When daddy leaves mummy

Chris went on a work trip to Atlanta on Sunday…it’s not that bad, he is coming back late tonight (Monday) so he was only away for 36 hours!  However, this meant that I had to put Aviana to bed on my own for the first time – twice!

Here is what went down when daddy left mummy alone with Aviana….

Well I am going to spoil the ending – I am still alive to tell the tale!

First of all, she struggled to fall asleep and had a big fight with her wubbanub (pacifier or dummy with a small stuffed giraffe attached to it). She didn’t really know what she wanted, but it wasn’t a nice deep sleep that was for sure.  When she did fall asleep she was fidgeting, grunting, coughing, snorting, kicking and punching.  Clearly this was not going to be a good night!  And it wasn’t….and of course, after I wrote about Aviana’s new glorious sleep habits, that very night she decided she was going to fall back to her old way of two night feeds.  Seriously girl??! 1AM, 5AM and 6.45AM was when I fed her.  That doesn’t sounds so bad, except she was refluxy, fidgety and very vocal the whole night – she didn’t cry though which is a good thing – but enough to keep me awake every ten/fifteen minutes.  She finally got into a peaceful sleep at about 6.20AM, just as I was ready to get up!!! So I dozed back to sleep myself, until 5 minutes later the cats jumped on the bed and meowed in my face – FEED ME MEEEEOOOOWWW! No peace for the wicked.

This evening, she was like a different baby to the night before.  She was pleasant, smiley, intrigued, anti-witch (where did she go?!), loved her bath, let me massage her for the first time ever, fed calmly and efficiently then fell asleep into a deep sleep quickly on time.  I had a lovely evening with her.2017-03-06 14.29.58.jpg

I am guessing she just missed daddy the first night….then forgot about him this evening.  Haha….just kidding Chris ;-p  I actual
ly think that this experience nicely sums up the essence of parenting – just go with the flow, there will be highs, there will be lows and remember:

Don’t fall into the ‘forever trap’!!!!

The more I remind myself of this, the easier those challenging times are to face head on.

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Back to work for 1 week only

Eeeeek.  I go back to work next week, but for one week only.  And it won’t be a slow transition either!  I am going back for part of my executive development training program, fortunately this residential course is being held at my office so I don’t have to travel anywhere this time.  BUT it does mean long days as we try to fit our team project work in evenings and the socialising is part of the course too.

So psychologically I am only going back for one week, I’m in a good place with this.  However, physically in the milk bar department, I am not quite ready!  Time has crept up on me.  I have been pumping to get a freezer stash up for the past 6 weeks or so and have managed to store about 22oz.  This should easily see Aviana through the first day!  I will then be pumping whilst at work, fresh and ready for the following day.  This is going to be a new experience for my body, and trying to figure out the logistics and timing of it all.

There are somethings I had forgotten about to get ready for this week….

  • My cat Diesel chewed one of my breast pump tubes, so I need to order a new one in order to double pump;
  • I don’t have a bag to carry my pump in (not a necessity, but definitely a nice to have) or a cooler bag for storing the milk;
  • I have size 27mm large flanges and I want to try the smaller ones – 24mm because my hand pump is smaller and a bit more comfortable, although if I am not careful and not paying attention it is easy for my nipple to not be centred and get sore;
  • I haven’t tried hands free pumping yet…I should probably practice that this week with my hands free ‘bra’! Not the kind of thing to be trying out in a 20 minute break!

Chris and Chris’s dad will be looking after Aviana whilst I am away.  I know they will do a great job, I am not nervous about that.  I am nervous about Aviana taking milk from the bottle.  Chris has been giving her milk from the bottle at night time feeds, and recently we tried it in the morning, but she really fusses over it and it’s a long drawn out process to get her to take more than 1oz in a feed.  She is getting better at taking milk from the nanny, but she is not taking much – an average of 1-1.5oz.  She needs more than that and  I’m nervous about her losing weight.  Especially as she has dropped a night feed recently.

I am also a little nervous about her going on a nursing strike!  What if she decides to like the bottle more than me??!

breastfeeding.jpg

Breastfeeding can be really hard, but it is also quite amazing and I don’t want this to end just yet!

I know things will work out, and she will be fine, but I am a new mummy and I am allowed to feel like this!  I am looking forward to doing something intellectually stimulating, I’m just not sure how compatible it will be with feeding Aviana at 2 or 4 AM!  I wonder just how will my baby brain fair?!

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…

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).

sling

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!

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.