Well Howdy! I hope everyone had an awesome weekend! I know I did! I thought with the eventful weekend I had in the tiny elf town of Eureka Springs there couldn’t possibly be anything else I would want to talk to about today. However, there is. It’s called “purple crying” and I stumbled onto this while reading the blog “pregnant chicken”.
Basically there’s this stage that almost every baby goes through where they cry. You change them, you feed them, you bathe them, you rock them, you swing them and STILL the baby will NOT quit crying. It’s believed to be between 2 weeks old and 3 months old (The most common age for shaken baby syndrome) and it’s awful because nothing you do for this screaming child works. Anna went through a few minor bouts of this and one major one and it was the second most helpless feelings I’ve had as a parent and drove me to crying too.
It was one cold January (I believe) morning in 2008. Anna woke up that day in a mood, everything we did she would fuss about. Fortunately her dad was home that day (I’m sure he remembers this too) so I had the help of him. Eventually fussing turned to crying and by lunch crying turned to screaming bloody murder. We did everything we could, we tried a walk, we tried a bath, we tried a clean diaper, we tried letting her go naked, formula, swing, bouncer, NOTHING would work. The roads I believe were icey that day but finally we decided to try a nice car ride to Wal-Mart. I sat in the backseat with my screaming baby ready to scratch my ears off because nothing I did for her was helping. Finally, she fell asleep as we were pulling into the store. As her dad pulled up to the front to let me out several people were behind us and me being the new mom I was, was in a rush. I wanted to rush in to get her the binkie she needed in case she woke up. I shut the door normally and she woke up! OMG! I felt like such an idiot. She immediately started screaming again and when I came back out she was still screaming. We got her home, we tried calling the doctor, the in-laws and my mom who worked about an hour from our apartment at the time. At this point of course everyone was yelling COLIC BABY and I just didn’t know because I was a new mom. Finally my mom got there probably around 3:30 and Anna was still screaming. My mom scooped her up, swaddled her, stuck a binkie in her mouth, cradled her head in her hands, layed her on her lap so she fit safely in the small dip on her lap and swayed her from left to right making a “ch ch ch ch ch” sound over and over and over “ch ch ch ch”. Which you would think would be annoying but I was just so thankful she was no longer screaming. Anna fell into a daze after about 30 minutes and then into a sleep. Then my mom transferred Anna from her lap to her swing and Anna lay fast asleep. I figured “boy you done it now! she’s gonna wake up!” My mom sat there sulking in her success for a few minutes and told me to call her if I needed anything after she left. After that, her dad and I must have sat there in silence waiting for her to awake screaming again but she didn’t. She didn’t wake up for about 5-6 hours and when she did, she was fine. No fit, no screaming, just normal newborn to be expected things and I was thankful.
I will never forget this story because I was terrified. I was a new mom, still recovering from surgery and couldn’t figure out what on earth was wrong with my little baby that I was ready to (as Amy from pregnant chicken says) dropkick her off the front lawn. I remember after the major crying incident I told my mother that I had found some relaxation techniques to keep myself from wanting to drop Anna off the balcony. I remember her snapping at me and saying I should never say anything like that, so reading the article about the purple crying stage told me that maybe I wasn’t crazy for feeling so helpless and out of sorts. Amy (Author of Pregnant Chicken) also says how she never understood how shaking a baby could even be thought up, until she had a baby of her own. She is EXACTLY right. I thought only monsters were capable but once you your screaming baby in your arms that you have NO Idea what to do with, you see where it could happen. Sometimes, walking away or taking a break for just a few minutes, is okay. Its ALWAYS better than hurting your baby and knowing about the purple crying stage I think will help me cope better with this next child when nothing and I mean NOTHING will make him/her stop. Read the article now (Pregnant Chicken: My Baby Won’t Stop Crying), really, because when your in that position and you understand what’s going on, I think it may make it a bit easier for you too. Hope you enjoyed and spread the word!