We’re a family of three and most likely will remain that way. I desperately want to relive all of those magical first moments in a baby’s life. I’m filled with gratitude that I was lucky enough to experience these things at all. In some ways, I feel very ungrateful for wanting that again, as though the first time wasn’t good enough. See, the thing is, I want to experience these things with my son again – not a new baby. I’m not sure what’s bringing these feelings on, other than the cruel passage of time. I’ll be turning 40 soon. And today, my sweet buddy turns 6. SIX.
My son was not an easy infant. He is not what one would refer to as the first “trick baby” – ya know, so you’re tricked in to thinking that all babies are that easy and you race to have more. At around the 7 week mark he started screaming and crying for hours on end.
I was holding him too much, not enough, he needed to be worn, he needed to be bounced, he was hungry, he was tired, he was…I HAVE NO IDEA. When I took him for one of his many checkups, his pediatrician dismissed my concerns and pointedly told me, “There is no pill for crying.” I was so frazzled and exhausted, I just figured maybe I didn’t know what I was doing and that this was totally normal for an infant. Those following few weeks were some of the hardest I’ve ever lived. On top of having what seemed to be an inconsolable infant – I was in a tremendous amount of pain. I did not have a typical delivery. I had lost a dangerous amount of blood and had many, many, many…many, many stitches. I was nursing, so I was very reluctant to take heavy-hitter pain killers, even ones that were deemed safe. Also, due to my husband’s work schedule, I was solo with my son for 14+ hours a day. Thankfully my parents would stop over and check on me – but at the time, I was too proud to admit that I really could have used their help. Instead, I’d just laugh off the NEVER ENDING crying and flit around the house tidying up while they fussed over their first grandson. They’ll never know how much those visits saved my sanity in those first few weeks.
Then at the end of the longest, yet shortest 12 weeks of my life, I returned to work.
My son was in the care of a very trusted friend. At the time, she was the mother of 4 with number 5 on the way. After caring for my son for a few days she told me, “I think he has reflux. See the way he throws his arms out when he’s crying? It seems like he’s in pain.” I was stunned. I made an appointment with his pediatrician, unfortunately, the only one available was the very same doctor who kindly informed me that there are no pills for crying. I sat in the exam room while she huffily looked him over and asked me a few questions. Again, she treated me as though I just couldn’t tolerate the typical behaviors of a baby. I dug my heels in and refused to leave until she prescribed him reflux medication.
Within a week I was living with that “trick baby” that I’d read about. I couldn’t believe how magical and wonderful it all was… and here I was back at work and away from him for about 10 hours a day. I was consumed by how unfair it was. I was also filled with guilt that my son had apparently been in so much pain for weeks and I was unable to recognize it.
As trying, exhausting, frustrating, and confusing as it was, I would give almost anything to go back and relive it again – not even with hindsight or the knowledge I have now – not with the intent to “fix” all the things I felt could have been better – but just relive it again, as it was then.
At the time, I didn’t realize those amazing firsts would be the ONLY firsts I’d get to experience. Sure, I took a ridiculous amount of pictures and made Facebook posts, ad nauseam. When they pop up in my Facebook memories, I’m heartened, but it’s nothing close to the way my heart felt when I was experiencing them. And if I’m honest, as my son gets older, I’m starting to forget the feeling I had during a lot of those firsts.
I’m really enjoying getting to know this sweet, silly, smart, and confident six year old who lives in my house, but man, I really miss that screaming baby I met 6 years ago.