Sherryn was not an easy baby, but I thought it was me. She was my first baby and I can remember bawling because I felt like such a failure. Becoming a parent came as a huge shock and although I had desperately wanted children, I felt so inadequate and wondered why everyone else seemed to cope so much easier than I did.
Sherryn fed frequently, and often cried afterwards. She slept poorly and my husband Wayne and I took shifts overnight attending to her. He had a fulltime (paid) job and needed sleep so I would breastfeed her at night, and go to bed while he took the shift until midnight. From then on, it was my turn to get up to her whenever she woke. We were both exhausted but figured that was to be expected for first time parents. Sherryn wasn’t what I would call an unhappy baby, though she was hard work to keep happy too, and looking back was quite irritable. She was ok if I was nearby but miserable if I wasn’t. She would catnap during the day, having 4 half-hour naps.
I was offered suggestions like “There must be something wrong with your milk because every time you feed her she cries”. And “maybe you don’t have enough milk” even though I had an issue with oversupply, and Sherryn piled on the weight. Of course this just made it worse, and I felt like I was the issue.
From the age of 6 months to 2 years, Sherryn suffered almost constant throat and chest infections, with antibiotics prescribed more than monthly. This seemed to improve when we saw a naturopath at the age of 2years, although now I wonder whether her reflux simply became less of an issue at that age.
Her sister was born when Sherryn was 3 years old, and a lot of my time was taken up with all of Natalie’s health issues. Thankfully Sherryn seemed well and healthy for the most part, although she did have bowel issues that I now know were part of the genetic gut motility disorder all our children suffer from. It wasn’t until her constipation became severe that we hit problems. I knew one of the best treatments for constipation was to drink a lot of fluids, so I would encourage Sherryn to drink water. This resulted in her complaining of strong abdominal pain twice, both times after drinking a large glass of water.
Other than that, her only symptoms of reflux were very vague, and I didn’t know enough about reflux even then to put them together – she wanted to sleep on 3 pillows every night, she would wake in the mornings with a bit of a cough and her teeth would be coated yellow, and she hated drinking ‘bubbly drinks’. I didn’t know at the time, but she would reflux softdrinks and they burned the back of her nose. I was also concerned because Sherryn seemed to have stopped growing. The GP, when I discussed my concerns had refused to refer her to the paed gastro, but thankfully we already had a referral because of her chronic constipation. We were also seeing him for Natalie at the time, and because Natalie had required a repeat endoscopy, he decided based on family history mostly, that he would also scope Sherryn.
We were amazed to learn that Sherryn had oesophagitis as a result of reflux. Sherryn was started on Losec and she had no more complaints of pain, the morning cough and yellow teeth disappeared, and she no longer wanted to sleep on 3 pillows at night. She has always hated softdrinks though.
Thankfully Sherryn has never needed a fundo (anti-reflux surgery) like her brother and sister, though her ongoing bowel issues were another matter. She too has had a lot of medical issues, and quite a difficult time of it, but she has grown into a wonderful young lady with a beautiful spirit. She is currently teaching in a remote community and is happily married.