Persephone: Parent

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What A Let-Down

I truly and honestly cannot believe that I went a night and day without crying. Things really have gotten better in Elvis’ short life so far. I honestly thought they wouldn’t this quickly. Without even glancing back at all my midnight blogs, I know how awful I felt, how hopeless it all felt and how there really was no end in sight.

Perhaps because of my years trying to conceive and then having fertility treatment in order to get Elvis, I’m so used to the failure, to having no hope and there being no light at the end of the tunnel, that it becomes the default setting. Once you’ve been in the trenches of fertility it’s easy to make new trenches of anything.

But at just 3 and a half weeks old there is light, I can see it and everyday it gets a bit brighter. There are still going to be hiccups, but I persevered and we all survived.

It’s also remarkable how different day and night are already. Or how I awoke straight away for Elvis’ 3am feed.

The one thing I’m not liking about the nighttime feed is my let-down. It hasn’t happened during the day and can’t purely be a blood sugar thing, but I go incredibly light-headed and feel faint. It’s a good thing I don’t stand up to feed! As I said it can’t purely be blood sugar as before starting the feed I’ve always got up and changed the nappy; there’s no dizziness then. Oddly that let-down doesn’t come with the coughing and spluttering that other let-downs do.

Other than that, I think we may have cracked the nighttimes and the days and evenings aren’t too bad anymore. We just need to work on his 5am feed that starts his day. I really don’t need to see 5, 6 and 7am every day!

~ Persephone M

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I’ve Done It!

We’re still about 40mins away from the final train destination, but we managed on the two trains without a hitch (although we are sat in the bike section on the second one – there are chairs).

And I have breastfed Elvis twice. On the trains and, therefore, in public!

On the first train we ended up half way through in a carriage on our own so I moved to a slightly more private seat and fed Elvis. He hadn’t awoken so I kinda force fed him, but we had no idea what the second train (London to Devon) would be like. Which was fine, but then we changed onto the busier train and he was awake and hungry.

I could have searched for a seat on my own with Elvis, leaving hubby with the pram, but I doubt I could have found two seats together. Strangers cannot sit next to each other! And so I fed him none the less. With a numb bum and sore back, but at least I had hubby passing me sandwiches.

All my night-time worrying and loss of sleep was for nothing; thankfully my body is used to brain-led insomnia so despite the lack of sleep I’m not that tired. It’s a completely different type of lack of sleep than feeding/crying all night long causes.

And that’s Elvis crying all night long, not me.

Okay, some of it’s me.

Things are so much clearer by daylight especially when the source of the worries are gone. I’m a worrier and control freak by nature; neither are beneficial right now!

For all the bad nights, there’s either a good night from before to cling onto (two in a row before last night in fact) or something from the daytime to bolster me – like breastfeeding in public. Elvis and I haven’t even been doing it 3 weeks, but we did it on a moving train! Twice!

I’ll crack this.

~ Persephone M

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Sleeping When The Baby Does

Aside from the false nap at lunchtime yesterday, Elvis’ first real sleep yesterday (not including the 20minutes settling in my arms after each feed) was as about 8pm.

I put him down and cuddled up in a duvet on the sofa knowing I had a maximum of 3 hours (including feeding time and settling so it’s rarely even 2!). An hour before the 3 hour alarm, I awoke and Elvis was still out of it. I used the opportunity to awaken hubby for ten minutes of quality time before we carefully brought Elvis upstairs.

He managed another half an hour before wanting feeding. That is where it all went a bit wrong. In a new, unforeseen way.

Honestly I’d planned how to stay calm and not lose it as I keep doing, but Elvis likes his curveballs. I was ready to deal with constant feedings, feedings being the only way to sleep and me potentially getting no real sleep. I was not ready for Elvis refusing to feed properly.

On the 8pm feed he went down fine; I napped on the sofa. At about 10 or 11, he awoke and refused to feed properly. His latch was weak and he was barely sucking. It was similar to before I took him to the hospital last week with concerns over his feeding. The suck and latch were just too weak – I could literally pull him off me.

A weak latch/suck is fine at the end of a feed, but not at the beginning because he’s clearly not feeding. And there was nothing I could seem to do. Sure, I felt slightly refreshed having had maybe an hour and a half nap right before it, but how was/am I supposed to fix this?

I can only assume he was so tired from his day of no sleep that he was too tired to latch/suck, but has no idea how to sleep any other way. So after ages of trying, moving back to the sofa out of comfort, I gave up and daddy spent a few hours trying to keep him quiet until there were more feeding cues.

So at 4am Elvis had enough energy to have a proper attachment and no one has slept since.

But we all survived the night in far better states than previous. Maybe there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

But it’s made with a dynamo torch that someone keeps forgetting to wind up!

~ Persephone M

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Duvet Day

I saw a midwife two days ago for Elvis’ 9 day weigh in and she was the one who said that Elvis was probably going through his first spurt and I should have a duvet day. So yesterday I stayed in bed most of the morning and went back in the afternoon.

It didn’t really do much good as the night was hell so today’s duvet day has been different.

Today it was on the sofa. So there was no hubby bringing Elvis to me, waking me to feed our son. Instead I have essentially sat on the sofa with Elvis all day. Except during his trip to the shops, napping afterwards and half an hour a few hours ago where he briefly settled in his Moses and, instead of resting, I took a shower!

And now as the evening begins to creep on, I feel far better than I could have imagined. I don’t plan on staying here all night but whilst sleep evades me (because Elvis refuses it or because I can’t calm my mind to sleep) I have the TV. Or the far easier nap location that is a cuddly sofa rather than a bed.

The problem that now seems to have cropped up is stress between hubby and I. We’re both exhausted. We’re both trying to put Elvis first and neither of us have anyone putting each other first. I guess we never will again. And it is stressful.

He’s said things that have upset me – giving a formula bottle just to give me some peace, that he thought my mothering instinct would have hit by now and I’d be coping with the sleepless nights because he’s not been sleeping either. I’ve taken them both as insults to me personally.

I’ve said insensitive things to him – that I’m jealous, that I’m a failure, that he gets far more sleep than I do, that he at least has a bond with his son. It can’t be easy to hear the woman you love say all those things, to think all of those things about herself. Someone you love can’t be a failure to those who love them, right?

I know it’ll be okay, that neither of us have said anything irredeemable to each other and I know that things will get better, both between hubby and I, and Elvis and I. Both just have to wait and persevere through this magical time.

I wonder if one day I will look back on now, reading these blogs, and think of this time fondly. Everyone says I will, but there’s no light at the end of the tunnel yet. Just a glimmer of hope, a pinprick of the future guiding me.

And I know that when I do finally make it off this sofa to bed, I’m going to hug my hubby and apologise for taking my exhaustion out on him without recognising his own or how much he’s trying to help. I need to stop focussing on all the failures – mine, his and ours.

Maybe it’ll help give this time some magic.

One last time of putting Elvis down downstairs. Fingers crossed…

~ Persephone M

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The Rising Sun

That’s a euphemism for hope, right?

Okay so last night got worse. The only sleep I’d had was 3-4 hours scattered from one am to 7am and then 2 between feed naps during the day. Those were each maximum of 2hrs because Elvis feeds far more frequently than the 3 hour maximum leave period.

After the evening nap, which was definitely less than hour, Elvis started his hourly feeds. To be honest most of his feedings are far too frequent, but that’s the point of doing it on demand. That’s how I got to my evening breakdown. I’d fed him fine, even got him down into his moses basket. But he awoke less than an hour later.

I was still all confused about expressing/mastitis/pain, Elvis was awake again and I could not cope with another night like the past 2. Cluster feeding is all well and good if there’s a slow down. I can’t feed him every hour for over 30minutes a piece.

So on that went untill 11pm when, at some point , I kicked hubby out of bed – he has a cold and I don’t need both boys snoring as I struggle to stay awake. There was one last feed and then, magically I went to sleep, awaking at 10 past 2 with his 3 hourly feed due at half past.

I feel kind of hopeful and slightly rested. I’m still going to dread being in the same room as him as I try and sleep, dreading him waking up. I’m still envious of the far greater bond between daddy and Elvis. And I’m still not really sure that I can do this, but for the moment I take back my giving in and have hope he sleeps more than an hour.

Time to try putting him down…

~ Persephone M

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Introduction: No Man’s Land

I’m starting this blog to keep my new, current  journey separate from my usual blog. I linked to someone else’s blog from my original who described her journey (and my previous one) as being in the trenches. According to her metaphor, I’ve managed to escape the terrible trenches of trying to conceive (TTC).

I want to expand on her metaphor and introduce myself on this new blog. Some of the readers might be the same, but I fully understand why some won’t follow over; I wouldn’t. The trenches are where my fellow bloggers still are and where I barely survived for three whole years. In the mud and rain I wallowed for 3 years. Surrounded by the doom and gloom where even the sun could bring no heat, merely a bitter chill.

I suffered in wet dark conditions where my feet sat in the mud and mould, losing parts to gangrene or the rats. I shared those 3 years with rats and fleas, the constant fear from the bullets flying overhead. Hoping that one day the gunfire could cease long enough for me to pop my head up, perhaps glance across No Man’s Land, maybe even try and make it across to the other side.

And after 3 years, 3 so very long years, I managed a peek at No Man’s Land. More than that, with footholds and bullet-proof armour, I began my run across No Man’s Land. And run I did. And running I still am.

My fellow blogger had left her analogy at those of us who escaped the trenches and I’m not saying any of this to negate her views. I fully appreciate and understand how she means it: for 3 years I was always one of the soldiers left behind. Until I got given that bulletproof vest.

So, yes, I’ve made it out of the trenches. This time I’m the one that’s leaving the others behind.

But I’m still running across No Man’s Land. I haven’t made it to the other side yet. There’s no more rats, no more fleas, no more rotting feet, no more stale biscuits and meager rations and the skies are void of any gunfire noise.

Anything can go wrong in pregnancy, anything can go wrong in labour. Anything could cause me to stop. Dead. Anything could make me turn tail and flee back to the safety of the trenches. Perhaps I could trip. Or my armour might not be good enough, it could allow just one stray bullet in.

I know I’m a lucky trench-survivor and all I can do is hope I become a No Man’s Land survivor. With that hope, I can’t blog this run on my original blog, but I also can’t ignore the running and wait until I get there. The running, crossing No Man’s Land is a journey too.

I will always remember everything about the trenches. Its part of me now and forever.
~ Persephone M

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