simple as comfort a child. It cuts to your core: Self-worth cultivated for decades evaporates at the realizaion you can't do something that apes have accomplished for millenia. Even Britney can soothe her children (or at least hire someone to.) You are a loser.

The problems lately seem increasingly bad during feedings. Sometimes, we put the nipple to Hope's mouth and she begins to scream. We think it's because her vocal chords are swollen because they're irritated from spitting up so much.

Initially, we thought Hope was developing colic. That now seems unlikely, in part because she seems a bit old to get it now. Also, her episodes don't seem that predictable. We're hoping it's a one-two-three whammy of the inflammation of her floppy, immature windpipe (exacerbated by reflux) and a run-of-the-mill cold. Unfortunately, cold medicines are too dangerous, so we got the green-light today to increase the dose of Prevacid to reduce the acids that discomfort her. The medicine doesn't prevent spitting up. It neutralizes her stomach acids that irritate her when she spits up.

Hopefully, that will work. Until then, it's more waiting, worrying and mental pretzels, trying to shove fear into the crevices of your brain and assuring yourself this isn't the start of the boogie-woogie flu or Guinea Worm Disease.

Mo and I hashed out our fears and frustrations yesterday. It was a tough chat, admitting your failures and acknowledging that sometimes we feel completely over our heads. I beated my breasts in agony for 40 minutes. Mo summed up our charge: "It's patience. We need to learn some. That's all there is to it." So we will. Pronto.


Grandma K. said...

Poor baby. Her insides just aren't working with her, are they?

Poor parents!! Darn it all, don't the little ones appreciate what we're trying desperately to do for them?! It convinced me at moments that original sin really exists -- our babies somtimes seemed to have a streak of evil that surely needed to be exorcised.

Hang in there, darlings. You aren't failures. Anything but. Take some breaks and be good to yourselves. We love you.

beth said...

Hey...sorry you're having such a tough week. This, too, shall pass. Rest assured, your parenting skills are far better than Britney's could ever be. K-Fed's, I'm not too sure about ...

Love ya.

Anne said...

Glad to hear about the new dose...hopefully it will help with her feedings so you both don't dread them so much.

Hang in there. Kisses to Hope!

Jan said...

We can SOOO relate! Having a baby with colic (or something that acts like it) is big time frustration. We tried laying baby on the dryer while it was running, heating pads, rubbing the tummy, driving for hours, screaming back, and none of it worked. As Beth said, "this too shall pass" -- the hard part is hanging in there for it to pass. It will!