It was night one after our return from our first holiday as a family of four, when The Big Book of Reflux was born.
Nine glorious nights in France with a seven week old refluxer and a seven year old chatterbox. What could possibly go wrong?
We set off for the long drive to Dover at 4:44am… at 4:46am she was sick. Marvellous. Happy holiday indeed. I had packed approximately four hundred muslin cloths, enough clothes for a family of fourteen and bibs that if tied together would span the length of the Euro tunnel. I was WELL prepared. Two minutes in she was sick… and sick some more. We pulled over (our house was almost still in view). Quick change… Dammit. I’d put all of the spare clothes in the overnight bag, which was in the boot and tied down with the roof racks. AAARGHH! Three days of packing and planning and I had no spare clothes to hand. Reflux mum fail number 323! So in despair I tore off the sicky baby grow, wiped down the vest and shoved her in a cardigan, covered her with a blanket and we set off again. I hate reflux!
The holiday was perfect. After seven weeks in reflux hell, I was close to the edge. In fact, I was so close that there was no edge left… so a holiday was just what I needed. People thought I was mad going away with a sickie baby, but holidays were my passion and I wasn’t ready to give them up! Plus the seven year old had a hot date with the swimming pool lined up and we couldn’t deprive him of that!
In our Big Fat Gypsy Caravan it was a far cry from my holidays BB (before baby). There was no all-inclusive bar, no partying ’til the small hours but instead the wonderful addition of my boyfriend helping with the night feeds and his extra pair of hands that made this holiday just perfect.
Nine nights of sleep in blocks of up to six… yes I said six hours! The joy of Daddy getting up at 7am and letting me have that extra few hours. And to top it all off… no sick (of course there was some sick, but in the grand reflux scheme it practically counts as none). The dreaded reflux seemed to have been solved by the addition of a shot of Gaviscon infant. (I could have done with a shot of something much stronger many a time).
We had thankfully had her reflux diagnosed at the six week check and so this meant that we finally had some beacon of hope that the sickie days were behind us. Hmm wishful thinking. But at that difficult time any whisper of hope was well and truly grabbed. Life BG (Before Gaviscon) had almost finished me off. Those first six weeks were the best and worst of my life, but we finally had a reason for her difficulties; we had officially joined the reflux bus and started our long and windy journey. Much like our journey to France, there have been hold-ups, bumps in the road and rough seas along the way; but we are riding the storm and we will get there… we hope.
So… it was night one after our return from our first holiday as a family of four when The Big Book of Reflux was born.
It was the first night back in our own beds. We had enjoyed a wonderful holiday and I felt so much better, stronger and was enjoying motherhood much more. We arrived home at 22:30pm after taking a leisurely drive home. The other half quickly settled down to sleep (as he was back in work the next day). I settled down, lulled into the false holiday security of sleep. Just one more bottle then off to sleep. Ten minutes later she vomited. That all too familiar gurgling noise hit me… right before the reflux devil came back to visit.
Welcome home. My little Spewzilla was back from her holiday!
It wasn’t just a dainty splash of ‘spit up’ but a full on wretch of what can only be described as cottage cheese vomit. Her eyes almost sparkled as she looked me in the eye and wretched up another load. The velcro swaddle blanket that we relied on to settle her was caked in goup and the spare one was still in the washing from the holiday. So, as Daddy snored away, Mummy changed Babba and was then woken on the hour as she no doubt missed her swaddlie security blanket – well you shouldn’t have spewed on it should you!
At 4am, I decided to put her in a zip up sleeping bag with a sash to swaddle her. It was the answer to my prayers. She finally settled. Thirty minutes later, I regretted this. Her painful cry woke me yet again. As I pulled her towards me, once again the cottage cheese massacre was upon me. This time caking the zip and meaning that I had to do the one thing that repulses me more than anything… get my fingers dirty!
I had to touch the sick.
To pull the zipper I had to put my actual fingers in vomit! The thought of just leaving her in it momentarily crossed my mind, but then the infamous mother instinct took over. I braved the sick and released the zip… saved the baby and instantly reached for the baby wipes (for me obviously) and all was well. We survived.
It was at that moment that The Big Book of Reflux was born.
As I mopped up the cottage cheese gloup that she had regurgitated; this got me to thinking of all the many different times and places that she had been sick – the first time being minutes after her first ever feed! I had to laugh. If I didn’t laugh, I would have cried.
We are twenty weeks in now and reflux is still going strong (with many humourous stories that MUST be shared). I hope that you will join me on my journey through my Big Book of Reflux as I chronicle the stories of my little Spewzilla and reflect on my journey into motherhood as I battle nappies, bottles and living with the dreaded reflux.
So here goes… Now where is the muslin cloth?