What now? A period of adjustment

July 21, 2010

Jax was wheeled into my room in a stainless steel bassinet by a nurse who issued a laundry list of instructions that concluded with, “And when he needs changing, here are the diapers and wipes.”

Diapers!  Wipes!  Changing!  Didn’t they do that for you?!

When you elect to have a baby solo, there’s a lot to process.  Buying swimmers took me to the Appalachian Mountains.  Fertility treatments took me over the Rockies.  There were financial considerations that took me up to the Andes.  Beans don’t like high altitudes, and there were a lot of mountain ranges to cross.  If I thought about all of those mountains, I got dizzy and sick and started to hyperventilate.   So I shut down and took one mountain at a time and didn’t look at the rest of the map unless I really had to.  And somehow in the whole 8.75 months that I was pregnant, I hadn’t really thought about changing diapers or what came next.

For the first two days in the hospital, I would nurse Jax, and if his facial expression ever hinted at a diaper change, I quickly called for the nurse to retrieve him.  Unless Mimi was there.  Mimi, who had returned from a family reunion at breakneck speed, was a diaper-changing Nazi.

Finally on the third day, I started changing him.  This was before the poop really came in, and by the time it arrived, I was too punch drunk from sleep deprivation to be horrified.

On the second day, Jax started crying and crying.  I rocked him.  He cried.  I paced with him.  He cried.  I kissed him.  He cried.  I sang to him.  HE WAILED BLOODY MURDER.  Then I started crying.  And crying…. 

We both had colic. 

When it was time to leave the hospital, I loaded up the car and the baby and sent for Hyacinth, my petted and very spoiled Pekingnese.  She looked at Jax unimpressed and gave me a look that said, “You’ve born an alien.  What the hell have you gotten us into this time?!”

So Hyacinth, Jax and I descended upon Mimi… for six weeks.

Until this point, my life had been about me, and here was this screaming baby, who had a scary case of diaper rash and a raging case of colic.

He wore us all out.  For two weeks I hardly ventured out of my nightgown, let alone the house.  Hyacinth glared at me.  The baby screamed.  Mimi cooked, cleaned, did laundry and changed diapers.  The baby screamed.  I cried.  Finally, one day I went to the grocery store.  When I discovered my blouse unbuttoned halfway, I ran back to the car.  On the radio, Bono sang, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for,” and I had an acute colic attack.

One little baby took us down that easily.  The only time the kid was happy was when he was eating.   The crying was worse at night.  And I’d often find myself strapping him in the car at night where I’d drive around for an hour just for a little peace.  As soon as the car stopped, the baby would get cranked up again.

And the poop!  One night oddly enough he wasn’t crying.  It was near midnight.  Mimi was worn out and in bed upstairs.  I was downstairs changing his diaper, and in the three-second lag when I struggled with the tape, he peed on me.  As if that wasn’t enough, he projectile pooped all over my nightgown.  And baby poop, gentle reader, is vile, vile stuff from which I will spare you a description.  I shrieked.  Mimi did not come to my rescue.  I shrieked again.  And then with the baby in one hand and my cell phone in the other, I managed to call Mimi.  I heard her phone ringing upstairs.  She didn’t answer.  I heard the machine come on.  I called again.  Still she didn’t answer.  “MIMI!” I screamed. 

Great.  Mimi is in a coma, and I’m in CRISIS.  The baby poop was beginning to ooze down my leg and the baby was beginning to cry.  I rolled up the hem of my nightgown and held it with one hand and the baby in the other and made my way very slowly upstairs.  Hyacinth looked on smugly…. It was just the beginning of the poop disasters.

A month into motherhood, we went for a pediatrician visit.  The good doctor beamed.

“You’re solely breastfeeding?” he asked. 

“Yep.  And he never seems to get enough,” I said.

“Oh, he’s getting enough.  We are happy when babies gain eight ounces a week.  Jax has been gaining 18.”

In the light of day, it was hard to believe that the gurgling, Buddha Baby Jax, who was starting to get chins, was the same kid at night with the lungs.

We put an end to what the good doctor termed “snacking” and got Jax on a schedule, and I learned few tricks about quieting a baby, like the hairdryer or parking him in front of the stereo to a one-hour digital recording I had made of the vacuum cleaner.  Slowly, we both overcame the colic.
One day Jax smiled.   Really smiled.  A beautiful, heart-wrenching smile that could melt the snow off the Himalayas, and somewhere underneath all of that baby fat, were beautiful dimples that he inherited from someone I didn’t know.  And I knew we were going to be okay.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenny H July 21, 2010 at 9:00 am

Awe, I loved reading this story about Jax. It’s hard to believe the constant crying will ever end when you’re going through it, but then you can look back on it and laugh…or write about .

Jenn July 21, 2010 at 5:18 pm

And when it does end, WHEW, is it a relief! Thanks for visiting!

Jenny H July 22, 2010 at 10:48 am

Oh, it ends… but only kind of. By the time they reach 15, it’s you who’s crying. There is no relief, only a sense of love that nothing can demolish, so I guess that’s relief enough.

Jenn July 22, 2010 at 1:06 pm

It never occurred to me that they would turn into TEENAGERS! Oh, shit…. I need to go lie down.

Amber July 27, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Oh the baby poop.. fun stuff eh? One time my hubby was changing my son and the poop shot out of him and right over my husbands shoulder and all over the floor! it was crazy! Great post!

Jenn July 27, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Did you commiserate with him but secretly thank your lucky stars that he was in the line of fire?!

Thanks for dropping by!!!

Heather July 27, 2010 at 7:32 pm

This made me smile and kinda cry at the same time. It’s funny that reading your story brought back all my moments of insecurity, uncertainty, and feeling WAY out of my league. Thank goodness for your wonderful, supportive family!

Crecia Page July 30, 2010 at 11:27 am

What’s the blow-dryer trick? I plan, keyword, plan to solely breastfeed too. I would love to read a blog about your experiences.

Jenn July 30, 2010 at 1:28 pm

You just turn on the blowdryer and they shut up. No kidding. The vacuum works too. But the easiest thing is to get an alarm clock with white noise. I wrote a little tip on this on my Bean Tips page. Don’t be afraid to turn it up fairly loud. Kind of a simulation for the noises (blood rushing, etc.) that they hear in utero.

Breastfeeding: take a class. At the very least read a book. I thought, “What could be more natural than BF?” so I didn’t bother, and then I was a wreck because I didn’t know anything. A post on BF might be fun. I’ll put my thinking cap on. Thanks for visiting and suggesting it!!!

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