A few things in the past few weeks have prompted me to share this part of my story. The story of my child’s journey with reflux is published elsewhere on this website and I am aware that most of the time our personal stories focus on the child.
This one focuses on me. My daughter had a rough, rough ride. No doubt about it. But the impact on me was also tremendous. Most reflux mums know what I mean.
Oliver is our second child, a sister to Ella (you can also read about her story).
I was terrified that Oliver would have reflux, as we had gone through such a hard time with Ella. The decision even to have him was tough, as Ella was still suffering and we still weren’t getting much sleep. However, I told myself that if we waited until Ella was sleeping well, then we could be waiting years, so along came Oliver.
I still remember the first time my daughter had her first little vomit in her bassinet at the hospital. As a first time mum, I was calling the nurse and asking if she was ok, could she be choking and what should I do to help her? I just kept receiving those reassuring smiles that said, ‘everything is ok and this is normal’.
I wanted to share our story because it’s confronting, exhausting and difficult even when your reflux experience is mild or more typical.
It has taken me a long time to write my story down on paper, mostly because every time I think too much about it I cry. I don’t know exactly why. I do know I still feel ashamed that I didn’t realise sooner that my baby was in so much pain. I feel angry at myself for listening to doctors instead of listening to my heart. I feel guilty for letting my poor little baby cry so much and for so long because I let people convince me she was just determined or naughty or trying to control me.
My daughter, Evie is 3 and a half years old. This is her (medical) story. Evie was born in June 2009. Right from the beginning it was a rocky start. My milk failed to come in adequately and she failed to gain weight. We had to give her formula or we would be staying in hospital. I battled on trying everything to increase supply and meanwhile, supplementing so that she gained weight. At about 5 weeks, she became VERY unhappy. She cried for almost every waking moment for 3 days. The only thing that stopped her crying that weekend was me breastfeeding her (although I think she was using me more as a dummy) and walking her around outside, talking to her and holding her very upright.
My name is Fran, and I have two children, Carmen and Flynn.
My pregnancy with Carmen was a fun one. I followed all the ‘rules’ regarding eating, chemicals and the works. I had to give up work fairly early into my pregnancy as I had incredibly bad exhaustion, fluid retention and all-day sickness. Pretty good start to that beautiful glowing pregnancy that all those books rave about. I have a bicronate uterus and she turned breech at 32 weeks: one foot under her chin and one in my pelvis, apparently a less than two percent chance of this happening!
My journey to become a mum was a long one. My husband and I had been trying for a baby for over 3 years and eventually had to embark on the emotional and expensive journey of fertility treatment. After four attempts at Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) (resulting in one pregnancy, which miscarried early) we were advised to try IVF. We had high hopes of IVF working as we had fallen pregnant on our third IUI, and the fact that I got pregnant was a good sign. On the day of egg pick up 21 eggs were retrieved, only 18 were mature.
Ella was a very much wanted baby who was our little miracle after assisted conception medication was taken and then a high risk pregnancy. Almost as soon as she was born she was crying and screaming for long hours.