As of next week it will have been four months. Four months since Jarrod and I have had even a moment alone together. Four months since we’ve been able to go out and forget our worries for an hour or two. Four months since we have been able to relax and be husband and wife, best friends, and lovers alone. Four months since one or the other of us wasn’t holding a baby in our arms while trying to go about daily life.
Felix does not allow us to put him down. If we do, he cries. And cries. And cries. We have toys for him. A swing. A bouncy seat. An exersaucer. Play mats. The most time we get out of any of those is about 5 minutes. Then he’s crying again.
Many of our friends and family talked about how excited they were for Felix to be earthside so they could meet him and play with him. Even closer family members…. and here we are four months later and we have not had even one person around enough at all enough for Felix to get to know them. We don’t dare hire a babysitter because Felix would cry non-stop and we are worried about him getting abused or neglected by someone who has less patience for his cries and neediness. It’s just Jarrod and me.
As for me, it has currently been a year since I was well and whole and able to do things for myself and my family. Last May I was diagnosed with a severe post-breast reduction infection and put on medications that made me very sick. I was on them until November, with 2 surgical cleanings and frequent trips to doctors and having nurses in my home during that time. Once that cleared I was in my 3rd trimester and quite uncomfortably pregnant. And then Felix was born and he’s basically been tethered to me ever since.
Jarrod is admirably working his ass off to support us, his family. And I can’t help but be a little resentful sometimes that he gets to get away most days and get a break from being home. I am at home, day after day, with Felix and the other kids. I try to make supper and keep up with at least some housework. But most of my time is spent with a crying baby in my ear so I can’t even carry on a conversation. He won’t take naps while playing down in his basinet. He will in a wrap on me sometimes. But generally not for more than 20 minutes at a time. I have no visitors because we can’t even talk. No going anywhere to visit. No grocery shopping. I can’t make supper. The older kids typically fend for themselves for meals.
Then Jarrod will be home after we’re all in bed and I’ll do my best to make sure he isn’t woke up when Felix gets up 4x a night to eat (breastfed) and stays awake for hours in the middle of the night. He would gladly get up with Felix, but I know he needs rest so he can drive back and forth to work, and also work.
By the time he gets up, I generally barely have time to take a shower, wash bottles, and do a couple things around the house before he has to get ready and leave again and the whole cycle starts over.
We previously thought his issues were colic, but I no longer think that has anything to do with it.
When Jarrod has a day off, Felix doesn’t get nearly as fussy usually. Probably because the frustration isn’t such an issue on those days, because we can pass him back and forth. It is also on those days that some housework can get done, and we can go together and get groceries, and other necessities from the stores, and occasionally go out to eat. But always with Felix with us.
And to go along with it all, Felix is behind on many developmental milestones. He doesn’t smile much at all, and NEVER yet a big, open-mouthed smile. He’s giggled once or twice staring off into space. He won’t often look at anyone’s face. He doesn’t use his hands. He’s not remotely interested in toys, he won’t bat or grab at anything. So on top of everything else, I’m also worried about his development. I think in part, it’s that he’s generally unhappy and has spent so much of his life either in pain (colic and gas) or sick with a virus of some sort.
He does have moments of happiness. He likes baths. Generally for an hour or two in the morning he’s happy. When we leave the house and he’s already in a good mood he does well for a little bit and then just sleeps the rest of the time. He likes being carried around outside and looking at the trees. And he will have a few minutes at a time throughout the day of happiness. Occasionally (and I mean like once every 2-3 weeks) he will have an entire happy day. Those are absolute blessings!
I know this all sounds like one big complaint. It’s certainly a vent, but not necessarily a complaint. I love Felix with all my heart, and so does Jarrod. We would never in a million years regret having him. He’s a blessing. But this extremely needy crying stage cannot pass soon enough!
As a side note here: I acknowledge that I have postpartum depression. I am seeking therapy. Meds make me sleep and since I’m 100% responsible for the household most of the time, it’s not possible to live with that side effect. It’s hard to feel better, even with therapy, when I never get a break from an extremely needy baby. All I can do is take it one day at a time, one hour at a time, even one minute at a time, until this phase passes and we can move on with life.