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Monday, April 12, 2010

Life on the Rock: Part I


Mat, the pets, and I (and our fetus, too) made it to Mukilteo, Washington well before the last sailing, and after a brief ferry ride and another 20 minutes' driving, we were home. Home, in the summer of 2004, was a double wide at my mother's little farm, and a tremendous break for a pair of cash-strapped newlyweds. With accommodations for Tanner the Paypal Horse, the reality of whom we had yet to encounter, and an extra bedroom for my four-year-old daughter to come home to, it was perfect. 

I'll always think of that time as The Year that We Spent Sitting on the Dryer. 

Baby D, beautiful and healthy, was born kicking and screaming into our Whidbey home in October of 2004, and she didn't stop screaming until about a year ago (she still kicks).That, at least, is how I remember things, but exhaustion and postpartum hormones can fog the mind. It may be that it was not that bad. We do, after all, have video recordings of her adorable and happy babbling. It must have happened.

D deserves an entire encyclopedia all about her, and she will get her due, but I will just say now that she is a girl of Power. Her strength of will falls just above the carbon nanotube on the Worlds Most Tremendous Things list. D is not a person to cross.

D was a colicky baby (though she told me, at age four, "I wasn't colicky, Mama. I had a head-ick all the time.") and needed some drastic soothing measures. Our incredible doula, Shellie, issued us instructions on the soothing of a fussy infant, and we spent many a restless hour implementing her tips and Dr. Karp's five S's. With soothing static on the stereo system, we swung our safely swaddled, side-lying sweetie until our swinging muscles were sore. I breastfed almost constantly, offered endless suckling opportunities, wore my baby in and out and around the house, tried various elimination diets, aromatherapy, herbal teas, and country drives. What worked, we found, was to sit on the (running) dryer, with swaddled D on her tummy in our arms, and hold a white-noise machine near her head while doing the baby-jiggle-mambo. Mat and I took shifts, and for that first year we spent many a sleepy hour wasting precious natural resources on that empty dryer. D, finally, slept. 

 . . . to be continued . . . . 

2 comments:

  1. Oh, colic. Nature's most powerful birth control. I'm sorry to hear you had to deal with it for so long! My little farmgirl was colicky for 4 solid months. She cried everyday from 3pm until midnight, and we never did find anything that soothed her. I don't wish that misery on anyone!

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  2. Augh, reading this brings back paaaainful memories... I had one of those, too. #1 child. She wanted to eat or be "fooled with" (swinging was good) every waking moment, which was MOST moments, since she hardly ever slept. Nobody had prepared us for an infant like this (everyone we knew had darling little good-sleeping, well-scheduled babies) and coupled with my pretty bad PPD, the first three months were NOT good. I always say I loved her but I sure didn't like her very much that whole time!

    I was nursing but we had to supplement 2x a day w/ formula so I didn't go crackers, and we introduced rice at a month old in an attempt to "fill 'er up." Baby's favorite trick was to wake up howling, eat and then cry more.... She gained weight beautifully so it wasn't that she was hungry! Fortunately, she finally began to improve and we finally got her solidly sleeping through the night at eight months old, which did much to restore my sanity. I stopped nursing at 10 mo. old when she started walking and pushing me away.

    I immediately became pregnant with #2 (they're only 20 mo. apart). When Boy was born, we were terrified - oh, wow, here we go again... But can you say, night and day???? This baby put himself on a 3-4 hour schedule the day he was born, literally never cried, barely woke up to eat and went back to sleep immediately afterwards and then slept through the night completely on his own at eight WEEKS old. When he was awake you could put him down anywhere and he'd just smile and coo and suck his thumb. Lest you think he was missing meals, he nursed exclusively for six months before any solid food (nursed 15 mo. altogether) and held at 99% height/weight until he was a year old. I always say I would have had another if I could have cloned him. :-)

    Both children have grown up into delightful and very well-behaved individuals (now 19 and 17) but we still like to tease them about their extremely different starts in life. Colic is the PITS!

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