When Kai is Crying… (Adventures in Colic Part 2)

When Kai is happy my family is in a GOOD place.  I thrive as the mother of three boys and watch my husband do the same as a father.

When Kai is happy we both feel that the third child is the easiest, smoothest, and even most magical transition of all our babies.

When Kai is happy we take pictures at every opportunity. My bigger boys so look forward to Kai waking up so they can “see his eyes” and take turns holding him.

When Kai is happy my world feels steeped in magic.

When Kai is happy it is precious and beautiful.

But…

When Kai is crying my boys stay away.

When Kai is crying we all pray for him to keep sleeping because when he wakes up he’s either screaming or we’re waiting in morbid anticipation of the screaming.

When Kai is crying my husband and I take turns losing it and holding each other up. My boys take turns worrying.

When Kai is crying there are definitely NO photo ops.

When Kai is crying I feel like I’m neglecting my other children and our family is falling apart.

When Kai is crying I mostly hole myself up in the bedroom with him, not wanting witnesses to my personal hell.

When Kai is crying I often cry with him.

And yet sometimes….

When Kai is crying I can support him gracefully as he works through it.

When Kai is crying I can smother his face in kisses and tell him over and over again how loved he is.

When Kai is crying I can look past the tears and see his Divinity.

When Kai is crying I can cling to him and love him fiercely.

When Kai is crying I can tell myself (and him) that it’s only temporary and he’ll feel better soon.

When Kai is crying I can fully realize the strength and grace of MYSELF as a Mother.

And mostly…

When Kai is crying I know there are higher reasons for this happening ~ that it’s something he (and we) have to go through and that we’ll all come out better, brighter and more beautiful than ever on the other side….

I love you, Kai…fiercely.

My Worst Baby Nightmare….(Adventures in Colic Part 1)

I ran today for the first time in 7 weeks. And I ran fast and desperately ~  almost flailing even. And it was pouring rain, which most people probably wouldn’t care for, but it felt soooo good to have water on my face that wasn’t my own tears. It was actually cathartic. You see, I’ve been crying. A lot. And so has my baby.

Yes, my sweet, beautiful, angelic baby Kai seems to have colic. Or as I call it “The C-Word”. A word that has always so terrified me that I would never even linger on it in the baby books, afraid that it would jump off the page and infect my unborn fetus. And now here is my worst nightmare, staring at me straight in the face… and screaming its head off.

When my calm, peaceful, and content baby turned 3 weeks old he started crying. Nonstop. It was so bad that I took him to the doctor 6 days into it, because I just couldn’t look at Kai and believe that he wasn’t suffering for SOME REASON. The doctor is a friend of ours, and after asking me about my medication history (I had just stopped taking my migraine medicine after taking it for weeks) suggested that I take Kai to Starbucks for a big ol’ latte ~ he was sure that Kai was suffering from caffeine withdrawal. At first I was shocked ~ why hadn’t I thought of that? The timing of his crying did closely correspond to the cessation of my medication. Then I was relieved ~ if it was caffeine withdrawal then it would be over soon. Next I was triumphant ~ I KNEW my babies didn’t get colic!

I think I was almost jubilant when I relayed the news to my husband (yes, I could have easily gone down the whole “it’s all my fault he’s suffering because I took Excedrin” road but I made a very conscious choice NOT to go there, because frankly, I couldn’t function without my medication….and that’s that).

Our doctor-friend told us that it would work itself out of his system in a few days and he should be just fine. And guess what? Four days later Kai stopped crying and went back to our calm and content baby. I was so relieved I wanted to shout from the roof-tops “My BABY is better! My baby is BETTER! MY BABY IS BETTER!!!!!!!”

Oh, the profound and utter RELIEF after ten days of hell. Ten days that made me so sympathetic and empathetic to parents (especially sensitive, hormone-ridden mothers) who had to endure this for days and weeks and months on end. Ten days where I seriously considered seeking out medical help and a bottle of pills because I suspected I might have Postpartum Depression. Oh, the absolute, complete, and rapturous (and I admit, somewhat smug) RELIEF. It really was one of the sweetest emotions I’ve EVER had.

Then one week later, Kai started crying again.

And I immediately started crying with him, as I was totally heartbroken to be in this place again. If you’ve never been in this place then you’ll never understand the gamut of emotions it brings out in you. The despair, frustration, anger, helplessness, hopelessness and rage ~ sometimes all in the span of sixty seconds. If you have been there, then you deserve a freakin’ medal ~  the Purple Heart, because living with colic does wound you. Maybe not mortally, but close.

So often in the middle of his crying jags (which for the record don’t come at night for just a couple of hours, but come pretty much EVERY time he is awake, making the whole day a horror movie) I’d picture myself running from the house screaming ~ just running out the front door and leaving it all behind me.

So when I went running today, I ran as if I really WAS running away ~ fast, desperate, and flailing. Perhaps I should have taken it easy as it was my first postpartum run (we shall see how I feel tomorrow!) but at that time I NEEDED to run and run FAST, to at least pretend I was putting it all behind me. A mile into it I started to feel better. Two miles into it I actually started to hear the sound of my inner voice again (which had been so drowned out by the screaming).  At the end of my run I asked for the stamina and wisdom to support Kai as he goes through this brief period of time.

Hearing my inner voice (which is always wisest on my runs) and feeling the endorphins gave me the strength to go back home. I even WANTED to go back home. It was actually a blissful drive home and I felt I could handle my horror movie of a day ~ maybe even gracefully.

I came home to a smiling husband and a quiet baby, all swaddled up and sleepy. The crying inevitably started again when Kai awoke, but for the first time in four days I didn’t cry with him. I was even provided with the wisdom to handle his crying in a much different way, a way in which I felt empowered and even graceful (which I’ll share in future posts).

So yes, Kai cried his sweet little head off today, but it was a good day. A day that didn’t end with me feeling broken. I even feel like maybe I can make it through another day. We shall see….

(There’s so much more to say but this post is getting too long. Stay tuned for more of my colic-musings. In the meantime I wish you wisdom, grace, and happy babies.)

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Read the whole “Adventures in Colic” Series:

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Confessions from My Baby-Moon (or the Things a Mama “Shouldn’t” Say)


First off, in case you’re not familiar with the term “baby-moon” it’s very similar to a honeymoon ~ except it’s the bonding and falling in love with a newborn baby. Typically the baby-moon phase lasts anywhere between 4-12 weeks. I’m smack-dab in the middle of week number 2 and oh, how fiercely I love my little dark-haired son. Oh, the moments of bliss as I touch his tiny little toes and kiss his sweet little mouth. And when he’s awake and looking around with his dark blue newborn eyes, I truly feel as though I’m in the presence of greatness. So often I’m moved to tears as I luxuriate in his beauty and his newness.

But, I must confess, it’s not always like this. When he was just 2 days old and I was still grappling with the shock that I was nuzzling a boy instead of my Lilah I started to feel anger…no, RAGE…bubbling up inside me. It was night-time and my husband, Graeme, and I were trying to navigate bedtime with our 6 year old son Finn and 3 year old son Roan, as well as take care of our newborn son Kai. My 3 year old had been awakened by the baby and we had to start all over. As Graeme went downstairs with our Baby Kai, I noticed the rage gurgling in my heart. I wasn’t angry with Roan for waking up or with Kai for waking him up…I was angry with Lilah. VERY angry. Overcome with fatigue, overtaken with exhaustion, and overwhelmed with the realization that I had yet another nursling who will be attached constantly, limiting my time and my freedom, I really let her have it. I was willing to do this all over again for HER ~ as I felt she’d been asking. Frankly, I never really thought of having three children until she came to me and for HER I decided to do it.

So I started mentally yelling at her. “How DARE you!” I raged.  “How DARE you! After 3 years of dreams, intuitions, and visions of you! After all the promises of you! How DARE you visit my friends in dreams! How DARE you make me draw the “Daughter” card over and over from my oracle decks! How DARE you send me all these signs that you’re on your way! I put myself out there claiming my certainty of you thinking I was spreading the magic of prebirth communication…and now I feel that everyone is disappointed for me! How DARE you not show up!”  

The anger, I must admit, felt REALLY GOOD. I allowed myself to rage as needed, silently and quietly in my head. The next morning I woke up with it still lingering as I vehemently cleared the “Daughter” card from my alter and covered her name up on my vision board. And as I did this I heard her say, “Your anger is appropriate. Give it to me ~ I can handle it.” So I did and I even called her a few choice names as I yelled and cried.

My beloved husband came in shortly thereafter, saw my tears and asked if I wanted to talk about it. “Okay,” I said, “But it’s not going to be pretty.” And then he provided me with a safe place to vent and process my feelings, with no judgment. He fully supported me and even agreed with me, which is what I so badly needed.

As the day continued on I started to feel more peaceful and, at times, even elated. I felt Lilah again and I felt her celebrating. My anger was not only appropriate, it was essential ~ and acknowledging it instead of repressing it was allowing me forward LEAPS in our journey. It would have been so easy to repress it ~ as we’re just not “supposed” to have such thoughts after giving birth to a healthy baby. And we’re certainly not “supposed” to talk about it. But acknowledging those things I’m not “supposed” to brought me to a new place ~ a place not just of acceptance, but a place of embracement (it’s not a word, but it should be). I found a place where it finally started to feel RIGHT to say the name “Kai,” a place where it feels PERFECT to have another boy, and a place where I don’t have to understand everything in order to be at PEACE with it.

Interestingly enough, I’ve never felt a shred of anger toward my newborn, Kai. Curiosity yes, anger no. And maybe that’s because I was gifted with safe places to process my anger ~ with my husband and with Lilah.

Many friends have said they don’t feel like Lilah and I are done, and I can’t help but agree. I don’t know what form it will take but I feel we’re destined to meet one day. In the meantime I’m finally (and quickly) in a state of embracing and rejoicing Kai. Thank you, Lilah and Kai, for the gifts in each moment of our journeys together. I love you both….

Our Angel, Kai