We’ve been spending lots of time with new babies this week. So of course the conversation for a sibling continues with Gus. I watch all of the quiet, sleeping babies around me and for a moment, my resolve weakens. But then I quickly remember the endless screaming that comprised Gus’s early months of life. I remember this…
Shortly after the baby is discharged from the hospital, you have to bring the baby to the pediatrician for their first official check-up. We arrived at our doctor’s office five days after being discharged from the hospital feeling and looking like two crack heads. We hadn’t slept for more than a two hour period for over a week and Gus had been wailing since he’d been born. We arrived with a list of questions for our doctor. Things like, it is okay to burn incense in the house and when should we start cutting his fingernails? But the most important question we had was about his crying. We could barely wait to get it out.
Our doctor, Dr. Menendez, checked him over and proclaimed that he looked great. He was gaining weight. Gus responded to all of his touches, pokes, and prods just like he should. Then the magic words, “Do you have any questions?”
We pulled out our list, but I jumped to number one immediately. “He cries whenever he gets tired and he really gets worked up at night. He screams. It’s like he’s being tortured. And we can’t stop it. Nothing I do helps.”
Dr. Menendez nodded. “Yes, all babies cry when they are sleepy.”
“Yeah, but he cries for hours before he goes to sleep….”
“Oh, he is probably a bit colicky.” He responded nonchalantly. He didn’t seem the least bit disturbed by it at all. It was one of the characteristics we liked about him because he never really got worked up about anything unless it was actually something to get worked up about. “It will pass in like three to four months.”
I could have broke down and sobbed right in my chair. If I wasn’t so prideful about crying in public and in front of other people, I am sure I would have. He might as well have told me it was going to last for three to four years. Or forever. Because let me tell you when you are in the middle of it, it feels like it is never going to end. It begins to feel as if you are being tortured, tested to see how much you can endure before you finally lose your mind.
I remember how my brain hurt from his endless crying. My body hurt from the exhaustion. And when you’re sleep deprived and the baby is screaming every sound was magnified in my head as if the volume was permanently turned up as loud as it could go and it wouldn’t come down. I remember what a failure I felt like being unable to console my own child. I remember thinking I would never survive it.
Could we survive it again?