What Was The Day That Changed Your Life?

When I first thought of this topic, I thought the day that changed your life would have to be something huge.

Like meeting my husband, and knowing that I would never feel alone again.

Or maybe the day I graduated high school and finally entered the ‘real world’.

Or even the day I found out I was pregnant, after years of being told it would never happen.

But as life changing as those days were, they were sort of expected to be life changing. I think the days that really change your life sort of sneak up on you. Like the Butterfly Effect, something small happens but it snowballs and just changes everything forever. Once I started thinking about it, there was really only one day that felt right, so in honour of Perinatal Depression & Anxiety Week, I’d like to share that story with you today.

The first time I held my son I fell in love. I loved his hair and his little gray eyes. I loved the sleepy way he yawned. We happily recovered in the hospital and managed to get into a bit of a routine. I did think it was strange that he would only sleep with the crib propped up and they assured me that was fine and it would sort itself out once we got home.

Yup. You guessed it, it didn’t sort itself out.

I loved him. Oh god did I love him. But that kid could not sleep. He could not lie flat or he would scream, vomit and gulp in the most horrifying way. Putting him down or in a car or a pram was out of the question. We fell into a constant feeding routine – he’d feed, vomit and then be starving again 5 minutes later. When I wasn’t holding him, I was sobbing quietly so no-one would hear, too tired and too worried to sleep.

We begged for help from doctors, nurses, hospital staff and lactation consultants. I honestly would have spoken to a voodoo witch doctor if I thought they would listen. No-one would give me a referral to a paediatrician or help us get into a sleep clinic. Every one assured me that the constant feeding and vomiting and screaming and jaundice were completely normal in a 4 week old. That the lack of sleep was a given, and I should have known that before I had children. That the fact that he hadn’t grown much was fine, just keep feeding him and it will all be okay.

And then I walked into my own GP’s office for a checkup. While she’s not an expert in newborns or children at all for that matter, she is observant as hell. She looked at me and then at my Simpson-coloured son and said, ‘is everything okay?’. Well, I dropped to a chair and sobbed until I felt sick. I talked and cried until I was out of breath because I was so grateful that someone was finally listening and not shrugging me off as ‘just a first time parent’. I was so thankful that someone finally saw what I saw, that someone else could see that clearly my baby was hurting. She was the first one to actually look at his Red Book and figure out that while he was average for his age, his growth had slowed dramatically, which wasn’t obvious because he was very tall at birth.

With a whirl of her rolodex, she mobilised the troops –  scheduling a paediatrician appointment that day, calling pharmacies to organise medication pickups and began the process for me to check into the hospital if things didn’t get easier.  Together we worked out a plan for dealing with my son’s reflux involving swings and slings and help from parents and I walked out of that office a very different person to how I walked in. I felt like I could actually do this mum thing. That I wasn’t a complete failure because my baby was miserable.  I had faith in my abilities and for the very first night since I took my son home, I didn’t cry myself to sleep.

This story has a happy ending. We started Bear on his treatment and the next day he smiled at me for the first time. Not gas, not a pain grimace. A real genuine smile with a giggle to go with it. Another day on, we watched the yellow drain out of his eyes and face. And then a couple of nights after that, we all slept for 5 hours straight and my life felt bearable again.

While he wasn’t cured overnight – we had another 8 weeks of the two steps forward three steps back dosage adjustment dance ahead, but we could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Asking someone if they are okay is something we do every day, but so often we don’t listen to the answer. So next time you ask, really listen. You just might change someone’s life.
What was the day that changed your life? Was it something small or something huge?

Linking up with Denyse WhelanAll Mum Said and One Mother Hen today.
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19 comments

  1. As a friend said to me ‘on the eve of the (French) Revolution, the farmers didn’t know the enormity of what they were doing, they just thought they were walking down the road’. That’s stuck with me so many times in small moments where you can see something bigger looming…

  2. There are so many days that changed my life the day my grandparents died, the day my fiance died, the day I was told I would never have children, the day I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant, the day our son was born and on the list goes on.
    I am so glad that you got the help you needed.
    C xoxo

  3. Isn’t it terrible how so-called health professionals are so dismissive when you’re a first time parent?! When my first born son cried and fed non-stop I was told by the visiting community nurse that “Babies cry. They just do.” Helpful.

    And the second time around was even worse. It turned out that my son had hypothyroidism. If my mum hadn’t suggested we have it checked out (because it’s in the family) I would never have thought of it and it can lead to severe intellectual disability and growth problems if left untreated. Yikes.

    I’m so glad you finally got the help you needed.

    1. Oh I remember that one too. I hate how people dismiss you out of hand because its your first time. My son’s doctor once said to me that a parents opinion is his most important diagnostic tool because he doesn’t hear that weird cry at 1AM – we do!

    1. It makes me angry too some days. My poor husband only got 5 weeks at home with our son, and they were spent horribly. He barely got to enjoy him before he went back. Most of the time though I can accept and be grateful that we got help before too much damage was done.

  4. So annoyed that you were not heard at first and that it took a long few weeks of suffering for you and your baby (hub too I am guessing) before action occurred. I am so pleased that you got the right help. What a time to remember! Thanks for linking up. Denyse. #lifethisweek

    1. I honestly don’t think I would have survived as intact as I did without my husband. He was truly truly incredible, and his reward was not really getting any time to have fun with our son before he went back to work.

  5. I am so glad you got the help you needed! I had major problems with breastfeeding Mr 22 and like you every one kept assuring me that it was fine and would sort itself out. Um, no. In the end, again it was very perceptive doctor who recommended I try bottle feeding and we never looked back!

  6. I can totally relate to your story, except we never quite got our happy ending. I’m quite sure it was anxiety that made my baby not sleep unless he was ‘on me’, but there you go. I’m so glad you found a solution. It makes a world of difference to be heard. x

  7. It annoys the hell out of me when doctors don’t listen. It annoys me even more when the ‘procedure’more or less says reassure parent and send them on their way! Parents know!
    So glad someone finally listened to you x

  8. What a horrible experience for you and your bubba to have gone through. So much of what we are told is ‘by the book’ and there are a lot of books, much of them conflicting! But in the end you just can’t beat a mother’s intuition, even if she’s not sure she trusts it herself. I wish I’d listened to mine more the first time around.

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