I’m honoured to share Alex’s story with you today.
But, I also hesitated to publish it. Here’s why: Having a colicky or high need baby is hard. Really, really hard. (If you don’t have a fussy baby and don’t think it’s a life -changing experience, read this).
When well-intentioned friends or family say, “Be thankful you have a healthy baby“, it doesn’t help. In the midst of sleep-deprivation, guilt, and extreme frustration, such comments only evoke more guilt and more frustration.
Alex had a colicky baby. She knows how hard it is. But then a few months after the colic went away, the unthinkable happened to her family. Something no mother should ever have to endure.
Colic is hard. I never, ever want to diminish what YOU are going through with your little one.
But hopefully Alex’s story will be a gentle reminder to enjoy the rare, good moments with your baby. To give your baby an extra cuddle when he wakes up for the 10th time tonight. To give you the strength you need right now to get through another day.
When I was pregnant with my daughter (my second child) I was miserable.
Not with the thought of having another child, but with the havoc that the pregnancy was wreacking on my body. I had extreme nausea during the first trimester, then went on to experience severe back pain, sciatica, varicose veins (which were so bad I had to wear compression stockings around the clock) and horrible leg cramps that made me barely able to walk to the mailbox. This didn’t include the heart burn or the UTI (my first ever!).
I did exercises and acupuncture, slept with a pillow and took it easy—all to no avail. The clincher was that she was breech, so I ended up having a c-section. All of which was vastly different than my first pregnancy, which I sailed through, including the drug-free birth at the end.
Then Emily entered the world—healthy and beautiful which made all of that “trouble” a distant memory.
But then the crying started. She cried. And cried. And cried.
At first I thought it was funny how one forgets how often a newborn cries—that Emily’s amount of crying must have been what my son’s was. But she wouldn’t stop. As soon as the sun set, and until it came up again, that baby would cry. I started to cry, and would pace the floor continuously wondering what I could do. My husband and I dragged the swing in the bedroom to see if she could sleep through the night in it. We tried the vibrating chair, we swaddled her in the Miracle Blanket, we bought the “snuggle nest”—we tried it all. A friend worked for Colic Calm and sent me a bottle—that finally helped. We would give her a dose, swaddle her, place her in the swing and didn’t dare touch her until she awoke.
When Emily reached her three month birthday, the crying stopped. “It’s a miracle!” we proclaimed, and would tell our friends the story about how “this cute little girl made us miserable.”
Then, she reached her 9 month birthday and we stopped laughing. At her 9-month check-up, a tumor was found, which turned out to be cancer. Neuroblastoma to be exact—the most common pediatric cancer. We were immediately checked in to our local pediatric hospital and didn’t know if she was would be coming home with us. It was the scariest time of my life.
I would have taken endless sleepless nights, full of crying, just to know Emily would be okay. All in all, she was in the hospital a total of five weeks, having three different surgeries. And you know what? She was a trooper—hardly crying at all. Go figure.
Today, she is healthy, cancer free, and can have an IV put in like a champ (something no 3-year-old should have on their list of accomplishments). She’s the very definition of sugar and spice—nice and sweet but when she has a tantrum, she’s the eye of the storm. But even in these moments, when I want to pull my hair out, I think back to those dark times, and say to myself, “Thank goodness I can hear those cries.”
Alex Ota was so thankful for Colic Calm soothing her baby, that she now works for the company. Since her kiddos are getting older she’s also grateful to have their new product on hand, Tummy Calm which soothes upset tummies. To read Emily’s entire story, you can visit the blog she co-founded with her best friend from 4th grade (cheesy but true), BreezyMama.com.
Alex’s Story: “Thank Goodness I Can Hear Those Cries”
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