It's almost 10 am and I'm usually sleeping in until around 10:30 after the longest night of fitful non-sleep with my newborn. But I can't seem to fall back to sleep this morning, there are so many things swirling around in my head. Pictures to edit, places I wish I could go, people to write back, thank you cards to mail, a 3rd birthday party to plan... it's endless. Just like the daily exhaustion I feel with this new tiny human who has taken over our household in a major way. And the way the days and nights just roll right into one another and I find myself wondering what month we are even in now. Just, endless. It feels like our own twisted version of Inception, where we are stuck in a nightmare and then fall into another, deeper level of nightmare and then is it possible? Oh yes, a third and fourth dimension of nightmare. So instead of laying in bed trying to sleep, I'm going to write it all out here and maybe that will make me feel like I've accomplished something today.

It was all going wonderfully until Raya turned 3 weeks old. The first 2 weeks were surprisingly easy: she slept well, she breastfed well, Jude adjusted well... I was focused on healing and keeping the household as neat and peaceful as possible, which was a breeze. Then Rhys went back to work and Raya went crazy. She didn't seem to be interested in sleeping anywhere but on my chest, which is difficult when you have a toddler that is dying to play catch outside. Then breastfeeding changed and she started to become fussy and would choke, gag and spit out milk while she was eating. After extensive online research I realized I had an overactive letdown and oversupply of milk, which means I create a "baby beer bong" experience for my newborn where she is desperately trying to handle the amount of milk being forced at her. Which causes latching issues, which causes gas, which causes more fussiness. After a few hundred calls in to the lactation consultants I started to block feed her to regulate my milk supply which is just now, almost 5 weeks later, starting to work. But wait! Then, about a week later, a green slime debuts in her diaper which indicates a lactose or other food intolerance. After more Googling I found that an oversupply of milk can mean a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. Since Raya can't possibly ever drain a boob fully, she never gets to the high fat hindmilk and is overloaded with the foremilk which is sugary and high in lactose and in large amounts can cause a secondary, real lactose intolerance. After two weeks of this and not seeing a change in her diapers, we went to the pediatrician. She said the green may be a hindmilk issue but the slimy indicated a food allergy of some kind and put me on an elimination diet. Which means I cannot eat dairy, soy, eggs, fish, nuts, berries, caffeine or citrus. Hello? Please find me something to eat because I'M FLIPPIN' STARVING OVER HERE. Trying to find food made without dairy or soy is impossible, people. I'm currently living on chocolate Cheerios, rice milk, spaghetti, turkey patties, chicken, bacon, hash browns, rice, watermelon and root beer. Seriously, every one of my meals includes one or more of these things. This elimination diet makes me want to eliminate someone, if you get my drift.

It has been 5 weeks of this diet and we are just now seeing a tiny bit of change in her diapers, but sadly not in her fussy, non-sleeping mood. Raya has pretty severe colic and is not a fan of sleep. She fights it all day long. For 30 or so minutes after eating, she is a smiley happy baby that loves to chat and look around. She is quite precious and adorable. Then she starts getting tired and we try endless efforts to soothe her into a nap, which usually works eventually. But then she wakes up within 10-30 minutes. The sound of her starting to stir and fuss within 15 minutes of an exhausting series of tricks to put her to sleep is depressing beyond words. (This baby hates the bouncer, the swing, the pacifier, all 3 of my infant slings, the new bassinet we tried, white noise machines, being swaddled, and car rides.) We try to soothe her back to sleep, which usually doesn't work well. Repeat 100 times during the day and then flash to 8 pm to find me crying in a bathroom because Rhys left for work 7 hours ago and I've done this alone with Jude hanging onto one leg and I just can't take it anymore. I miss my old life, I miss my husband and my charming and hilarious little man. Rhys has been sleeping on the couch for weeks, since he has to function at work every day with a bunch of kids on squeaky violins. And he needs to be able to take Jude to the park and put dishes away and cook dinner (yes, he does all of this. He is the best husband ever.) So. I'm with Raya all night long, by myself, trying to get her to eat a full meal and then sleep a nice chunk of time for me so I don't go insane and fire bomb my neighbor's house just to release some tension. I also fought off a painful plugged milk duct which made me temporarily lose my milk supply, and have been fighting off the nagging temptation to just go buy that special, really expensive baby formula and see if that "cures" her. Then maybe we'd be able to step outside of our home and actually see the light of day. But then I think, look how far we've come. Jude only breastfed for three weeks before landing us in the ER due to 24 hours of spitting up everything I made. That diagnosis? Overeating.

This truly is the hardest thing I have ever done.

But the hardest part is not knowing when it will end. Or if there is anything I can do to make her stomach feel better other than give up every comfort food I need right now to pull me through this. I need Oreos and caprese salad and sushi and cupcakes and angel hair alfredo and mocha ice storms from Nordstrom in the WORST WAY these days. But hey, some good news: I'm 5 pounds lighter than I was pre-pregancy. So when I'm off this diet, watch out world. I have dangerously ambitious gorging plans ahead. Another plus is that I do not have postpartum depression to fight this time, which would have made this hard situation completely impossible. I have what my clever ob/gyn likes to call, "situational stress."

Tomorrow we have an appointment with a pediatric GI specialist. I'm really hoping he doesn't look at her diaper and say "Yep, that's baby poop alright." Because I really need someone to give me an answer of some kind. And for the $250 bill we'll be receiving, I need something substantial to hold on to. A dozen glazed donuts, perhaps?


Jen said...

hang in there, sweetie. it's got to get better, and soon. even if the answer is formula, whatever works at this point! and if the GI doc doesn't have the miracle answer, *i'll* firebomb his house.

Kathleen said...

Oh Carrie... hang in there. I promise these days won't last forever and you will soon be able to enjoy your family again. I wish I was closer so I could pop in and help out. Hopefully you will get some answers at your appt tomorrow.

Emily S. said...

I ache for your endlessness of stress and exhaustion... I ache for the "not ideal" that is rolling around your life right now. I ache for your poor hungry tummy (after doing a Raw Food Challenge for a month, I SO identify with that hunger!!)... I ache for your former life you keep yearning for... And I ache for the open-endedness of all of this.

Believe me-- if I lived even three hours from you, I'd be driving there RIGHT NOW, at 12:48am, to give you a hotel key and two days off. I would, I would, I would.


(DO NOT send me a thank you card. Dammit.)