Saturday, January 31, 2009

Trip To Grandmas House, incomplete...

I am feeling heartbroken...

For months now I have wanted to write a short story about a trip I took when I was 16 or so that included a visit to my grandmother... I believe It was a defining moment in my life because she treated me like an adult and made me feel sophisticated. In retrospect, she always had to some degree and that meant a lot to me growing up. Just the artifacts she would have in her house inspired a sense of wonder, I remember being fascinated by the artwork she would have on the walls (originals signed by a real artist!) and the book titles on her shelf. 

Well, with all the things going on in my life I just let the story bounce around in my head and it never came out. My 8 week old son Jamieson has been 3 times more demanding than I ever imagined... and I imagined he would be pretty darned demanding. I discussed the story with some people and was pleased to find that they had had the same types of experiences with Grandma Rose, clearly she touched many peoples lives in a very positive way.

So I don't feel like I got a chance to say the things that would really explain how much she meant to me. All I said when I got to talk to her on the phone was: "You have inspired me and I have always wanted to be more like you" and "I love you very much." I don't know, in hindsight it seems not to express all the things I wanted her to know... 

So it saddens me a great deal that Rose didn't get a chance to hear the story before she passed away and now I feel like there is less of a point in writing it, but I feel like I should still do it, so I intend to try soon.

The written word and I are not really friends, we don't get along at all really so composing text is a chore that I literally despise... But these days, thats the only way to get your thoughts out and hope to be heard it seems.

It's not like people listen to song lyrics.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Early Days With Jamieson

I just found this in my rough drafts. It is two years old when I am writing this note and I never posted it, I tend want things very chronological... so I am leaving a copy of it posted with the date it was started, and I am making a new post with updated notes published near the date I found it (march 2011).

What do you do when the two people you love most in the world are in conflict? Not just a normal conflict mind you, but a soul draining contest of endurance versus need that shakes everyone involved to the core and could be described as the hardest challenge any of you has ever faced.

You put yourself between them and try you best to absorb as much of the discomfort as you can take.

I don't know for sure that Jamieson is more needy than other babies of his same age but it would not surprise me to find out that he is. Since he was born, he has on average wanted to be feed every 2 hours (often times less). For short periods of time this has stretched out to 3... but it quickly snaps back. Now consider that it takes about 30-45 minutes to feed him, that only leaves a very short window to sleep and rest between feedings.

Also he cries a LOT. It seems to me like he has problems getting rid of lower gas. He wakes from a dead sleep and will start to kick and flail if he has not passed gas within a few minutes he will become frustrated and begin to cry. These episodes can quickly escalate into massive shrieking freak-outs if he is not quickly comforted. He will still cry, kick and flail for long periods of time even if held and if you do manage to get him to sleep in your arms... you CAN'T put him down. The comfort is like a counter balance to the pain/discomfort in his gut. If you remove the soothing... the tower topples and he is back in crisis. If he starts to break wind... a lot of wind. Then he starts to relax and can sometimes be put down.

So combine those two things and you have a baby that requires a lot of attention.

I have been desperately trying to provide as much of that attention as I can I am a seasoned insomniac... Katy is not. She is learning the ropes of how to survive on so little sleep but it has been really tough for me to watch her get raked over the coals on this. She is a person that NEEDS her sleep.

So for weeks now I have done everything I could to keep him soothed and get her more sleep. Since I don't need much sleep I keep him downstairs with me in between feedings because it is seldom that he sleeps from one feeding to the next. Its MUCH more common that he needs to be held and comforted, often the entire time between feedings. If I am really good, I can keep him asleep for 2.5 hours in my arms... but this usually means that I can't move or do anything else because if I do he will wake up and instantly want to be comforted with food.

So, I am very caught in the middle. He wants and needs to eat and I know that if I take him up to her she will be loosing sleep that she needs! I try to keep him soothed because sometimes he just wants to "snack" for comfort or eat early because he woke up due to gas.

these have been my goals over the last few weeks

1. Make it possible for Katy to go to bed at an early hour. (front load sleep)

2. Keep Jamieson downstairs with me between the 2-3 feedings after katy has gone to bed so that she gets chunks of undisturbed (if not uninterrupted) sleep. This helps her be more alert during the 2-3 late night feedings that I am likely to be asleep during, and hopefully gives her the energy to deal with him when he won't sleep between those feedings. I know that we only got her less than a couple of hours of "up front" sleep last night and she told me she was up with him the entire time between the next two feedings... I have to try harder to keep us on track so that its easier to deal with when this happens.

3. Wake up and take him downstairs between the first couple of feedings as needed. This is great for her catching up on sleep as he seems a bit less "fussy" in the mornings and I can keep him soothed and encourage him to sleep longer, but its also the prime time that she wants to be pumping and since it the time he is lest likely to be cranky its also the best time of day to play with him and have him be a bit more interactive and less distracted by his own discomfort.

4. Change every diaper I can get my hands on. It's a little thing, but I enjoy it and it is one less demand that she has to feel he is putting on her. I am sure she wouldn't mind changing more... she lets me do it because I have made it "Daddy's Job".

5. Soothe him as much as he will let me. Now when I said before that he gets upset, I am not sure I communicated what really happens here... I have seen him will turn dark purple over 100% of his body, go stiff as a board from head to toe and cry so hard and intensely that he seems to forget to breathe. At first, this upset Katy a great deal, I also get very unnerved by it.

I know Jamieson is on the verge of making a breakthrough in his eating and sleep schedule and I just have to wait it out a bit longer... but it is getting to me, I hate that I can't seem to do more for him when he is really upset and I feel like I have to absorb as much of his cranky-ness as I can and try to lessen his impact on Katy when he is being really demanding, That may sound odd to some people reading this but maybe people with difficult babies may understand. She is giving so much of herself to him as it is, I feel I need to deflect the screaming/complaining if I can. when I can't, I feel like I have failed.

I have had to compose this post over several days because I never have a long enough stretch of time to finish a complete blog post without needing to pick him up. Actually he is in my arms now but he is quiet enough that I can type (slowly) with my free hand.

It is now months later (around may 2009)... from a note I started to write someone then decided to not explain...

I know we probably discussed that he has had a rough start, He just has never been comfortable Like something was hurting him badly. I know I may have seemed over protective at the CPR class, But he has me well trained to respond quickly to his signs of distress early and try to stack the deck on the side of his comfort and happiness otherwise he can quickly get upset to the point were people question weather something is dramatically wrong with him. The way he responds to his discomfort can be a bit shocking to people if they are used to babies acting like "normal" babies.

I am sure it would not have surprised you, but I think it would have disrupted your class if he had reached the peak of what he is capable of.

Now all that sounds pretty dramatic, but he is a great and amazing baby when he fells well! So I have every confidence that when he finally "outgrows" the colic completely. Or his little digestive tract gets working a bit better... he will be able to let more of that side of himself shine.

We have been frustrated by our pediatrician and how her answer to everything seems to be "he is growing and thriving, so he is therefore fine" Wow, I sure am glad MY doctor doesn't take that attitude with me. "Oh, Doc you gained 5 pounds so clearly nothing else is wrong with you!" We are just now coming to the conclusion that he is allergic to something that he has been eating and we have finaly made an appointment with a pediatric GI in hopes that they will be able to shed some light on his discomfort.