Tuesday, March 4, 2008

the Cacing Diaries #4

day 18

It all started Sunday dawn and without warning. Cacing cried inexplicably without a break. She turned purple red. Have you ever seen a newly born piglet or mouse? That was her color. We were at our wits’ end. Nothing worked- milk feeding, singing, rocking, massaging… After about 5 minutes, she stopped. We hoped that was a one-off thing, after all, we are new parents and we didn’t have any experience.

Wrong. More episodes of intransigent crying bouts hounded us several times that Sunday. My wife could not help but cry as well. I actually believe that I could endure seeing my daughter cry for a prolonged period– I read somewhere that crying is a healthy sign – but what if there is an more insidious underlying malady? I checked her hands, feet and body for any sign of insect bite, trauma, or heaven forbid, broken bones. None.

There was only one other explanation: colic.

Now, colic is one of those mysterious conditions which science still cannot fully elucidate, appearing in the 2nd week of life and disappearing before the baby turns 4 months old. In extreme cases, colic causes incessant crying in extended periods following the cruel rule of 3s: more than 3 hours of crying for more than 3 days for more than 3 weeks, for about 3 months!

For want of explanation, stomach gas buildup is often attributed as the most common cause and studies have shown that in almost half of the cases, this may be true. There is also no cure. A tactic which worked for us in one occasion, say swaddling the baby close to the chest, whispering a shh sound on the ear, burping her upright, exposing her to white noise like the sound of a running electric fan, would suddenly be ineffectual the next.

We barely could sleep.

day 19

Second day. We were tired and helpless. Worse of all, alarmingly, my wife started channeling her inner Brooke Shields and fancied herself to have been sucked into post-partum depression. She said she could now fathom why there are cases of mothers killing themselves and their babies in an uncontrollable bout of depressive rage. We joked about it and were glad that she was far from this nadir.

Well-meaning friends volunteered various remedies. Bigkis or a fabric wrap around her waist- done. Socks- done. More rigid and prolonged burping- done. We almost tried aceite de manzanilla, a traditional oil used to expel gas but our pediatrician already warned us against potential burn hazard so we did not. Still, no appreciable response.

We counted our blessings that Cacing’s case was only mild, for her crying spells were only short-lived – say, less than 10 minutes? – but no less intense. Most probably, we dissected, hers is the gas-related as she would stop crying after she a loud burp or fart. (Infants have no etiquette).

At this stage we already resigned, well, almost. The strange thing with colic is that in between the crying spells, she remained an angel, as these pictures would attest.

princess and the pea
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/30s, f/5.6, 55mm, ISO 1600
Here is her princess and the pea moment..

a mummy moment
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/8s, f/5.6, 55mm, ISO 1600, +1/3 EV
A mummy moment for an all wrapped up Cacing....

day 20

We continued to ask around.

Finally, at work, people began asking us to switch milk brands. Cacing needs more milk than the breastmilk that my wife can provide and it is possible that Cacing may not be able to digest fully the formula milk we use. We were using Similac Eye-Q and among the various alternatives available, I eventually picked Nan probiotic.

At the onset, the difference of the two mik was clear. Similac is creamy and viscous. Nan is thin and watery. When we made the switch early in the evening, we prayed and crossed our fingers. Almost instantaneously, Nan actually worked! The next time she cried, she was appeased more quickly and she passed gas easily.

Miracles do happen.

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/2s, f/1.8, 50mm, ISO 100
Sleeping soundly....

day 21

Anticlimax. It took almost 24 hours for her stomach to eliminate traces of her old milk. Soon enough, Cacing’s disposition turned normal. Life, as we know it, goes on.

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/30s, f/1.8, 50mm, ISO 400
Cacing in her playful mood. She often jerks and stretches her now 60cm frame.

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/200s, f/1.8, 50mm, ISO 200
A baby needs her vitamin D so we try to expose her daily to early morning sun. This shot was taken after one of her sunbathing sessions. The natural light was just too good to pass photographically.

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/60s, f/1.8, 50mm, ISO 200
This is my entry in the recently concluded Cebu-Sugbo February photocontest, Red. I am happy I won, as the prize is flickr pro account and mine is expiring by May.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Oss said...

Oh lord I can sympathise Farley, I really understand the distress an unwell baby can cause.

You (I am sure) know that breast milk is best whenever possible but it is no shame if a mother is unable to produce enough.

If Caching is getting a bit of both then that is probably the best of both worlds for her, formula is over promoted in the Philippines and I am certain it is a bad idea when the child gets older, it's just a way to make families poor :(

Every new family has a hard time learning their new lifestyle :) I think it is a fundamental part of growing up and growing older in general.

James was pretty easy when he was a baby but he is becoming a real handful aged two and a half, we were lucky earlier on.!

I think that having children and learning how to survive them (hehehehe :D) is a very important life skill.

It is also very rewarding.

It marks a sea change in our internal perspective on our own lifes.

Hope it gets easier for both of you my friend..!

Oss said...

oops pardon my bad spelling little Cacing.