Thursday, July 6, 2017

2 months with Ruby Mae

I was not eased gently into motherhood. It started with a pregnancy complicated by preeclampsia, which has the very real potential to be lethal to both mom and baby, and evolved into early motherhood complicated by a newborn with GERD, a severe form of acid reflux that means our home is pieced by Ruby's pained cries and that meant Ruby was hospitalized for three nights and four days when she was four weeks old.

If I had to choose words to describe my introduction to motherhood, I would choose: frustrated, angry, helpless, overwhelmed, and disappointed. Overall, not good things; however, they are truthful things.

Things have been really difficult you guys.

However, I am now two months into my journey through motherhood, and I can say that things have been getting better around here.

I made it beyond the six week window during which preeclampsia can still strike after delivery, and today my blood pressure is totally and completely back to normal, so phew.

And Ruby is on three medications to manage her GERD; while she is still pretty fussy a lot of the time, most of the time it is a fussy I can live with (confession: early into this journey of mine, I left Ruby with my mother and scooted deep into the mountains of Taiwan because I was so dang frustrated with Ruby's constant cries and my inability to do anything to help her).

However, more so than normal blood pressure and GERD medications, I think the source of improvement around here has been my monumental shift in thinking.

Before, I was insanely upset that I got the sick baby. I gave birth at the same time as four other women I know. Only my baby had a medical condition that caused her to cry literally all of the time. I was so upset because I felt cheated out of the picture perfect Facebook moments my other new mommy friends were getting to experience with their newborns.

And I was horrified that my baby was miserable all of the time.

Our days were spent hunkered down in the apartment and punctuated by shrill cries. Truthfully, those days seemed endless.

It took time and a three hour visit from a lactation specialist to help me realize that my baby is not miserable all of the time.

The lactation specialist saw how distraught I was and told me that I had a wonderful new baby and that I was doing wonderful as a new mommy. She convinced me that Ruby would get better eventually (which she definitely will) and one day our household would be calm again. She told me to think of Ruby's cries as nothing more than a conversation rather than condemnation. (She also suggested that I get my aura adjusted so I could let go of the stress from the last 15 weeks of my pregnancy and first six weeks of my experience with motherhood, which I haven't done.)

Time has helped me learn to distinguish Ruby's I-am-hungry-cry from her I-am-tired-cry from her I-pooped-my-pants-cry from her I-am-in-pain-from-GERD-and-really-there-is-not-much-you-can-do-cry.

Time has also given us the gift of more calm moments due to her medications and in the past few days more smiles.

Other things have helped too.

A random post on Facebook that had nothing to do with babies helped shift my thinking. It was about how many people miss out on sharing their lives with others because things are not perfect. The article advocated for inviting people over even if your house is a wreck because what matters more: waiting for your mess to be cleared away or friendship? I kinda applied that to my life. Instead of hiding away in my apartment with my crying baby, I can invite people over and go out to meals and homes with my crying baby. She is my metaphorical mess, and I can still have friendship and a life, mess and all.

We also hired our cleaner to nanny for us twice a week for eight hours each time. Monday was her first day, and she and Ruby did pretty well together. I got to have 8 hours to myself to finish some projects around the house and go out to lunch with my husband. It was blissful. That time will save my sanity, and I will continue to employ her after Sean goes back to school in September.

And while it would be a total lie to say that I have settled into motherhood, I can say that I am far more comfortable wearing this hat than I was just a few weeks ago, and today I have a rather optimistic view of the world and the idea that I am Ruby Mae Bucholz's mother.

I hope to report two months from now that Ruby has outgrown her GERD and that all is well in our household, but I am also pretty confident that if I cannot write those words two months from now, we will all still be hanging in there doing pretty okay.


  1. My name is Carla and I am Lisa's first cousin. Lisa's Mom is my Aunt. Bonnie and my mother were sisters. I have a daughter who is now 12. Her name is Katie. We went through this with her. The first six weeks of her life I was in a bedroom with doors closed and windows shut. I never knew if it was night or day outside. Katie cried all the time. She threw up as well. It took a couple of months of trying to find a formula she could drink without pain. It turned out to be the most expensive formula and half the quantity. She ended up taking medicine for reflux until she was one. I felt a connection when you said that some of the joy for having a new baby was taken away. That is how I felt. I never really had that with Katie. It was a long year but things did get better. And it will. Hang in there. Love to read your blog.

    1. Thanks for reaching out Carla! Your words offer more comfort than you know. We are now close to the four month mark and she is still on Doperidone to help her keep milk down and a PPI to make her stomach contents less acidic so when she does spit up it bothers her less. She is still quite fussy, but we also accept that she is a high needs baby who will likely be fussy well into her toddlerhood. I just keep telling myself that it won't last forever.


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