It was clear to me early on that this gift was something special. He was never what we'd call a happy baby. He cried a lot. A LOT. Most nights he spent screaming, vomiting, and struggling to latch properly. Breastfeeding was adequate, but a struggle from day one. He just never seemed to be able to get it, and it was always painful for me. If I hadn't already breastfed one child for fifteen months I would have given up quickly, but I am as stubborn as they come so I stuck it out.
My incredible gift never wanted to be without touch- and firm touch at that. From the day he was born until he outgrew it, the only place he was quiet and content was wrapped up tight in my cotton interlock wrap. I wore this little man from sun up to sun set, taking him out only to nurse and change his diaper. Once we realized he had a serious dairy protein allergy and I eliminated the offenders from my diet his demeanor improved, but he by no stretch of the imagination became a "happy baby." He would scream for hours for no apparent reason, writhing and wailing in misery until he vomited in his distress.
I was caring for this child the pediatricians called "high needs" and "colicky"(though he showed no signs of classic colic aside from inconsolable crying) as well as our 22-month-old daughter, and keeping the household in-tact on a shoestring budget while my husband worked nights and went to college full time during the day. We both slept hodge-podge hours when we could slip a few in, rarely seeing each other, and I felt like a house-bound single mother living on minimal child-support.
When my challenging little gift was about two weeks old I hit rock bottom one night. I remember like it was yesterday. I sat in bed in the tiny master bedroom of our country townhouse, holding this screaming, flailing little body and trying every trick I knew of to soothe, care for and comfort him as the hours ticked by. I remember looking at the clock and seeing it was nearly 5am. My husband would be home in an hour, my toddler would be waking up around the same time and I had yet to get to sleep. I broke down and began to sob with the baby. I held him against my chest as I shook and said aloud, "God, I did not ask for this. I was trying NOT to get pregnant. I didn't ask for this." As soon as the words crossed my lips I realized what I was saying. I cried even harder as I clutched my thrashing, screaming infant and begged God for forgiveness. This disconsolate child was mine- my gift, and despite the fact that these two weeks of his life outside of my womb had been filled with anguish, frustration, and misery, I would be lost without him. He was sensational.