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The Baby came home on June 13. The Wife was attempting to nurse and it was not going well, which meant that The Baby at the bottom of the pile of blankets that we brought home was unhappy.
The Wife and I were splitting the night into shifts. I would take the 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. and she would switch out. We’d sleep when The Baby slept, mostly. I had a nice routing of reruns worked out “The Golden Girls” followed by “Cheers” and then a 2 a.m. SportsCenter. By then, The Baby would have eaten a few times, peed a few others. We’d walk and she’d eventually fall asleep.
Night Two was our first challenge. Our friend Allison, who revels in motherhood, was working on the morale angle. The lactation counselor was doing her best to destroy it. In the meantime, I had a crying baby, who was hungry, and a crying Wife, who was hormonal. I put a bottle of formula in her hand one night. The Baby chowed it and then took another. Turns out babies cry loudly when they are hungry. Who knew?
Google is a beautiful thing, especially the next week when we faced the subsequent challenge. The Baby was eating, but crying with frequency for no particular reason. A Google search showed that it might be gas, so I made a midnight run to Wegmans (God bless Wegmans) for infant gas drops. It was like Thanksgiving, three hours after dinner was done. The girl was farting like there was a kazoo built into her newborn ass.
That worked for a couple of nights, but the crying returned. The pediatrician’s office was little help. No, you probably don’t need the drops. No, you don’t need to change the formula. Sigh. We made the midnight run on Sunday and were on our third consecutive night of wailing. WAILING. Car rides didn’t work. Rocking? No good.
Thursday night, I had The Baby and was trying settle her. We did everything I could think of. We drove. We rocked. At one point, we went into the basement where it was pitch black and laid on the floor. Nothing was working.
And then, I snapped.
I came upstairs with The Baby in a one-handed cradle against me. I not-so-gently set The Baby on the changing table and began not-so-gently changing her diaper. The Baby, crying, was not making it easy and I was changing her as if I was a prison guard on duty at the Baby Penitentiary.
“Stop. Get out of here. Go to bed. Don’t come back. Don’t talk.”
The Wife was standing in the doorway of the office with a look I had seen only once before. I backed away from the changing table and went to the spare bedroom. I had a 7 a.m. appointment with the weight loss doctor and, as her usual, she was 45 minutes late. She found me asleep on a couch in one of her rooms. I told her about the past week and what happened the night before. She laughed and told me a story about how the same thing had happened when she had her first daughter. She prescribed me some, uh, pills boost my seratonin levels and suggested that we defy the pediatrician and change the formula to a sensitive blend.
So, after apologizing, I explained the doctor’s logic to The Wife and we switched to Similac Sensitive. And guess what?
The Baby was fixed.
“There’s a reason why the government uses sleep deprivation in interogation,” Dr. Scinta said. “It works. Your daughter is breaking you down into an insane person. And all she wants is to eat without it hurting.”
And the Doctor saved my life again.