We arrived home from the hospital on Tuesday afternoon around 2 pm. That afternoon was quite blissfull. Henry slept really well in between feedings and we enjoyed being home together without nurses, and cleaning people, and meal delivery, and hospital staff coming in and out of our room. We had a great dinner and in general enjoyed a blissfull first afternoon home with our new family. I think after the 8 pm feeding Henry continued to go right to sleep and sleep until we woke him for the next feeding (which at that point was every 2 hours). After he ate at 10 pm he just never really went back to bed until about 5 am.
The kicker is that he was basically screaming bloody murder for the better part of every hour. It seems you would calm him down, he'd doze off for maybe 10-15 minutes and then he'd be awake again really screaming for the rest of the hour. He sounded like he was really in pain (kind of a high-pitched scream) and nothing really seemed to help him much. This was bad for one night even with JT and i both splitting the shifts, but then it happened again the next night even after he had slept just fine all during the day. Facing down a second night of total all out screaming started to make me unravel a bit. Things look very bleak at 3 in the morning when you've only slept in 45 minute increments for days on end. I was worried we'd never get him to sleep at night and already worrying about how JT would be able to go back to work in another week or so.
That next morning we called the pediatrician and after explaining the situation he asked us to go ahead and come in for an appt that we were able to get that morning. We were so glad that we went. Henry was diagnosed with reflux which is also called spitting up, although in Henry's case he doesn't actually spit up very much. The condition is caused by the poor closure of the valve ring at the upper end of the stomach, and has other symptoms besides actually spitting up including lots of painful gas and causing the baby's cry to sound hoarse because of the fluid coming into the throat from the stomach. Dr. G prescribed a really small dose of gaviscon for Henry 20 minutes after feedings 4 times a day. The even more important thing he recommended was having Henry sleep in a baby recliner instead of flat on his back. This way the fluid would have a better chance of staying down while his stomach worked on digesting.
We tried this new regimen that night and were amazed at how well it worked. I think that night after every feeding he went back to bed pretty easily. I came out of the night tired, but it was the kind of tired that i expected more or less with a newborn. At least i was able to sleep some in between his feedings and i tried to sleep a lot during the day when he was napping or JT was with him. Last night was even better with one episode of fussiness after the midnight feeding, but then an unexpected 4 hour sleep stint that left JT and i both feeling a bit better. I'm still a little on pins and needles that this will keep working and last tonight as well, but so far so good.