Persephone: Parent

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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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Ever Improving

Things are definitely getting better. Elvis slept last night, so did Daddy. Robin and I slept as normal, well, a bit of a cluster feed at 4am that I found annoying, but it was only for an hour. And some of that hour was taken up with me wrapped tightly in the duvet having one of my cold shivers as Robin stared intently at the lamp. Before and after that we co-slept as normal but with some side by side sleeping, not just tummy to tummy.

Robin has had a weight gain. Elvis is warming back up to me – he cried when I left the house today and wasn’t bothered by Daddy leaving so much. But he then had a meltdown when I picked up Robin for a feed. He is still ill with chicken pox but I really just want a bit of normality for the 4 of us. Robin will only suck to sleep and will only stay asleep on or next to me.  How am I supposed to give Elvis any time?

I might have to break out the Moby Wrap a friend gave me.

Daddy,  Robin amd I went out today, leaving Elvis at home with Nanny. We needed to get Robin’s hearing checked at a local pre-school for hearing impaired children so we couldn’t take Elvis there even if he is past the contagious phase of chicken pox. Robin passed both ears. Then we cheekily headed into town so I could buy new bras.

None of my old bras fit at all. Not even the sleep ones, although maybe once my ribcage goes down a bit. There’s no point in me wearing bras, or clothes in general at the moment. I haven’t had any mass leaking today, but Robin still guzzles either too much,  it’s too fast or she gets milk when she just wants to suck to sleep – whichever, I get mass leakage from the boob she’s feeding on.  Elvis quickly decided he wanted to suck to sleep but kept getting unwanted milk from me, hence why we intrpduced a dummy for him. So far, Robin could be similar with regards to my supply, but she seems happy to waste it! And chew me as she gets sleepy.

I’m not used to that in a newborn! How do I stop it?

But at least now I have a bra to wear when I have to leave the house, I’d rather stay at home right now with the milk dribbles! Tomorrow it’s the registry office and hopefully no milk dribbling followed by Daddy going to work for the afternoon despite him being on paternity leave. Luckily Nanny’s coming over to help! I still feel rubbish that I can’t do lots with Elvis, but I feel better. My boobs seem to be calming down and I’m either going to try putting Robin down for naps, to play with Elvis, or ise the wrap. She sleeps a lot right now.

One week left before Daddy goes back to work!

~ 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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Parenting Wisdom of Star Trek Deep Space Nine

I’m currently watching Deep Space Nine, Season 4 episode 17 and there has just been a scene between Julian Bashir and Miles O’Brien. I’ll try and find a transcript later, but the jist of what O’Brien just said was: “Well, now that Molly (his and his wife’s pre-school daughter) is a year older, I was hoping to spend more time with Keiko (his wife). You know, like, go out in the evening.”

And all it made me think was the fact that so many people have told me that I’m crazy for having such a small age gap between Elvis and Robin (others have plenty smaller though, fcol!) and here is a reason why it isn’t so crazy. I haven’t been raising Elvis for 3 years, yearning for a weekend away or an adults holiday, getting to the point we can do that and then having Robin come along. Nope, I’m in the getting it all out of the way camp.

Don’t get me wrong, everyone has their own choice, their own decisions and their own wants. I don’t do newborn. Or at least I didn’t a year ago. Either way,  the very thought of spending so many years as a parent of young ones… it just is not me. I know a few mums that have multiple children over a huge age gap (10 years eldest to youngest, 12, and 20!) and that thought, at the moment, absolutely horrifies me.

Maybe I’ll change my mind. Maybe in ten years time, I’ll jump back on the baby bandwagon, but right now, I could not think of anything worse! I love my son and I plan on loving Robin, but that doesn’t mean I should want to parent young children. And it isn’t that I yearn for my life, selfishly away from my family. No, if anything I want to be everything I was but from within my family. It may sound corny, bit I want to show my children the world. I don’t want to turn to a 5 year old, a 10 year old, and say we can’t do something because of the baby,  because I’m pregnant. Yes, that might sound like I want to get on with my life, and it kinda is. My life with my family.

~ P

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#41Weeks

By the hospital dates, somewhere between 41 and 42 weeks by my dates. And I’d been quite fine. Mainly positive and upbeat.

I’ve temporarily blocked/removed/avoid social media and real life people/discussions that could lead to my own negativity. I’m trying my hardest to keep a positive state of mind, not just with the Birth Affirmations plastered around the house, but when people ask how I’m doing. Or when they say you must be fed up by now?

Well, yeah, I kinda am, but there’s no point dwelling on it. There’s no point in me telling you about my aches and pains. Yeah, I want this baby born. Yes, the longer it all takes to start naturally the more doubt sets in that it won’t. But there is nothing I can do about that so why moan at everyone?

I do feel the timetable, the scheduled C-section that I think I can still cancel/delay. I do keep having the thought that I only have X number of days left. But then I try and remind myself that there are no odds, there is no mathematical or scientific equation that means the fewer days left, the less likely for things to happen.

I have had wobbles the past few days. Mainly I think because an extreme tiredness has washed over me. Yesterday I burst into tears in a shop because I couldn’t remember what I needed. Today because my husband offered to collect Elvis from nursery. Today is the third day in the row I’ve given in to napping. Today I’ve simply eaten or slept. Elvis is either ill or teething, but he’s doing his normal in either situation and sleeping. He loves his sleep. Which is amazing when I’m desperate for mine.

And when I say I’ve given in to the sleep, usually I’d fight it to make sure the washing was done, to pick him up from nursery, to buy bread, to bounce on a ball. Nope. Dirty dishes, no bread and I haven’t touched the ball. I’d be asleep right now but I’m tired of lying down.

I’m literally tired of everything and I’m really hot. Boiling. And we’re in the middle of winter.

On the labour front, well, my body keeps on seeming like it’s making some changes one day and then doing nothing the next. All of last night I had a back pain that felt like baby had gone back-back even though I’d been sitting/lying correctly and it just wouldn’t fo away. Then I fell asleep and awoke this morning without it. Was it baby being back to back? Was it back cramps? Did it subconsciously keep me awake part of the night hence my tiredness?

A lot of people believe that human gestational periods should be closer to the 41 than 40 weeks, well, mine must be! Only tomorrow left and then Husband starts his paternity so I really can rest up and see how this baby’s arriving….. sleep…..

~ P

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Guilty Love

This is what I feel with regards to Robin, to the unborn baby that actually, I don’t necessarily even love. I don’t hate him/her. I just don’t know them. How am I supposed to love them?

Do some mums feel that kind of rush of love when they get that positive test? When they feel the first kick? Or when they first hold their child?

I don’t think I ever really did with Elvis. I felt immense relief when he was born – that an impossible journey was over. Finally.

At some point I fell in love with him of course!

But now I face the problem of the sibling.

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My 4th Trimester

I remember reading about the 4th trimester last time, how babies should gestate for longer, how they can still be incredibly dependent on Mumma because of this. Aren’t we like the only mammal (animal in general?) whose offspring have no defensive capability at all at birth and for up to 3 months? I mean, a newborn generally can’t even roll. With Elvis, he solely slept on/next to me for two months (or in the pushchair if we’d been out) and then I decided it was enough, he had to use his Moses basket.

I needed the space physically and I felt he was ready for that space. He took to the new sleeping arrangements within a week.

As for being less dependent on me in general (just enough to pee in private, maybe cook dinner or do some cleaning), I think by 4 months we had a routine. It was flexible when it needed to be, adaptable when he needed it ro be, but it was there. Things then get skewed in my memory because at 5 months old, hubby/daddy took 3 months off work to look for a new, family friendlier job.

It was an amazing 3 months for daddy and Elvis, but it did give me an easy ride when it came to parenting.

However, using those time periods, with Robin I am giving myself a 4th trimester. For the 4th trimester, I will not care about cleaning the house. I will ensure that Robin is always fed. 5 nights a week I will make sure that Elvis has dinner. For the 4th trimester,  I will not care about breakfasts and lunches for Elvis or Daddy. I will try and put the washing on. I might remember to dry the clothes. I will not care about putting any clothes away.

I might do the washing up. I might not care at all. I will not care if people visit and consider the toilet filthy or despair at my underwear hanging up everywhere drying. If they have an issue with dirty socks strewn across the room, they can pick them up. Last time, I desperately wanted a 2-4 week Babymoon with no visitors. Within 2 days, I had family on my doorstep. Within 2 weeks I had family pressuring me into visiting due to an extended holiday they had planned. I felt put upon and like I had to be a hostess when all I wanted to do was sleep and learn about my baby. This time I will not buckle, I will not cave. If I want to see people, I will at times I want to see them. Because at any point that both of my children happen to be asleep, so might I be. If one is awake as the other sleeps, well, that will be my quality time with them.

This is all my solemn vow to not stress during those first three months. To not care! Those three months will be about me and hubby getting to know our baby, will be about the greatest adaptation our family will ever go through. Elvis’ toys do not need to be tidied (although he does it quite while in the right mood). Beds do not need to be made. Curtains do not need to be opened. We all merely need food, clean plates, clean clothes and a clean bath in which to keep ourselves clean. End of.

~ P

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Welcome to the New Year

For the past few months, I have been trying to not overload this poor little blog with posts every single day, or 3 days in a row with a few weeks off, so that there could be more continuity about the site, hopefully this hasn’t been too noticeable. I’ve also tried to keep posts to every 3 days, but medical appointments and other random “I must blog now” topics might change that at times.

However, as of January 1st I will be about 38 weeks pregnant and the scheduled posts are going to change. Similar to my original blog which has a poetry post a week, this blog is going to have a few months (maybe planning for 8-12 weeks) with 2 planned posts a week. These posts are likely ones that I have already written in December or even earlier! I’m trying to keep some crafty posts, maybe a lot of my Christmas crafts and maybe some parenting ones. This is simply so that, if I go quiet (the opposite to when Elvis was born), the blog still continues.

If things are similar to when Elvis was born, along with those 2 planned blogs will also be random, middle of the night, woe-is-me, how can I parent two children at the same time, posts. I cannot predict that right now.

So, if you as a reader comment on a blog and I don’t respond for a while, it could be that I’m having a baby or am far too tired with a new baby to be present on here even though posts continue to be made. I am not ignoring you. I am not purposefully misleading you. I might be more active than normal!

Hopefully, normal blogging will resume at some point soon, but in this lovely New Year for definite.

Happy New Year and Happy New Baby Days,

~ P x

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My Planned Mummy Moments

Back in August of last year, I wrote a blog about things I desperately wanted to do — it was written in a sleep addled, desperation for some sort of normality in those first few months where suddenly you are no longer a person in your own right – you are a mum and that is all!

Here’s what I wanted to do:

1. Attend Hogwarts. Of course I mean the studio tour. As I’ve toured all the major studios in LA, I really need to do the Harry Potter ones. Not managed that one yet. I started to think about doing it this Autumn, either leaving Elvis with Nanny for a day away, or taking him with us, but I can’t survive a whole day like that, especially not with Elvis in tow. My body sometimes aches before I even get out of bed!

2. Go on the London Eye. I promised my mum a trip on the Eye when she had foster children. Well, they left as I had my IUI so we still haven’t been. Not even really considered that one, still really want to do it and maybe in another year or two. I like the idea of a weekend in London with my mum. See the Christmas lights from up high and visit all the Christmassy tourist things!

3. Have a pedicure. Or more than one. This might be doable sooner than a lot of others. Done. Just before Elvis’ first birthday in time for our first family holiday.

4. Visit a spa. This mummy needs a day of pampering! April of this year (actually around the time that I conceived), a friend invited me for a day of jogging, cycling, swimming and saunaing it up! I loved it!

5. Enjoy an afternoon tea. Some friends recently went to a local hotel for afternoon tea and it looked so yummy. It may have a spa there too. Still considering this as a pre-Christmas thing, either with a bunch of friends as a kind of second baby shower thing, or just me and hubby as one final date. I really want scones, cream and all the other fancy cakes. I’d love the spa aspect, but I can’t use half of it so there is very little point.

6. Have a lie in! Can’t remember how frequently this happens! There have been a number of occasions on the weekend that I have had to go and wake hubby up as he’s still asleep, as is Elvis – I try not to wake Elvis up on weekends as we often have to on weekdays. I think this Mummy Moment was written when I was listening to everyone’s horror stories about never sleeping ever again. My first child is a very good sleeper. My second? I hope to God s/he will be!

7. Sleep 8 hours with no interruptions! Has definitely happened, but with my pregnant bladder issues, I can’t remember what it feels like. I definitely got there, and not just the occasion I got a stomach bug.

8. Have a date, or two, with my hubby. Our wedding anniversary last February was the first date since Elvis arrived. It probably won’t happen at the next anniversary, Robin will be far too little. We’ve also had a few Sunday Cinema dates and evenings away for parties.

9. Go to the cinema. With me only managing to get in Star Trek Into Darkness and Iron Man 3 before giving birth to E, there are many other geeky films that I missed. I’ll settle with most of them on DVD for Christmas though. I didn’t miss a single Geek film that I wanted to see. Thor Dark World, Captain America Winter Soldier and the X-Men film. We didn’t get to the Spiderman film or Guardians of the Galaxy, but we only watched the first Spiderman film on DVD this year! I watched them all in the cinema, and even took Elvis to watch Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 2.

10. Go shopping for new clothes. And I mean when I know what my body’s like and normal tops that don’t need to be nursable. Ummm, yeah, did this and then discovered I was pregnant. I did not get back in to wired bras and I only wore my new wardrobe for a few weeks, including our May family holiday. Next time, eh?

11. Attend my conventions. Now, I’ll happily take E to most of them, but he probably can’t do the Milton Keynes ones due to the distance and cold location so I’ll do those alone. Hopefully! I tried in July, it was an organisational disaster, but I did get there, just never got in. But I went to one in London, October whilst 6 months pregnant and I loved it. I needed lots of breaks and seeing other mums with their toddlers made me crave a cuddle with Elvis (who coped perfectly fine not seeing me all day), but it was really nice just being me!

12. Spend a night in my bed. Maybe with my hubby, but certainly without E! When do night feeds stop???? It’s so strange that I wrote this at the beginning of August, within a few weeks, I had made the decision that I could not handle it anymore, that enough was enough, and Elvis transitioned into his Moses basket by the side of the bed with perfect ease — we had maybe a week of partial co-sleeping. As for his night feeds stopping, well, that was only two months later at the beginning of October. We’ve bought a co-sleeper cot this time to try and keep hubby in our bed!

Is there anything I would have added? No, and, yes, in retrospect, a lot of the above didn’t matter when it came to it. But they did matter at that time. I read somewhere the other day that, once you become a mum, you are never, ever the same person ever again and it is completely true, but I do think that you can start to feel like a new normal. Some mums seem to jump back into their life, have nights away within weeks of giving birth. Some mums still desperately miss their child a year later or refuse nursery places because they can’t bear to be separated. There is no right or wrong. I’m pretty happy now with the balance I have in my life (aside from the pregnancy pains) and I do worry about those first few months when Robin, like Elvis, will depend on me and I will simply, only, just be their mother. But I also know that the day will come when I can spend a night away, go out alone with hubby, socialise with work, be an adult. It might not be at 4 months when Elvis started sleeping 9 hours for Robin, but it will happen.

Hopefully that thought alone, that sentiment from this post will keep me going through those months where all I am is a milk machine. I can remember wishing for 30 minutes to do my hair, pluck my eyebrows, shave my legs and have a relaxing bath. It was so important to me to be able to do something so normal as paint my toenails. Now? I get a bit bored sometimes and really couldn’t care less about painting my nails!

I do, however, have a few pregnant mummy moments that I’d like to plan in!

1. To have a glass of cider. I don’t enjoy alcohol at all whilst pregnant, not even a sip, and I spent all summer wanting a nice icey cider. Hello, next summer!

2. The above mentioned afternoon tea and/or one final hubby date before Robin comes along, or as a first date after Robin’s here.

3. To go swimming and actually swim rather than be in pain and feel utterly inept at simple breaststroke. I may never pay for a swimming membership again, but I will go swimming again. Hopefully next summer.

4. I’m going to say a jacuzzi which obviously I can’t do whilst pregnant, but I only actually really want to do it because I don’t fit in my current bath and I can’t submerge myself in it. A jacuzzi I could. This desire will probably wane, especially if we get the bathroom redone in the next 6 months (yes, I might be crazy).

I’m going to call these 4 things my New Year’s Resolutions and that I will do them all at some point in the New Year. I know I can and will, because I did the equivalent last time!

Happy New Year!

~ P x

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Baby Communication: 18 Months

I’m going to start this on a positive. Elvis has soooo many signs in his vocabulary now! I’m amazed as he was such a slow starter. So, what do we have?

More, bathtime, getting dressed, food, open.
Banana, drink, bedtime.
Cow, bunny, sheep, cat, frog, crocodile, spider, bird, duck.
Elephant, lion, dog.
Light, sun, sing, read.
Car, bus, home, train, boat, tree.
He can sign mummy and daddy but very rarely! I’m sure I’m missing some.

For most of the animals, Elvis also makes the noises.

Now for the “words”. Well, we don’t have as many at all.

Nee-Naw, brrrm, tractor, copter (helicopter), ooh-ooh (choo choo train).
Uh-oh, bye, no, yeah.
And the animal noises from his signs.

He cannot say mummy or daddy. He does not make much variation in noises and it is getting me down a bit.

I’ve done some reading and speech ability has a genetic component — I had speech therapy at 4 because I could not speak, I had no verbal communication at all so Elvis is doing far better than me! But I still,despite knowing this, wprry that we’rr doing something wrong. That it is our fault when we’re doing everything recommended. And Elvis’ understanding is amazing.

From his forewarning a poo was coming to him following directions witha two or more step process and recognition of pictures (he can point to animals in a book that only appear in that one book). So I know that it isn’t language fully and that we are doing things right, he just doesn’t want to talk!

Neither did I!

~ P

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