Silent Reflux

Aviana became a different baby the day of her 4th week birthday – overnight she went from Jekyll to Hyde.  I have already written about how tough that week was until we learned that she might have silent reflux. Poor girl couldn’t help it and we felt helpless until we went to our pediatrician.  She confirmed that the symptoms we had seen in Aviana were indeed silent reflux and that it sounded like the medication she was going to prescribe would work a treat.  Aviana was prescribed Zantac (an antacid), she was weighed (a staggering 7lbs 8oz – remember she was 5lbs 1oz at birth! I apparently have super calorific -ex-pi-ali-docious milk!) and her dosage calculated because it is determined by weight, not age – which worked out at 0.6ml twice daily.  We picked up the prescription and earnestly waited for the right time to administer it.

That evening Aviana slept very well, and we slept a little better.  It wasn’t until two days later I noticed a new baby.  Our happy baby was back.  I got several smiles during the day, she slept well and ate well.  She can now lie happily on her back.

She still has gas and struggles to get the poo out, waking herself up after a few hours and trying hard to let it all out (which is apparently very normal in newborns as they learn to use their bowels) – considering she is an IUGR baby, this isn’t overly surprising that she finds it particularly tough to get the poo out (she’s not constipated though).  Hoping this changes soon!

Unfortunately, we have noticed the past few days when it comes close to giving her next dose you can hear the reflux gurgling away in the back of her throat and she starts to get wheezy breathing again.  So back to the pediatrician again on Thursday to discuss change in dosage and frequency.

It’s all certainly manageable, but it is so tough to see Aviana cry when she is clearly in pain and there is very little I can do to help her.  I discussed this with my doula yesterday – what do parents do with babies who live in countries where they don’t have access to medications like we do?  Do they go insane from the psychological torture?  I always wonder what our diets are doing to breast milk and the impact it has on our babies guts…

The part time nanny

After my 4 week postpartum checkup my doctor referred me to physical therapy to help me with my urinary incontinence. At my initial consult with the therapist it was decided I needed weekly therapy sessions. So the big question was – how would I be able to do this if I’m supposed to be looking after Aviana?! Chris and I decided we probably needed help with this.

We figured we needed the help of a part time nanny.  So we settled on 8 hrs once a week. This would also allow Chris and I to get some uninterrupted time to study and keep up with our executive development programs.

We turned to as some of our friends have used it successfully to hire nanny or babysitter. We posted our ad stating our requirements for the position and the applications came flooding in within minutes. Isn’t the internet great?!

We quickly realised that half of the applicants hadn’t even bothered reading what the job was, for example some were seeking full time positions.  It’s quite a simple thing to do when applying for a job.  That pisses me off. Then there were the applicants who made BAD spelling  mistakes, for example…”Hi, my mame is…”. Seriously? I’m not looking for America’s top spelling Bee, but please, take the time to just read over your message before hitting send. Then there were applicants whose photos simply terrified me. Like scary crazy selfies.  Maybe I am officially old and too traditional, but I really don’t think ‘sexy posed selfies’ are not appropriate! Finally, there were then those applicants who just didn’t bother replying back. That’s just rude and a waste of my precious free time I have spent reading your application rather than doing the ever growing list of things I have to do-but can’t do -because I’m trying to keep a newborn baby alive!!!! GRRRRRRR.

After all that, we narrowed it down to a couple of candidates. I spoke to one of our favourites on the phone, and then invited her to meet in a coffee shop the next day to get to know her a bit better.

I was worried that she wouldn’t turn up, but she did! It is oddmeeting a stranger who I was going to effectively trust with my daughter’s life in my own home. She was not a professional nanny but appeared to be knowledgeable, caring, gentle with Aviana, and had a clear mind to being organised and efficient.  Her charge out rate was $13 per hour which we considered to be very good.  Her ‘parenting’ approach she prefers was one of ‘routine’. Although I don’t want my future life to be dictated by a schedule determined by a Military-esque series of timings, having some routine I believe is good for baby.  It may not be a routine in terms of timing, but routine in good habit forming is something I believe to be important.  Equally I’d like to encourage Aviana to be adaptable and independent as well, so hopefully we will teach her those skills as well.  Anyway I digress a little….although it is important that a nanny matches your beliefs and style, we are so new to this parenting game that it is difficult to really know what we are looking for.  We have ideas, but practically may be they won’t match reality.

We didn’t preclude candidates based on their age or education level or their charge out rate, but some basic qualifications we sought, including infant CPR.  I think if we were looking for a full time nanny and if Aviana was slightly older our requirements would be very different.  Equally, we weren’t looking for just a babysitter, Aviana’s development is important to us, even if it is only one day a week.

All of this process we managed to do in just four days.  We really hope this works out!  Next week is when she starts a trial day, so watch this space….. :-s

Leaving my baby behind

“How were your holidays?” My dentist asked me.

“Well I have a 5 week old baby, so they were pretty busy!! And this is my first time leaving her since she was born..” I said trying to sound excited. Actually, my emotions at that moment were mixed. 

Firstly, I really hate the dentist. It took a couple of visits with Chris before I really trusted this practice. My dislike of dentists is a long standing one. 

Secondly, I was feeling actually well rested because Aviana allowed me my first good 3 hour straight stretch of sleep for I can’t remember how long (even in pregnancy that was a challenge because of my necessity to pee every hour!).

Thirdly, I had left Aviana with Chris, for the first time in 5 weeks I was babyless. I felt both freedom and yet at the same time as if I had forgotten something. The feeling was like Aviana was my essential handbag with my wallet in it that I had left behind at home. I felt naked! 

“Wow you look good for having a newborn baby” the dentist said. Awwww shucks…well I’ll take that compliment even though I’m not good with them. I needed that confidence boost! I actually had time to put my make up on and blow dry my hair that morning because Chris took her first thing. I was feeling vaguely human!

I was only out of the house for 2.5hrs, but it was long enough to reset my mind. It had been a tough day the previous day. Aviana would not let me put her down from 6am to 1pm and she had been in and out of sleep since 3am. Although I had her in the wrap and could do bits in between her crying like eat a bite of breakfast, I was at my wits end. I had called Chris for help but couldn’t get through to him…and then all of a sudden she fell asleep in my arms and the world was right again. But I couldn’t help but feel like it was something I was doing to her to make her cry or not sleep. It was mentally (and a bit physically) exhausting. She must have exhausted herself out the poor thing. I was really looking forward to the pediatrician appointment the next day for a diagnosis of her silent reflux….TO BE CONTINUED!

Family bath time fun

We managed a lovely respite from Aviana’s fussiness. She loves the bath (except when she gets cold), so we decided when she was calm and alert to have an impromptu family bath.

Fortunately we have a large bath that can accommodate all three of us! I drew the bath, used the thermometer to get the temperature just right, put on some baby music, got all her bath things ready whilst Chris changed her.  Once we were all in the tub Aviana looked so relaxed, peaceful and happy to be there as she floated in the water on her back. It was a welcome relief after her constantly being upset and uncomfortable the past few days.

Just as we finished washing her hair, it then happened….a bathing parents nightmare…the Great poo-splosion! Clearly she was so relaxed she decided to also relax her bowels!!! 

Needless to say, we all needed a shower after our bath!!

I don’t think I would do this on my own with Aviana, I’d be afraid of slipping or dropping her, but between the both of us I felt much safer, although perhaps a non slip mat in the tub would be a good idea.

Despite this gross little accident it was a wonderful experience that we will try to incorporate into our weekly routine.

Some time in the future Aviana, your baths will be like this.No poo required!!!

A tough few days

Last Wednesday evening Aviana decided that she didn’t want to go to sleep and rather fuss, and this trend then continued through the day and night Thursday, Friday and today.  What I mean by this is that she no longer wants to lie down in her crib, she wants to be held.  When we finally do get her down she will eventually wake up screaming the house down because she either wants to poo, fart and more often than not, shart.

It was taking us a couple of hours of soothing her in anyway possible before she would consider to stop crying.  Of course, the more tired she gets, the harder it is to get her to stop crying.  There is no one way to stop the tears, but generally requires her falling asleep upright in our arms.  I have also been spending all day carrying her and trying different ways to console the tears (thankfully I discovered the wrap works sometimes to help get her to sleep which saves my back).


Moby wrap to the rescue!

The cries aren’t continuous, but rather they would stop after a minute or two, then she would fuss again, I’d get her into another position, calm down, then she’d fuss and so on.  Each day she will have an hour or two of good sleep because she has exhausted herself from crying.

Yesterday Chris called me from his work to say that someone he spoke to recognised this as potentially being a sign of silent reflux.  All of Aviana’s symptoms match.  She has been doing other things over the past few weeks that individually didn’t concern us, but when they add up together they could be silent reflux.  We don’t have a diagnosis yet, we need to see our pediatrician next week about it before we are sure.

She is in pain when she poos/farts, arching her back, screwing up her face crying and then stops crying once it has been released.  Sometimes she will stiffen her whole body out straight as if she is a flying superwoman.  More often when she is breast feeding she will cry and cling onto my nipple and pull her head away fighting my boob – it’s very difficult to explain to a newborn not to do that, it happens so quickly that it is difficult to unlatch her in time – and it bloody hurts, she actually has a very strong neck for a newborn.  She rarely spits up, and is difficult to burp.  She gets incessant hiccups, it happens roughly 3 in every 4 feeds, and they are exhausting for her so she gets frustrated at them and cries more.  Sometimes a pacifer gets rid of them, or even getting her to drink a bit of breastmilk can help.  She has a slight wheeze and congestion that is noticeable when she sleeps. At first we thought it was just newborn-ness and was endearing, we even nicknamed her little goose because she sounds like she is honking like a goose.

Even right now as she sleeps in her bassinet that we have tilted upright I’m listening to her cough, splutter and cry for a few seconds,  then she goes back to sleep instantly.  It’s upsetting to hear her like this.

She was such a happy easy going baby until now.  Today we went to a baby massage class (despite us only getting about two and half hours of broken sleep last night) and lets just say it was very noticeable how cranky and upset she was compared to the other newborn babies.

So until we get some answers from the pediatrician we are keeping her upright after her feeds which is helping a bit, letting her sleep upright as much as possible so she does get some sleep and not get too overtired which then perpetuates the problem.  I am also going to arrange a after we see the pediatrician a consult with an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) to have my latch checked and get advice on what we can do to help her when it comes to breastfeeding.  We also have the name of a specialist doctor in the local area referred to us by a friend just in case we don’t get answers from our ped.

Whatever is going on with our baby girl she really isn’t comfortable right now and it is tough watching her feel like that, and tough on us, especially as Chris has gone back to work.  Fortunately, we have a post partum doula to help us out a bit more next week.  We may need her for more help than we originally thought, but we shall see!

How to wake a newborn baby up

As a new mummy these are the 6 things that I have discovered, without fail, will wake up my newborn baby. 

  1. Sipping a freshly made cup of tea
  2. Sitting down to eat breakfast/lunch/dinner
  3. Getting in to the shower
  4. Driving slower than 30 mph
  5. Getting to the best bit of a tv show
  6. Daddy beard kisses (occasionally – ok so I might be projecting here 😜)

You’d never guess I studied Art for my A-levels

Things that Don’t wake my newborn baby up….

1. anything loud. 

I know that won’t last forever,  but I just find it typical!!!!

Smile and the whole world smiles with you

I swear Aviana smiled BACK at me a couple of days ago.  Yes, yes, I know all the books say  that it doesn’t happen until 6-8 weeks old, but my 3.5 week old baby surely smiled back at me.  It’s still possible, right??  It was different to all the other smiles we have seen since she was born – the so-called reflex smile.  This smile lingered and she was looking at me and slightly turned away coyly, it just felt different, it felt like a genuine interaction.

But when I told Chris, we put it down to her gassy nature…our baby girl does have a lot of gas (the poor lass sometimes sounds in pain when passing wind). And so I thought nothing more of it…..

….Until yesterday afternoon.  We were visiting a friends house when they were cooing over Aviana with Chris.  Chris was talking about Aviana being a strong contender for the gurning competition (she has some wonderful expressions).  And all of a sudden they exclaimed – look she smiled! Come see Dani! And so she did another two times.  Chris was tickling her and getting a smile in response.  But doesn’t this still count as a reflex smile?  After all Chris was generating a response by tickling her, that’s the definition of a reflex?  Or may be I wasn’t so daft in the end thinking that she actually smiled at me?  But again, it was still dubious.  Later that evening Chris managed to replicate the smile by tickling her. OK….so perhaps she is interacting with us??!

And then this afternoon she was wide awake, I was talking away to her, and after changing her I kissed her belly, told her how much I loved her and smiled at her – she smiled right back at me with a kind of immature half giggle to say she liked the tummy kisses.  Or may be I just tickled her again??!

I don’t care what the books say when she should smile…whatever it was, it was freaking adorable and it was a wonderful reward.  I can’t wait for more!!!!

baby smile.jpg

All by myself…

After 4 days of being “snowed in” from the 5″ of snow we got last Saturday, I ventured out into the big wide world with my 3 week old baby.  All on my own. Yikes.

My original goal for the day was small – to drive to my local pharmacy to pick up some photos I ordered and buy some new beauty supplies ( already I have discovered that post pregnancy my body needs are different to what I have experienced the past nine months).

First problem I encountered.  How do I transport baby from car to pharmacy?  She is too small to carry in a sling still.  I didn’t want to hand carry her because I would need two hands for picking up items and paying.  Carrying her in the car seat – too cumbersome and not good for the back.  I don’t like putting the car seat in the shopping cart/trolley because it becomes top heavy and the idea that someone could accidentally knock it off terrifies me, plus the trolleys at the pharmacy are mini ones.  So I decided to put her in the umbrella stroller that the car seat clicks into.  Which seemed a bit excessive for what would ordinarily be a 5 minute dash into a shop…but hey, this is my new life now, just roll with it Dani!

My next trick was carrying a shopping basket and pushing a stroller whilst picking up all the items I wanted to buy.  It was quite a juggling trick, but I figured it out.  Maybe I just need to work on my upper body strength a little more!

After my ‘quick’ errand I decided to ‘pop’ into the book store next door to look for a new 2017 diary.  Admittedly, me ‘popping’ into a book store is a bit of a joke because I get easily distracted.  But after 5 minutes and picking up 3 new books Aviana suddenly woke up and started screaming the place down.  I was surprisingly calm as I picked her up out of her car seat, but highly cognizant of people staring at me as if I was killing my baby.  OK, there was probably no one looking at me, but it sure felt like everyone was!  I thought it might be feeding time soon, so I looked around to figure out where I could feed her.  She consoled herself after she did a big fart.  Poor girl hates the gas. I put her back in the stroller and she fell back asleep.  Paranoid that it was in fact almost feeding time, I noticed there was a cafe in the store so I decided to put the down all the books I had picked up and went to order myself a cup of tea and a slice of cake.

Everyone in the queue at the cafe cooed over Aviana, asking lots of questions, I happily bragged.  Apparently you can’t avoid talking to people with a newborn baby in tow.  I sat down and waited for Aviana to wake up again wanting food, 15 minutes later she woke up.  I got my boob out and she decided she was pulling the tight lipped, I’m not actually hungry mum, just kidding face.  So I got my boob out for nothing.  I was a little embarrassed.  Aviana grimaced and farted again in my arms, instantly falling back to sleep.  I really thought I had the different cries down.  Apparently not!

After finishing my tea I decided to brave the shop again, picked up the books I had left somewhere randomly in the shop and went to pay for them.  As I walked around with her in the stroller kids came up to her and peered in, intrigued at the little baby.  Mums would came running over to apologise for their child.  I said not to worry.  All of this adding to my time in the store.

Finally, after paying I made my escape back to the car and Aviana started screaming just as I started the engine.  Typical, that was definitely a hunger cry.  Home was only a 10 minute drive away so I decided to drive on with a screaming baby in the back seat.  It turns out as long as I drive more than 25 miles an hour Aviana calms herself down!

All in all, what would have normally taken me a forty minute shopping trip,  actually ended up taking me almost four hours.  Time had literally disappeared into no where.

Aviana was fast asleep by the time I got home, foolishly, I put the kettle on…just as I started making the tea, she woke up, this time she was for real.  MUM FEEEEEED MEEEEEEEEEEE is what she wailed at me.

Well I may have survived my first day out on my own without having a breakdown, but I sure learned a lot!!!!

Already bad parents?

Chris had been shoveling snow for much of the day, so later in the evening he exclaimed how sore his back was.  I suggested he take a bath to relax his muscles, and then I suggested how about we share a bath seeing as I was having a bath most nights (which were seriously helping with my postpartum recovery and slightly sore back & boobs from breastfeeding!).  What a great idea!  Now all we needed to do was figure out how to fit the time in so that we could both be in the bath together at the same time! Ha!  Not so easy with a new born- am I right??!

We have already discovered the ‘witching hour’, or ‘fussy time’ Aviana has in the evenings.  She is a perfect angel the rest of the day – and even at night she isn’t too bad at sticking to Eat, Activity, Sleep, You Time (E.A.S.Y. – more on this in another post!).  So trying to fit time in the evening to share a relaxing bath together was always going to be a challenge!  But!  We fed her, changed her, and after a bit of soothing help she went down to sleep at about 7.30PM. Or so we thought….

Quick!  Let’s run the bath, light the candles, grab a glass of wine and hop in whilst she sleeps!

We got to lighting the candles and filling up the tub before she started fussing.  Of course, I had just got in the bath, Chris had stripped down and was about to join me.  We knew that she wasn’t hungry (it wasn’t a hungry cry), she was comfortable, she was dry – she was fussing because she was too tired/overstimulated from being awake for the past 3.5 hours.  So Chris suggested just letting her soothe herself this time.  Chris got in the bath with me, and she cried.  Her crib was literally the other side of the wall, her cries made the bath a tortuous place to be! This wasn’t what it was meant to be like!

We timed her crying.  3 minutes is how long we agreed to wait to see if she would soothe herself. That’s what many books say is a reasonable time.

Low and behold at about 2 minutes 45 seconds later, she quietly stopped crying and babbled away to herself.

Ahhhhhh and breathe.

3 minutes later, the same thing happened.  We reset the clock and timed her crying, and again she stopped crying on her own.  It is amazing, Chris asked me how long did I think she had been crying for, and to me it fell like 3 or 4 minutes, when it had actually only been 1 minute.  It seemed like forever, what mind mess! 

The third time she started crying again, I said to Chris, I think she must be hungry still.  He urged me to just see if she will stop.  As she cried and as we watched the clock sat in our candle lit bath, drinking wine, he turned to me and said – ‘Are we bad parents for letting our baby cry as we sit next door to her drinking wine in a bath?’  I said, ‘probably….But I can’t take this anymore.’  So Chris got up out of the bath and said, you stay here, I will soothe her. And just as Chris got out, she stopped crying and fell asleep.  In fact she fell asleep and stayed asleep for her longest stretch so far – 4hrs of solid sleep!

We won’t be trying any cry it out methods.  But we learned that she can actually soothe herself – as long as we know that she is fed, clean, dry, safe, not ill and we have tried soothing her with the 5 Ss (Swaddle, Suck, Side, Sway and Shhhhh-ing),we discovered a bit of crying is OK when they are just too tired.

Mom – were you on drugs?

At our two week wellness visit to Aviana’s pediatrician, Chris asked the doctor about something strange he had noticed Aviana do a couple of times. He noticed a few times that she would have a shudder/tremor/shake in her arms for a very brief moment, almost looking like a mini seizure. 

The doctor looked at me and asked ‘mom, do you drink much caffeine?’ I said no. I have one or two cups of black tea a day (British tea of course!) and the occasional decaf coffee at Starbucks. I gave up coffee when we started trying to conceive a few years ago!. 

‘Hmmm- were you on any medications when you were pregnant? Because babies can get this reaction from withdrawal?’ I said no.

Then we could all guess what the next awkward question that the doctor was going to ask, but then she looked at me as if to say, well you don’t look like the kind of person who is a druggy or alcoholic, and she paused….so awkward.

But then the doctor quickly said it was probably just a benign infant tremor and that we should keep an eye on it if it keeps happening as an indicator of something to look into with her nervous system.

It can’t be easy being a pediatrician when it comes to working with parents!! They have a duty of care to the child and many problems with a child can be caused by the parents and they have to deal with that factor as well. We just watched an episode of greys anatomy where the intern thought munchausen by proxy was causing the child to be inexplicably ill.  It was very awkward when the intern brought the psychologist in to do an assessment on the parent…until the parent figured out what was going on. So awkward. When in fact what really was the problem was a very rare disease that was missed because of a false positive test result.

Taking our baby to the doctors is going to be a whole new skill for us to learn as parents. When we are ill, we at least can describe what we feel like to the doctor, how much it hurts and where. A baby can only communicate to us by crying (or not crying), and we can only observe and monitor changes in her physical appearance and her behaviour. The trouble is, determining what is and isn’t normal when we have never done this before!!!! Overly cautious is probably where we stand with our little one. Poor doctor is probably going to get lots of questions from us on the phone 😂