The two weeks have been…interesting. Let’s recap, shall we?
Zoe is usually a happy, easy-to-please baby, but during weeks 7 and 8, she was a tearful little enigma. This unfortunately happened during the same two weeks that David had to take five hard tests in Orlando as part of his ordination process.
Here’s a math equation for you: 1 screaming, unhappy baby – ability to be soothed + 1 sleep-deprived mama + starting part-time work – 1 dad around to help = misery.
As the craziness reached its peak, I started to wonder if Zoe was having an adverse reaction to her formula, so I began some food experimenting that exhausted her (and yet cruelly made her unable to nap.) Here’s an example of when happens when HAPPY Zoe throws a random fit:
So now imagine an UNHAPPY Zoe with a tummy ache and without a nap—it was a truly exquisite combination of a demon, short-tempered Kate Gosselin, and pitiful sweet little baby, with lots of back-arching, screaming, and hair pulling.
Put her down for a second to eat or go to the bathroom?!! What are you, crazy?!! Go somewhere in the car? Again, ARE YOU CRAZY? Try to help her sleep when she’s exhausted? Now you’re just being cruel…
It’s SO SAD to watch your little baby struggle like that.
You wonder, what am I doing wrong? What could I do to help? Does she need a schedule? Is she allergic to her formula? Is she getting sick? Is this her new personality?!! Is this abnormal fussiness a normal developmental stage? Am I missing something?
You find yourself googling phrases like “baby abnormally fussy + 7-8 weeks” and “signs of colic” and “allergic to formula?” You talk to other moms who share worst-case scenarios. You fear that this is her new personality. You reflect back on how nannying was so much easier because you got to go home at the end of the day and get a break. You feel guilty about that and quickly kiss your baby and tell her “I would never want to be childless! You’re the best!” (She cries in response.) You feel guilty that other people’s babies have harder struggles, then you realize you can’t think about them right now because it makes you want to cry and that isn’t helpful. And you try to stay calm and adjust only one thing at a time so that you can isolate the problem, even though you want to just change EVERYTHING.
Thankfully, SO THANKFULLY, I knew my mom and sister were coming to visit at the end of week 8. Truly, if I had not had that information in my mental back pocket, I would have probably laid down in the street and waited for an unobservant driver to run me over (and I live near a high school, so I wouldn’t have had to wait long.)
Our pendulum shifted on Wednesday night at 11:30 when I picked up my mom at the airport. Instant relief for me.
On Thursday morning, I talked with our pediatrician about my suspicion that Zoe needed a new formula. I had already discontinued her formula twice (and switched to breastmilk) and she seemed to do way better without the formula, so our pediatrician suggested that I should try a formula for lactose sensitivity.
Here’s Zoe and my sister Olivia on Thursday, 16 hours after her formula detox started. You can still see Zoe’s sad little face:
“Mom, I’ve been through a battle.”
But the lactose sensitivity formula did the trick! By Friday, Zoe was back to her normal happy self after 2 weeks of on-and-off misery!
We had a fabulous, fabulous visit with my mom and sister. We went on walks, spent lots of time playing with Zoe, played games, and took Zoe on her first trip to the zoo. My mom watched Zoe so that I could go to the gym twice (and Olivia went to Zumba with me!) David finished his last exam on Friday so he was able to spend time with us too!
This photo describes the visit:
Olivia feeding Zoe. My mom folding our laundry and simultaneously playing a game. David actually being able to relax after an exhausting series of tests.
Family is the best.
Zoe and her sweet Auntie Olivia
Zoe smiling at her Gigi
The last two weeks have taken this usually competent and upbeat girl and made her painfully aware of her own vulnerability.
I’m used to being able to put hard work, energy, and a positive attitude into a situation and get the result that I want. But motherhood is a whole new set of rules—I can exhaust all of my physical and mental resources and still not have my baby feel any better.
Earlier this week when I was struggling I said out loud to God, “I just feel so NEEDY. I have nothing left to give!”
Being in a position where I feel “needy” at all strikes fear into my heart—I like being self sufficient!
But I’m realizing that motherhood is not an independent journey that I can just handle on my own all the time. I NEEDED this visit with my mom. I NEED the support of people around me and it doesn’t make me a failure to reach out to them and say “hey, this mom thing is hard!” (I’m so grateful to you Wednesday night Bible study friends who smiled at my tear-stained face and said “you’ll feel better tomorrow!” You were right!)
And I’m thankful for my neediness, because it keeps me seeking Him.