It isn’t like me to get heavy, so forgive me.
I will warn you now, this post is quite long, and low on laughs, but then so was I for quite a few months.
And this is why.
Sadly my son, like my daughter, did not have an easy start to life.
Both failed to gain weight; she did not gain her birthweight back for many weeks.
He gained his birthweight back and more almost instantly, and I was so happy that, despite the normal teething problems (not literally at this point) breastfeeding seemed to be working out for us this time, as my experience with my daughter had knocked my confidence somewhat.
And then, around the five week mark, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (otherwise known as GERD, or reflux) and colic took hold.
His weight started to plummet from the 50th centile right down to below the 2nd, just as it had with my daughter.
It was very upsetting after such a good start.
The eight-week lead up to getting my daughter diagnosed with reflux was by no means easy.
However, the solution to her discomfort and lack of weight gain was relatively simple; ranitidine, formula tops ups each evening and weaning on to solids at four months. For her it absolutely worked wonders. She stopped throwing everything up and started to gain weight almost instantly; to look at her now as a chunky toddler it’s hard to believe that she was at one point in the smallest 0.4% of babies her age.
Dealing with reflux was significantly more difficult with my son.
He was a very different baby; not the generally happy and laid back soul that my daughter was. He was not a fan of the bottle and it took a lot of effort to get him to take one. I could never pump milk and he didn’t (and still doesn’t) tolerate formula particularly well and quite often would vomit so furiously I had to change his clothes, my clothes, the bedding, clean the floor and wipe the walls.
Twice, at around 5 and 11 weeks, he vomited so hard that he became unresponsive and we ended up with a lengthy trip to A&E. Hilarious japes.
The first three months were utterly soul destroying, absolutely physically and mentally draining.
I am not ashamed to say that I was on the brink of becoming depressed and spent many nights wondering what the hell we had done to ourselves, and what I had done in a previous life to deserve this. Whilst other people were proudly claiming that their babies were sleeping long stretches at night, he just screamed, and vomited, and screamed. All of the time.
After begging the GP for a solution to the reflux, and being offered nothing byt bloody Gaviscon, we were finally referred to the same paediatrician we had seen with my daughter.
This was excellent news for me; after he had so magically managed to ‘fix’ my baby girl, I had high hopes that he would do the same for my son. Various medicines were tried and nothing really did the trick.
Ranitidine didn’t seem to soothe him even at the maximum dose, when we went onto omeprazole he screamed solidly for hours, lansoprazole was better but his vomiting and screaming didn’t stop. I tried cutting out dairy before he was even born so that there would be none in my system.
Weaning did not seem to help, at least not quickly, and brought with it other complications; he found it so hard to poo, often we’d be up all night. A gluten free diet for both of us seemed to help – and to be honest, now I am too worried about making him sick (and the resultant sleepless nights) to truly test the theory that an intolerance may have been the cause of his sickness.
It may well be that he just outgrew it.
However, whatever the cause, slowly the sickness has lessened.
The long periods of non-stop screaming petered out and he started to look less concerned all of the time, although he still pulls a good worried face now and again.
He now takes fairly lengthy naps (usually when I’m meant to be going out) and he doesn’t suffer from the trapped wind and constipation that plagued him as a newborn and up until very recently.
He is now (tiredness, hunger and being contained aside) a generally happy, smiley baby. Still, seven months is a long time to change your clothes multiple times a day and night, and don’t get me started on the lack of sleep.
His weight is now sitting somewhere just above the ninth centile – quite amusing to see the look on people’s faces when this petite 16lb baby, the size of an average four or five month old, is wandering round at toddler group (with the walker, he’s not quite superhuman).
I then mark it on the graph in his Personal Child Health Record, otherwise known as the little red book.It’s immensely satisfying to see his weight go up, even slowly. Partly because the statistician in me is a little bored on maternity leave, but also because I know with every few ounces he puts on, he’s getting less sick, and a little more content. And maybe – dare I say it – a little closer to sleeping better. I hope.
However, at some point between the last paediatrician’s appointment and a weigh in, the red book vanished.
My husband and I looked everywhere. Through all the files, in every bag and cupboard, in the car in every conceivable hiding space… but it was gone. A bit worrying as it contained everything about his health, weight and vaccinations.About a month later, I went to the weigh in again.
Steeling myself for a telling off, I finally admitted the loss of book to a Health Visitor. She told me to make sure it wasn’t at home; it wasn’t. Another month passed, and I went to the weigh in again. This time I said I really needed a new one, and reluctantly they said they would send one out.
Anyway, today the new red book finally arrived.
I had written down the previous three weigh-ins on a piece of paper, but, true to form, it was nowhere to be found. I quizzed my husband who had quite clearly moved it somewhere or more likely, thrown it away, but he denied it. Thinking it may have dropped behind the sideboard, I went to check. It was not… but lo and behold, the red book was.My husband still maintains he looked there.
I maintain I am never going to trust a word he says every again.