September 2005 brought our second little boy, Dylan, into the world. He arrived after only 4 hours of labour which was very different to the lengthy 32 hours I had with his elder brother! Dylan was healthy and gorgeous and I absolutely fell in love with him instantly, as I had similarly done with Mitchell three years earlier. After a couple of days in hospital I was eager to settle down at home with my now complete family.
In the comfort of home, Mitchell was inquisitive about our newest addition and watched as nappies were changed and feedings were due; however after only a few days his interest changed dramatically when it became clear that sleep times were not going to be easy for his little brother. Mitchell started to keep away because he knew that as soon as sleep time was due his brother would begin to scream. And boy did he scream! It would go on for hours and nothing I did seemed to help ease his pain. I tried rubbing and patting Dylan’s back as I carried him endlessly around the house. I tried pushing him in his pram and running it over a towel. I tried lying him in a warm bath or putting a warm cloth over his belly. I tried everything I could think of to calm him but nothing worked.
Dylan would begin screaming half an hour after EVERY feed and would continue until about 30 minutes before his next feed, only managing to nap between episodes for a short time. My poor husband was greeted after work each day by two upset children and a tired, emotionally fragile wife who would hand over parenting duties gladly for a few hours of much needed rest. Our days would end in exhaustion at about 1am when Dylan would finally sleep until about 5am, when the entire process would then begin again…After almost a week and no change in Dylan’s condition, we took him to see a doctor, only to be told it was colic and not to worry about it!
Days passed and Anthony and I did our very best to manage but as the days became weeks it just got too hard. We never had a meal together, never slept at the same times, never talked about anything other than Dylan and became totally and utterly exhausted as we took round-the-clock shifts to care for our new baby. I think we both felt like complete failures as the rosy glow of parenthood quickly dissolved away. What have we done? How can we survive this?