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Ben's Tears

Ben was my third child,born at term, by c-section at my local hospital and I felt the same surge of love when I saw his beautiful face as I had with my other 2 children. Once together on the ward, my husband brought my older children to meet their new baby brother. We have some wonderful photographs of that moment with Ben crying heartily. Not unusual in a newborn, but I know realise that this was just the start of our long and painful journey. Ben came home, but straight away I felt something was not quite right. As he lay in his moses basket next to my bed, he would make really distressing choking noises and found it hard to settle. Night after night, I would pick him up and sleep with him propped up in my arms as this seemed to make his breathing easier. As time went by, the pattern of breast feeding followed by tears became our norm. Not the usual tears you hear in a newborn, but tears of real pain. He would lift his knees and go bright red. Frantic is the only way I can describe it. He would often bring much of his milk back as well and the only way to stop the tears was to comfort him at my breast, but the whole vicious cycle then started again. He also had grim nappies. Not the mustard seed nappies of a breast fed baby as I had seen with my older children, but green mucus filled nappies. My midwives dismissed Ben's problems as colic, although there was concern that he wasn't really thriving in terms of weight gain. After about 5 exhausting weeks of almost endless tears and feeds, I then found blood in Ben's nappy. I called the GP who saw him straight away, checked for any tears around his back passage. He could find no tears and felt I should not worry unduly. Advised by my health visitors that Ben's green stools might be due to him getting too much foremilk, I made an appointment to see a breat feeding counsellor. She gave me a few tips on positioning but did comment that Ben seemed a very unsettled baby. I dutifully adapted my positioning, desperate to stop Ben's tears and pain. I visited other friends but no one seemed able to calm Ben. One friend tried her baby massage skills. She was a really experienced mum and worked so beautifully and gently with Ben but to no avail. i spoke to my GP again. I was the only voice Ben had and no one seemed to be listening. We were living in a bubble of exhaustion and pain. Ben continued to pass blood in his stools on occasion and would have streaks of blood in his posset. My mum asked me if my breast milk could be poisoning him. It seemed ridculous. Isn't breast milk supposed to be the most natural thing in the world? Little did I know how close to the truth she was. After seized moments scouring the internet I came to the conclusion that Ben had reflux or a milk intolerance. The sleep deprivation after 4 months was becoming unbearable and took its toll in that I started to have thoughts of harming my beautiful boy. A distressing heart to heart with my mum followed, who called the health visitor. She felt I was suffering from extreme anxiety and organised for me to see the GP. There was still no acknowledgement that Ben was unwell. The GP asked me to stop with my night feeds and to give Ben fomula. What followed was the most explosive nappy I had ever seen, with lots of blood.
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