Ellie was born in August of 2009. We were sent home from the hospital with the instructions that she is 'just one of those babies that refluxes' and to 'be sure and lay her on her side' so that she does not 'choke or aspirate on her own vomit'. She was quiet and slept a lot. I found it interesting that I seemed to have had a second mellow baby. Breastfeeding was not going as well as it had the first time because she was having trouble latching and seemed to choke a lot, but the specialists reassured me that this would get better as she learned and my milk leveled out.
Home we went. Ellie continued to throw up, and it worsened. Half of her feedings ended up on the floor, my clothes, or whatever was around her. And the crying started. Her sleep was irregular, and there were times where there was no consoling her. Advice from friends and doctors told me that she was colicky, and that it was sensory. My mission was to figure out what was triggering her, what time of the day/night it was at it's worst, and in the meantime I hardly ever put her down. The pediatrician told me that there were now studies that showed infants who proved colicky had specific personality traits when they got older, and to brace myself for a less-compliant child than my first. She was just a more vocal and particular child.
Her sensory preferences were obvious. She wanted to sleep a specific way, with no light at all, and a specific blanket draped a particular way over her face. In fact, we have video of her at only a few hours old being wheeled into my hospital room while rubbing her cheek against the hospital blanket in the same way. I began the task of figuring out this little person's likes and dislikes in the hope of establishing a sleeping and eating pattern. A couple of months into charting the day I gave that up. Clearly she would not be a scheduled baby, and clearly this was personality. Right?
I wondered. I could not help but think that babies that cried all of the time truly had something going on inside of them, and that excusing it as personality was not acceptable to me. Next came the standard comments from other moms about attachment parenting versus whatever the other is called. My first born had wanted her space, but enjoyed snuggling. Ellie never seemed happy, but wanted to eat all the time and stopped crying most of the time when she was held. She sounded broken hearted if you denied her, and she was loud! Within the first couple of weeks my four year old asked if we could exchange her for a baby that didn't cry as much.
In the meantime we were in the doctor's office a lot, already. She was a squirmy baby who never stayed swaddled, and about 2 weeks old her umbilical cord prematurely tore off when it stuck to a swaddle blanket. It bled quite a bit and sent me into a panic. After a week it was goopy and still bleeding. It wasn't sealing off. The pediatrician said that it could herniate if left untreated, so we treated it with liquid nitrogen which turned it gray and icky.
At this point things get a little fuzzy, but I know that around 10 weeks old things changed. I started to notice her diapers were looking a little pink (blood) and that was unsettling. There was continued talk about my oversupply of milk and that it can cause digestive problems and the green funky poo that we had been seeing. And then one weekend we were at the mall. I went out of the store to change Ellie's diapers and when I opened it up I was horrified. It looked as if someone had dumped a melted red Popsicle into her diaper. I ripped off the outer diaper liner to see the absorbing material underneath. Yes! red! In a panic I called the doctors office and proceeded to go through half an hour of crazy conversations with advice nurses and determining if I needed to take her to the emergency room. No, she was not unconscious or passing large amounts. So it was decided I could wait until Monday.
Monday we headed in to the doctor, and the journey began. Meckles? Breastfeeding? Condition where the bowels kink and then straighten on their own? Our fantastic pediatrician wanted to be sure, and calmly tried to reassure me. Off to the pediatric gastroenterologist we went. And she wasnt even three months old.