Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Help Us Get Through “Fussy Time”

Our little miracle, Emery, was born at the beginning of October. I was so blessed to have an amazing labor and delivery and healthy baby girl. After all the heartache of infertility, everything was what I imagined it would be and more. The early days after bringing her home presented some challenges that any new parent faces but Bryan was so patient and supportive of me through the first few weeks.

Bryan’s biggest fear is falling down the stairs while holding her or tripping since his legs don’t always work properly. So far he holds her close and watches each step he makes and he hasn’t tripped. Every night after she has a bath and a full belly, they cuddle on the couch. He lays her on his chest and she dozes off to sleep until we go to bed. It is the sweetest thing I have ever seen.

Emery started to be more alert and she went through her first developmental leap around four weeks. Bryan would get home from work right at her fussy time. She only wanted me to nurse her and comfort her. It broke my heart that he only saw her at her hardest time of the day. The screaming was really hard on him and he would admit that sometimes he just couldn’t listen to it anymore. I think this is pretty normal for a new dad but even more difficult for a wounded warrior. I didn’t want him to get overwhelmed when he held his crying daughter. I would ask if he wanted me to take her, and sometimes I just took over. We were both navigating this together.

Bryan can’t do much to help with the night feedings. Unfortunately, her cries or the having light on when I am feeding her wakes him up. He has been struggling with the lack of sleep. There have been a few times where he has been late for work because he can’t get out of bed. With his TBI, he requires a lot of sleep so I know this is hard on him. Now that she is getting up only once a night, it is much better.

Do you have any advice on how to make it easier for a wounded warrior to adjust to a new baby at home?


Ashley said...

OH I am so happy to see this and your little Emery! I don't really have advice with the transition, but for his fear of falling with her, look into ruckabye baby, or baby wearing in general. It will free up both of his hands! I fall a lot and wearing our little makes me feel much better because I can stumble and be able to throw my hands out for a wall or balance. Babywearing is amazing!

Mike said...

Hi there. I just found your blog and understand pretty well what you're going through.
I was wounded in Afghanistan back in 2010. I was single and really only cared about myself. I lost my vision and about seven months later married a woman I met during my recovery. She had a 15 month old and only a month or so into our marriage I managed to get her pregnant.
Adjusting to an instant family, pregnant wife, and being blind was quite the ordeal as you might imagine.
Fortunately all it took for me was time. I often didn't know how to interact or treat the little people living in my home and it took time to get the hang of it. It's been well over three years now and things feel so natural that it's funny to think back on how difficult it was for me to deal with.
We have three little ones now and things are very different. They grow quick and tax patience like one wouldn't believe. Teamwork is very important so keep that up. You sound like your on the right track!

Anonymous said...

Hi Cheryl,

Congratulations to you and Bryan on the arrival of Emery! She is very cute and precious.

As a recent first time father myself (7 month old twin girls!), I took a real interest in your recent post and thought about suggestions to assist you and Bryan.

My suggestions are to emphasize Bryan's strengths. It seems that he and Emery really do well when he is holding her. So maybe create a very convenient space where he hold and feed her at night. Maybe he can sit in a comfy chair and you can bring the baby to him and he can feed her and fall asleep there for a while. I would suggest setting the space up with a cradle or moses basket nearby where he can put her down easily. I also found it helpful to have my iphone nearby to whittle away the hours.

I also think it would be helpful if you and Bryan worked out a schedule for taking care of Emery. This might help both of your sleep too. Perhaps plan out when each of you will take care of Emery and when the other will sleep. You can bring Emery to Bryan when it is his turn to take care of her.

It can be difficult and challenging to take care of a crying baby, especially when you are very tired! If this happens, I suggest that Bryan asks you to come over and walk or rock the baby till she calms or sleeps.

Finally, ZERO TO THREE has some really excellent resources for injured service members and their babies. Check out their Honoring our Babies and Toddlers page

Good luck and congrats on your beautiful baby girl!

Chelsea Carey said...

I just happened upon your blog and was inspired by your story. I am the co-founder of Ruckabye Baby. e are a 100% donation and volunteer based organization that provides carriers to wounded service member and their families to help them cope with their new "normal" while still being able to bond with their children.

We would love for you all to contact us via email at for more information.
We also have a website and Facebook page where you can apply for a carrier as well.

We send all qualifying applicants a free baby carrier that will work with the injuries sustained by the service member. We also work with widows and other military affiliated persons as well.

Once you receive you free carrier we will set up an in-person or Skype meeting to teach you how to use your carrier properly so you get the most use out of it.

We look forward to hearing from you!

FIT--Future Iron Teacher said...

So exciting!!!! I can't believe I've been out of the loop for so long! She is amazing!

Warren said...

Congratulations! I haven't visited in a while and wasn't aware of your good news. Our church is still praying for you all.

Jamie Dement (LadyJai) said...

Congratulations on your newest arrival! I recently went on a search for help when I hit my own darkness after 15 years of caring for my wounded veteran. It's been one heck of a struggle, especially when we didn't understand what was going on. It wasn't until recently (within the last 5 years) that things have come out. I'm glad I can find sites like this to help me understand I'm not alone. It just sucks that all this "help" is so far away...

Anyway, I wanted to let you know that my husband has been a stay-at-home dad since our son was born 11 years ago. It has been most difficult for him with his chronic pain and medication, but we've managed. The hardest part was when he was a baby. With him being in school it's easier for him. I'm sure you will find a way that works for you. As with anything it takes time for adjustment, trial and error. But eventually it will work out. Every situation is unique.

Mayberry Mayhem said...'s funny how The Lord works. My husband and I had a rough day today (he did two tours in Iraq and suffers from PTSD,TBI, and other permanent disabilities) and I am finally learning to seek reassurance in the blogs of those who understand this path when we have these kinds of days. We have a two and a half year old boy and he is just amazing! I, however, suffered from post partum depression after he was born and I know all too well what you are going through with the fussy nights and your husband.

I remember one night, it reached its peak, my son had colic, so he was crying a lot because his tummy hurt ;( and my husband snapped. He fell to the floor and started crying, I had never seen my husband cry. I was trying to comfort my son and trying to sort out the utter shock in my brain enough to comfort my husband as well and had never felt so alone in my life.

Prior to that night. I already knew that the crying really bothered him, but never knew EXACTLY why, and I didn't ask that kind of stuff, and still don't. We talk about events that happened over seas as he's ready, and trust me, there are new things he is still sharing with me. Anyway, he finally told me that behind almost every door that he and his men kicked in, there were screaming and crying children and women. It made sense to me then why the babies cries bothered him and why he actually would get angry if I cried or got upset about things, which made me cry even more that he was angry about it, which made him even more angry, and so on and so forth....

After this realization, I was able to asses the problem and really start to snap out of my depression and come back to reality so that I could take care of both members of my family. Now that i knew what the problem was and what it was stemming from, we developed a plan. I took on the majority of the care of our son at night, and slept when he slept most of the time and my husband did everything he could to do everything else. We eased him into the crying baby during the day so if he needed a break he could have it much more readily.

I walked with the baby ALOT. I would get the stroller and walk and walk and walk. Sometimes my husband would come, but mostly not, and that was great! He had his alone time and I began to learn when he needed a break that he needed a break and not to try and make him better or try and comfort him because it always made things worse. My husband slowly began to learn to give me breaks too. Before we knew it, he was waking up with our son when he was crying.

I know how hard it can get lady! Hang in gets easier. You get in a groove, you figure out what works and what doesn't for you and your husband and you will see more good days than bad. God bless you and your family and thank you to your husband for his service and to you for taking care of him.

Tara said...

It's been a long time since I was here at your blog, and I want to say congrats on your little bundle of joy!
I have no advise, I am so sorry to tread a path I have not had to best wishes and prayers for you and your family...