Caleb would have been 27 years old this week.
When I was 27, he was a 1-year-old with severe intestinal gas which seemed to be at its worse in the middle of the night. Somewhere around 11pm or midnight, he’d wake up screaming. I tried everything to comfort him. The doctor had us try several things. Rocking him, patting his back and belly, lifting his legs, and all the other normal actions never helped. While simethicone drops occasionally helped, most of the time I ended up driving him around for a couple of hours. This helped a little and allowed Donna to get some sleep. We would drive with music on so I would not go completely crazy listening to him cry for so long. Around 2 or 3am, he would calm down a bit. I would get him back in our home, trying so hard to not wake him on the rare occasion he fell asleep. We were in a 3rd floor apartment and it rarely worked flawlessly. Most nights, I ended up on the couch with him sleeping on my chest. He seemed to sleep better like that, at an incline on his belly.
After about 4 months of this, he did this less often. By the time he was 18 months, I did not have to drive him around anymore. About then, he got very ill. Nothing would stay down. The doctor put him on antibiotics, which also did not stay down. He cried for hours and hours. Donna was at work while I watched him deteriorate, so I took him to the emergency room. They tested him for things and then quizzed me like I had been abusing him. After about two hours of being grilled, they did a check for intestinal obstruction. Finding none, nor any other signs of abuse or problems, I sat with Caleb on my lap in a room with an I.V. drip for four hours. This was in a public space so they could watch me. After the first hour, he calmed down and napped the rest of the time. The fluid being forced in is what he needed for the severe dehydration.
At the time, I hated the incessant screaming. Each night driving around, I would beg him to calm down. I would pray for him. I would pray for my sanity. However, while I wanted to sleep in my bed, I loved sleeping on the couch with him, knowing it was the only way he could rest. When he was ill, he yelled all day at home and at the doctor’s appointment and all night and most of the next day. I now long for those days, spending hours snuggling with him. Isn’t it ironic that those days and nights that drove me insane are now what I long for? Months of sleep deprivation while listening to a screaming child for hours seem like torment to most people. It’s blissful compared to the screaming grief in my head now.