Monday

Life With the Baby: Her Spitting Up Almost Made Me Lose My Mind

My baby is what they call a happy spitter. After she nurses or takes a bottle she frequently spits up, a lot. During the first couple weeks of her life it was quite frightening.

As a somewhat neurotic pregnant woman I had taken every baby preparation class that had been offered by our hospital. While they had mentioned diaper changing, nursing, and bathing, they had not mentioned squat about spitting up. However, having been around my fair share of babies I thought that I understood spit up. So, I failed to ask about it during my classes. 

In turns out that I was not at all prepared for what I began to call, "the spit up situation".  Literally, my baby spit up so much it looked like she was throwing up her entire meal. She spit up so much that I spent every waking moment worrying that she would choke while I was doing neglectful things like using the bathroom, sleeping, or even blinking.  She spit up so much that spit up became my main accessory during my maternity leave and my scent was eau de "sour milk".

Because she was a "happy spitter" she smiled every time she spit up.  I was not reassured by these smiles.  Instead, I assumed that she was simply blithely unaware of the potential dangers.  After all, she was only a baby.

In comparison, I was not happy.  I was very anxious.  Like all new mothers I understood the magnitude of my responsibility to give my baby everything that she needed. I was scared that I would fail to fulfill that duty.

Despite her father and grandparents assurances to the contrary, I was scared that she was becoming dehydrated and jaundiced. I worried that I was mistaken not to supplement her meals with formula. However, I was petrified to give her formula because there had been a recall of Similac while I was pregnant and I would be damned before I gave my baby contaminated food. What to do? What to do? My mind was reeling. I was sleep deprived, hormonal and scared.

I was so scared that my baby went to the doctors about seven times during her first two weeks of her life.  And even though they assured me that all was well.  I remained scared. 

So, I devoted all of my time to monitoring this baby.  I checked her diapers like a woman possessed. They told me to monitor her urine output and her poop so I kept a log of what she ate, what she peed and what she pooped. I would have measured it by volume if I had known how. I saw urine in her diapers. I saw poop in her diapers. They appeared to be of the frequency, the amount and consistency described in the brochure. However, it was hard to tell. Was her poop mustard colored and seedy or smooth and green? Quite frankly the color seemed to depend on the light and I still don’t really know what seedy means.

Pampers uses great technology, but God help me. Sometimes I just couldn’t calculate how many wet diapers she was making per day.

I second guessed myself constantly. Was I missing something? Was she getting enough food? Would she aspirate during the night when I fell asleep? I hadn’t been this confused and lacked this much confidence since Junior High!!!
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