Monday, 13 February 2012

5 Weeks Old

MUMMY

I now realise what an over-ambitious goal I have set myself in trying to continue to write this blog up to that magical 12 week old milestone - aka the one where it is supposed to get a bit easier - (and perhaps significant milestones beyond *Liffey pops champagne cork*). This is not going to be easy.  Partly because there is rarely a time in the day when I am not attached to a baby or doing something that can't easily be multi-tasked with two handed typing of awesome blogness and also because I am SO tired all the time that constructing anything that resembles a sentence has become far more difficult than I ever could have imagined. I'm an anal fecker about spelling / grammar / using the right word with the right meaning under normal circumstances but under the extreme sleep deprived existence that only a baby can bestow upon you, doing anything with words is tricky. It's been most disappointing to watch such a decline in to non-sharpness and un-cleverness from the front row but this, my friends, this is what babies do to you! Only yesterday I was telling one of my new mum buddies to make sure she expressed the steriliser every time she pumped. I mean, sh1t, I'm good but even I can't express a steriliser! However, my mother is very kindly helping me out now on a Monday so I am hoping to be able to continue writing these blog posts after all.

I was most disappointed when I couldn't write my blog last week as I've become rather attached to my weekly vent / analysis on proceedings / sharing of my little world, more now than ever. It's my way of dealing with what has happened in the past week and much as it may sound absolutely ridiculous to any of you without your own little ones (and believe me, it would have to me, it DID to me), most of what happens day by day at the moment seems fairly traumatic!

So, as I was saying, this being a mummy thing is such a roller coaster and every time I feel like I am really starting to turn a corner, a big fat Shrimp-shaped hand slaps me very hard in the face and makes me feel like not only have I not progressed but that I have gone backwards. It feels like just as you get over one hurdle, you don't even have time to enjoy the having got over that hurdle before the next one comes along and slaps you in the chops even harder than the last (does this go on forever I'm wondering?!).

For the first few weeks of my little boy's life, the biggest and all-consuming issue was all about feeding - and the fact that my malfunctioning b00bs didn't seem to be working properly like I had hoped they would. Now, fortunately, whilst the current method of breastfeeding twice a day, expressing when I can and feeding formula the rest of the time isn't the method I would have ideally chosen, it's a compromise that works for me so I'm not in too much of an unhappy place with this anymore (and I was in a VERY unhappy place with this) so that's one hurdle, well, hurdled. For the record, and mostly for anyone else who finds themselves in the familiar place of bleeding nipple hell, I was getting quite deflated by the countless midwives / breastfeeding gurus who insisted that it shouldn't hurt if you and baby have the latch / positioning correct as this was making me feel even more like a failure - like there was something I was doing wrong to make it not work - when in actual fact that doesn't seem to be the case at all. What fixed it for me and my incredibly hungry overdue boy and has allowed me to breastfeed twice a day with decreasing pain each time to the point where I will soon be ready to introduce a few more b00b feeds is letting them heal! The amount of time a newborn spends attached to your b00b is staggering (some days it feels like that is literally all you have done) and that kind of caper through bleeding nipples was going to hurt if you had the most skillful latcher-onner and most perfectly-formed udders in the world! Without that day or two of complete rest (whilst continuing to express) and the slow introduction back, I would have never cracked anything other than my nipples but we're getting there and I hope we make it as, more than anything else, it's a lot more convenient than preparing a bottle all the time, it seems to be less wind-inducing in the little one and of course there is the added bonus that it is free!

Anyway, so, as I was saying, we hurdled that little obstacle and just as I naively thought I was turning a corner a couple of weeks ago, all hell broke loose, my little soldier started to get very nasty wind, presenting itself as a very colicky baby. Until about two weeks ago, Dalton had been fairly good at sleeping through the night except for fairly frequent feeds and we hadn't had too much trouble putting him down from about 10pm and the only real problem was that I just couldn't get him to nap in the day. The not napping in the day was incredibly exhausting as it meant that I was really struggling to get anything at all done (even the basics like get dressed, eat etc.) as I couldn't put him down without him wailing at the top of his voice and I find that impossible to listen to without acting. In fact, it wasn't until a week ago that I discovered how much newborns were supposed to sleep - somewhere between 15 and 18 hours a day - with them supposedly needing to nap every 1 - 2 hours. I had a boy who was normally awake all day and thought that this was ideal as it would make him so tired I thought he would sleep more soundly at night but it turns out that quite the opposite is the case. No wonder I seemed to be struggling more than I felt the other NCT ladies were. They were like, "What do you do when he naps? When mine naps in the morning I get ready, have a shower, eat breakfast and in the afternoon naps I do other things like laundry". I was like, "Naps? NAPS?! My boy never blinking naps at all so how am I supposed to get anything done and ever catch up on any sleep? <rhetorical question>". I digress. What I was saying was that we didn't have too much trouble putting him down and whilst he was awake and very alert all evening, he was normally fairly relaxed so the biggest problem we had really was just that someone had to hold him while the other one prepared dinner / ate dinner and vice versa. I didn't know at the time how good we had it because then the dreaded colic set in. Dalton started to suffer terribly with his digestion all round really which presented itself as puking (more than just a little bit of overflow), which we now know is to do with acid reflux issues, struggling to get wind up after a feed and struggling to get poopies out and these symptoms also presented themselves as hours of constant inconsolable wailing in the evening with little dude getting more and more frustrated and becoming very difficult to get down at night and mummy getting more and more distressed and teary and wondering how much more of it she could take! Wow, there is something about your own child's cry that cuts through you like a knife and when you are trying to deal with hours of your baby crying that you can't really do anything to fix on no sleep at all or virtually no sleep, trust me, you do find yourself going a little bit mad and wondering what on earth you have done! I mean, I knew colic existed but I had now idea how painful it is to witness it occurring in your own child. It must be one of the most distressing things in the world to be subjected to - it certainly feels that way anyway.

Things got so bad last Thursday when I was probably at another all time low (I have had a few of these - where I think they are the all time low and things are going to change for the better and then another all time low hits) that we went to the doctor to beg the nice lady to DO SOMETHING! She told us it was a classic case of reflux and prescribed little dude with some infant Gaviscon. Now, it's early days but I definitely think it is just starting to take effect now and the little one seems to be getting slightly better (although as I type this, he has just started crying for my mum in the way he does when you know it isn't going to end for several hours resulting in him getting really overtired and not being able to sleep at night-time) and with that and the fact that babies just tend to grow out of colicky issues over the next few weeks as their digestive system matures, I pray that it will pass soon.

So, on the whole, each day remains a struggle but what consoles me and gets me through each day at the moment is that around about now, my boy, I'm assured, will start to give something back (he's been a little take, take, take thus far!). It is at around this time that babies start staring at your face more, sometimes copying you, smiling, cooing etc. and Dalton has just about started doing little smiles in the last couple of days which made my little heart melt, even with all the crying we had endured...

Getting ready for a big gummy smile
In addition, I am telling myself that I am almost halfway there towards the big 12 week milestone when I am assured by all my parenting buddies that 'Things Get Easier'™. My friend gave me quite a good analogy of how to look at this stage actually. She was saying that this initial phase, the first 12 weeks of your baby's life, should really be considered as the fourth trimester and more something to get through than something to enjoy. That actually made me feel better as I was feeling rather rubbish that I was finding it such a struggle and not enjoying it all as much as society made me feel I should be (I mean, seriously, who enjoys having no sleep night after night and your little one screaming in what appears to be quite severe discomfort for hours on end?!) and like with many of these pregnancy / baby related realities, it's all a little bit easier to cope with when you discover that you are not alone - and actually most of the time not even in the minority, just a little less skilled at keeping the bad times private.

Added to the tiredness and windy baby problems, it seems I have become the kind of person I hate! I used to be flabbergasted at how some of my facebook buddies felt compelled to tell the world about every tiny little baby-related thing that had happened that day. I'd be like, yeah, so what if your child did a poop today - do any of us look like we care? Yeah, yeah, another photo of your child eating a yoghurt and getting it smeared all over their face, cool. And yet, here I am, facebooking every tiny little achievement I get under my belt (ooh, look everyone, here's me going outside / wearing a sling / holding my baby etc. etc.) and posting numerous photos of my little man as if he is the most fascinating little person in the entire world but the thing is you see, you just can't help yourself! I apologise to all the people who I scorned at for seeming to be so consumed in their little ones because I can now understand that you can't possibly do anything other than be completely consumed by them. For goodness sake, they are little people that we have made all by ourselves! I mean, how ridiculously amazing is that? And then you've got to also bear in mind that when something amazing happens, like I manage to express 7 oz of b00b juice through my hands free b00b pumping bra, whilst holding a baby AND watching Judge Judy all at the same time, I, of course, NEED to tell someone about this and as there is no one over the age of 6 weeks old in my house, I have to tell all of yous - whether you are remotely interested or not - that's not the important part.

Oh, and lets not omit that I have started wearing leggings - something else I swore I would never ever do - and yet here I am getting excited when my 3 pack of cheap, black leggings arrives via Mr Amazon Prime. Disgraceful, Wood *shakes head*.

So, onwards and upwards anyway, I'm having good days and bad at the moment, probably more bad than good but I know this will very promptly start shifting in the other direction and I have already had a few glimpses of how much fun it can be hanging out with my little soldier, how amazing things will be and how warm and fuzzy I will feel inside when he gets over his wind and hopefully starts sleeping a little better at night and giving mummy a chance to catch up on a bit of sanity sleep and thus enjoy watching him give me one of those big gummy grins

All in all though, and I want to make this very clear, despite the challenges of these early weeks, I love my little shrimp more than anything else in the world and am so very, very proud to be his mummy and so very, very smug that Ron and I created someone so gorgeous and special and I can't wait to get to know him and watch him grow in to a little person. All I need to do is hang in there and get through the next few tough weeks and then it's all plain sailing from there! (What, it's not, you say?) Until then, here's another picture of my little boy when he is at his best.

Zzzzz


As I leave you for another week, a big thank you goes out to Mother Wood, who has been a godsend helping out and giving me the odd night shift off as well as a much needed break in the day when she can come over and offer some help and support. It would have been perhaps an unbearable struggle without this so I am hugely grateful and I know that she is very pleased that she can finally help me out after all these many years of me saying, no, mother, I am fine, I will do it myself thank you very much.

Oh, and Ron continues to be fantastic at supporting me, dealing with my meltdowns, calmly dealing with the little one's meltdowns (poor fella, he must be due a meltdown himself) whilst working very hard also and, well, he is my little super hero. I can't imagine being able to do this with anyone else.

So, am I 'winning', as Charlie Sheen would say? Well, not quite, but I'm getting there my friends, I'm definitely getting there.


Current Symptoms:

  • Light vaginal bleeding (STILL!)
  • Area of numbness above caesarean scar (unlikely to ever disappear)
  • Weakened but improving lower tummy muscles
  • Recovering boobies but still a fairly tender
  • Lots of tears still (I wonder if these ever go away as well)


DALTON

Man, this week has been seriously tough. It's sucks to be me sometimes. I don't have many hobbies in life at the moment - let's see, there's eating, sleeping and sh1tting and two of them just aren't really working out right now. All I've wanted to do for the last few days is a pain free dump but can I? Can I b0llocks. I'm seriously fed up about it. I told mummy so too in no uncertain terms that I was not happy about the situation. I'm pretty sure she heard me as she sobbed a bit, I guess she feels sorry for me. Who wouldn't? Then, on top of my pooping issues, I get terrible wind in my tummy that can be really painful. I'd understand if I'd been eating cabbages but it's just milk at the moment so why, pray, is that causing me such problems?

Mummy has been giving me something for it and I think, touch Wood (where's mummy?), it is starting to get a little better and soon I will be able to pass 'stools' (I love that word) with ease.

Other than that though, there was one highlight to the week when I met mummy's friend, Moose (I don't know if that is her real name but that is all mummy referred to as). As I was sat there smugly tucked beneath the most enormous melons I had ever seen dreaming about the sheer volume of milk those vessels must be holding, I had a little smile. It was my first real smile and it made me feel all bubbly inside (not just from the gas either) so I'm going to start smiling a bit more. Silly mummy, even when I smiled she cried but she said it was tears of joy or something. Thank goodness daddy is a bit more stable!

Here's me with my friend, Moose Senior.



Anyway, hopefully when I next write to you all I'll be a little less windy.

*parp*

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