Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tell us how you really feel...

The screaming in the first four months was unbelievable.  With all that champion screaming I am surprised Logan didn’t find a way to be heard in utero.  Perhaps giving me seven weeks of contractions was his way of screaming at me.  If you love those cute little newborn cries and are picturing those think again.  His large cleft allowed him to scream extra loud and with the volume and tone of an angry twelve year month old.  Through all the screams we did our best to understand why he was screaming and with the many factors he was dealing with the distress made sense.  We also consulted doctors and therapists to rule out any medical factors.  

Logan at the first of many hospital visits

Logan after being admitted to the PICU for a severe cold.
In the beginning his little body could not handle even
common ailments well.
Logan having a sleep study
Being blind made most everything in his new world a surprise.  Eating was hard and sleeping was harder.  Without light and dark to help him determine day and night it was a huge challenge to get him into a sleeping pattern.  As a result he was tired and very disgruntled with the world.  He was also diagnosed with severe acid reflux and had a typical medication started.  It wasn’t until a second medication was added to the first that he began to seem to have relief for this issue.  Through a swallow study we also learned that Logan needed his liquids thickened to prevent aspiration.  Despite our deep sympathy for Logan and all he was dealing with the constant screaming was still quite stressful for all.  In the first month Reyna had a really difficult time adjusting to this new little person who if awake could pretty much be counted on to be screaming.  For a child who rarely ever screamed or even cry very often I can’t imagine what it was like to have a new miniture being in her world that screamed with nearly every breath.  I don’t doubt that she began to view all of her baby dolls as imposters of reality.  As a result of the crying she began covering her ears and often crying and even screaming herself, clearly overwhelmed.  This first month was probably the hardest month of my life, likely all of our lives.  It was heartbreaking to see your firstborn so clearly distressed by her new sibling and your newborn in such obvious distress as well.  Soon Reyna got used to the screaming and seemed able to ignore it.  Amazingly throughout it all, even when she was bothered, she remained kind and gentle toward Logan.  She still wanted to give him kisses, help care for him and she never, ever hurt him. 

Sibling Love
Thankfully we gradually learned little tricks to help and Logan seemed to become more comfortable with the world that once seemed to torture him so.  Giving cues to Logan when we were about to move or feed him helped.  Treating the reflux made a big difference too.  In addition to the reflux medication, sleeping in an incline bed (The Fisher-Price Newborn Rock and Play Sleeper) also helped greatly.  However, it wasn't until we learned a way to help him know it was time to sleep that he became a content and even cheerful baby.  (Who knew that not only could his cleft make extra big screams but also the most heartwarming extra large smile!) Although we had kept a consistent bedtime routine for a while complete with a bath, lavender lotion, a heartbeat sound bear, being fanned with exotic leaves and so on, none of this really worked.  The breakthrough in the end was quite surprising.  If Logan’s feet were bare all day and only covered at night by footed pajamas he would sleep at night.  As soon as we began this he started sleeping through the night every night.  We kept the other parts of his routine as well, but this was the miraculous key to dreamland.  He may have looked like a hobo by day but it was remarkable to watch his little body relax as you slid his feet into the pajamas after remaining bare.  It took four months to discover, but once we did the whole family was happy again and stopped looking like sleep deprived zombies.

Truly bonding

A very content Logan

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