The Day of the Silent Reflux Diagnosis

My daughter and I are both up and dressed. Baby has been crying all night and I’ve hardly slept but I’ve arranged to meet two friends at a soft play and don’t want to cancel on them.

Last night was the first night since bringing baby home from NICU that hubby has had to stay away for the night with work. The baby has been fretful for a few days, probably about a week now, we’ve been giving him colief. Yesterday though, he was bad all day so I booked in with the GP. I’m now thanking God I did. After a 4am google session I’m pretty convinced he has silent reflux. Which means his immature gut is not coping with digesting the milk but instead of throwing it up it only makes it so far up the gullet causing acid heartburn. Now I’m pacing the kitchen with him on my shoulder and he is screaming. It’s really loud. Dear God, why does he have this pain after everything he’s just been through. Logic kicks in “pain is the body’s way of telling us something is wrong.” There is definitely something wrong. Screaming, writhing, arching. I can hear the acid bubbling up, can feel it through my hand on his back. Oh my baby is in pain and there’s nothing I can do. He’s really screaming, do I go A&E to get him something to help? No, take it easy, it’s probably acid, try and calm him, he needs to sleep. Shush shush shush, switch on the oven extractor fan for the white noise. Still pacing, still screaming.

Shit I’m now half an hour late and still haven’t dressed the baby. It’s alright, it will be OK once we get out of the house. What else can I do? We have to ride it out until the GP appointment at 4pm. Everything will be OK then.  Can I expect him to be in this much pain for another 4 hrs? Am I just going to let my baby be in this much pain? I’m shit. No, it might get better. Get him in the Moby wrap see if he will sleep. Still screaming. “Mum when are we going out?” my 6 yr old calls from the living room. I go in “we are still going don’t worry” I shout over the baby. I get him in the wrap and keep pacing the kitchen. He manages to drop off. “Thank you Lord. Take the pain away from him please Lord.” Right, quickly text the girls see if they’re staying much longer. We’re really late now. Don’t give up, keep trying. It will be OK. Shit I’ve had about twelve messages. Reply to first one. Sorry baby ill. Second one says: “You OK,I’m quite worried now”. I reply “sorry baby ill”. I give up. “not gonna make it”. Baby wakes up crying bless him. Oh my God it’s actually woken him up. I feel so bad for him. I’m proper knackered. Shit I’m still crying. “Are you crying Mummy?” Oh God what is that worth in therapy terms, a month, two? “Yes babe I’m just sad that baby has pain and we’re not going out today I’m sorry.” She nearly complains but looks at the tears streaking down my face and just returns to watching T.V. instead. My six year old is way older than her years in emotional terms. I feel bad about that. Keep pacing, put him on my shoulder that seemed to help the most.

Manage to get the baby back off in the wrap when my friend calls about half hr later. “You alright?” “No, not really to be honest.” “Right, I’m coming up. You want a Big Mac?” She knows me better than I thought. My default kicks in. “No it’s alright, I got docs in an hour.” Would be nice for Beg to be able to play with my friend’s girl but I can’t help wondering what million things she has to do that she’s casually waving off. “I’m pretty sure it’s acid reflux.” My friend has recently been through the same with her youngest. She tells me some of her experience. She asks me questions, asks if I’m OK. She talks me down.

We get to the doctors and the afternoon sun is blaring through the window but the heating is on too. That is not helping. Babba is crying. I try to feed him but I think it makes it worse. He starts to scream again. I stand up with him. We’re both sweating. Beg is immersed in some awful game on my phone. “Dear God please let this not be affecting her.” Everyone is staring at me and the screaming baby. I’m stood up shushing him, trying to keep him upright. My bra is still undone. We finally get called in. The doctor asks what’s wrong, I start crying again while trying to explain. “You have to help me” I say. Shit she thinks I’m mental. She asks me to lie the baby down so she can strip him off and have a look at him. I’m dreading it, lying on his back is a no-no. She coos at him. He smiles! The biggest smile I’ve ever seen him do! A rush of love washes over me. I notice the quiet. My girl is reading a Peppa pig book on the floor. She looks up. She’s as surprised as me. The doctor says “Is mummy fibbing about you?” I know she’s joking and I almost laugh. Thankful. It’s hard to describe the non-stop-ness of the past 2 days. She prescribes medicine. “Thank you God”. Baby starts to cry again as she is explaining the script to me. I can’t hear her, I’ll read it later. Come back in 2 weeks she says. Thank you.

Babba drops off to sleep in the Moby wrap on the walk over to the chemist. He’s exhausted. He wakes up crying while we’re still waiting for our prescription. People are staring so I sit down to feed him again although I don’t know if it will make it worse. I can hear the acid bubbling up. A lady who works there comes over “I’m not asking you to move but if you would like to use the side room you can.” “My 6yr old is enjoying looking at the lip gloss” I reply. Internal dialogue adds –it’s the only thing she’s had just for her all day. The lady goes over and helps show Beg the lip glosses. I am insanely grateful.

Finally we get back home and my husband is back. I realise he has no clue about anything as I haven’t had time to speak to him or text. He takes the baby. I feel relieved, then guilty about feeling relieved. Beg shows him her new lip gloss. She doesn’t seem too traumatised. I don’t really speak to him just go to prepare the medicine. It seems to work. Baby falls asleep. I update hubby. What a day.

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