Reflux – Don’t hate the playa, hate the game

May 23, 2010

Bella has reflux. What a relief. And yes, I feel totally confident in what the specialist told me. We went through everything – from my family history to my pregnancy to all the foods she’s eaten – while he typed pages of notes about it. He looked her over, saw her barf, and at the end, said that he was almost certain she has reflux. He wants me to take her for a few non invasive tests to rule everything else out, but she started on Prevacid and we’re doing a follow up visit in 2 months or if things don’t get better.

He thinks the reason she hasn’t stopped barfing is that her esophagus has never had time to heal and become normal since she was born. Also, her never sleeping through the night has to do with not getting enough to eat during the day. She’s always hungry, and now with solids and nursing she’s eating like a beast. 🙂

She gained almost a pound this week as well. Which made me feel a lot better when they got her on that scale.

So many of us are dealing with this. I have no idea why all of the sudden this is happening to so many babies, but just in the Children’s Hospital waiting room we met a mom with a 6 month old who had reflux and was on Prevacid as well. It was good to talk with her about how it had worked, and saved her sanity.

If you’re going through this, talk to someone who understands. My family was very supportive, but no one that doesn’t live with you can understand the stress and emotional toll reflux can take on your bonding with the baby and your life. I thought at times I was going to lose my mind. From the laundry piles, to smelling like sour breastmilk constantly to just the worry of “When is she going to barf?”

Getting loads of advice from people in real life didn’t help either – as well meant as it was. I understood she was supposed to be sleeping through the night, but she doesn’t. And she freaks out when I go in the room because she is so hungry. CIO and sleep training didn’t work. I’m hoping Prevacid will help with that. I also got the “It’s not that bad!” when she would throw up a little after feeding. If no one deals with it day in and out, they can’t understand that the barf NEVER ENDS. Stressful is putting it mildly.

I talked to my friend Kim from BabyFeet on Thursday before I left, and she went through this with 2 of her kids, but especially her last. I laughed so hard because I could totally relate to everything she was saying – giant burp towels, never wanting anyone to hold you child because you knew what was coming, sleeping in barf covered clothes, rigging up all kids of different bed situations to keep the barfing down, vomit sliding down your shirt and landing in a puddle in your bra, having doctors look at you like you were crazy… It was a balm to my weary soul to talk with another mom about it. I kept saying, “I felt like I was going insane or something because no one understood!” She is a wonderful person and so funny – very real and honest.

If you are dealing with this, you can email me anytime. We’ll chat and joke and try to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I’ll be there for support and we can give each other feedback on what works and what doesn’t. It’s a lonely road and no one deserves to think perhaps they are just going crazy and it really isn’t that bad.

The hardest part for me the past 6 months was to get past “Bella barfing” and just see the “barf.” Because I used to almost get angry with her for throwing up all the time. It was so awful and I was so tired, it just never ended. But if you can place all your anger towards the actual vomit (it sounds dumb but it worked for me) you can begin to bond with your child and take them out of the equation.

Hate the barfing, not the child. It’s a tough thing to do, but it helps to rationalize it, and to make you feel more sane and like a better mom. You are defending your child against this horrid thing that causes them to feel bad all the time. So curse it, get angry at it, hate it. It’s just barf, and it won’t care. 🙂

Thank you for all the lovely tweets, emails, and DM’s the past few days. Really. It was so comforting to get those while waiting in that hospital. <3 you guys.

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