This Post Ended up Almost as Long as Some of Brandt’s Crying Jags

Brandt has acquired a number of nicknames.  “Bitty” because he’s so little.  “Chipmunk” because he makes all sorts of chuntering noises.  “B” for obvious reasons.  He’s earned a new moniker in the last couple of weeks.

Screamy McScreamerson.

Brandt is colicky.  One evening, he screamed (not fussed, not cried, not whimpered, but wailed like he did when he had blood drawn) for four entire hours.  When he’s in this mode, nothing consoles him.  He screams while he eats.  He screams when the bottle is taken away.  He screams when we hold him this way or that way or the other way.  He screams when we walk.  He screams when we sit and rock.  Scream, scream, scream, scream, scream.

It’s… wearying.  I feel awful that he’s suffering and I can’t help him.  Also, that kind of noise drains my capacity for rational thought quickly.  And after night after night of colicky crying, I found myself living in dread of when the screaming would start again.  Every time I woke Brandt from a nap, every time I fed him, every time I played with him, I wondered, “Will this set him off?  Is he about to start wailing again?”

It broke my heart that I wasn’t enjoying the baby so long awaited.  In fact, I started to accuse God of being unfair.  “Really, Lord?  I endured infertility.  We survived Brandt’s prematurity.  Now we have to deal with colic, too?”  Colic is of course the most minor of all the sufferings we’ve faced, but it felt like the proverbial back-breaking straw.

The colic and my response to it are an ongoing struggle.  But God is giving grace.  Friends have encouraged me, prayed for me, made practical suggestions for Brandt’s care, and helped me to gain conviction about the unbelief that this challenge revealed in my heart.  Scripture passages like Philippians 4:11-13 remind me that Jesus will strengthen me to be content in “any and every circumstance,” whether I am “brought low” by endless colicky crying or partaking in the sweetnesses that “abound” in having this dear baby.

On a recent Sunday at church, we sang “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,” a hymn that I often sang to Brandt in the NICU.  The words, especially to the second and third verses, were just what I needed to hear.

Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth.
Has thou not seen how thy desires e’er have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee.
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do
If with His love He befriend thee.

My desires for a child have been granted, in God’s kind providence.  Now I can be confident that he reigns even over Brandt’s colic, and that he will gently sustain me as I do the work of caring for my son.  Colic may be a part of daily life for now, but goodness and mercy daily attend me now and always.  Why? Because God with His love has befriended me through the atoning work of His Son.

Does this look like the face of a Screamy McScreamerson?!



Filed under Brandt, meditation

17 responses to “This Post Ended up Almost as Long as Some of Brandt’s Crying Jags

  1. Jodi

    I have a 4 month old who was colicky for the first 2 months. If he wasn’t sleeping or eating, he was crying. My pediatrician and a friend with a colicky baby recommended Bio Gaia probioitic drops. You can purchase them at most pharmacies, however they may need to be ordered. You just give the baby 5 drops a day. They helped my son. They are expensive ($40 for about 1 month supply), so after 2 months I quit using them and now he is a very happy and content baby! Good luck! It does get better.

  2. sarah k

    He is so beautiful. That looks like the face of a baby who knows he is dearly loved by his wonderful mama! I’ll be praying the screamy season will be short.

  3. mom

    Hi! My heart aches for you. I understand the questioning. But, remember even Jesus asked, “My God-Why have you forsaken me?” And the first disciple he approached after he arose was doubting Thomas. God understands. I have no advise, but to say,”This too shall pass” Wish I was there to give you a break for a few hours now and then.

  4. Michelle

    I’ve followed your blog for a long time and have been encouraged by all you’re learning and sharing with others. I’m commenting for the first time because I can so relate to having a screamy mcscreamerson….the first few months of my son’s life were very difficult for that same reason. Have you tried acid reflux medicine? It helped my son immensely and he stayed on it for almost a year. You can ask your ped about getting a prescription. Hang in there!

    • Michelle, thanks for commenting and for the suggestion. B has been on reflux medicine since he was in NICU, and the GI specialist doesn’t think his screaming is reflux-related. We did change his meds a little bit just in case, but it unfortunately hasn’t made much difference.

  5. Hi Andrea,

    I just happened to come across your blog tonight, and wanted to say I know what you’re going through. Our son, Sammy, was very much like yours (we named him Sir Fussalot.) Funny how giving them little names like that actually helps make light of an otherwise not-so-funny situation!

    Have you read The Happiest Baby on the Block? It was a lifesaver for us. Also, lots of parents swear by the exercise ball…you sit on there, hold them swaddled, and bounce away. Also helps get rid of that extra pregnancy weight 😉

    • Thanks for stopping by, Holly. I have read The Happiest Baby on the Block, and we have employed some of those suggestions. I hadn’t heard of using an exercise ball, but I certainly do feel like I burn a lot of calories pacing and bouncing B about the house!

  6. He is so darn cute. I’m sorry he has been crying so much! Bless his heart AND yours. This may sound like a crazy question, but do you shake his bottles before giving them to him?

    Praying for you guys!!

  7. amy

    Oh, I know your frustration. Chloe had colic and screamed, cried, and fussed for about 4 or 5 hours every evening, which also happened to coincide with the time Aaron left for work at the time, and Halle was a toddler. It was a really rough time, and I didn’t rely on the Lord to be my sustainer during it. I continue to be blessed by your faithfulness to turn to him in everything.

    (Also, just throwin’ it out there, the football hold and going outside worked best for us.)

  8. Oh babe, I feel your pain. Sam screamed nonstop, morning and night, for the first six and half months of his life. He had reflux and I think we both lost our minds. I cried all the time, lost weight because I was stressed and I really, really, really thought it would never end. I’m still scarred, I think.

    But it DOES end, eventually. The things we found that worked the best were reflux meds (Brandt might need those too, preemies often have reflux,) carrying Sam around in a sling all day and letting him sleep on his tummy. I know, I know, they don’t recommend that but it was the ONLY way he would sleep. We taught him to do it by letting him nap that way while we watched him. Gradually he’d stay longer and longer on his tummy until we felt okay about letting him go that way all night. And no most nights we find him asleep on his back, go figure! Hang in there, mama. It’s tough, no doubt. I’m praying for you.


  9. Annika

    Okay, first of all, that picture is super cute. Love seeing his smile! And I am so sorry about the colic…but I thought of you tonight because I couldn’t get Abigail to stop screaming and I thought to myself, “I’m the mom! Aren’t I supposed to know what to do?” I felt so helpless. And my heart went out to you. It’s SO wearying. I will pray for you this week!! And poor little Brandt. This is a strange tip, but my friend’s little boy was very colicky, and she would boil onions in water, and then give him little bits of the onion juice. It worked for them! ??? Love to you all.

  10. Michelle M

    Andrea, I am a friend of Sarah Kay’s and a lurker on your blog and a fellow survivor of infertility. I want to add one more thought, if you can stand it! My nephew was colicky/screamy as well and his mom was absolutely convinced that somthing else was going on but no doctors would take her seriously (they all chalked it up to reflux). Turns out the poor kid has awful food allergies – dairy, soy, eggs, etc. He was finally was diagnosed about a year ago and is a totally different child now. His family is finally happy too! He screamed as a baby because no matter what they fed him he was allergic to it and it made him sick. Anyway, it’s probably not that with Brandt but you never know. Something to consider if it continues. Hang in there! I’ve been praying for you for a long time and will continue to do so.

    • Michelle, thanks for de-lurking! We have a number of friends whose kids have food allergies like that. It’s something we’ve considered, but as we occasionally use breastmilk that I pumped and froze while B was in the NICU, we can’t easily make any correlations between what I eat and the times that he screams. If it gets worse, though, we will stop using the frozen milk and watch my diet.

  11. Emily

    Hang in there Andrea! Dr. Karp also has a 30 minute DVD version of “The Happiest Baby” that is very helpful! He demonstrates all the variations on the techniques. Maybe there’s something new to be learned that you didn’t get from the book? The 5 S’s help so many parents calm their babies, I hope they work for Brandt too!

  12. Joyce K.

    Not sure why I’m commenting here maybe just to say I’ve been there and done that, I know how difficult it is when you have a little baby in pain and can do nothing to make him feel better. I’m only the grandma here so I only dealt with it a couple times. I baby sat our grandson one night and he did one of these screaming times for me. I thought I was going to have a stroke. I could feel my blood preasure going higher and higher. I’m sure he felt the tension in me and I’m sure that didn’t help either. Mom’s are best at comforting little babies when they are in pain. I finally called his Mom and while I was talking to her he burped a big one and stopped crying, so I’m sure it was gas. He was breast fed and I really think it was from the food his mother ate. Chocolate, cauliflower, brocolli, onions, beans, the list goes on and on. But if it’s gas why does it always happen at night, they eat in the morning too. So many unanswered questions. Little Levi is past all the gassy screaming sessions now and is a happy little guy no worse for wear. So like someone else said “this too shall pass”, but while you are dealing with it, it’s horrible. Praying for Brandt and you guys too. He’s an adorable little guy, you are so blessed. Just a little P.S. here. My neighbors daughter has been dealing with infertility for some time and is now pregnant and due to have their first baby in Dec., 2 days after her 43rd birthday. Praise God for precious little babies and so many other blessings.

  13. Audrie

    Heidi says Emily was super collicky and two trips to the chiropractor did the trick?

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