When the newborn sleepless fog began to lift, Henry was about 4 months old. We headed to my parents for my dad’s birthday party. For whatever reason, Henry flipped. Like no other flip out before. Not a colicky thing, it was so much more intense… He would not stop crying, okay more like screaming, for anything! For like a really long time. He wouldn’t nurse, he wouldn’t sleep, he was just screaming. I couldn’t soothe him, Nick couldn’t, my mom couldn’t… and at one point I just broke down with an overwhelming fear something was wrong. This was the first of his episodes (it’s what we would end up calling them). These episodes would continue to happen in the next week or so and I was just chalking it up to just a really fussy baby with some clueless first-time parents.
Then the day of Henry’s four-month well visit came. It happened again… in front of the doctor… and he couldn’t stop… and I couldn’t calm him down. I was helpless. The doctor kept coming back into the room, telling me “I’m sorry if you can’t calm I’m down soon we need to talk” and she kept checking his pulse and heart rate. I knew something was wrong. He screamed his lungs out for probably an hour. His pulse and heart rate were scary high. Our doctor needed him to be check for a heart condition ASAP and an ambulance was on the way.
I was so scared. Not to mention I was so upset that even all of these nurses and doctors couldn’t do anything else but just pitying me and my screaming baby. Nothing anyone could do could was calming him. But wasn’t I supposed to know how? I’m his mom. But I didn’t…
Just as the ambulance pulled into the doctor’s office he had worn himself and fell asleep in my arms. This episode had finally ended. The doctor was still extremely concerned that he had this type of heart condition that essentially is that his heart rate would get so high it literally didn’t know how to slow down in these moments. Which obviously isn’t a good thing and would need to be managed.
Then there before my eyes was my baby was on a strapped to a stretcher going into an ambulance. A sight I will never forget and I know has shaped me into the kind of parent I am today.
Once we were at the children’s hospital, we had a pretty crappy experience but the most important part Henry was fine. His tests came back negative and we were diagnosed with a really high strung baby who would eventually grow out of it. Which as difficult as he was as a baby, thank God, that’s all it was.
I spent the rest of the year on eggshells trying to not set him off one of his episodes because truthfully, I couldn’t bear not being able to calm him. It was so embarrassing to me, let alone in public. Eventually we figured out what would likely set him off and got him on a strict schedule because it was the only thing that actually helped. He couldn’t be overtired and he liked knowing what to expect. Which left little time for outings and forget leaving him with a babysitter.
Throughout the year I’d say he was just a fussy baby. But really we had a fussy baby, I mean, we had a really fussy baby. Gosh, he even freaked the doctors out. He was freaking tough. Only a few people witnessed these episodes, just family really, who can attest to his stubborn screaming fits.
As time went on, he mellowed out. Like a lot. It’s like as soon as he could start talking he felt more comfortable. Don’t get me wrong, he can still throw an epic crying fit but more like the standard toddler would not the medically threatening kind.
Not too long ago, I started to feel myself relax and be able to enjoy things as thoroughly as I should without worrying so much. I think back and wonder if I did have postpartum anxiety … I think probably so. Did I realize it at the time? Maybe, but those stupid forms I had to fill out with a screaming baby in my arms didn’t do anything. Did friends hint that I should mellow out? For sure. Did they know the whole story? Would the even get it? Probably not because I wouldn’t go around anyone with him to witness it.
Why am I sharing it now? Truthfully, I don’t know. I just know writing it out was therapeutic, like a weight has been lifted and I will share it in case it can help even one person. Some days I find myself slipping back to that heavy weighted feeling in my chest and it’s hard. I know to most people I have outwardly seemed like I have it all together as a mom (maybe?😅) and it’s most certainly not true. We all have stories that shape us and this is part of mine.