Everyone says having a baby changes your life and I’m a total believer now. Stella has been the best thing to ever happen to us, but also the most difficult endeavor we’ve ever taken on. I thought that the actual birth process was hard, but in comparison to the next (now almost) 8 weeks, the birth was a piece of cake.
I should state that compared to many other families, I know I’m lucky. Stella is completely healthy in the big scheme of things and we love her dearly. However, the first 8 weeks haven’t been without some struggles and growing pains. When Stella was born on June 22, Bobby was still in Korea. He was only able to come back to the States and spend time with us for about two weeks. He proved to be a wonderful, very loving father (I’m not surprised) right away, catching on quickly and jumping in to help in any way he could with feedings, diaper changes, etc. This made it all the more difficult when he had to leave – for both of us – because we knew what we were going to miss out on.
Stella developed acid reflux in week 3, which still isn’t resolved. She often screams for several hours and although we thought we had it under control, her dosage ended up being way too low, which resulted in lots of pain for our little one. Just two nights ago, she developed this really hoarse cry and has almost lost her “voice.” The medicine seemed to wear off too quickly and we were left with a few hour gap where Stella was incredibly uncomfortable. Yesterday, we went back to the doctor (this was our 3rd trip in just a week) and got a new, more powerful prescription. We are really hoping this is our answer.
On top of that, we found out in week 5 that Stella was tongue and lip tied. Before my friend Hope suggested I looked into the matter (she had read about some of Stella’s symptoms on Facebook), I had never heard of such a thing. Her two frenulums, or small pieces of tissue, that connect her upper lip to her upper gum and her tongue to the lower gum, were too short. This made it extremely difficult for Stella to breastfeed because of limited range of motion, it introduced more air into her gut due to an ineffective suck mechanism and added to her acid reflux pains. Sigh. Thankfully, it was a pretty simple procedure to resolve. It just meant that we had to drive 3 hours each way to have a pediatric dentist use a laser to “clip” the ties. We are now spending the next 4 weeks doing “exercises” (i.e. sticking my finger in her mouth to stretch the area and make sure the tissues don’t reattach), which Stella simply adores. :/
We had the third issue arise when we introduced formula. Because Stella had the ties and couldn’t nurse well, the doctor was worried about her slow weight gain and suggested that we supplement with formula. Almost immediately it curbed her hunger, but we had a whole new set of issues – the biggest one being the dreaded “g” (GAS!). Who knew gas could cause babies SO much pain?
These, like I said, are all relatively small issues in the big scheme of things, but compounded on top of each other, they have made for a rough go of it. I feel like I have tried everything, but at the same time, I have made too many changes at once and thus don’t know which works and which doesn’t. I think that’s why the scientific method states you should only have one variable when experimenting. Stella’s problems produce multiple variables and thus we are still trying to figure everything out. In the meantime, we have a lot of hours of screaming and a little one in pain.
Obviously, not every day is terrible. We have certainly had our good days, some being so good that we think we’ve solved her issues. She has even started to smile this week (week 7), which is really cute and makes me believe everything will be okay. Here’s a montage of the finer moments during her (almost) first 2 months:
I have said this many times lately, but I don’t know how I would have survived the last few weeks without the help of my parents. Some days I just need a few minutes by myself, away from the crying and constant need to be “on.” I really appreciate the help at night, making supplement bottles while I nurse and burping the baby when I physically have no energy left to get out of bed. I am really thankful that there are an extra set of hands (or 2!) to hold Stella while I finish my dinner. They say it takes a village to raise a child and I truly believe it. And who knew that a person less than 2 feet tall could accumulate so much stuff and require so much time and attention?!
At 7.5 weeks old, Stella now weighs 9 lbs and 3.5 oz and is 22.5 inches long. Next week, we go back to the doctor for her 2 month shots and hope to have improvements with her acid reflux. We just received her passport in the mail and are looking forward to vising Bobby in Korea (if she feels better) within the next month. Wish us luck!