Friday, July 06, 2007

The Dreaded C-Word

Nothing has quite made me feel like a failure quite like motherhood. The babies are still pained and struggling with gas that contorts their little faces and makes their little bodies rigid and makes them writhe in pain. It is awful to watch. The fact that I can’t comfort them destroys me. They look at me with these sad eyes and it makes me want to cry. Maybe it is some sort of hormonal reaction, but I see their pain and want to absorb it or take it away. Give me the pain and let them be carefree and healthy. It makes me look at parents of chronically sick or terminally ill children in a whole new light.

The gas has made them quite fussy and colicky. I said it: The C word. I was hoping it was just random but I think we need to face the fact that they are crying at regular intervals for longer than they should. Their pattern seems to be meltdown every night between 9:00 pm and midnight. Then they fall into a troubled sleep in our arms only, not in their beds, which, apparently, is made of nails and fire. That makes for a tortured sleep for me because I am constantly worried that I will roll on the baby or knock her off the couch or bed. And then commences the tag-team all-night snackings/feedings.

They wake up around 6:00 for more food and then only partake in light naps for the next five hours or so. And not at the same time. One will sleep while the other fusses, and then the fusser will fall asleep and the previously out-cold baby will awaken. This pattern continues in an almost unbelievable/comical way.

One baby would be much more manageable, but with two…it is just overwhelming.

Nanny Annie during the day is a huge help. I can go to the gym, which serves me better than napping. I am the type that if I take a nap, I wake up feeling worse off. It is better for me to energize myself at the gym instead, and store up some strength for the day. Despite my huge concerns, I looked into a night nurse. They cost about $300 a night in NYC and they usually need to be booked way in advance. For $300 a night, I’d almost rather book a night at the Mandarin and have a sleepless night in understated modern elegance with great city views. I may be tired, but at least I’d be in fancy-ness. I still contend that I will get NO sleep if there is a stranger in my home. I will fear a Lifetime movie twist and awaken to find that the night nurse absconded with my babies while I was sleeping. Why take a chance?

But the sleep deprivation thing is ridiculous. And something has to change. Tonight’s plan: I am taking the babies out for a l-o-n-g walk around 9:00 p.m. They fuss less when moving in a stroller and Bjorn so we will see where that gets us tonight.

I feel like I don’t have the right to ever complain because I should realize how lucky I am to have these babies. And I DO realize how lucky we are. But that doesn’t mitigate the tough parts, and there are many tough parts. Mothering is a thankless job at this point: The babies are too little to respond or smile or even really acknowledge your presence. And yet they take up every minute of the day. Literally.

I have moments when I miss my “old” life. Naturally I glamorized it and paint a picture in my head of this blissful, idyllic, peaceful, romantic and perfect world. I lament that I can’t go to the movies when I want. Or shower when I want. Or go to the gym. But the thing is, I could have gone to the movies during my entire pregnancy and I didn’t. And I still manage to shower daily, just not in the morning, when I want to. And our life was considerable less busy, but we were ready for it to be about more than just ourselves. But it is easy to lose sight of that when you are operating on less-than-optimal sleep.

The trade-off is worth it. And I am sure I would appreciate it much more if I wasn’t drowning in a drunk-like state of sleeplessness and exhaustion.

This isn’t pity post, where I am fishing for people to say “You’re not a failure!” and “You are doing a great job!” I’m just overwhelmed and tired and overwhelmed and tired and I think I am repeating myself. I know it will get easier and I know I will get better at all of this, but that doesn’t do much for the here and now.

I should be resting now, since both babies are “sleeping.”

Pictured above, the baby sling, which worked for a while at quieting the fussy baby. But now I need to pull some new tricks out of my bag.


Erin said...

Do you put the babies to sleep in the crib?

utRus said...

have you watched The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD? we've found lots of those tips to work surprisingly well.

they don't "solve" gas, but they do help comfort the crying baby who can't calm herself well. more crying=more swallowing air=more gas...

yep, our night nurse does cost $35/hr. expensive. we're about to move on to a night nanny who is not an RN but who costs 18/hr for twins.

Shelli said...

Malka slept in her bucket-style car seat for about 3 months, then we put one of those sleep positioner/angeled things in her crib, which she slept in until about 8 months, when she could roll over.

HUGE ASS HELP. And the constant mylecon in each and every bottle of formula.

It sounds like it might be severe enough for medication, however? Zantac has worked wonders for some tots...

Thinking of you guys. And let us know when you're up for a visit. We'd be happy to help.

Melinda said...

All I can say is: you're not alone. It may feel like it, but you're not. This post sounds like exactly what I was saying when my baby was born 9 months ago, except times two. It is so hard. Colic is such an awful thing to get through. You do not have to apologize for feeling bad., or for expressing how you're feeling. There's no clause you sign when you become a mother, mandating that you agree to be grateful for your blessings at all times - no matter how much you had to go through to have your babies. At the risk of sounding very 60s counterculture: feel your feelings.

And hang in there!

J-Le said...

all that stuff you've said is so true, and we only have one baby. it's just impossible to prepare for, i think.

nailgirl said...

i agree with what everyone has said. Mylecon, letting them sleep in a swing or infant car seat etc. I had this great car seat like thing with all of my kids. It was called a cradle rocker made by fisher price. I loved that thing and it saved my life.

Jennifer said...

Lauren was colicky and screamed from 4 pm until midnight every.night. I can't imagine having to live through that with two. My heart goes out to you.

Like others have said...swaddling worked best for Alexander. The Miracle Blanket certainly was that for him.

Both kids slept in the Aquarium Swing regularly. Actually, if I could get it in a large size, I'd put Lauren back in it to try and get some sleep now :)

I know this doesn't help right now, but it will get better and easier.

When I supplemented with formula I used the Carnation Good Start. I found that it was easier on their tummies than any of the others...something about what they call "comfort protiens"...

Lots of assvice and not much help.

K J and the kids said...

Syd.....wouldn't sit in the swing, wouldn't sit in a bouncy chair, wouldn't lay in her crib, wouldn't let me swaddle her.
You know how I finally took a shower one day. I put her in her bouncy chair, in front of the TV with a Baby Neptune, Baby Einstein video. :)
We have all done a million things trying to figure out what works. You will find what works for you too.

Jennifer I was a pity party, I complained EVERY day about my babies. I whined about how I NEVER wanted 2, how life sucked and I was running away. I would call J a lot of days and tell her to come home that I couldn't handle it. Still do :) ha ha
This is SO normal.
My boys are turning 1. ONE ! I am amazed that I too made it through the first year.'s easy. I mean compared to what you are going through. They are fun, and sleep through the night, and play so that I can get shit done. They are both crying right now...but hey :) ha ha

Soon your girls will hit that 8-12 week mark and things will turn around for you.

Continue to release how you feel. It's good to let it out.

kate said...

I'm very sorry that they are so gassy! I have no assvice, i can't even imagine the sleep deprivation with two colicky babies...

It sounds like the night nurse would be worth it...just for the break it will give you.


lagiulia said...

"Nothing has quite made me feel like a failure quite like motherhood." -Agreed. And I think motherhood when it comes to twins makes you feel like a double failure, unfortunately.

"I have moments when I miss my “old” life." -All the time, still.

Two is just so f-ing overwhelming (that is a laughable understatement), and you have the colic thing to deal with for BOTH? Oh honey.

It will get easier, but that doesn't help your reality right now, I know. My first few months of parenting were just so different from yours that I can't even offer advice. We were scared about significant health problems with ours, but at the same time they did not have colic and slept for a few hours at a time - pretty good. No matter how you cut the cake, though, twin newborns are pretty much impossible for every parent who is blessed with them. I'm not kidding -imfuckingpossible. You just can never win. Here are two helpless, clueless little beings that depend on your for EVERYTHING. It's just a un-doable situation, and yet you have to do it anyway.

You are not alone... the feelings and thoughts you have a completely, 100 percent natural. It is hard to be a happy, glowing new mom when you have twins with high demands, which you most definitely do. All there is is day-to-day survival. It's disappointing, yes, but it is what it is. I'm sure you do have a moment or two per day when you are able to enjoy how cute they are or savor cuddling with them.
Those are important and significant- they count! The rest of it is basically wallowing in the mire, for now. And the ratio of cuteness to suckitude will even out little by little.

The one thing I will keep repeating is that I wish I would have hired some help, and maybe overnight help even once a week is a good idea. I know, sometimes you probably feel like no one else can deal with them or will know what to do. But there ARE times when you need to put your well-being ahead of theirs, despite what our stupid mommy=martyr culture says. My offer stands to come help any time. I don't mind if they cry and cry while I'm there. We twins moms, we gotta stick together, you know? Lots of love.

Kelly & Mikki & Our Little Honey said...

I'm so glad to hear another mother talking about how hard it is to figure this all out!!!!

I can only say that you are not alone in your struggles. Or your joy.

I'll keep reading. Good luck and congratulations on your baby girls!

:-) Mikki, Kelly & Baby Bailey

Joy said...

Oh Wow. I had days like that with only one baby... I am in awe that you're doing it with two. You're not alone.

I found that with the sling, the most comforting hold was way different than what you've got pictured: I did a face in tight hold, where i basically put him tummy to tummy with his head about boob height. and then i sat on my big exercise ball and bounced. We went thru a phase where i bounced for hours, and as soon as i would stop, he would cry. Bouncing was good. But i really think it was being all tightly snuggled in the sling that mimiced the tightness of being in the womb (also swaddling)

Good luck...

Motel Manager said...

You are doing a great job, and your feelings are totally, totally understandable. For what it's worth, the three most colicky babies I know turned out to be the three happiest, coolest little kids now, so I bet your gals will be very happy and fun in just a matter of (very looooong) weeks.

Some product assvice: do you have the Fisher papasan swing? It's pretty magical, though the key is to get the baby into it before she starts screaming, which sounds as if it could be tough. But some excellent sleeping has been done in those swings - I know lots of people who swear by them.

Hang in there!!!