We got home after an exhausting nine hour drive, unpacked the car, and was more than ready to collapse in bed. Except one tiny problem. Well, two tiny problems. How do you get little people whose circadian rhythm was still uncalibrated to shut up and let you sleep? Keep in mind we had spent the last four days essentially sleepless in a hospital room. Our daughter in particular was screaming bloody murder for reasons beyond comprehension. She simply would not be comforted that first night, and only stopped crying when she was clearly too exhausted to continue. Frustration levels ran super high that night, let me tell you. It’s funny how all the classes my husband dragged me to, and how the information in all the books I highlighted and tagged with color coded post-it notes (#OCD), completely slips your mind like a greased pig at a country fair. (Now there’s an expression that this Asian-American never thought he’d use!)
The low point of that first evening was clearly when I walked into the living room to tell my husband that he was going to have to take the baby crying in my arms from me so I could go to the bathroom. I only understood his confused look when I looked down into my arms and realized that I wasn’t holding a baby. Even more frightening was that I had no idea where the baby I thought I was holding actually was. I didn’t make this story up. Funny what five nights essentially without sleep will do to you, even after the six pack of Red Bull that I chased down with Starbucks’ iced soy lattes on the drive home.
Thank God we had called ahead for the babies’ first pediatrician appointment, because it was then the mystery of the constantly crying baby girl was solved. She was starving. It turns out that some babies don’t know how to latch – onto bottle or breast. So although we held bottles in her mouth until she stopped sucking in formula, she was stopping because she was tired and not because she was full. I have to say that it seemed like a bright, dazzling halo seemed to appear around our pediatrician’s head as he fiddled with our daughter’s bottle angle until she was practically inhaling formula. The man is a genius, and he earned my undying gratitude when he said that he wasn’t leaving us until we solved whatever our baby girl’s problem was. (If you’re curious, our daughter needed the bottle nipple held firmly against the roof of her mouth to help her form suction. Simple physics: I should have known.)
The next several days followed this interminable cycle of babies crying and my husband and I asking “now what?” This exhausting treadmill quickly began to take it’s toll, because when both kids were crying all hands were on deck – even if I did have early conference calls for work the next morning. (Unfortunately, taking time off at the time wasn’t really an option.) It only took a matter of days for my husband to beg his mother to come help – which was a dramatic turnaround from the man who pridefully asserted that he is a grown, educated man who quit his job to take care of our children and didn’t need any help. Calling my mother-in-law was the right decision: with her help we gradually settled in a manageable pattern.
Until colic kicked in.