It was about a week after Autumn moved in that Silas’ health troubles escalated. It would take an hour to feed him each meal because eating hurt him so badly. He also started having problems napping. He would awaken with a jolt and start screaming. After naptime, he was miserable the rest of the day. All Criss and I could do was take turns rocking and walking him to try to keep him calm.
By April, he was chronically sick as well. He was always congested and coughing. I took him to his pediatrician (Ped #1) several times with no real help. That May I adamantly told him that something was wrong. He obligingly said, “A mom knows her baby,” and then left the room without giving us any help. After that I decided to visit a relative who is a pediatrician to get a second opinion (Ped #2). I knew that she would believe me and get me pointed in the right direction. We hadn’t used her in the first place because her practice is not convenient to where we live.
Our visit with Ped #2 went well. She scheduled and Upper GI and referred us to a gastroenterologist (GI #1). Shortly after that, Silas was having problems one weekend, and I made an appointment with Ped #1 (since I had not swapped doctors – just gotten a second opinion). There was a lot of commotion when I got there. They had found out that I had gone for a second opinion, and they were not happy. Although I had made an appointment with Ped #1, he sent another doctor into the room and refused to see us! They told me I could reapply as a new patient and see whether or not Ped #1 would accept us. I wasn’t going to beg him to take us back when he wasn’t much help in the first place and had treated us so rudely. I tried to see a different doctor at the same office, but he told me I just needed to stick with Ped #2. I was obviously black-balled. We stayed with Ped #2 until she left the practice a few months later to be home with her kids.
We had the Upper GI in June, and it showed reflux. (I believe it was grade 3.) Shortly afterward that was our first visit with GI #1. He assured me that many babies have reflux, and Silas would outgrow it all when he was about a year old. The crying was so bad. I didn’t know how we’d make it to a year. Silas was just miserable. Another problem was finding a medicine that helped. Most things didn’t work at all. Some made him worse. After months of failed attempts, we finally ended up on Prevacid – although it made him irritable. At one of the GI visits, GI #1 wasn’t available, and we saw another doctor in the same practice (GI #2). He suggested swapping Silas to the capsules. We could open them up and give Silas the granules that were inside, leaving out the added ingredients in the other forms of the medicine, and that helped.
There were so many difficult days that first year. Some days, I didn’t know how I was going to do it. I remember praying, begging God for help, yet not seeing any. That May, Criss came home early from work one day, and I knew something was wrong. His boss had told him he was fired and not to come back. When Criss asked why, his boss said, “I’m the boss. I don’t have to have a reason.” Silas was born in December, Autumn joined us in March, and Criss lost his job that May. I could have been worried, but when I saw him walking up the front steps that day, I knew God had sent Criss there to help me, and I was grateful. “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…” (Genesis 50:20).
During all of this, the doctors kept saying, whatever you do, don’t quit breastfeeding. I removed everything I could from my diet, but it didn’t help. A few times, I tried various formulas, but they weren’t any better. Someone later recommended that we try Good Start formula because it had worked for a lot of other people they knew. We tried him on it one day, and that very night, he started sleeping through the night again. After one week on the milk formula, there was swelling in his eyes, so we swapped to the soy. This formula became very important over the next few years. (By this time, we were trying to introduce solids, and that wasn’t going so well either. More about that next time.)
I had told Criss all along that God had sent him home to help me and that he wouldn’t find a job until Silas was better. Within a week of Silas starting the new formula and it taking a little bit of the edge off his pain, Criss was offered a job.