Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Three steps forwards and one back. Ended up on a ventilator today.

My lung infection decided I couldn't live without it so it came back for a visit and it brought a guest - vengeance, as in back with a ...

Was up most of the night coughing and then finally nodded off sitting up head in hands about 5am. Then it felt like I was breathing through glass when I got up, the cracked kind.

So hubbie left the Little Master to school and then came back and brought me to the docs. The lady doc I saw was fresh meat who didn't bother reading my history, namely the 2 types of antibiotics thrown at this in the last 3 weeks and the fact it had been hitting me on and off for the last six months ("wee" facts it had taken Dr. Patel who I saw just over a week ago seconds to read through) So she proposed the first mild cure-all that the Somerset doctor put me on and when I objected told me that I was lucky to be put on a-bs at all! Oh, so the fact that my lungs are now making a crackling noise when I breathe doesn't justify them then doc? Grrrrrrr ...

I was put on a ventilator with oxygen for about 10 mins. Whew-whew-wee, I can see why people in the army are partial to a few 'hits' to cure hangovers. It doesn't half start your heart. Little Miss was NOT impressed with the proceedings and divided her time between screaming
with tiredness (we hit her nap time while there) and trying to pull the mask off my face.

The moral of the story is stand up for yourself in NHS surgeries and don't forget your babies soggy when you go there. If you are wondering why Soggy is so called, well it is because he is just as his name suggests.

Bedtime and naptime involves the application of a grobag and a soggy. When handed Soggy, thumb goes in mouth, eyes start drooping and she goes to sleep. My darling little girl ......

Now before all you parents who have kids with sleeping issues start to tune out in disgust, let me assure it was not always like this. Lucy was born with gastroesophageal reflux . This is an awful condition where 'lid' at the top of her tummy was not closing all the way so stomach acid was coming up her esophagus and burning her. This lid is something we all have which keeps foods and stomach acid where they belong in our tummies but some children are born with them underformed or non-existant.

She was arching her back and screaming because it hurt. She was not eating because it hurt. She was screaming because she was hungry. She was screaming because she was too busy screaming instead of sleeping and was exhausted. I was at my wits end. We tried treating her for colic (no joy obviously) and just met blank stares from the local doctor's surgery when their treatments did not work. I am not proud admitting it but there were a couple of nights where we were into the 5th or 6th hour of screaming where I put her in her moses basket in the bathroom, at the back of the house and shut the door so we could not hear her. She was warm and safe just inconsolable with pain. That night both of us cried ourselves to sleep. Like I said, it wasn't the only one.

It is awful to say but the few hours sleep I snatched that way were probably what stopped me from strangling her during those first 10 weeks. Sleep deprivation, frustration at the doctors, impatience with your own uselessness, the helplessness of knowing your child is in pain all played out to the soundtrack of a screaming baby can do strange things to your mental process. I collapsed in tears telling all this to a middle-aged midwife who roared laughing at me. She told me that when her own daughter was born, for weeks afterwards this woman wished she would die just so she could get a night's sleep.

I have now come to the conclusion it is probably better to vent i.e. give voice to these awful things rather than actually carry them out. It might shock or even reassure the person listening to you but it is a wholr lot better than actually doing something you will regret.

Anyhow thanks to the Internet and the chance sentence on a website saying how reflux is often mistaken for colic, I had my diagnosis. I went straight to the doctors and asked for a referral to a specialist.

They gave me gaviscon as a part of going through the GP motions. It is no joke trying to gaviscon into a breast-fed baby, in fact it would have been easier (and more preferable) to pass a camel through my arse ... daily! So after 2 days I threw that muck away and said to the doctors unless I got an emergency referral, I would leave the baby there for them to deal with. Luckily (!) Little Miss did not disappoint that day and was in full voice. I got my referral. Would I have gone through with my threat? Absolutely not. However there is something about a sleep-deprived woman with wild shower hair and mad eyes that must have made them think that I was serious. Bless me.

Anyhow for anyone interested here are the symptoms to look out for. The ones underlined are the real tell-tale ones.
  • vomiting especially projectile
  • prolonged crying and screaming as if in pain
  • back arching (very important this one as colic causes a baby to double over)

  • refusal to eat which may be accompanied by lethargy and/or significant weight loss

  • never seeming satisfied and fussing at the breast / bottle

  • frequent violent hiccuping
  • gagging and choking when feeding
  • belching and/or farting

  • frequently coughing
  • wheezing
  • frequent upper respiratory infections (colds)
  • rattling in the chest

Anyhow the pediatrician, put Little Miss on 2 medicines. One to help her digest her food faster and another to act as a sort of plug to sit on top of her tummy and stop the acid from rising. From the second day of using it, we had a different child.

The only trouble was had was 6weeks later (due to weight gain) the crying started again but a minor adjustment to the dosage fixed that.Funny now how it all feels like a bit of a dream as she is off the medicines about 2 months, weighs a respectable 19lbs and is wearing clothes for an 18 month old. Not bad for a reflux baby who is 'not supposed' to gain weight.

I am incredibly proud of my daughter and my son. Ah fuddit, a few breathing difficulties is nothing compared to everything else I have to be grateful for in my life.


fjl said...

Welcome and your post is innovative, well written and illuminating. I'll add you to my blogroll xx
I thoroughly agree, stand up for yourself.

The Furtive Wangler said...

How simple life now seems before we had kids eh? Glad you got things sorted.

gorgeoux said...

Dearest, I hope your breathing difficulties are fixed once and for all rather sooner than later. When I read your account, even with its manifold hardships, I am considering motherhood--and that's not me at all. I guess you're an inspiring mom, simply put :) Dunno if you already came across it, but I think you'll love Get healthy!

Crying Baby Help said...

Reflux may trigger the baby to cry but in order to prevent it, there are ways to follow such as keeping the baby upright after feeding, using wedge pillows and trying not to lie the baby after feeding. In a way this can help to stop the baby crying.

ElizaF said...

erm..... "Crying baby help" Did you actually read the post or are you just googling the words "crying baby" and leaving you inane, unhelpful comments on ever post you come accross that mentions a crying baby.

My baby had reflux
This was confirmed by a medical professional not an internet idiot
Your advice in this instance is useless, out of date and downright dangerous.

ElizaF said...

Lefty on the blog of the above idiot (I expect they will delete it so here is a copy)

Thank you for the comment you left on my blog .... NOT!!!

Did you actually read the post or are you just googling the words "crying baby" and leaving you inane, unhelpful comments on every post you come across that mentions a crying baby as a way of publicising your book.

I now know this book is something I shall tell everyone I know NOT to buy as it is probably as useless as the advice you left for me.

1) My baby had reflux NOT colic

2) This was confirmed by a medical professional, someone who took the time to examine the baby and listed to what the symptoms were. This patrician was not an internet twit with a pre-determined agenda to convince people that lots of babies have colic in order to flog copies of their stupid book.

3)Your advice in this instance is useless. Her reflux was caused by her lower esophageal sphincter not being formed. Now, can you tell me how re-positioning after feeding could have helped her when PART OF HER STOMACH WAS MISSING AND THIS CAUSED HER PROBLEMS?? Well? How could re-positioning stop stomach acid rising up her asosophus and burning her? How could a feeding pillow stop her throwing up every drop she swallowed?

4) I am glad to say that your advice is out of date (Does the fact my post was written in 2006 give you any hints???)

5) However, that does not stop it from being downright dangerous. I hope your book bombs out of existence as you and it deserve to.