It started around 2.5 weeks into D's life. He started being "fussy." Since this is the normal colicky period, we resigned ourselves to a couple months of nighttime fussiness. We tried working out his gas with leg bicycles and tummy massage. I cut out dairy (and then added it back in) in an attempt to remove potential allergens from my diet. I became diligent about his naps in an attempt to prevent him from getting overtired. We shushed and bounced and swayed the days away.
But then, the magic "it gets better" points came and went. His digestion did improve around 5 months, but the nighttime grouchiness continued. It morphed into daytime grouchiness. Some days he cried constantly. He was put on antacid medication by one pediatrician, then another said it does no good and "reflux" will resolve soon anyway.
In the midst of all this, I started googling "baby cries all the time" "baby never sleeps" "X weeks old and still colicky." I was directed to various sites and articles that seemed to fit D. They described a "high needs" baby. It fit him perfectly! Can't be put down, feeds all the time, doesn't sleep well. It was a relief to find out he's "normal" in his own way, but also frustrating because I didn't want to have a baby that was special, even if it meant he was totally developmentally normal, just tempermental. I didn't want to label my tiny little guy, but I wanted desperately to know I wasn't alone.
Thank goodness for Facebook. There are many groups for moms who have babies like D! And as I read their posts, they sounded so familiar. "My baby hates the car." "I can't take a shower without him screaming the whole time." "Why are his naps only 30 minutes long?" There is comfort in knowing there are others out there in your same difficult situation. The moms who'd been at it longer had pointers.
But it's still so hard, because the Internet is virtual, and D is real. My nights are still so, so hard. Every time I hang out with other moms with babies, I'm reminded how different he is. When I'm asked to leave storytime at the library (yes, that actually happened), I'm reminded how different he is. Every time I turn down an invitation because it might possibly interfere with his finely tuned nap schedule, I'm reminded. When he cries when anyone other than me or Nick holds him, I'm reminded. When I'm stuck standing outside the restaurant or party with a screaming baby, I'm reminded.
I know that this too shall pass, but right now things are still rough. I know "the days are long but the years are short," but these days are not getting any shorter. When I see a mom with a toddler, I am so hopeful for the future. We just have to make it there.