Thursday, July 2, 2015

When it doesn't feel like love.

"though she be but little, she is fierce."

This is a hard post for me, I have debated and waited for weeks, I didn't want people to see the ugly, the pain, the hurt...but exposing those things is what brings healing and truth to situations. We are all in this journey of life together. 

When my Finley was born I was so grateful for a healthy baby, and to not be pregnant. Our hospital stay was short, we rushed home so we could be back with our Reagan. Days into having 2 kids under 2 it started to get hard. Tom left for a 10 day business trip at just 5 days PP. The next few days went in a blur, between my 22 month old learning to share me, to being up all night with what was becoming a very colicy newborn who projectile vomited around the clock, night sweats and hormones I was what you would call ...... a hot mess.

Tom came home, I thought it all would get easier and become normal again, I was wrong. Breastfeeding was becoming harder, she was screaming all the time, she wouldn't sleep longer then 30 min, and was up all hours of the night. We were told my milk was not coming in enough. She was basically starving. So we started supplementing at every bottle. I was only making less then half an ounce at this point. Lactation appointments were not helping... 
By the end of one month, i was done breastfeeding, you know when you try everything humanly possible and you still feel like its not enough....that's how it felt. I was pumping, taking supplements, vitamins, more of this food, less of this, went on prescription medication to help produce milk, pumping after every feeding, increased my pumping,increased my water more then I already was drinking..... I was done.

She went on a special formula for sensitive stomachs, the kind of formula you have to take money out of their college savings account to pay for .
Still no relief from crying. Crying around the clock. screaming. mind numbing , makes you want to put ear plugs and hide under the blankets, crying.

She was diagnosed with acid reflux and went on medicine.
Still the screaming continued.

she went and had a ultrasound done at just a 5 weeks old to make sure her esophagus was working properly, they also looked at her intestines, they were perfect.

She was diagnosed with sever GERD.

I called the doctor about every other week and informed them NOTHING was working.

Sure we had some good feedings, but 80% of them were brutal. I had to hold my baby down while she twisted, and screamed, and choked and spit milk at me, I cried, she cried, I handed her to Tom, he tried.... and then she would arched her back, would flip herself sideways, turn red, spit it out, choke, cough, gag, puke. we were lucky if we could get her to drink an ounce. Some days we feed her with a medicine syringe, 5 ML's at a time. 

Feedings which happened 6 times a day, took on average 45 minutes - 1 hour those minutes were  brutally agonizing and stressful.

Its funny to write.. "it was hard" because it doesn't begin to describe the emotions the feelings the tears. The incredible dark and isolated place I was in. I gained a new respect for moms and dads who have a colic baby. The crying you hear around the clock is enough to make a person go mad. 

We didn't let her lay flat, we let her sleep in the swing, in the car seat, in an elevated bed, we tried grip water, colic drops, we were then told to add rice to every bottle, we changed bottles, and nipples, we upped her medicine, we changed EVERYTHING and with no avail, she still screamed and would not eat. Sure she was gaining weight, slowly but at what cost...torture. 

 At about month 3 her screaming was normal now, that didn't make it easier but I just became the mom with a high maintenance baby. I stopped going places, I stayed home. It was easier then having people stare at you while you force your baby to drink milk, with their judging glare, or what appeared to be disapproval of holding your newborn down with that much force. Or their very polite "tips" and suggestions. 
 I was done.

 All the comments and /random strangers would say:

"have you tried this?"  
"they say...." 
"this too shall pass"
"it will get easier"
"my baby had acid reflux and we got nothing for it back in the day, you are    lucky!" 

and lets be honest I felt like punching some of them. Not because I didn't like them or because I didn't want their advice, but because no mom in the trenches, knee deep , in over her head, barely is holding it together wants to hear she is "lucky" I didn't feel lucky, I felt trapped. I didn't feel like a grateful mom, I didn't feel like a loving mom.
I felt like a bad mom, which resulted in being a bad wife, I was tired beyond imaginable, mentally exhausted, physically drained. 
Love was hard. Being a mom was hard. Day after day the screaming, the waking up after sleeping for only 30 min at EVERY NAP and every NIGHT was frustrating. I felt like I was loosing my mind.
 I was. 
And in fact it didn't feel like love, it felt like just making sure she was surviving. Making sure I spent time with Reagan and Tom and there was nothing left. 

The thing is, its okay to feel like that, you are not a bad mom, LOVE IS A CHOICE not a feeling. 

I had a few people in my life who knew the extent of what was going on , who were and are an amazing support and prayer warriors, who would let me call and cry or text and vent. who offered to take the girls for me. I am so grateful for them, who partnered with me in some of the hardest days of my life as a mom. 

After being told she can not have any higher dose of medicine, I told Tom, enough is enough. I cant and wont do this anymore, there is something wrong. I am going to try every homeopathic way, every way in my ability to help her, if the doctors wont.
 She went on Probiotics, we got a Hazelwood necklace, we were ordering essential oils, I was reading into infant chiropractic , possibly going on goats milk, I mean anything at this point that could help, I was going to try.

The Lord is so good, and he never leaves, He never forsakes us, He gives us this "mothers intuition" not by accident but to help us fight for our babies, to help us make it through these times of trouble. He listens to our prayers, our cries, our on our knees begging for wisdom. And He moves, He is stirred by our prayers.

Through what is totally a miracle in my life, I got connected with lady who started asking me questions, and then she sent me a link about "Tongue Tie and Lip Ties"
and as I sat on my living room floor reading this condition, sobbing my eyes, holding my toddler who was asking if I was okay, and a screaming baby, I knew.
 My Finley had this. It was an Answer. The first sign of relief I have had since the day I got home from the hospital 3 months ago. 

 I held Finley and as she screamed in my arms at trying to drink, she looked at me and I finally knew and It broke my heart, and where tough and hard love was it was replaced with a tenderness, a grace, a mending of my heart. I held my baby and cried, cried happy and exhausted, grateful tears.

One week later we saw two specialist. one which made me cry all the way home out of frustration, out of anger and pain, who treated my daughter like a number and not a baby. I left with no answers, and was told to consult my pediatrician. 

I couldn't give up, I called the other specialist who was booked for the next month, I was told 4 different times and 3 emails that there was no open appointments. But I kept calling and by God's grace he squeezed me in. 
We sat there in his office and for the first time I had someone on my side, we chatted, he took notes, he asked about breast feeding for both my girls, he looked at the whole story. And as he examined her he told me what I now knew, she wasn't drinking properly , she was sucking so much air in every gulp that she was in pain, all the time. Not because of acid but because of air. That breast feeding didn't work because she couldn't suck. The medicine didn't work because she didn't have acid reflux. Nothing we were doing worked because it wasn't that we were doing things wrong. 

He clipped her tongue , and we started the healing process. We have had some really good days and some hard days, its been 4 weeks of tongue exercises, of stretching her tongue around the clock, making sure it doesn't heal back together. 
It's been like having a newborn all over again who is learning to suck and drink properly, how to sleep. But we started seeing improvement. It was hope, it was grace, it was relief. 

There are days where she screams still at being feed, I can not hold her in my arms, she panics and screams, those days I am a complete mess, that scream takes me back to those Very dark days I lived. It takes me back faster then I would like to admit. The pain, the sorrow of wishing my newborn days away, are still very close to the surface. If I talk to anyone about this journey we have been on , I am instantly in tears, I am still guilty of the torture I put my baby through (although necessary, still a hard reality), the times I yelled, I yelled at a newborn to stop crying, the anger I had of never being able to go out with my husband because I couldn't leave Finley with anyone. Those feelings...they are real, they are fresh, they still hurt. But on those days, I call my sister and my friends and we pray. They talk me off the edge. It helps me see that HIS mercies are new, that HE brought us out, He saved the day. I am healing, we are healing.

I am thankful for my Finley, who is a warrior, who has overcome so many obstacles already, the saying "though she be but little, she is fierce." could not be more true of my girl. 

The part that makes me smile through it all is that she makes me fierce, she makes me be brave and stand up to the doctors and search out truth, she makes me a warrior. 

One friend called me months ago, and as I sat crying in the middle of a hazelnut field, completely alone, in a hurt so big and deep, I never thought it would be filled, she told me:

  "He made her a warrior and gave her to you, so that you could be a warrior too." 

Lets be strong, and help each other through these challenging times. No matter what the situation is how deep that hurt or pain is, there is light, there is hope. 

Brand new Finley

After her Tongue tie procedure 
                       How we have to feed Finley now, every feeding. 

                          These were some hard and challenging times  Nicole 

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