Persephone: Parent

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Operation…Yucky!

The lurgy has hit the household and I, once again, feel like I’m dying. It’s just a cold, maybe a mild flu (achey, hot sweats, cough, dizzy/feint spells), but I am always over the top dramatic. Lucky the lurgy hit after my day away at a convention in London. Technically it hit whilst I was away. Yep, the first time that Daddy had both children on his own all day long and they both slept, taking it in turns so he only ever really had one to deal with. Typical! It did result in me getting a message once I was on my way home –

Can you get a taxi from the station rather than walk? We have vomit.

Oh, dear. Elvis then slept all day Monday, too. Ahh, Monday, the day that was supposed to be our last day together for Robin and I. Elvis hijacked it. Tuesday, which was supposed to be the first of 9 super productive spring cleaning days ended up being me watching TV with Elvis (who was hyper and no longer sick, but we didn’t know that at half 7) whilst Robin had her first morning at nursery. Wednesday, which was supposed to be second super decluttering day became a 90% on it day as I started to feel the affects of the bug, but both kids were at the nursery and I got most of my to do list done.

So, today, Thursday, supposed to be day 3 of 9 of cleaning, decluttering, jogging, shopping, being me and being amazing… I slept in until 9am (Daddy did the whole breakfast and get to nursery on his own. He’s amazing), had a bath, ate cereal, watched The 100, bought cookies and cereal. Moved a box. Ate cookies. Tried to nap. Had lunch and lemsip. That was at 12 just before I headed off to pick up both kids. I started to feel better with that lemsip. I think I just needed that amazing rest. This illness has given me such a short fuse. Robin seems to have skipped it. Although this evening she kept crying for incredibly random reasons. She hit me in the face and I jokingly said “Ouch, be careful, no, that hurt.” No sternness in my voice at all, and with a smile. She burst into tears! Elvis has spent the week having what I guess people might call normal toddler temper tantrums, but they’ve been whiny.

“I don’t want to get up!” Whiny meltdown. “I want cinnamon squares.” Whiny meltdown. “I’m tired.” Whiny meltdown. “I don’t want to go bed.” Whiny meltdown. “I don’t want to watch TV.” Whiny meltdown. “I’m tired.”

Seriously, go the fuck to bed because I have an awful headache and want you to just stop fucking whining!

This week I have been far worse than shouty parent. I have been screaming parent. I have wanted to swear at my son. Because swearing tells the other person you mean business, right? I have come so close to wanting to hit him. Just. To. Shut. Him. Up. All because I was tired, drained and exhausted and my head hurt so much. But I went to bed for over 12 hours and spent Thursday morning doing absolutely nothing and I feel better. I feel no guilt because I wasn’t being lazy, I was being protective.

Yeah, I still haven’t done my first jog of 2016 (I had planned to jog on days 1 and 3), I still have a lot of things to do on my to do list, but my junk room is already looking more spacious, I still have clothes shopping to do for work (supposed to do on day 2), but I still have 6 days left.

Unless Robin gets ill. Let’s not go there.

Robin, who has taken to nursery like a pro. She’s even happy wearing her shoes now! Everyone keeps commenting on how good of a baby she is (yes, I kind of hate how a baby is judged by how well they sleep and what their temperament is like, but it is partly true, Robin goes to sleep easily, she is so laid back and easy going, she literally leans back on you and giggles looking up, if you aren’t there she simply bangs her head on the floor and laughs!) I guess in a nursery situation “good” babies are simply because they make the workers’ life a bit easier. Robin started crying in the garden, so she was taken up for a nap and was asleep in a minute. Because she rarely cries. She’s also not overly fussed to see me when I turn up. She’s incredibly content.

Oh, and despite his mood, Elvis came home from nursery this week with two sunflowers that he’d planted and a lovely Mother’s Day card with a tree handprint and pink finger print leaves (it’s Stickman’s family tree, apparently).

Before the lurgy hit, I had an amazing weekend. I did my weekly weigh in (forgot to post, but reached my first target! Whoop!), then I spent the day at the arcades and climbing castles with the family. Went on a date night with hubby and after a lovely meal, snuck in a cinema trip and watched Deadpool (weird, not quite my taste, but hilarious). Sunday I spent in London and met 5 actors from TV and film. I finally met Greg Grunberg and Miltos Yerelomou! I’ve waited years! I’m not sure I’ll do a weigh in this week as I still feel a bit rough and, quite frankly, I have a good reason for slacking. It’s not being lazy or indulgent, it’s trying to recover and resting. I guess I’ll count myself lucky that this thing hit once both were in nursery even if it only gave me a few hours a day rest!

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Irresponsible Mothers

On the 10th January, I took Elvis to a birthday party and the next day I was informed that someone at the party now had chicken pox. About 19 days later, Elvis got them and about 17 days after that so did Robin. From my understanding you’re contagious the few days before spots come and maybe whilst you have the spots. So for those 19 and then 17 days neither child was contagious until maybe day 16 and 13.

How was I supposed to know that?

The moment Elvis came into contact with pox, should I have kept him at home just in case?

Should I have kept him at home for those 19 days and then a further ten for the spots to clear? Should I have taken a month off work?

Just in case he had it and could pass it on at nursery?

Should I then have not allowed Robin out of the house, just in case, and despite medical professionals telling me she’s was protected against it?

Was I irresponsible in both cases?

I rang the nursery immediately to tell them. I cancelled all plans for both of them in the week they each got pox. I rang/contacted everyone that had visited/seen Robin.

Was that irresponsible?

Yet I then get told by a friend that a bunch of work colleagues were unhappy that I was joining them for a lunch. Because of Robin and her pox. Uhhh, except I’d already cancelled. Despite how she probably wouldn’t be contagious by that point, I’d already cancelled.

Was that irresponsible of me?

It’s really upset me. Mainly because I was already upset that I’d let people, babies, come into contact with Robin at her contagious times. I feel awful about it. We’re not talking the toddlers at nursery, we’re talking babies – some under a month old. And I feel awful that I could be responsible for making those babies ill. I really don’t need someone making me feel worse.

Especially not a mother so irresponsible that they can make another mother feel so awful.

It’s made me paranoid that the group I went to, allowing Robin to potentially infect other babies, will never allow me back because of my irresponsibility. That they will make me feel awful and unwanted, too.

The mother in question might just simply have been worried about her own child but perhaps she should have spoken directly to me rather than make me feel like crap and irresponsible.

~ P

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Poxy Chicken Pox

When Robin was 5 dayd old we noticed that Elvis had an odd spot on his shoulder. Then there were more and more spots. It was clear that he had chicken pox. I didn’t bother, or even consider, taking him to the doctor. I rang nursery, they told me how long he had to stay off and then Daddy took him to a local pharmacy and came home with Piriton and Eurax – antihistamine and soothing cream. We already had bath emollient from my pregnancy rashes but baths didn’t seem to relieve his itching.

I also rang the midwfery center where I was reassured that Robin was covered by my pregnancy plus I’m breastfeeding.

Yep. Well, at 21 days old, we noticed a few odd spots in her hair. I hoped they were simply some hormonal thing. I knew they weren’t.

Sure enough the next morning she was pretty much covered and some had already blistered. After her first feed, I rang my GP where the receptionist told me I had to come in for a walk in appointment, waiting up to an hour. I tried to explain to the incompetent woman with zero medical training that I had surgery 3 weeks prior, walking is difficult, that my newborn was contagious, that my newborn was susceptible to all the other patients germs. Tough luck, I was given the option to make the walk in clinic or wait a day to get a GP phonecall.

Apparently on clinic days with a walk in, GPs refuse to do home calls. Even for an at risk, vulnerable, 3 week old? According to the stupid woman who refused to budge and even try to ask a doctor, yep. It’s a joke.

So, I sped my way there to not miss the end time of the walk in slot. Then had to fill in her paperwork as Robin isn’t even registered. And I’m in floods of tears – worried about her. And what if she wakes, feeding no longer hurts but she’s dribbly and it’s awkward still.

55 minutes of germ exchanging and we get to see a doctor. Robin stays asleep during the exam and everything! Then the doctor starts talking to herself about possible treatments. Out loud she’s discussing how Robin might need oral medications. Or even intravenous ones. Now I’m trying to stay calm.

She calls the hospital, the consultant paediatrician says nope, no meds needed. So I leave and head to my mum’s as Robin is about ten minutes away from a feed and my boob has felt like exploding for over half an hour. Half way there the doctor calls me. The paed changed their mind due to Robin’s age and I need to get to the hospital. Take a change of clothes she says. For both of you.

Well, that’s nice – I’ll be allowed to stay because I was already panicking over feeding her. I continue to mum’s – Robin needs a feed – and call my husband to get what we need and come get us. I ask mum to get Elvis from nursery, ring the nursery, feed Robin, have a cuppa and then head to the hospital.

I hate hospitals.

We got seen very quickly and shown to our own room. Well, Robin was contagious. We saw a nurse and then a doctor. Both of them made it clear that, even in a newborn, chicken pox is not a huge problem itself. Obviously it is a viral infection so she would be tired and fighting it even with my immunity but the problems are side effects. I believe pneumonia and brain swelling were mentioned.

Then the doctor started describing the 2 to 5 days course of meds that she’d need. Two days of IV drugs via a cannula in her wrist and then see how she’s responding. And off went the doctor to check with the consultant. At this point, her temperature and heart rate were all normal.

I lost it, however.

I was relatively ok with the thought of being in hospital for two nights. I didn’t want to go that long not seeing Elvis but Robin needed it. I’d already discovered that a parent is encouraged to stay, they get free parking, there’s free TV unlike on the maternity ward and breastfeeding mums get three meals a day (luckily I got a lunch as I was starving). But she mentioned cannulas. And how small her veins are. Now, I’ve had cannulas at both c-sections and they hurt.

And I had two this last time as the midwife couldn’t find a vein. How wete they going to find hers? The doctor even started looking at Robin’s ankles. She said it would be best for us to leave as they did it because Robin would take no comfort from us and she wouldn’t remember. We would.

I kept trying to reassure myself that at least she wasn’t actually ill, at least we knew what was wrong.

But a cannula… she’s too tiny.

The doctor came back. She and the consultant had done some research. Apparently the recommendation for IV drugs is when the mum catches chicken pox close to birth. I guess because the baby wouldn’t have any immunity through the pregnancy. That wasn’t our case. The doctors decided that when awake, Robin was alert and happy. Clearly she was fighting the pox relatively well. Or my body was for her.

So they agreed to discharge her, after taking my bloods to check my immunity (although 2 days later and they haven’t told me my levels) so no drugs, no overnight stay and no cannula, but a kind of wasted day. It left me knackered! But it was emotionally draining and how much am I fighting the pox for her without me having the virus?

We’re snuggly at home, she’s spotty and blistery but generally okay. I’ve gone back to co-sleeping as she was mucousy at night. It sounded awful, like she couldn’t breathe. But it doesn’t seem to be hurting me. Yet.

I hate chicken pox!

~ P

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Days 11 and 12

Day 11and Baby Robin finally seems to have some awake periods, some times she can go in her rocking chair and lie happily staring. It’s only for small periods, but it’s more than just sleeping. Last night she finished her bedtime breastfeed at 11pm and didn’t feed again until half 6. It beats the 2 mornings of 4am cluster feeds, but will be a one off. She’s changing day by day and does some independent sleeping during the night  – by independent I mean next to me and not on me.

Daytimes she can be put down asleep but it doesn’t last long. She has an almost constant need to suckle during daylight hours. But even with night wakings she’s a far faster eater than Elvis was at this age so I’m pretty rested.

I have a shoulder pain, I got it with Elvis, too. From holding her, sitting and feeding her. I’m a tad resentful of breastfeeding at the moment. Meanwhile my scar is hurting pretty much whenever I move. It makes night feeds even worse. Perhaps she realised his and gave me last night off. I’m trying the biological nursing or laid back feeding position more to try and stop her incessant dribbling and decrease my shoulder pain.

She gained weight again today – 8lb 13oz up from 8lb 4 but still not at birthweight of 9lb 1oz.

Elvis’ pox are clearing up, they’re all scabbed over and he’s not on as much medication any more. But he’s still not himself. He refuses to walk anywhere and we’re not sure if it’s because he’s tired still or used to it or jealous of the baby. He has taken to Robin very well, careful around her, kisses her and tries to share his toys so it isn’t all bad.

He doesn’t seem to mind sitting next to me as I feed or at least just nurse. But we watch far too much tele to keep him calm (maybe more due to him being ill) and feed him biscuits. So I feel guilty.

Perhaps if we were formula feeding I’d feel less guilt towards him. But more to her.

Well, the 11th night made everything worse. I woke up at 1 with diarrhoea and vomiting. Of course, I’m the only one who can deal with Robin. This has then led to back cramps and dehydration headaches. I am so tempted by formula.

The only things stopping me are I remember it all getting better last time and then it all just became easy. She’s already starting, slowly, to fall into 3 hourly feeds with periods of alertness in between. So things are improving, but I feel like crap. Utter, twisty, cramping crap. I need to figure out more comfortable ways to feed in bed and sleep either with Robin or figuring out a way to put her down.

The only really comfortable places I can feed are the nursing chair and reclined on the sofa, but can we stay there all night?

How do you get a baby to stay asleep in their Moses Basket?

~ P

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Poxy Weight Issues

Robin was weighed on days 3 and 5, she’s lost about 9.3% of her birthweight. Elvis got weighed on day 5, had lost 8%.  I’ve been advised to top up with expressed or formula but I wonder if either option will cause supply issues and possible latch problems if I use a bottle. Although our latch is better than the other day and my milk is definitely in. However, I’m so engorged, I have no idea if she’s ever draining a boob. So is she getting to the fatty milk? Although fatty/watery milk content is not that simple.

Meanwhile, I keep having hot flushes and severe shivers either from a post op infection, milk coming in or my engorgement has led to an infection. It happened last time so I want to rule out breast infection. Either way, we have an extra midwife check tomorrow to weigh her again and I’m really worried. I actually can’t tell you how frequently she feeds or how many feeds she has in a day. I’m not clock watching. I stopped clock watching at night to combat my insomnia about a year ago and I’m not starting now.

Surely it’s all about feeding on demand? And during the day she never goes longer than 3hours; she feels constantly attached!

Meanwhile Elvis has chicken pox. He’s dealing ok but he’s clearly not happy. All I want to do is cuddle him but I have a baby who may be losing too much weight permanently attached to me and my son no longer wants me.

It’s heartbreaking. It really is. I can’t lift him for another 5 weeks so I can’t get him in and out of his cot, take him upstairs. She will currently only really be settled by my boob and sleeps longer on me. But it’s me who feels like I’m failing both of them. I’m not getting her to feed properly and I’m not the parent my son wants or needs at the moment. And Elvis being poorly breaks me. He’s why I discharged from hospital early. And I can’t do anything for him. And she may not be thriving.

Happy Saturday,
~ P

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