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Five Months

Well I am pleased to say I think we may be turning a corner. Finally.

All along I have felt in my heart that something just wasn’t right for poor little Mae. If you read my post a few months ago, you will know what I am talking about.

Anyone in my life could tell you that my vocabulary has pretty much been reduced to the following terms:

  • reflux
  • colic
  • thrush
  • food allergies
  • formula
  • high needs
  • exclusive pumping
  • lactation consultant
  • donor milk
  • gluten free
  • dairy free

And some abbreviations too…

So needless to say, it’s been a challenge.

We saw pediatricians, chiropractors, lactation consultants, a nutritionist, a gastro specialist, and some baby-wearin extreme breastfeeders. We also tried NAET and CST. I googled every single possible scenario/remedy. Nothing seemed to help. Mae still spit up and fussed most of the day, rarely napped longer than 20 minutes, arched her back and fought our every embrace and had a tough time sleeping through the night.

Not to make this about me or sound overly dramatic, but having a baby who appears to be in constant discomfort no matter what you do (or don’t do) is extremely difficult. Obviously emotionally, but physically, mentally, professionally and even spiritually. It was like my heart was being broken every single day. I lost hope that there was a solution, I grieved the loss of the mother-baby experience I’d dreamed of, I cried, I got angry, I prayed, stopped praying, talked to friends, stopped talking to friends, and more.

I was beginning to wonder that since nothing helped then what if nothing was actually “wrong”?  What if Mae’s issues were simply temperamental? I bought Dr. Sears fussy baby book  and joined the facebook group for “high needs” babies. Many of the moms there said arriving at this conclusion helped them because they adjusted their expectations and parenting styles to cope. But for me, it just made me more frustrated, and even less patient with Mae’s irritability. So I didn’t give up.

After multiple failed formula attempts and countless tearful nursing battles, I gave up and went back to pumping exclusively so I was at least able make sure she was getting enough to eat. Well as our luck would have it, (and due to two previous lumpectomies) my milk supply wasn’t responding well to all the stress so we had to figure out something to supplement with. Since Mae couldn’t tolerate any of the formulas (even the hypoallergenic ones) we were limited to breast milk and I just wasn’t making enough. So I sought out donated breast milk and was able to find some that was dairy free but not gluten free. We tried that a few times and it didn’t seem to be working and I knew the chances of finding a breast milk donor that was both gluten and dairy free were slim to none.

“When we are in over our heads we touch the depths of God.” – Ann Voskamp

I am definitely in over my head daily trying to balance all of this along with my business and marriage. Lately, I have just been treading water and reminding myself that I’ll be able to swim soon.

But over the past couple of weeks, we have seen some really exciting improvements! Mae has had two visits with a new chiropractor that treats lots of infants with issues like hers and I believe it has made a dramatic difference in her overall comfort level. Also, I went out on a limb, paid a small fortune, and ordered some organic goat’s milk based formula from Europe. She loves it and has had no adverse reaction! I have been mixing it with my milk but starting today we are going to see how she handles it by itself and then maybe, just maybe, I will be able to put this pump away. (It seriously talks to me and I think it is starting to call me mean names…)

I am looking forward to the day that when asked how we’re doing, I can honestly smile and say “great” for the first time in her life. I cringe when I think of the countless unsuspecting souls I have bored with our story just because I couldn’t lie when asked. If you are one of those people, thank you for listening.

With that, here are some snapshots from recent adventures c/o my phone:

collagemae-5-mos

 

Arielle - So glad that little baby Mae (and her mama) are doing better – My little guy was extremely colicky (which sounds like a breeze compared to the heartache you must have experienced!) and now, at a year, we are doing great! Sending you love, Mama!June 17, 2014 – 12:30 pm

Joshua Sheats - What a challenge! How great to write it all down…someday your baby will read it and realize how much you love her! May you know an abundance of God’s grace today.June 17, 2014 – 1:14 pm

Andrea - Thank you so much for sharing your struggle in such an honest way and an open forum! I have to tell you that my best friend SWEARS by camels milk that she gets from an organic farm in Ohio. Her baby NEVER and I mean never spits up, and she used it as an alternative to her breast milk when she was unable to breastfeed and was having trouble with her baby in a very similar way that you are. I’m glad you’ve had success with the goats milk. Just wanted to say I’ve really been enjoying following your blog on your journey through motherhood. You make motherhood look beautiful! SO glad you and Mae are doing well. xxJune 17, 2014 – 1:20 pm

Sarah - Hang in there, Jess, if anyone can do this, you can!! Woman warrior!!! I look forward to the day when little Mae is old enough to understand that mumma loves her so much that she had to up and buy European goats milk formula to ensure her proper nourishment 🙂 xxJune 17, 2014 – 2:45 pm

Courtney Martinet - Amazing, SO challenging and yet inspiring! Way to hang in there, Jess. And I’m so glad to hear things are turning around. 🙂June 17, 2014 – 5:53 pm

Erika - Jessica, you photographed our family at The Breakers for my mom’s 60th. As I read your post, I really truly teared up as I felt like you were writing our story. Madison is 7 months old and I’m dragging. I have zip zero energy left. She wakes every 2 hours at night and wakes crying. My husband and I try to calm her, she arches, I try to nurse her, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. At 3 weeks old, I felt like I was failing her as a mother, I couldn’t calm my crying baby and she never slept. With the encouragement of a lactation consultant, we saw a GI specialist and she’s been on prilosec every since. But we still battle the sleep. I love our precious little girl, and I am exclusively breastfeeding, but it’s getting harder to keep my supply up. I am dairy free as she is extremely sensitive (though the dr said she’s not allergic). I haven’t attempted gluten-free (I do think soy is another irritant). Do you recommend the chiropractor? Do you notice a difference? As I read your sentence about your response to peoples’ comments when they say “isn’t motherhood wonderful!”–I haven’t felt that yet and it makes me sad. I love her with all my heart and I’ve always wanted to be a mom, but I am beyond breaking.June 17, 2014 – 6:51 pm

Alisia Thompson - Thank you for sharing your story! Motherhood is so all-consuming and the infant stage is crazy, but I second the comment above that you make it look so so beautiful! I’m encouraged by the way you’ve fought for solutions and been her biggest advocate. I always look forward to seeing your sweet photos of baby Mae! Those smiles… 🙂June 18, 2014 – 12:32 am

Carolina Charm - Such great news about the goat’s milk formula. I know the days are super long and hard but you are doing such an awesome job. I’m so happy there have been some improvements. I’ve had lots of supply issues and one of my girlfriends sent me your “8 crazy weeks” post and I’ve been so inspired by you. Mae is absolutely gorgeous and things can only get better! Hang in there, mama!June 18, 2014 – 5:26 pm

Hannah - Oh Jess, my heart truly goes out to you. Mae is infinitely blessed that you’re her mom; all if this takes so much strength to walk through and though it may not feel like it most days it’s obvious from what you write that you’re doing so with such grace. That day (the one where you’re genuinely doing great) will be here soon!June 22, 2014 – 8:11 pm

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