Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Saint Otis

I don't think there is a "real" Saint Otis.  But the last few days have had me praying to my boy, asking him to please "pull some strings" and watch over us, and take care of his baby brother.

We are sort of back at square one, in terms of Owen's reflux, the oversupply/undersupply, the fussiness, the lack of sleep.  It feels impossible and disheartening and I have moments where I am not sure it will ever be different, and yet I also feel that if it isn't different soon I will lose my mind and end up in an institution.

Last night we were up until 2 with a boy that refused to sleep anywhere but our arms.  I finally fell asleep with him in a chair, only to be awakened at 3:30 to a very hungry little guy; nursed until 4 and then dealt with a screaming burp session (the reflux makes the burps very painful), then a huge blowout (likely/hopefully the reason he was so uncomfortable prior to that), then finally, finally he settled into his bassinet around 4:30.  We all slept until 8, which feels miraculous and like a huge gift and then I wonder when did I start to feel that 3 1/2 hours of sleep is a miracle?

E said to me last night, "This is so much harder than we ever imagined it would be..."

Understatement of all time.

The phrase keeps running through my head, "We have a very sick little baby..."

But see, we don't, really.  Because those were the words that Otis's neurologist told us that fateful day we realized he'd be coming off life support.  And this is nowhere near that.  Owen is a feisty, spirited, healthy baby - except his digestive system is totally immature and he is incredibly sensitive to pretty much everything it seems.  He grunts in his sleep and wakes himself up from about 2 am on, on the nights when he actually has gone to sleep.  He spits up copious amounts of milk every day.  He has days where the spit up causes him to writhe and scream.  But he is not "a very sick baby."  He is not Otis.  And I think I'm wrapping my head around that.  I am really starting to believe he's here to stay...but that doesn't make these days any easier, and I have trouble understanding that.  All I wanted was a healthy, live, baby.  And now I've got that, and I'm still having moments of crawling on the floor sobbing my eyes out and thinking that I can't possibly go another day like this.

I miss Otis.  I miss him more and more every day it seems.  I hold Owen and realize that Owen has now outgrown his big brother, in weight, in age, in breaths taken...I hold Owen and wonder what life with Otis would have been.  My heart hurts to be away from Owen even for an hour, and then I realize I'm spending a lifetime without Otis - and it's almost too much to bear.


Brooke said...

Oh, friend. I HATE that this has to be so stressful for you. You have truly experienced 18 straight months of stress, grief, and anxiety. The levels may have fluctuated throughout that time, but holy hell. You have been through it and then some. I hate to hear that you're back at square one, and I hope it's just a temporary setback. I know you're doing everything right, and everything you can possibly do to keep Owen safe and comfortable. I don't think he's going anywhere, but I sure hope he starts feeling better soon.

Merry said...

I don't think there is anything to say that is of proper comfort or help.

In terms of the reflux - this too shall pass. It's annoying, but it is true. He will become a small person who doesn't do that and hopefully you'll still have colour in your hair by then :) ;)

In terms of missing Otis - oh my word. You are right, of course. But do you remember how 2 months and 3 months and then 13 months felt so very different? lack of sleep and emotion and the newness of this new phase are making it hard, but you will come to a place where it settles again.

You will.

I can tell you this now, but could you promise to come and tell it to me in 4 months time?

Monique said...

I hope that things settle down and his stomach feels better. Poor little man. You are an amazing mother to both your boys. Hang in there.

still life angie said...

Just wanted to send you love. Having a little one is so hard--add reflux or anything that makes your baby cry without comfort--it feels downright helpless and chaotic. Sprinkle on the grief, and holy crap, it is unfair. Wish I could take Owen for an hour or so so you could take a long luxurious bath.

æ said...

Somehow you just keep doing it, you really are. It gets better, so much better.

Anonymous said...

It is so very much to bear Sarah. Day by day we figure out how to continue on without these babies in our arms, though I'm not sure if any of us could ever define just how it is we do it.

I am sending you love light and hugs.. I hope so much that Owen's little tummy will settle... sweet baby boy.

Jenn said...

Oh Sarah I wish I could come and sit with you and pat your leg. It all sounds so very hard and you deserve for it to be easier. Thinking of you and hoping things settle back down a bit soon. xx

Maddie said...

There will be a day where this is easier. I haven't had a reflux baby but a friend who has a baby Max's age did and he screamed all night every night for the first few weeks. They got through it somehow and it's no longer a problem. That probably sounds patronising I know - it's not meant too. Hang in there and I hope that soon 3.5 hours of sleep is standard fare ;-) (perhaps a little more).

Hanen said...

Hang in there dear one. And I think Otis, saint or not, is there with you, even if he can't necessarily pull any strings to make the reflux go away. Sending love xxxxxh

Hope's Mama said...

I read this in the dead of the night feeding Juliet a few days ago and it has been playing on my mind ever since. I'm sorry it has taken me so long to get here to comment.
You really sucked me back to those early days with Angus, where I truly thought I would not survive his infancy. I know that sounds dramatic, but losing Hope aside, his early months were the hardest times I have ever live through. I was so happy, so grateful, so full of joy but so god damn tired and overwhelmed and sick of second guessing every decision, every little thing he did.
All I can say is, you will some how get through it.
Please reach out if you need. Here for you night and day.

hayley said...

love you sarah. x