Monday, April 26, 2004

Coping with colic

I'm tired and grumpy this morning, and I'm feeling disgruntled about everything.

Emily delivered another day of screaming yesterday.

I'm reaching the point where I want to punch someone in the face when they tell me "it gets better." I wonder how many of these parents who share that little nugget of "wisdom" with me have actually had to deal with colic (it only effects about 10% of babies).

For those of you who have not experienced it, you have no idea how bad it is. This isn't something you can fix with "well, have you tried such-and-such?" Colic is crying that cannot be consoled. People who fancy themselves amusing quip, "not getting much sleep, huh?" No, Misty and I are not getting much sleep, but that doesn't come close to describing the problem.

The majority of the time that our baby is awake, she is screaming. Not just crying — screaming like she's in horrible pain. Nothing you do will console her (and, believe me, we've tried everything). You can't let her "cry it out" though, because you have to establish trust with her, so you just have to hold her in your arms while she screeches in your face, kicks and twists, pulls at your shirt, and scratches you with her fingernails. It's physically and emotionally draining.

It's not the lack of rest that bothers me so much. I can deal with sleep deprivation. I don't get a lot of sleep, but that little bit I do manage to get is good. What bothers me is that the time spent awake is horror. The moments are rare when I get to simply enjoy watching a happy baby who's acting cute. I feel like I'm missing out on a wonderful time that most other parents get to enjoy. Instead, most of the hours spent with my daughter are extremely stressful. Even if I'm not the one dealing with Emily, I can still hear her. And while letting Misty take her for a while may be easier, it's still horrible. If I take a break, I feel like I'm not doing enough, and all the while I hear my baby upset and screaming, and I just want her to feel better.

It's hard to love Emily when she's throwing one of her fits. But we present her with so much love and comforting, and all we get in return is rage. When she's been fed, burped, changed, rocked, sung to, and more, we know that there's nothing she needs. Everything is fine, yet she continues to wail and struggle against us. It's as if she just doesn't like us. I know that's not the case, but it's hard to feel love at those times.

It bothers me that whenever someone asks me "How's Emily?," the first thing that I'll mention is something negative. It's never "she's doing great" or "she's adorable." It's "she's so noisy" or "she had another bad day yesterday." She is healthy, and she is adorable, but those aren't the first things that come to mind. The bad overshadows the good.

So many parents have told us to cherish these first few months because they're the best, but I can't wait for them to be over. I feel like a horrible parent in thinking that way.

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