It is autumn 2017, leaves have started to turn on the trees, children are back at school, and my gorgeous baby daughter has just turned one. It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since little Wiz sped into our lives, two weeks ahead of schedule, exactly 24 minutes after I started my maternity leave.
Like the fool I am, I was confident I’d left enough time for last minute baby book cramming and swollen ankle propping, but my super-efficient little lady totally called my bluff.
The first few weeks of Mama-hood went by in a whirlwind. From the moment she was born, Willow wasn’t happy to sleep on her own, anywhere. She was fine as long as she was being held, but once she was put down she would wake and cry. We quickly became exhausted, sleeping in short shifts. When my husband went back to work, I began to dread the days.
I couldn’t put my baby down, even to go to the bathroom or eat, without intense crying. I found myself feeding her around the clock, with little or no break in between. I knew this was common for breastfeeding initially, but as time went on, it didn’t get better. In fact, it seemed to get worse. Wiz was never happy unless she was stuck to my boob. And very soon she wasn’t even content in someone’s arms. Instead, she was unsettled, had constant hiccups, was spitting up all the time, gagged and spluttered in her sleep and often cried inconsolably for no apparent reason.
We knew that having a baby was going to rock our comfortable world, but the game changer was realising our little girl was in a lot of pain and displaying signs of reflux.
What followed were many difficult weeks back and forth to the GP, unsuccessfully trialling over the counter medications, regular trips to a chiropractor 150km away, and hours spent on the internet trying to find information on how we could help our tiny baby. At 13 weeks old Wiz was finally assessed by a paediatrician, diagnosed with reflux, and prescribed medication to control it.
Fast forward a year later, and as I cuddle my gorgeous, happy, energetic baby who has put her heart and soul into replacing those early cries with shrieks of laughter, I am reminded by just how far we have come. Willow improved dramatically once she started the medication, but there have been rocky patches along the road. Unlike many babies, her reflux didn’t get better at six months, but actually got worse as we weaned her to solids. With up to twenty episodes of puke a day, she struggled to gain weight. At one year old, she is still wearing 6-9 month old clothes and isn’t fully off her meds.
But even though she experienced a rough start in the world, little Wiz has wasted no time in making up for it. An intense ball of energy that catapults through our home, she is fearless, daring, and completely unruffled by tumbles and bruises. Her adorable laugh is infectious, her dimples beyond cute, and she can’t help but fill everyone she meets with joy.
She is the strongest person I know, and generous by her nature, she shares this strength every day, making me a better Mama, wife, daughter, sister and friend.
I started this blog because not so long ago, I struggled to imagine a time when things would get better. I panicked at the thought of leaving the house with my crying baby. I felt like a complete failure as a Mama unable to give comfort when she was in so much pain. The exhaustion, frustration, guilt and fear – it often became overwhelming.
I want other parents to know that, not only is there light at the end of the tunnel after reflux, but life is destined to become a million times better.
Which brings me back to the main reason I started this blog; to celebrate enjoying life, after kicking reflux’s ass.
I hope to write about some of the adventures I’m having with my little girl and I’ll also be posting about our reflux journey, in the hope that it might be useful to other parents going through something similar.
For any breastfeeding Mamas out there, I had a really tough time with blocked ducts and learned a lot about how to treat and prevent them, so there’s information on that here too.
As we celebrate Willow’s birthday, our little family is embarking on a few more changes as well. I’ll post more about those soon, but in the meantime, thank you for dropping by and sharing in my blog 🙂