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Colic, just the mere mention of the word makes me feel anxious, my heart starts beating in my throat, butterflies start fluttering in my stomach & my palms start sweating.
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For those of you who are new here, welcome!!. I love making new friends ?. To give you some background on myself, my name is Michelle & I am Mummy to two sets of twins, 8 year old boy/girl twins & 3 year old girl twins.
I lived through both of my older twins having reflux which was pretty terrible. They were both on medication until they turned 1. I used to drive to a compound chemist over an hour’s drive each way to buy their banana flavoured medication so they would actually take it, as opposed to the medicine I could purchase at my local chemist which was a 5 minute drive and for a quarter of the cost.
When my second set of twins were born, I didn’t breast feed (I didn’t breast feed my first set either) and they went straight on formula. There were 4.5 years younger than my first set of twins & there had been changes in formula.
I put them both on the formula that my first set had been on & the MCHN advised me they had changed the formulation a couple of years ago which had resulted in some upset babies. My daughter Grace was fine on this formula but Alice didn’t react well.
The poor darling would scream constantly & pass ALOT of gas. I decided to change formula & again Grace took to it fine but Alice was having trouble with it & experiencing the same symptoms.
As to be expected, when you have a newborn (or 2 in my case) I was a mess of surging hormones, even though I didn’t breast feed my milk still came in, I was sleep deprived, sore from the birth and basically a nervous wreck. I was still trying to manage the needs of my older children & making sure that they felt loved also. Unbeknownst to me I was in the early stages of Post Natal Depression.
Poor Alice would scream for a feed when she was hungry & then scream afterwards from the pain. This continued on a daily basis so we did a trip to the emergency department & the girls were diagnosed with reflux but I knew (or thought I did!!) from previous experience that this was much different.
After several visits to my trusted GP, who already knew I had neurotic tendencies, suffered from anxiety & had suffered from PND with my first set of twins, he diagnosed Colic & told me that the symptoms would alleviate when Alice reached around 16 weeks when her stomach flora would neutralise & her digestive tract would mature.
There was nothing we could do for her in the mean time. We just had to weather the storm. As far as medical problems for babies go on the scale of things that can go wrong in the eye of the Doctor, I knew this was very mild, but as her mother who was having to watch her baby scream in pain for hours and hours on end, it was pretty major.
If I’m to be perfectly honest, it goes without saying that it was tearing my heart out watching my baby suffer through such pain, but it was also driving me absolute fucking crazy. I thought I was going to lose my mind.
Rationally, I knew she couldn’t help it but in my mind at the time, there wasn’t a lot of rational thinking going on. I was going absolutely crazy & just wanted her to stop screaming. The sound was like nails on a blackboard.
Anyone who has had a baby with colic knows the stress & pressure it puts on a family, with a baby screaming the house down constantly & nobody sleeping or getting any respite.
When the girls were 10 weeks old, I visited my GP in desperation & asked him to prescribe the drug to get my breast milk back & I was going to start pumping to get my supply up. In my mind that was my only solution. I didn’t know at the time that babies who are prone to Colic, will still experience the symptoms from breast milk.
I was so lucky to have had my mum staying with me because she was caring for Grace whilst I was caring for Alice. Physically & emotionally I would not have been able to care for both babies alone during the day & also for the older two who were not yet at school.
My Dr could obviously see that I wasn’t in the best state of mind at this point & could barely put a sentence together I was so tired & he advised against going down this route. He knew it would be a lot of work to build up a big enough supply which could take weeks & result in hungry babies.
Instead, he gave me a couple of tins of formula that one of the sales reps had bought in & promised to be gentle on little tummies. It was a brand & formulation I had never used.
He also wrote me a referral to the Mother Baby Unit at our closest private hospital. At the time I had absolutely no insight, I was so frazzled & anxious & I would go as far as to say mental and I needed help and a rest too.
Things improved somewhat on the new formula, Alice’s symptoms were not completely alleviated but there were definitely signs of improvement.
I received a call from The Mother Baby Unit & they had room for us the following week, the girls were around 12 weeks old at the time.
Upon my arrival and entry interview, they could see I was in a pretty bad way & they took the babies for a few hours and let me sleep but of course I couldn’t. I was so wound up, all I could hear were my babies crying for me (which I was assured that they weren’t) and I was so wired I just could not sleep.
As part of the admission, all patients are assigned a paediatrician. The one assigned to us was an older man & upon meeting me said to me with a smile on his face ‘so I’ve been assigned to you because you’re not very good at looking after your children’, I can only assume he thought he was being funny but the nurse in the room went bright red & looked like she wanted to punch him in the face whereas I just started crying hysterically & couldn’t be consoled.
12 long weeks of not having had more than an hour’s sleep at a time, having a baby screaming in my ear the majority of the day, as well as another newborn to look after & four year old twins who needed me too & let’s not forget my over active brain that just worries and worries constantly, it was a recipe for a breakdown.
I had reached the point where I didn’t want to go to sleep because I was so very tired that an hour wasn’t going to cut the mustard. I needed a good couple of hours in a solid block & knowing that this wasn’t a possibility, I decided it was easier to not sleep at all.
My mum & husband kept urging me to go to bed & put some headphones in & drown out the noise but I was now at the point where I couldn’t fall asleep without crying myself exhaustedly to sleep. I would just lie & sob until I couldn’t cry anymore. To be honest it was absolute hell.
Back to my lovely & caring paediatrician at the hospital, I can only imagine that he was chastised accordingly because his next visit to my room was to apologise to me but I could tell he didn’t take me seriously. He told me I had two perfectly healthy babies & maybe I should be transferred to the high security psych ward nearby (where I couldn’t take my babies) to receive appropriate treatment.
Luckily the nurses in the unit are the most fantastic nurses that I have ever encountered & they were able to advocate on my behalf. Yes, I was behaving neurotically, was anxious and depressed but I was NOT a risk to my babies in any way, shape or form, I was just tired and worried.
They had also witnessed Alice’s bouts of screaming & farting after a feed & they too had diagnosed that she had Colic.
As the second tin of the formula that my GP had given me started running low, I rang around to a few of the local pharmacies and supermarkets & nobody was carrying it. I rang the manufacturer of the formula & they advised me that the formula I was using had been discontinued. Are you kidding me??? .
I was able to secure another two tins which meant sending DH driving across the other side of town to purchase. I was in a serious panic & when I relayed this to the Paediatrician he just shrugged his shoulders & wasn’t too concerned.
Let me state that I know that a Paediatrician deals with poor little darlings that have horrible & very sadly, life threatening illnesses on a daily basis, so having to treat a baby with a ‘minor’ and ‘untreatable’ condition wouldn’t rate very high on their list of priorities.
However, I was paying this gentleman a small fortune every-time he stepped foot into my room to tell me how crap I was.
The nurses told me they would take both babies all night & give me some sleeping tablets to make sure I slept that night.
I trusted the nurses implicitly, I had met the majority of them when I had my first set of twins & knew they would take good care of my babies. I was counting down the seconds until bedtime, I couldn’t wait to sleep.
Bedtime finally arrived & I tearfully but very happily kissed my babies good night, took my meds & went to sleep. I had been asleep for a good few hours when the baby in the next room starting screaming & woke me up.
They had decided to let me sleep the same night they were starting the control crying method on the baby next door.
There wouldn’t have been enough sleeping meds in the whole of the hospital to have made sleeping through this poor babies hysterical screams possible & it continued for hours and hours. I could also hear the sobbing of the mum too & felt so sorry for her. It’s an awful thing to go through.
The next morning I’d had enough & was going home. The paediatrician couldn’t or wouldn’t offer me any valuable advice on what formula to try next only to tell me not to use goats milk or lactose free.
The poor baby in the next room had spent the night screaming the hospital down & even though I felt genuine heartfelt sympathy for the mother & the baby, (the mother actually came & knocked on my door and apologised the next morning, she was so lovely but obviously quite upset), I had come to the hospital for treatment from a paediatrician, the help of the nurses & the opportunity to sleep & I could only tick one out of three off the list so I was out of there.
Upon arriving home, I joined some online forums & received all manners of advice. It wasn’t until Alice’s Colic had pretty much cured itself that someone recommended ‘The Baby Bowen Colic Relief’
I did some research & found that the The Baby Bowen program acts to rebalance the nervous system. Birth is a traumatic experience for babies and by rebalancing the nervous system your baby’s discomfort should fade. The result is a happy, healthy and balanced baby. I only wish someone had have told me about it earlier. I researched the product and read positive review after review after review.
I had literally been to hell and back. During the peak of Alice’s Colic, I was an absolute mess. Exhausted, anxious, depressed, overwhelmed & had absolutely no self worth. I felt like the worst mother ever.
I will even go as far as to say the thought of suicide had crossed my mind. I just couldn’t see any escape from my hell. My husband & I were hardly speaking to each other due to the stress and pressure & my four year olds were also feeling the pressure.
Why couldn’t have someone told me that there was a simple method out there that could have helped my daughter & not put my family through four and a half months of hell.
With Alice being baby number 4 there were definitely no more children on the cards but I would go as far to say that there would be families out there who have had experiences similar to ours and have sworn off anymore children because they just couldn’t go through it again. Don’t underestimate the effect that Colic has on the whole family.