Trust your gut

  1. @Hoogie and I were blessed with a beautiful baby girl almost two months ago.
  2. We brought her home from the hospital and shit hit the fan.
  3. She cried all the time.
  4. We brainstormed all the possible explanations (and so did everyone else we talked to): run of the mill colic, hypersensitive parents, overtired and overstimulated baby, allergy, reflux, baby's temperament.. the list goes on.
  5. Her record for number of hours spent crying so far is almost 10 hours in one day.
  6. That's when I knew something was very wrong (a month ago). But the logical, rational doctor in me, and my family and friends, all told me to relax. It's probably just PURPLE crying, gas from an immature bowel, and it would get better gradually.
  7. But it just seemed to get worse. She wouldn't sleep in her bassinet more than 15 minutes. She wanted to be held all the time. Even that didn't work sometimes.
  8. @Hoogie and I drove ourselves crazy trying to soothe an unsoothable baby. We swaddled, rocked, bounced, swung, bathed, changed, massaged, sang, and cried to no avail.
  9. I took her to her doctor twice because I felt something was wrong. This didn't seem like colic. I was reassured both times.
    Actually, her doctor laughed at me last time and told me I needed to let her cry it out at six weeks old and let her learn how to self-soothe. He also thought my level of stress and exhaustion was comical.
  10. She broke out into a rash on her face, neck, and chest. She spit up all down the front of my coat at the doctor's office. She screamed all the way home both times.
    What newborn doesn't fall asleep to the gentle white noise and rocking of a moving car?
  11. Well, this weekend, things finally came to a head.
  12. The baby started having foul, slimy, green, bloody diarrhea. Her rash got worse. Her spit up became more intense. She cried inconsolably while we visited friends in Brooklyn. I wound up holed up in their bedroom with her trying to calm her down while everyone else shouted helpful suggestions: change her diaper✅, put her to sleep✅, rock her✅.
  13. Finally, a memory from my residency training flooded back to me. I saw a baby with the same story in the emergency room during my first few months as a doctor.
    The crying, exhausted parents of a so-called "colicky" baby came in due to blood in the baby's diaper. They looked worried and wiped out. I see myself and my husband in that couple now.
  14. My astute senior resident at the time asked me what I thought it was. I had no idea. She firmly informed me it was a food allergy, most likely to cow's milk protein. The baby was formula-fed and needed to be switched to a special formula that was extensively broken down so the baby's body didn't recognize the offending agent and attack.
    In breastfed babies, it's much less common and only occurs in 1 in 200 babies. Amazingly, after posting on my facebook page about it, six other people I know faced the same problem while breastfeeding their babies.
  15. So I took her back in, to see a different doctor this time, and stated firmly that I thought my baby had an allergy... most likely to cow's milk protein... and you know what he said? "I agree. This is textbook."
  16. So the lesson for me from all of this was: trust your gut. I suppressed my maternal instincts for a month and regret it. I wish I pushed harder. I considered eliminating diary before but multiple other people said to stay the course and she would outgrow it. They were wrong. Trust your gut. I will never suppress my instincts about my kid again.
  17. Going on 48 hours dairy-and soy-free now, and today was the first day since we brought her home seven weeks ago that she hasn't had an uncontrollable crying fit from pain.
    I feel like my postpartum depression is actually lifting (though I am mourning the lack of cheese in my diet!) and my short term goals include accepting that I didn't know better and letting go of the guilt for giving the baby my tainted milk.
  18. Today, she actually smiled.