A/N: This idea is inspired from a similar experience I had with my nephew whom I had to take care of the majority of my time back in the days—worst memories. So I know how that exactly feels like; only the brave ones can get through it... I hope this makes you feel something, whatever that feeling might be.
As she kept pushing, Jane thought that nothing could be any more painful than this, not whips or chains, not even gunshots, all of which she'd been put through before.
Moments later, newborn cries filled the labor room, and Kurt bursted into tears of relief and joy. He immediately turned his glossy eyes to his wife who was still catching her breath, and in a voice that was almost broken and shaking he told her that they had the most beautiful baby boy ever. Through her exhaustion Jane grinned at him, then she let her eyes leave his to take in her baby that was being carefully put on her bare skin. In that very moment, she couldn't help but cry the sweetest tears she'd never known, all the pain of moments before melting away. He might be only minutes old by now, their baby, but as his tiny mouth widened, he continued crying along with his mother, though his cries were much louder despite his tiny body in comparison to his mother.
All their friends visited later that day, brought gifts, and offered help when needed. And Bethany, with her mother, flew the hundred miles to New York only to see her brother and give him the softest of kisses.
The first two weeks for Jane after having given birth to Peter went so quiet. Peaceful. She spent most days either sleeping, snuggled in bed with her newborn baby pressed so close to her chest she could feel his soft, wet breath, or laying down in a rest position with her newborn baby being still close within her hand reach to anticipate his every need—though he didn't need a lot. Breastfeeding and changing. That was all.
As for Kurt, during those first two weeks, he took a vacation from his regular work to be willingly spending all his time and effort on nursing both Jane and his newborn baby.
"That's the least I could do," he told Jane one morning, as he brought her a fresh meal all the way to bed, to which she smiled before dotting kisses on his hand, that was big, almost the size of his newborn baby.
Peter seemed so quiet, often asleep and would flutter his eyes open maybe twice a day. And during these rare times his parents would circle up around him and gaze down with all smiles, making comments regarding his looks. "He's got your eyes!" Jane chuckled, and Kurt smiled then said, "It's such an honor to acknowledge that."
"For me, it's such a pleasure to acknowledge that I'll have another set of beautiful eyes resembling yours to look at daily," she said with a smirk, and Kurt blushed for a fraction of a second, then kissed his wife, then his son. Alternatively, the two planted soft kisses on the tender skin of their newborn baby, and slid their pinky fingers into his open hands and watched as he responded and curled his little hands around them.
They were the happiest little family, until those first two weeks passed, then they saw hell on earth...
Though healthy, good taken care of, and clean, Peter decided to erupt in prolonged, ear-shattering cries, completed with clenched fists, and flailing legs and an unhappy red face.
They checked his diapers and temperature every hour. They tried direct breastfeeding and got out the thermometer. They cuddled and cooed. They did everything that came to their minds that any newborn baby would need—except if their baby wasn't a normal one and had a supernatural power therefore had special needs or something!
Babies his age cry and fuss sometimes, it's known and normal. But the way their baby did it, never seemed to be anything near normal. It was as if he wanted to suffocate himself and die—for hours he'd cry and resist every effort they make to soothe his tears until his little face was red with his mouth stretching wide and the cries became unbearably louder.
It was stressful, overwhelming, and tiring daily, for Jane and Kurt. They—both of them, adults—couldn't even do anything that seemed to please him. Jane, already having afterbirth pains, had multiple breakdowns a day because of it, and sometimes she covered her ears with a pillow or cried along with him, out of hopelessness. There was a sense of shame and sadness and just those deep emotions that she was very not familiar with when her baby cried like this, nonstop. It was as though he was telling her that he needed help, that he was hurting, but she wouldn't even know how or what to begin with...
And Kurt, every time he tried to hold his crying baby close, bobbing and swaying to unheard music, humming a lullaby, quite composed, quite serene, he could swear his baby's cries got louder at all these attempts. He then would lay him down and make funny faces to get him to laugh, to simply make him feel something different, but still...
God, how could a four-kilo creature make such loud noises? It sounded like the screeching of an angry cat, only growing harsher and louder as Kurt tried his best to subside him.
Just recently, while Kurt alone stayed up the night to accompany Peter as he cried, the bell rang, to which Kurt cursed under his breath, having some ideas of who might be at the door this late hour. This time around, it was again their neighbor, a college student in his twenties who seemed impatient and annoyed as he complained about their baby's loud cries and how it was like listening to nails on a chalkboard.
"I have responsibilities and shit to do and classes to prepare for! I need to get some sleep. I need peace!" He rumbled and rumbled, because it was his right as a neighbor to be given that. Peace.
"Sorry. I know, sorry. He's just...a little sick," Kurt tried to explain himself, and his baby boy, fumbling in his words. Huffing in the other side of the doorway, their neighbor walked away then, and before Kurt closed the door, the urgency he felt was tremendously overwhelming. He wanted to sprint, speed, and hop into the car to zoom with his baby in his arms to the nearest pharmacy and find just the right medicine to cure the problem within him. What the cure was called and how much it'd cost mattered the least to Kurt.
Christ, he had to do something. There must be something serious with him, or else what would trigger this sort of crying? The noise the little one made included a falsetto trilling that did something to him. It seemed to reach into the skull through his ears, to grasp his brain stem, to shake the inner core of their being. Kurt looked down at his son, and although he seemed apoplectic as he cried and screamed, Kurt hugged him tight and promised that he'd do everything to help him as soon as possible.
This Monday evening, after having settled Peter down in his bed and gazed into his angelic, relaxed face as he finally slept, Jane sighed in relief. It was so quiet now, save for his breathing that was merely audible, which sounded nice, knowing he was breathing. Alive. She felt tempted to bend down and kiss each cheek, but she feared it'd make him fuss. Then, as she made her way to the living room, she got a call from Tasha, who'd been calling her every now and then these days, chatting and sharing motherhood tips and tricks.
"Hey! How is it going?" Tasha shouted in enthusiasm. And from the end of the line, Jane's voice came as a sigh, low and sad. "Not good."
"Is everything okay? Is Peter okay?" Tasha worried.
"No, he's...not okay. And we don't even know what's wrong with him. But we've already booked an appointment for him tomorrow's morning to see his doctor."
"What's it with him?"
"We don't even know! He cries a lot. All the time." Jane was at the edge of crying at this very moment, before Tasha rushed to say, "Ohh, your baby is probably colic, Jane."
"What does that mean?"
"It means your baby cries a lot as you just said!"
"But that still doesn't explain why!"
"For no reason, really! He just wants to cry, right?"
"Yeah, exactly! That's all it seems. But how do you know that? Is Scott—or was Scott like that?"
"No, I wouldn't say he was, but I know some parents struggle with that."
"Do you know what they would do to ease their babies? Kurt and I would literally do anything and everything only to..."
"Oh, Jane, listen. Every baby seems to be different. Don't worry about it! He won't stay forever like that! But you should still get him to the doctor to make sure he's actually and physically all fine, and if he was, you may feel relieved, because thankfully he'd only be colic."
"I mean...that sucks, still. But you know that's better than something else. Sometimes serious!"
Jane was silent for a long moment, her mind working fast, and her body started sweating at the thought of Peter seriously sick, and his crying had been indicating something permanent.
"Hey? Are you still there?"
"You okay? Or need company? I just snuck out of my place after Scott slept only to get some groceries, but if you need company, I'll be heading to you instead!"
"No, no. Thank you, Tasha. Kurt is actually coming within minutes. And honestly, we haven't had some quiet time together for—I don't even remember for how long! But judging from that, it must have been for a while... Anyway. Sorry, I forgot to ask you about Scott! How is he doing?"
"Ugh, he's fine. He's just addicted to sugar, loves chocolate and candy so much! That's why I don't bring him with me grocery shopping anymore—he knows where to find the chocolate there by now!"
Jane smiled. "At least it makes him happy."
"It actually makes him energetic and annoying at nights. But anyway, I should let you rest. Bye for now, and good night. Also, don't worry much!"
"Okay. Good night."
After some time, the door was opened and there was Kurt emerging through it with many bags of groceries hanging in both hands. "Hey," he greeted, stumbling on his way to the kitchen so he could put the groceries away. Jane watched him do so as she greeted him back with a low voice that he didn't probably hear.
Then, panting, Kurt approached her with easy footsteps. "It's quiet, rarely!" he commented, after having seated next to her on the couch.
"Good." Sighing, he shifted here and there until he was lying down, using Jane's lap as a pillow. She looked down at him with a frown as he closed his eyes. "Are you sleeping?"
"I had a rough day..." he mumbled, his eyes still closed.
"Get up, and tell me about it. I'm sure it's much more interesting than mine that I spent it literally just listening to your kid cry."
"When he cries, he's only my kid, huh? Also, don't forget that his appointment is tomorrow morning!"
"I didn't. And, um, I might know what's wrong with him,"
"What's it?" Kurt opened his eyes to the fullest now to look up at Jane. "Um, I was just talking with Tasha before you came, and when I told her, I almost thought she wouldn't believe me, but then she said that Peter might be colic."
"What does that even mean?"
"Meaning that he cries, a lot!"
"I don't know. For no reason? Or maybe it's something phenotypic?"
Kurt winced. "His doctor will know better."
They slept feeling hopeful that night. Ever since they booked that appointment, they had this promising sensation of hope, that they'd know, for sure, what was the problem, therefore fix it—well, or so they thought.
The hope continued to the next day while the doctor looked over their son and examined him carefully. Peter was awake and strangely calm at the time. He didn't have a fever nor had any other sign of illness, the doctor said.
"Just colic," The doctor then added.
Ha! Oh, colic. Great.
The doctor's casual dismissal contrasted with the parents' urgency. "So how do you cure it?" Jane asked impatiently, and she had to cover her mouth and grip then regrip Kurt's hand after the doctor said a cure might not exist, and they'd have to get through it.
The doctor further explained that, statistically, this happens to about one in every five babies in the world, most often in the evenings and nights than mornings in babies aged three weeks to three months. It happens more in countries that are developed than those that aren't, and no one really knows as to why—though at this point they were hardly listening, their inner voice screaming overpowered anything else around them.
They took their baby, went home, and spent the rest of the day listening to Peter wail while the earth spun and the sun set and rose on the other side of the world and wars were won and lost and revolutions happened.
The reality was tough to adapt to, however they were patient, put the maximum effort to give more and have less, of course. Though every time they looked down at him, hushing, his face was unrelaxed, his fists were clenched tight and his abdomen was tense from the discomfort he was undergoing all alone, a four-kilo infant. He really seemed like a very sad baby; there was no light in his eyes, only tears, which reflected on Jane and Kurt's souls, and made them sad parents, too.
They went to ask more pediatricians and friends for help, knowledge. They read more about Baby Colic, seeking any useful tips and tricks. They tried alternative treatments—Kurt swaying all around the apartment to unheard music while holding little Peter to his chest as he wailed, Jane messaging over his back with care and holding him with his bare skin against her own so close to allow him to feel contained, loved. Safe. And yet, it didn't stop. He didn't stop crying, deploying this tool of weaponized sound that was truly like listening to an alarm going off that could drive someone sane and resilient like Jane and Kurt crazy.
In the peak of it it affected their lives: Jane stopped her working-life completely, though she'd, in fact, intended to do so for the first few months of Peter's life only to be spending such a pleasant, lovely time with him in these early stages, and to witness every little change that'd happen to him—but she never had ever thought this would feel like a burden, and the most stressful thing imaginable. After all, she was the one to have mentioned wanting a baby first, not Kurt. What felt like years ago, she'd told him that she wanted a baby with him, that it was the perfect time to do it now, and Kurt didn't really say much in response. Instead, he exchanged loving gazes with her, brought her closer to him, kissed her so deeply she could still feel the staying power of it till this day, and then he made love to her right away. No protection for the first time. It'd been only her and him and pure desire but nothing else. And they'd kept doing the same thing until one day they got what they wanted.
It affected their daily routine: One slept at nights while the other watched after him in another room. They took turns and shifts, not even once they had the slightest sympathy toward each other when they interrupted each other's sleep in the middle of the night to begin handling Peter.
It affected their relationship: They needed each other right at that hard time, Jane and Kurt. But when Kurt came home from work and Jane was wrung out from listening to it for hours, needing hugs and back rubs and words of encouragement, support, instead, they fought. They fought because something horrible was happening to their son and they lacked the power to stop it. They fought because they were frustrated and exhausted. They fought because they were frightened and tense all the time.
More than once Kurt hated the idea of returning back home after work, which went against his every instinct as a parent. As a husband, too. But sometimes—such as this time on Thursday—he felt like, if he went home after this long, unbearable day at work, he might lose his mind. He seriously might. So he called home and explained to Jane that he had some extra pepper work to do and so he might come a bit late. Jane wanted to argue. She wanted to disapprove—because she needed him at home and needed his help immediately. But she wasn't in a position to do so, since Peter's crying voice overpowered hers though she was shouting on the phone as if she were calling from an outdated device from decades ago where the connection was primeval only so that Kurt could hear her...
She just snapped then, after a full minute of trying, hung up and let go of it. It was no use; she'd scream and Peter would scream even louder and Kurt would also scream that he couldn't hear anything of what Jane was saying and it would look as though they were all in a contest...
And then, Kurt, feeling like an asshole driving the car, went to a quiet place and had a few drinks on that Thursday evening, one after another until he felt light-headed, carefree. Of all places nearby he'd chosen a place that was so far away from home, as if trying to get away from his little son's screams, or maybe he was afraid of getting busted by Jane at any given moment.
When he eventually drove home, several hours later, and as he approached the front door, he could hear his own son's howls from outside. His own heart clenched to that, and he wanted to run away already, or close his ears, or simply just sit there at the doorstep and not have to face it.
He unlocked the door and, almost running, he followed the cries to his bedroom. He was stunned for a moment to see both of them crying, Peter hysterically, Jane quietly. What he did next, and without asking what was going on, was take them both in his arms and cry along with them, repeatedly whispering his sorrow in Jane's ear, that he was gone enjoying himself out there while she lived in this chaos all alone.
When Peter ultimately calmed down under his father's repetitive and soothing strokes, both Jane and Kurt had already calmed down. But they didn't say a word afterward. They didn't look at each other, either—she didn't want to see his face and he couldn't look at hers. Instead, they just stared down at him, their little baby, sleeping now. Snoring, even. After all that hysterical crying he let out, now he seemed somehow in ease, his cheeks rosy, his forehead unclenched, his fists open, and his chest rising and falling in a way that was so reassuring.
They kept admiring the rare, beautiful sight of him like that for a while, having almost forgotten about what just happened mere minutes ago, that they, the parents, were both crying along with their baby, that they were completely hopeless. And then, slowly but surely, Peter smiled the tiniest of smiles in his sleep. It was an unconscious smile, they knew, but it put a similar smile on their faces, to have captured that exact moment in the middle of the madness. It spread hope in the air between them, that genuine, small smile of his.
Still silent, still staring down at sleeping Peter, they await another smile to appear on Peter's tiny lips; it'd been something unmatched. But then he didn't. Jane ran a feather-like hand over his head and brushed his soft hair to fix its pattern to one side instead of being flipped in every direction. Kurt, then, reached out for the same hand of hers and took it to him, which made her look up at him, finally, dark circles under her eyes from the same exhaustion daily. It was an unwilling or rather angry look she gave him. But she had to flutter her eyes before shutting them close as he started kissing her on that hand, and inhaling it, and scraping his own growing beard against it.
As much as Jane wanted to withdraw from his touch, and as much as she was truly upset with him now, she tried to find some comfort in this approach. She couldn't remember the last time they had a quiet, intimate moment like this together, and doubted if Kurt could remember. They'd been giving more and having less. They'd been fighting each other and discouraged. They'd been waking up in the mornings to the sound of Peter's cries, and at nights sleeping to the same sound, Peter's cries, and in the hours in between barely catching their breaths. That'd been going on for months now.
She pulled her hand away, after a moment, not aggressively, just about reluctantly. And then she lifted Peter and gingerly forced him into his father's arms. "Go settle him down in his bed, and spend whatever remains of the night there with him," she ordered, her voice low yet demanding. Here, she'd absolutely meant to sting him and trouble him and bother him. Also, she thought, if he was about to say one word of protest, or simply just groan, or if his face twisted the slightest in displeasure, she would take a deep breath, gather her strength, and smack him hard enough on the face to leave a permanent damage there so when Peter would grow up one day and ask why did his father have this injury mark, Jane would dryly say, "Because once, when you've needed your father the most, he failed you, honey—and me."
But then he was calm, as he looked at her and simply nodded. "I will."
He departed then, and did, indeed, spend the remaining of the night with his little baby, the one he'd just failed, the one he'd also just promised that he would never fail again even if it'd bring his life to an end.
What really was so cruel about their baby being colic was that it was part of the first impression, and just from that they were tempted to infer that the rest of it, being a parent, was going to be even harder—that this was how difficult it is to be a parent!
But with a combination of patience, time and effort, the unexplainable, unceasing crying went away—it stopped. It was hell on earth—oh, God only knows—and then it was over. One night as winter approached, when Peter was four months old, he fell asleep and they got to talking and realized that he hadn't cried! Not tonight, nor the night before. A week went by, then two. It was a month before they really believed things changed. Just like that, it was over. That would've been great to be reminded of when they were in the middle of it—the fact that colic was temporary!
Now, Peter, five months old, smiled and giggled and only fussed when he actually needed something. He was responsive, too, when his parents brought him toys, or sang for him, or made funny faces to him as they fed him. Everything went back to normal, their lives, their routine, and most importantly their relationship. And with Peter in a perfect condition now, he bounded them together even stronger.
A/N: If you made it this far, please let me know what you think of it!