Home for the holidays

Hi friends <3 Hope you’re having a great morning and enjoyed a wonderful weekend. 

In the spirit of keeping it real…

Sweet snoozer

Me and sleepy p

(Sweet snuggly baby, blotchy eyes from crying, and a cold sore because my immune system is officially giving me the middle finger)

I promised myself and you guys that I would share the good and not-so-fun parts this time around regarding the newborn stage. I remember last time, around this same point in time, I saw the carefully curated photos of new moms on other blogs and it made me feel worse than I already did. How were they perfectly coiffed, not wearing pajamas, showered, and their kids looked happy and equally picture-perfect? Well the second time, I found that it IS a little bit easier to get dressed and showered each day -you figure out the logistics for that kind of thing, and getting a tiny baby dressed doesn’t make you feel like you will break them like it once did- but some things, no matter what, just aren’t easy. New challenges can make the experience seem even more daunting and trying the second time around.

I mentioned last week that P has reflux, but I didn’t really go into details or any of the other things that have been going on. When we were in the hospital, she had jaundice and started losing weight which is why I had to supplement so early. She was on blue light therapy for jaundice, and that’s why we were in the hospital for longer than anticipated. They eventually let us go home when we could borrow our own blue light to continue the phototherapy treatment here. When we supplemented in the hospital, she started violently spitting up. I had to call the nurses to help me because while I’ve seen a lot of babies spit up (and have four younger brothers), this was unlike anything I’d seen. They brushed it off as “normal spit up” -the jaundice was their main concern- and we were finally able to go home. 

Over the past couple of weeks, the spitting up has been a part of life, and we learned ways to manage it. We elevated the head of her bassinet, started giving her small amounts of the supplemental formula at a time, switched to hypoallergenic formula, burped her frequently, kept her upright as much as possible, and I cut dairy completely out of my life. 

We’ve had 6 pediatrician appointments (including one for her belly button, which wasn’t sealed completely and another to have her tongue tie fixed), a heel prick at the hospital to check her bilirubin levels (which decreased quickly, thankfully), and a major scare regarding the spit up. 

Last week, she choked on her spit up, couldn’t catch her breath, and it scared the life out of me. It was during nap time, and I was watching her on the monitor. All of a sudden, it sounded like she was underwater. I ran into the room to pick her up, and she was entirely silent, skin bright red, and eyes wide. The spit up was so thick that she couldn’t clear it from her throat, and I had to firmly pat her on the back to dislodge it. I had 9-1-1 on the phone, and it was one of the most terrifying moments of my life. 

We haven’t been sleeping much at all, which is expected with a newborn (especially one with reflux), but since the incident, I’ve laid awake in bed each night, fully ready to act in case something similar happens. Similar events have happened two more times, but less severe and she was making noise (able to breathe) during the episodes. We went to the pediatrician the first night it happened, and she said it was reassuring that it was associated with something (the spit up was stuck; she didn’t stop breathing for no reason), and gave us a prescription for Zantac. The first day I was convinced it was working, but now she just seems to cry and spit up even more. It breaks my heart because she’s so uncomfortable. When she hasn’t recently eaten anything, she is the happiest, sweetest baby. Otherwise, she’s sobbing and grunting. I’m just hoping we can get this under control for her.

For this reason, we’re staying in San Diego this week instead of heading to Tucson for Thanksgiving. We’ve been looking forward to seeing the fam for months, but it’s the right choice. We couldn’t think of something happening on the freeway, especially during the span of time where there isn’t cell phone service.

As for how I’m feeling, I’ve been trying really hard to fight the PPD and anxiety I experienced last time, but with everything going on, it’s been a lot to deal with. Sometimes I feel completely normal, and other times, mostly when I see how miserable P is, I start crying and have a hard time stopping. I just feel so bad for her, and wish there was more I could do to help her. I’ll be talking to someone about it this week just to make sure I can stay on top of things and won’t end up feeling how I did last time.

It’s a week for giving thanks, and I’m thankful that she’s otherwise very healthy, and while we won’t be in Tucson, we’ll all be together this week. There are so many things to be thankful for, and this is just a bump in the road in the grand scheme of things. I’m also thankful for all of you, and for your support and advice the past 4 weeks.

xoxo

Gina

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Comments

  1. All my three had pretty epic reflux so I can relate. I figured out tricks and things that helped by #3. You are probably being bombarded with advice but if you need an extra ear to listen to or want my tips email me anytime. It is really hard having a new baby and your honesty is appreciated. I struggled with PPD well undiagnosed. But seeing perfection being presented by everyone else (at least it felt that way in my mind) made me feel more depressed.

  2. I don’t have any advice or tips but wanted to send you love and prayers.
    You’ve been incredibly strong and inspiring all through your pregnancy and your delivery. You will get through this too. Stay strong.
    I find that crying helps me – it seems to release my emotions and it makes me worry less. Good to hear that you will be talking to someone about this.
    This too shall pass.

  3. I am so sorry you are going through this, but glad you shared. I am sure that another mom, somewhere, is going through something similar and hopefully she finds your blog; it is nice to not feel so alone in our struggles. Thoughts and prayers with your family and wishing you a happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Bless your little heart! My goodness, I bet that was so scary when P was choking, I can’t imagine…i’ve experienced that with my babies, but not on that level! Thank you for sharing the tough times, It.Is.So.Hard! And I did always feel bad about myself and my life when I would see moms of newborns, acting like life is just a walk in the park everyday!
    Thanks Gina! And hang in there, you know it will get better!!

  5. Christina Recine says:

    Thank you for being so honest… My prayers are with P and your family everything will work out 🙂

  6. Please please please ask her pediatrician if she thinks P may have a condition called Pyloric Stenosis!!!! I wanted to comment about it on your last post nut I didn’t want to alarm you. Its harmless and common in infants. Its an overdeveloped muscle right before the tummy. My middle child had it. Always crying after eating, fussy and not just spitting up- it was projectile vommit!!! Your story sound exactly exactly exactly like mine – ! They perform a simple procedure, and he was a totally different baby! Please ask. We did the same, formula change, etc reflux meds, but the situation continued and I pressed for further evaluation!! Please ask !

    • Another mother who thinks you should have P checked for Pyloric Stenosis. It sounds so similar to what my child experienced and as Melissa says, the procedure to fix is simple and quick.

      Best of luck – my thoughts are with you.

    • My son had the same symptoms and it was also Pyloric Stenosis. WE did everything that you and Melissa did, I must have changed formulas 6 different times that week. Pleas request an ultra sound, they can tell right then and there. Also, the 4 – 6 week mark is when it gets worse (i describe it as projectile vomit but when my son choked on his spit up in the middle of the night, that’s when i decided to press for the doctors to check for pyloric stenosis. Good luck to you both!!

  7. I rarely comment on blogs, but I felt the need to write and say first of all your courage to be honest is beautiful. Mamahood isn’t mamahood (and humanity, for that matter) without the Dark as well as the Light, and being open about the duality of it is so healing for both you and those who read it.

    Cry when you need to cry, vent when you need to vent, feel what you need to feel… that’s the only way it passes through. Otherwise, you suppress or hold onto it and it creates its own monsters.

    You are doing SO well. You’re an amazing Mom. You and that family of yours are the most perfect team for this particular adventure and you’re all learning what you need to learn from it, so as weird as it sounds, it’s all unfolding as it should (even though parts of it might not feel that way at times). The Universe and its plans are pretty brilliant, just like that little babe of yours is!

    Sending Light your way, Mama.

  8. I’m a long-time reader but rarely (if ever) comment but I just wanted to let you know that you’re doing great, momma! It can be so tough when they’re so tiny but you’re doing everything you can to make her more comfortable and it will get better. Keep on keeping on and happy holidays!

  9. You seem like a wonderful mom, Gina. Just remember that things will get easier. Thanks for sharing your struggles and normalizing what having a newborn is like. I’m sure you’re helping lots of women!

  10. Saying a prayer for you and P! You are doing a great job and you still look lovely.

  11. As a new mama myself, I appreciate the candid honesty, especially on days when I wake up looking like the cast member of The Walking Dead. It’s so easy to start feeling bad looking at other moms’ “perfect” pictures. Thanks for being truthful!

  12. My heart breaks for you. xo. I can’t relate to the reflux but I know having a newborn is so so so tough. Sending you my love and prayers!

  13. Hugs hugs and more hugs for you and Baby P! I know that it must be so hard, but your girls are so lucky to have a mama like you watching over them. It’ll get better–happy thankful days are ahead!

  14. Thanks for keeping it real, motherhood is such a joy but can be so tough at times! So sorry you’ve had such a rough time! My daughter had severe reflux too, and had to take Zantac 3 times a day until she was almost a year old. It did get significantly better once we started solid foods and the dr actually had us to add rice cereal to her bottle and also by mouth once a day when she got to be 3-4 months old and that helped too. Hope it gets better soon! Hang in there you’re doing great!!

  15. Thinking of you and your family Gina and thank you for the post..I can imagine its scary! I can’t offer any advice for P but sending you lots of virtual hugs and you are in my thoughts!

  16. Big, big hugs mama. Both my kids had reflux, and I had a very similar incident as you with my first (my daughter). She was just barely two weeks old (and still so tiny and fragile in this new mama’s mind), and my husband was playing with her in her room…she had been sleeping in the Rock n Play next to our bed due to her reflux, and wasn’t even using her crib at that point….but my husband lay her down on her back in the crib momentarily while he played with her, and she started turning blue….he screamed for me, I came running with the phone ready to dial 911, and luckily after a few bangs on the back she started to breathe again. I will NEVER get that image of her blue face out of my mind. I was so terrified, I slept with her propped up on my elbow for months after that….and I woke up so often to check on her….not healthy at all. But she outgrew her reflux (around 8 months) and I was finally able to relax and sleep. I’m actually convinced a lot of SIDS cases are just undiagnosed reflux.

    With my son, I was a little more relaxed, but I also figured out that coffee and chocolate (my two vices) totally turned him into exorcist throwing up baby. Once I completely eliminated those two from my diet, it helped immensely with his reflux! I was “only” dairy free with my daughter, and once I figured out the whole coffee and chocolate thing with my son I felt so bad, because I may have been able to alleviate some of her reflux if I had only known!

    Both my kids also had tongue ties (which some think is linked to the reflux, my daughter’s TT actually went undiahnosed for ten months so who knows what would have happened if we had fixed her TT at birth.) So I really, really get how hard it is for you right now. If you need anyone to lean on, feel free to message me. If you were still in AZ I would definitely come by with tons of dairy free food…because I know how even the simplest things (like feeding yourself) become so hard when you have to eliminate things for your LO.

    Hang in there sweet mama, give P lots of snuggles and just take each day one at a time. Focus on your family…we’re here for you. <3 <3

    • Fitnessista says:

      that is so scary. it was definitely one of the most terrifying moments i’ve experienced.
      i haven’t had chocolate (mostly because so many of them have dairy!) but have been drinking a coffee each morning. i’m hoping it doesn’t affect her too much because the reflux is the absolute worst at night. you’re right, though- feeding yourself is hard enough with a newborn and even harder when you have to eliminate things.
      thank you for the sweet wishes. i really appreciate it <3

  17. I’m so sorry. All four of my children had reflux to varying degrees. It will get better. One of my sons stopped breathing twice, similar to your experience, and ended up having surgery to correct the cause of his reflux (hiatal hernia). The other three kids outgrew their reflux medicine at different times, the earliest was 10 months, the latest was 18 months. It is hard. I eliminated dairy with all four of them but only saw a difference with one. Infant massage was helpful with 2 of them, a soft massage on the belly while holding them vertically after a feed, I had an infant massage book but I’m sure you could google techniques. With 3 of them, I would keep them in a front pack for an hour after each feed, or hold them vertically. None of it leads to good sleep for mom though.
    I hope it improves soon.

  18. Wow, I could have written this post. We have been struggling with the same thing with my 3 month old daughter for about a month now. The first episode of her choking and not breathing we went to the ER and they pretty much told me everything was fine. After 3 more episodes like that I told her MD that I thought she had reflux (she does not have the typical symptoms of vomiting etc.) He finally ordered a GI series for her and learned she has “pretty significant reflux.” After a week Prilosec, it is like we have a new baby…no more choking episodes and she is actually happy and smiling instead of screaming 24/7. Hang in there and I hope miss P starts feeling better soon!

    • I have the Snuza also btw and it helps so much just to ease your mind a bit and let you get a little bit of sleep:)

    • Fitnessista says:

      no way. we are going to the ped again this week to ask for prilosec. i hope that’s the case for us, too! so sorry you’ve been through it but am so happy to hear she’s doing better <3

  19. Prayers for you guys and your little one! <3

  20. My son had the same problem with reflux. It was like projectile vomiting and it could happen up to a half hour after he ate. It also became colic. He would cry and cry. We tried all types of formula nothing worked. It finally stopped when he went to all would foods. It was so bad the neighbors called the police because he was crying so much.

  21. I haven’t read through all the comments, so my mistake if this has been mentioned. I had my daughter on Nov 11th and having been dealing with mostly “silent” reflux. She spits up some, but not a lot, however many times throughout the day she will gag and cough. Super fussy at the breast as well, arching in pain. It is so hard to watch :(. We started Zantac, but I also did add an additional homeopathic medicine. Might be something you’d be interested in. It’s called Nat Phos (Hyland’s brand 6x strength). I am not sure if it was a coincidence that the Zantac actually kicked in the same day I started administering the Nat Phos, but omg, I have a new baby. She seems so so much more comfortable and can actually settle enough to take more than a 20 minute nap during the day! I know you have used other alternative therapies, so I wanted to pass this along!

  22. I’m really late to this and not sure if there’s an update but I have a 4 month old who had severe GERD and all I can say is IT GETS BETTER! We didn’t sleep for the first 8 weeks. Just no sleep. We made some big changes and they really, really helped:

    1. Sleeping in rock and play. I swear I’ll keep him in that thing until college. The incline is amazing for reflux.
    2. Feeding him in an upright position with Dr. Brown’s bottles and giving him cheek support (google this) to prevent air swallowing, causing more gas.
    3. Burping! I burped him a lot (which I never do now, so really, it does get better!).
    4. Hypoallergenic formula, thickened with rice cereal. I used alimentum and thickened it with rice cereal. We slowly weaned to the similac for spit up (which is pre thickened) but it made the HUGEST difference in the violent spit up episodes.

    Good luck. You are doing a great job!

    • Fitnessista says:

      thank you so much for all of the awesome tips <3 it makes me happy when people say it gets better. i'm ready for it!

  23. Liz Hatcher says:

    Yo girl- I’m on my second newborn too. I started taking a small dose of Zoloft the day after he was born and it’s helped me tremendously…I feel like such a better mom. I debating telling anyone about it but I am just so grateful now, that I want to share it with as many moms as possible. You’re awesome and I LOVE your blog.

    Xoxo-
    Liz

    • Fitnessista says:

      that’s great to hear, and i’m so happy it’s helped you! i was going to ask my therapist about it next week. it’s tricky for me because when i feel sad/overwhelmed, i can tie it to exactly what’s causing it. i feel like because there’s a reason, it’s ok to feel how i feel, but at the same time, it’s been hard with everything going on. i’ll definitely see what she thinks.
      thank you so much for reading!

  24. Oh my goodness I am SO glad I read this!! My daughter (4 months old as of this week) has reflux terribly and has had super similar episodes that you are talking about!!! Everyone I talk to about it thinks I’m crazy but it sounds like you know exactly what I’m talking about!! It’s like the acid builds up and comes up into her throat and she chokes on it because she doesn’t know whether to cough or swallow it and she turns bright red, her eyes get wide like she’s terrified, she flails her arms like she can’t breathe and it is the SCARIEST thing ever!!!!! I had to call 911 the first time it happened when she was 9 weeks old because it scared me so bad. Now she’s on Zantac, and while the episodes are still happening, I don’t think they’re happening AS often, but still. I can’t wait for her to finally be able to sit up on her own because I think that will really be a turning point!

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