Tuesday, March 16, 2010

This morning.

This morning so far has been beyond frustrating. I woke up around 7 as did Oliver and he wanted to be fed. Except that I had two lunches to make and three other breakfasts to provide. Since Oliver had been fed only two hours ago I figured he wouldn't starve so I put him off for 15 minutes while I dealt with the lunches and breakfasts. There is nothing else that can put you on edge like your crying baby. I think it's inbuilt to protect infants from neglect or something but I just feel all wrong if he needs something and is crying. I got it all done and was able to feed the baby. It literally gave me a few minutes to breathe and then it was Spencer's turn to drive me crazy.

Now I like to see my children well dressed. I figure that they have enough to deal with growing up today without having to worry about their clothes and what that means in terms of peer pressure etc... Now I don't spend a TON of money (I love a good bargain), but we do go to a few favorite stores at the beginning of each season and make sure the kids have outfits to get them through the season. Each year it seems that Spencer latches on to one particular outfit and wears it day in and day out. It does mean that Nathan inherits a mostly unused wardrobe the following year but for me it's incredibly frustrating. I can imagine his school teachers wondering why I only provide him one pair of pants and one shirt. But I swallow any annoyances and mostly let him make his own clothing decisions. I keep the outfit clean so at least he's not dirty as well.
This year, half the outfit of choice was a pair of blue jeans. A pretty standard vintage wash, boot cut pair of jeans. About 6 weeks into the season one knee was ripped. I don't like to see the kids in damaged clothes so I decided that I needed to put the jeans away. Well this caused untold misery on Spencer's part so I got him a replacement pair. Now it's almost Spring so this second pair have lasted awhile but they too became torn in the knee a week or so ago. Last night I crept into his room and retrieved the jeans which he has still been wearing despite the rip. I hid them in the storage room. Meaning I buried them under a pile of other clothes. The only way Spencer will accept having to wear something else is if those jeans are soaking wet or he can't find them.
So to my surprise and irritation, after Spencer had finished eating breakfast and had gone to get dressed, he came upstairs wearing the ripped jeans and a button down Sunday shirt. The kids are not supposed to go into the storage room for a start and I swear that kid can find anything I don't want him to. I told him to go and change and to put the jeans back into the storage room.

Another thing I try not to do is to put seasonal inappropriate clothes in their drawers with the exception of a few t-shirts year round for relaxing in the house in. Spencer then decided to come upstairs wearing a t-shirt and pair of shorts he normally wears as pajamas. (It's 35 degrees outside right now) At this point I was just done with it all. We were getting late for the bus and my patience was running out. I marched him down the stairs and demanded that he put on a really nice pair of brown cargo pants and a long sleeved shirt. He must have seen that I wasn't in the mood for any more messing around as he meekly complied for once. Normally this would elicit shouting, crying and slamming doors.
While Spencer finished getting his shoes on I put a sleeping baby in the car with Leia and Nathan. I was tying Spencer's shoelaces when I heard the baby screaming. According to Leia, Nathan was responsible but I had no time to find out exactly what was going on. All I knew was that we made it to the bus stop with literally 2 seconds to spare. The baby was crying once again and I was tense. The upside was that Spencer looked nicer that he has in weeks. His teacher is going to think his neglectful parents finally got a clue and bought him some decent clothes!

Back at home I sat down for just a couple of minutes to hopefully shove a bit of food down my throat when the phone rang. Leia was calling me from the school office in tears. She is doing some sort of presentation this afternoon on snow leopards and she had left a model she had made of one at home and wanted to know if I could bring it in to school. Well I looked where she told me it was and I couldn't see it. I vaguely remembered a black and white lump of modelling clay hanging around the house last night but my search turned up nothing. I had to talk Leia down. Phrases such as "I'm dead", and "I'm useless at drawing" kept coming out of her mouth and it was hard to reassure her. In the end I told her to go and request some more clay from the teacher and make another snow leopard before lunch. I tried not to sound exasperated but really she should not have brought something home that she needed at school the next day.

Meanwhile the baby fell asleep in the swing. Just as I was about to write this post he woke up screaming AGAIN because he was passing gas. I'm writing this while trying to soothe the baby and asking myself why, on top of everything else, have I been blessed with a high maintenance baby? Surely I deserved a mellow one with three kids already. That's how it should work right?

Apart from that, it's a great day!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I finally got a good smile picture. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

And here is a great picture I got the other day of Oliver sleeping with his hand in the air. He does this a lot and I love it!

Monday, March 8, 2010


I've been trying over the last few days to capture Oliver's first sweet smiles.

I've been getting a lot of this face.....

And plenty of this face........

And occasionally I've gotten this little hint.....

I'm always that tiny bit late for the gummy grin that follows and is gone so soon. Hopefully I'll capture it soon.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

January 26 - now.

So I wanted to get some feelings down since Oliver is almost 6 weeks old. This blog plus my scrapbooks are my journal and there's things I don't want to forget. I often refer back to this blog when I'm scrapbooking for chronology and for details I may have forgotten. So be warned. If you're not interested in birth, and breastfeeding, then you might want to skip this post.


So on the evening of January 26, 2010 I went to bed at around 11pm. I knew I was heading toward labor so Mum and I had gone to the Mall that day to walk around so as well as being late to bed I was REALLY tired. I had just turned out the light and was getting drowsy when I felt something in my belly. Trying to describe it is hard. It was kind of like a feeling of tearing something. It kind of pinched. I put it down to another pregnancy pain and there are plenty of those when you're 39 weeks. Then I began to feel pain. It wasn't like a traditional contraction. It was like my lower back was on fire. I knew I had to get up and walk around. When I stood up I knew my water had broken. I was expecting it because my water broke with all three of my other children but this was a little different. There was no big waterfall. But a woman knows, especially when it's not the first time.

Once we got to the hospital, (leaving the sleeping kids safely tucked up in bed with Grandma at home - the biggest blessing and relief I can tell you), I was checked into this triage room so a nurse could decide if I was in labor or not, never mind the contractions 4 minutes apart or the fact that I told her my water had broken.
I appreciate that the nurse had her job to do but putting me in stirrups and getting out the speculum to test the fluid coming out of me seems slightly overkill considering I'm having #4. She was treated to the waterfall I had expected earlier. And she still tested the fluid???

Once installed in my laboring room, I got my epidural. The anesthesiologist spent no more than 15 minutes with me and the bill was $1300 for that 15 minutes plus the medicine. Guess I know what I'm going to be in my next life! And then it didn't work properly. On my right side it worked just fine but on my left I could still feel every contraction. I had this button I could push once every 20 minutes for more medicine. In an effort to relieve the pain on the left side I kept turning over and pushing the button. The result was a dead right leg and still no pain relief on my left side. My nurse kept asking me if I wanted another epidural but by that time I was almost ready to push and I couldn't see the point.
In the end it was good that I could still feel labor because pushing was fairly easy compared to the 6 hours of contractions. My body just took it over and Oliver was born at 6.54am on January 27, 2010. When the doctor put him on my chest it looked for a moment like he had blood all over his head but I didn't tear or have an episiotomy. And then I realised it was hair. Hair? Where did that come from? It was love at first sight - intense and overwhelming. I cried and I didn't cry at either Spencer or Nathan's birth. Not that I feel more for Oliver, I think it was to do with how much I had forgotten about the emotion of giving birth and what this tiny human being that has been a part of your body for so long feels like in your arms finally. He is so beautiful. And perfect.

My recovery in the hospital was surprisingly fast. Aside from having to have my nurse clean me up after giving birth because of my useless right leg, I felt good very soon afterwards. Of course I could concentrate on myself because Gary was off work and Mum was taking care of the children. Oliver was latching on well and I had high hopes for smooth sailing for the rest of Mum's visit. I totally underestimated the effect hormones were going to have on me especially when breastfeeding didn't go according to plan.

Those of you who know me well know that breastfeeding has never been my favorite thing in the world. I experience intense soreness, both nipple soreness and during letdown. The nipple soreness eventually goes away but the letdown pain is always there. Nursing with Leia went well until she was three months old and wasn't gaining weight. I supplemented and eventually she wouldn't nurse. I struggled with Spencer when he got his first two teeth before he was three months old and started biting me. And then with Nathan, I had 3 and 1 year olds that needed me and I couldn't dedicate the time. I nursed him for three months also and then put him on formula. I have always wished that I could have a nursing relationship with my baby that was free from pain, anxiety, and often guilt for not doing better. I spent the whole of Oliver's pregnancy vowing with all my heart to nurse him for a year etc etc.... I had it all built up in my mind that this time would be different and I would love it.

Initially I was doing great. Oliver LOVED breastfeeding and my Sister and Mum sent me nipple shields that were helping me through the pain. I still got cracked nipples but I could cope. And then one night a few days before he was two weeks old I started feeling something different in the middle of the night. I had just nursed him and was trying to get back to sleep when my nipple started burning. It was unbearable. I wanted to claw at my nipple to get it to stop. It went on for about an hour and then subsided. Over the next few days it progressed to shooting pain in my breasts after every feeding as well as the burning. I just can't explain how horrible it was. I started to pump my milk for Oliver and use the nipple shields more since less contact between my nipple and his mouth seemed to help.

At his two week appointment I discussed the possibility of thrush with Oliver's doctor. I didn't think I had mastitis because I had no temperature. The doctor said that she didn't think Oliver had it because he had no white patches in his mouth so she just gave me some Nystatin for my nipples. After a few days it was not working and the pain was getting worse. I researched it on the internet and was convinced we both had thrush. I made an appointment with my own doctor. She suggested it was chafing since Oliver had no visible symptoms. CHAFING? Are you kidding me? She gave me a couple of pills. Two days later it was still getting worse. The way I'm writing it, I know it doesn't sound that bad but I was becoming desperate. I was teary nearly all the time and wanted to scream when my milk let down. Only my Mum and Gary really knew what I was going through. I felt like both Oliver's doctor and mine had failed me and I didn't know what to do. I called a lactation consultant who said I had thrush but that I would have to go to my own doctor for treatment. I cried some more. And then I turned to the internet again. I read that sometimes thrush can show no visible symptoms either in the mother or the baby, that it is vital that both are treated simultaneously, that treatment needs to be aggressive and ongoing,and that I had several risk factors for the infection including cracked nipples and using a steroid (I have severe nasal allergies). My last ditch effort was to switch doctors and take along my internet information to convince my new doctor to treat me and the baby correctly. Two days earlier I had decided I couldn't do it anymore and stopped nursing for a whole day. 5pm had me sitting in the bath crying my eyes out while I leaked all over the place and Oliver screamed the house down. I changed my mind again and that's when I decided to change doctors.

My new doctor looked over the information I brought, tried to look at my milk under a microscope but was unsuccessful and finally decided to treat me for deep breast thrush as well as Oliver. I got Diflucan for a week and Oliver got Nystatin for his mouth.

At this point I was hoping for a cure and that I could continue breastfeeding. By the middle of the treatment the symptoms were much better but as soon as the course of Diflucan was done the symptoms came back. I was down to just pumping but I couldn't pump enough to prevent getting engorged overnight and it was so painful. I made the decision AGAIN to give it up. I spent the next week crying on and off. I would say I mourned the loss in a way. My expectations and hopes had been so high. The closeness and emotional connection is very special. Oliver is likely my last baby and this is the end of an era for me.

So here we are and Oliver is almost 6 weeks old. I finally feel that I've gotten off the emotional rollercoaster. AT LAST. Despite being a wonderful time in my life, in some ways it's been a bad time too. I got very introspective and maudlin at times. I wasn't enjoying Oliver the way I should have and even though I had so much support from Gary and Mum I did feel alone. It was like a mini depression. Baby blues times 10.

Now I feel like things are sunshiney. Oliver loves being close to me in a baby carrier and wearing him like that is more fulfilling to me than breastfeeding. I plan to wear him every day for as long as he wants to. He is getting chubby in his little legs and cheeks. We are establishing a bedtime routine and he is smiling every day. I plan to catch it on camera soon. I am so grateful for the blessing of four healthy beautiful children. The sleep deprivation is the only thing right now that I am not enjoying. I will be happy when he sleeps through the night and I can once again.

Here are a few pictures from the past 6 weeks.

He loves to be bathed. I have been bathing him every evening and then massaging him. It really helps with fussiness.

He keeps trying to suck his thumb. I hope he is a thumb sucker like Leia. Self soothers are a gift.

Doting big brother. In fact Oliver couldn't ask for more loving siblings.

Beautiful sleeping boy. I spend a lot of time just looking at him.

Grandma Shirley. What can I say except I am so grateful that she is my mother. Having her with me for five weeks was just what I needed. A lot of things have happened over the past 18 months but the blessings that have come in spite of it all are many. Having Mum here with me at this time has been one of them. I'll ALWAYS remember this time we had and how it brought us even closer.