To sleep perchance to dream…

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

Today I’d like to touch on the somewhat controversial topic of sleeping. Or more specifically getting your little bugger to sleep.

Squirt was still not napping for more than 30 mins, one, two or maybe three times a day. By the time 2/3 o’clock rolled around he was a crabby nightmare. I was trying to avoid hours of exhausting crying and complaining by dragging everyone around shopping malls most afternoons. I knew it wasn’t good for him and it was a worry.

During the week WW, hardcore supermum that she is, takes care of Squirt’s nighttime awakenings while I attempt to sleep and pump. Then on Friday and Saturday night it’s my turn. I’d like to insert here that I do not function particularly well with less than 8 hours sleep. OK, that’s an understatement. Picture a hunched over, cranky old crone snapping at everyone around her and in danger of scaring her family members away.

So after awakening three times to feed Squirt, uncountable times to replace the dummy and then sitting up pumping for 45 mins, I decided to blearily look into sleep training.

Jeez, I thought breast vs. bottle was a hot topic but it is a gentle discussion by sane mothers who don’t have strong opinions compared to sleep training.

I was able to cross off a few approaches straight away that were not going to work for us. Co-sleeping was out as I had already given myself a stiff neck and sore back lying in the same position all night, terrified to roll over in case I crushed Squirt in my semi-comatose state. Co-habitation wasn’t working as every time Squirt sniffed, coughed or wriggled both WW and I woke up. Neither WW nor I was up for rocking, walking or jiggling him to sleep multiple times a night.

So the options I found myself with left with were ‘Cry-it-out’ or ‘Extinction’. It is my (definitely not expert) understanding that with the extinction method you basically leave to baby to cry for limited periods of time while sitting in the corner of the room ignoring him. I could easily imagine the scene- Squirt screaming as if being subjected to a particularly brutal form of torture while either WW or myself sat PTSD rocking in the corner, desperately sitting on our hands so we didn’t pick him up and undo everything.

So the hardcore, incredibly judged Ferber method it was.

We tried to create a schedule around when Squirt usually napped, which wasn’t that easy as my darling boy isn’t big on napping. He woke up for the millionth and last time at 7am. We decided nap time would be 9. WW and I moved his crib into his bedroom, fed him, changed him and lay him down with his dummy, drowsy but awake. Then we turned on the monitor on and tiptoed out. The door closed and the crying started.

We checked on him every 10 mins. It was tough. Both WW and I rambled about downstairs, trying to distract ourselves from clock watching until we were able to go up and comfort him. When one of us reappeared during the checks and turned him over from where he’d rolled over onto his tummy he immediately stopped crying. And then we left and he started again. I battled with relief that there wasn’t anything physically making him cry and guilt that I was making him upset.

 

After 45 minutes he finally, heartbreakingly sobbed himself to sleep. I felt awful. I decided maybe this method wasn’t for me. And he slept for one and a half hours. That’s right. Squirt, who hasn’t napped for longer than 30 mins since he was two month old, slept for one and a half hours.

We put him down again at 1 and after 20 mins of crying he slept for another hour and a half. The clouds parted, the sun shone down and gospel music started playing. That afternoon he was a different boy. None of the unsoothable fussing and crying that had become part of our daily routine. Just the happy, playful boy who normally only made an appearance in the early morning.

Then, as the icing on the cake, after his usually bath-massage-story-milk routine, he went to sleep with a mere 4 minutes of gentle whimpering at 6pm. I ‘dream fed’ him at 12 and got up when he woke at 4 and fed him again. He made it to 6.30am without anything worse than a whimper. Hooray!

Since then we’ve had our ups and downs. Nights continue to be better. He puts himself to sleep in less than 5 mins without crying and eats twice during the night. Two feeds is more than I’d like but I and WW can live with it. The naps are still tough but I’d say he’s averaging about 2 and a half hours overall, compared to the one hour before and he’s a much happier boy generally. I am more rested and a better, more patient mummy. I haven’t noticed a change in WW as she manages to keep an even keel despite crummy sleeps, but she reports feeling better.

So there you have it. Not for everyone. Not easy. I do believe the best thing for our little family. I’m sure some of you are reading this with thinly guised horror. In the words of Todd Parr ‘It’s OK to be different’. Good luck to everyone out there trying to get your eight hours.

Boogers and Atomic Nappies.

Hello all,

I meant to write an update straight after I started work and here we are, three weeks later which probably gives you a pretty accurate reflection of how things have been.

The first week was tough, missing Squirt and WW, trying to get to grips with work, catching up with things that I didn’t do due to my maternity leave, juggling pumping and a busy schedule and repeatedly trying to kick start my brain again. Things are getting better now and it’s only four weeks until Christmas holidays so- yay!

This week I caught a cold. I am pretty pathetic when sick and felt quite sorry for myself, missing WW’s normal nursing routine and getting up at the crack of dawn and in the middle of the night to pump. I thought it was bad….then Squirt got sick. It is heart breaking to hear his little snuffly breathing and head breaking to listen to his cries every hour or so during the night. I think WW secretly loves hoovering up his boogers with the suction bulb thingmy.  Confession: I thought he slept better last night and commented to WW but was tersely informed he was up every hour and apparently only I slept better. Hooray for my ability to sleep like the dead and WW aka Supermum.

After 2 weeks of trying to keep up the every 4 hours pumping schedule with an ever changing timetable I decided to go to every 6 hours. This means I am only huddled in a tiny room on a butt numbing chair, praying no students peer through the crack in the window paint and no teachers bust in the locked door (again), once a day. My boobs seemed OK with it but then decided on a sneaky revenge by waiting until the one day I forgot to wear breast pads. Two minutes before I went to teach my oldest students they unleashed a sizeable flow of milk, creating a nice, white rimmed milk stain on my black top and leading to me alternating between hiding behind my computer and shielding my chest with books like a shy, post-pubescent teenager for the rest of the day. Awesome.

I also have had more awkward conversations with classes. It’s funny how I start using their vocabulary in my responses:

‘Who is your man?’

‘I don’t have a man. I have a woman.’

‘But then how a baby??!’

‘Um…a doctor helped me.’

‘Oh, so they take something and put in your tummy?’

‘Close enough.’

 

And then another class:

‘Do you have a husband?’

‘No, I have a wife.’

‘So you are the husband?’

‘No, there is no husband.’

‘But you are the man?’

‘No, there is no man.’

‘I don’t understand.’

‘Nevermind.’

 

The infamous ‘One Direction’ are apparently touring soon in Thailand and who is attending is a hot topic at school. The kids were a bit put out that I wasn’t intending on showing my support and they were completely stumped when I said I wasn’t a fan. They hadn’t heard of any of the music I like which I guess makes me officially old. They rounded the conversation off with asking me if I liked Avril Lavigne because ‘you look like her’. Time to cut back on the eye-liner.

Also WW gleefully pointed out my first white/gray hair on Sunday. I think I have Squirt to thank for my sudden rapid decline into old age. On that note, when will I stop feeling like a teenager? I am married. I am someone’s mum. I am one mortgage away from being officially grown up but I don’t feel any different from when I was a carefree student sleeping late and pretending to study. Does that ever change?

In other news, Squirt’s latest trick is rolling over. He enthusiastically throws himself from his back to his tummy, gets stuck and eventually cries. You would think he’d remember that he doesn’t really like to be on his tummy, but no. I also think for him it’s a fun game to be flipped like a pancake every couple of minutes. Plus the mummies are pretty impressed by the gymnastics and he gets a good reaction.

His other fun trick is frequent atomic nappies. You know, the kind that shoot out of his nappy and up his back leaving a yellow lava of destruction in their wake? Oh yes. Hold with caution. How do you then get the onesie off without smearing it in his hair??? Luckily for me he has been keeping these treats for WW in the morning recently ;-).

 

Christmas decorations go up on Sunday. No, it is not too early. Monday will see Squirt’s introduction to the Month of Christmas Movies. Yes WW, you have to watch them again. No, you cannot play with your phone. The Muppets require your full attention. Now my mission is to locate a Christmas pudding in Thailand which doesn’t cost 14 GBP or be forced to make one, which hardly seems worth it when I’ll be the only one gorging on it. Mmmm, Christmas pudding… The post pregnancy diet is not going well.

 

TTFN X

PS. Squirt, four months old tomorrow!

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One year in the making.

Hi!

I’m not really one for remembering/celebrating the small dates but I did realize it was Halloween one year ago that two single cells fused to become what would grow into Squirt.

embryo squirt

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WW was too sensible to allow me to buy or make a super cute baby Halloween costume. Plus, here in Thailand there are minimal opportunities for celebrating this holiday, and none which occur before his 6pm bedtime so cute costumed photo ops will have to wait for the next holiday.

Plus we were tired from our first date night the night before. Our lovely GBF offered to babysit and let us get out of the house for a bit. We had a nice dinner, a few beers and saw what yucky sex-pat nightlife our little suburban neck of the woods had to offer. Then WW had a nasty allergic skin reaction to something and my body decided it didn’t enjoy ham hock after all so we had a bit of a sleepless night. Ho hum. But it was a good jumble of nice and weird to step back to our free-of-responsibility days for a few hours.

I had my 13453rd bad mother moment last night and introduced formula for the first time for Squirt’s before bedtime feed. Just a recap, Squirt has never fed from the breast. Not once. So I have been a slave to the breast pump since his second day and plan to quit just after Christmas, when he is five and some months old. In the meantime we’re going to slowly introduce formula so it’s not a horrible shock to his system when the freezer eventually runs empty. I also read that formula fed babies sleep longer through the night. And low and behold, Squirt slept from 6pm until 4am without eating. Then went back to sleep until 7.30am. So why do I still feel tired?

I thought he might be a little put out at suddenly being given poison formula, but he didn’t bat an eye. I’m not in the habit of chugging either breast milk or formula but I have licked both off my arm (don’t judge me). Afterwards I wasn’t exactly clamoring for a big, overfilled jug of luke warm breast milk but it does taste a damn sight nicer than formula, despite the fact we bought the fanciest one.

There’s another thing. I never really looked but WW reckons in the formula aisle of UK supermarkets there are really only two big brand options. Here there are more than you can count, each fancier and more expensive than the next. It was overwhelming. The doctor was no use. When asked what she’d recommend she shrugged and stated ‘they all have different things’. Awesome, yes, I realize that. But which one is best?

The companies have really got you, too. Do you want the simple box with no extra health benefits which will cost you an arm and a leg or do you want to fully nourish your pride and joy with a formula containing every vitamin from a-z and more besides, which comes in a shiny gold box and will cost you more than private school tuition? So, of course we got the gold one. We were advised to try a small box first, in case Squirt gets the squirts. It cost over 6 GBP and when we got home we worked out it would feed him for two and a half days if we fed him that exclusively. Jeez. There’s an advertisement for breast milk, if ever I heard one. But I can’t bear the thought of being abused by these breast pumps for the next 9 months. I think the freezer is well stocked enough that he won’t be exclusively on formula for very long before he starts eating some solids and needs less anyway. Hopefully.

normally this is where I’d put something funny but even the meme generators are judgy about formula

I’m also ready to stop riding the emotional rollercoaster that I have my fingers crossed is related to breast feeding. WW has the same amount of sleep as me and the same amount of stress but she doesn’t find herself on the edge of ugly, sobbing hysterics every few days. She also doesn’t feel the need to check Squirt is still breathing frequently during the night. She doesn’t think about all the horrible things that can happen to small babies, toddlers, little kids, big kids and adults. She didn’t feel a strong urge to rip Squirt’s enormous vaccination needle out of the doctor’s hand and jam it in the doctor’s thigh to see how she liked it. She doesn’t start conversations with things like ‘What if I don’t like his girlfriend’ (yes, the future girlfriend of my 3 month year old). In short, WW isn’t teetering on the cusp of full blown insanity. Fingers crossed this is all a consequence of boob juice, not a permanent condition.

One more week until I’m back to work. A month ago if you’d asked me if I was ready I would have either lied or said yes, with a side helping of guilt. But back then Squirt was being a real booger and going through a screaming heebie jeebie phase. Of course now, in the run up to my return he’s gotten himself into a routine and is being all cute and adorable most of the time. Boo to working and wrangling other people’s kids when I’d rather be at home wiping up the saliva of my own. But someone’s got to bring home the formula, I guess.

TTFN X

My baby is a flat-headed, non-napping, inappropriate TV addict

Hello all,

Broken ass update:

After I started walking like I’d pooed myself and it was slowly creeping down my leg I finally gave in and took WW’s advice to see a doctor. We packed up Squirt and schlepped over to the hospital. I had an uncomfortable examination which involved dropping trou and having the doc spread my butt cheeks and poke around in my ass crack. His verdict?- “Well, even if it is broken there’s nothing we can do for it. It’s not an important bone.”

Not important? Clearly you’re not the one sitting on it.

So continue to take ibuprofen as I was before then, yes? Thanks for all your help.

Lumpy breast update:

I have cut out my 1am pumping session and it actually seems to have helped. I no longer am nodding off over my pumps and waking up with blocked ducts. Unfortunately I no longer have an excuse not to work the night shift with Squirt so I’m not getting the solid 8 hour sleep I was looking forward to. It is much nicer to have a 20 minute cuddle than 30 minutes of eye-watering nipple hickeys though.

Other news:

This week has seen a new stress. Hello flat head syndrome. With Squirt’s new lovely long night sleeps has come a head that looks like a large person sitting on a space hopper. Google searches have presented forums with equal parts ‘don’t worry, it’ll get better on its own’ and ‘Oh my god my child is now deformed. Their ears, eyes and dimples have been rearranged to the point where they resemble a Picasso portrait’.  It has gotten to the point where strangers in the mall follow their ‘oh, how cute’ comments with ‘wow, that baby’s head is a weird shape’. Gotta love that Thai honesty. We have tried moving his head off the flat side when he’s sleeping (cue stirring and mummies panicking in case it triggers screaming) and tummy time (cue fussing followed by screaming). I have decided to overcome my suffocation fear and buy a special weird-baby-head-shape pillow. I suspect I won’t sleep for the first few nights we use it but hopefully his ears will no longer be located at 10 o’clock and 4 o’clock.

Today we tried to crack the day time naps and establish a routine other than desperately praying he’ll fall asleep, tip-toeing around terrified to make noise when he does, then sighing when he inevitably wakes after 20 mins and starts screaming. So, after more bullshit internet searches we tried the 10 o’clock, 2 o’clock plan. What actually happened is that he fell asleep at 9 o’clock for 15 mins, screamed then I spent the next hour and a half lying next to his cot putting his dummy back in his mouth every 36 seconds while he alternated between smiling and screaming. Nevermind, thought I, there’s always 2 o’clock. He fell asleep in the coffee shop at 12. I realized he had a dirty nappy. WW and I went to the bathroom. No baby changing facilities. I sat on the toilet with Squirt lying, still asleep on my lap, and we started changing him. Then we realized we had no wipes with us. So WW substituted crappy (excuse the pun), cheap, disintegrating, damp toilet paper and we got the job done. Then I sat back down and he started screaming again. Sigh. He was still sleepy and tearful and screamy so we tried to put him back to sleep when we got home at 1. WW spent 45mins putting his dummy back in while he alternated between chatting, whimpering and vomiting. She gave up and brought him back downstairs. Now he’s asleep on the sofa and we’re tip-toeing around again. I just glared at WW because she rustled a plastic snack bag near him. Fingers crossed he sleeps for longer than 20 mins. Best laid plans of mice, men and mothers….

Instead of sleeping during the day Squirt would rather be watching TV. He has taken a real interest in the idiot box, which is fine for the 10 minutes a day we play nursery rhymes on youtube but less ideal when the mummies are watching the L Word and its mandatory 10 minutes of girl-on-girl action and 10 vagina/sex euphemisms per episode. I guess it’s time to start thinking about what we’re watching and when. When I was little I used to watch soaps with my mum and it didn’t do me any harm…or did it??? Instead we should just entertain ourselves by doing stuff like this:

squishy baby face. yes.

 

 

how to make your baby look like an ageing drag queen.

*Bad language warning*

Before we left for Scotland my late night pregnancy forays into the kitchen disturbed some unwanted house guests. Roaches *shudder*. I half-heartedly left some Roach Motels (for those not in the know, lucky you. Picture cute, colourful cardboard cartoon houses with some hardcore glue inside and something cockroaches find yummy in the middle. I was dreading my nighttime milk and sterilization trips upon our return for the whole 3 months we were in the UK. Joy of joys, though, the Roach Motels worked! I was too scared to look but our cleaner informed us they were chockablock with the nasty little things and we haven’t seen any since. Yay!

However as one pest moved out, another moved in. Mother. Fucking. Ants.

Every day I kill hundreds. In the kitchen, in the downstairs bathroom, the bedroom, the upstairs bathroom. I’m afraid to use any chemical spray because of Squirt and the Monster. My kitchen cleaner does work but I’m going through it at the rate of knots. But the thing about the mother-fucking-ants is, there are a few million attempting to colonize my home. And they are starting to fight back. Yesterday they waged bitey war on WW as she emptied the kitchen bin. I bought little plastic things which they’re supposed to walk into, nibble on some poison then conveniently return home and die. But the little bastards are cleverer than that. They just march around. I HATE THEM. I know really I have to go through every cupboard and try and find anything else that might be attracting them but it’s tricky with Squirt…and I’m lazy. But what the hell are the after in the bathrooms? The bins are empty. As far as I know no one’s chowing down in there. I haven’t found them swarming around anything. Did I mention how much I hate them?? Does anyone have a magnifying glass I can borrow?

If anyone has any advice for me about flat head syndrome, a 3 month old who won’t nap during the day or how to get rid of mother-fucking-ants please comment below. All suggestions will be applied with a gusto for at least a few hours!

TTFN x

PS. Squirt woke up after 17 and a half minutes. Sigh.

Lumpy boobs and a broken ass.

Hello hello,

Well here we are, just over 10 weeks after WW and our lives changed forever and I can hesitantly say that things are getting slightly easier. Squirt is settling into a routine of sorts. He has embraced his 7pm bedtime and after a bath, massage, story and bottle, retires to the land of nod until 7am, with a couple of brief feeding wake-ups in between. He settles quite quickly into his cot so WW is no longer working her biceps rocking his heavy butt for hours and hours.

Mornings are his best time. He lies between our pillows and coos and smiles, making up for the fact he’s waking us by being uber cute. Then, after he’s made sure we’re good and awake he passes out again for a few hours. Little bugger.

We had a week of afternoon rage not long ago but he has calmed slightly. That’s lies, he hasn’t calmed at all. We just figured out that if he doesn’t need a new nappy and isn’t on the verge of sleep he needs another bottle. Even if it has only been an hour since the last one. And it seems to have done the trick. At least we’ve avoided the 3 hour screaming episodes.

He has learned to sit….kind of. Rather, he has learned to make us hold him in a sitting position while his head droops into his lap. And heaven forbid you try to support his head, or lean him against something or lie him down. He wants to sit, thank you very much, droopy head and all.10714215_10153462710971808_4972633879813342197_o

He also loves to stand and uses his chunky thighs to support his weight just until you rely on him doing it, then he likes to drop and see if you can catch him. Fun times. His heavy head is a hindrance during this activity too.

And my, aren’t fists yummy! Plus, isn’t it great how much slobber you can create doing that? And then you can blow spit bubbles, yay!1524103_10153448810396808_151995104887577110_o

Day time naps are not fun, apparently. We try to put him down in his very fancy rock and play but he will scream after 20 mins or so. 30, maybe IF we remember to set the white noise app. So long days are spent eating, having enormous tan-coloured bowel movements that get into every nook and cranny little boys have and travel half way up his back, eating some more, cooing, crying and occasionally puking, with the most impressive episodes exiting from his mouth and nose at speed and coating his entire face, body and any other body in the vicinity. In short, the mummies are kept pretty busy.

And what of the mummies? Well, WW is super mum. Her face holds endless entertainment, she’s great to chat to and seems to have infinite patience. She does seem to hand him to the other mummy just as he has a particularly nasty poop, but swears it’s a coincidence. She’s tired but hides it well and seems to be much happier now Squirt is sleeping for longer and longer periods during the night.

And myself…well, I’m a mixed bag. I’m still exclusively feeding Squirt expressed milk so every four hours will see me hooked up to my two pumps. It’s been a tough week as far as pumping goes because, despite getting up at 1am and 5am I’m still waking up with really painful blocked ducts. They clear usually by the afternoon pump but it makes my mornings pretty uncomfortable. I think it’s because I keep rolling onto my stomach when I’m asleep and squishing my boobs. Might be time to break out the pregnancy pillow again.

untitled (2)But what’s really a pain in the ass is the…pain in my ass. As Squirt’s big head entered the world I heard a loud ‘pop’ noise. At the time I thought that was just him popping out but when, after 2 and a half months I’m still quite sore when I sit, lie on my back and stand I think it might have been his 8 pounds 9 ounces smashing their way through my tailbone in their rush to get out into the real world. At the moment this is just suspicion and Dr Google’s diagnosis. As I can’t picture myself being fitted for an ass cast for this injury I haven’t been rushing to the doctors but if it’s still bothering me in a few weeks I might cave.

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But apart from my possibly broken ass and lumpy boobs, I’m pretty good. I’m not sure I’ll ever feel like a ‘yummy mummy’ though 🙂

TTFN xxx

You know you are a new parent when….

  • You rock chairs, cribs, buggies and trolleys and yourself, even when the baby is not there.

Our Squirt’s last weigh in put him at 11 pounds/ 5 kilos at 6 weeks old. This little porker loves to be bounced and rocked. Tired muscle memory takes over and you find yourself repeating these movements even when it’s not necessary. What’s more is it feels wrong not to.

  • The prospect for a 3o minute nap can make your day.

Squirt has settled into kind of a routine. And yes, I realize that in saying this he will immediately no longer follow said routine. but hey ho. We try to do bath and bed around 8pm, he often eats then sleeps around 9 then gets up to eat every four hours, around the same schedule as I pump milk. We found some free white noise apps for kindle and WW’s smart phone which have been invaluable. There’s a great one called Baby Soother which activates white noise when he cries. So WW is getting a little more sleep and I’m much the same, sleeping for 3 hours and pumping for 1 throughout the night. But remember, I used to easily sleep for 10 hours straight, so it’s been an adjustment.

  • You can’t leave the house in under 90 minutes.

We start getting ready 2 hours before we have to leave the house, and we leave the house at least an hour before we have to be anywhere. We are laden down like we’re going on a 2 week holiday every time.

  • You bolt down every meal on the run.

Squirt has a sixth sense when it comes to his mummies eating. The minute any food is ready he wakes up and starts demanding attention. So now I eat my food at speed to avoid eating one handed and unsuccessfully trying not to drip any on him.

  • Your pet seems to be suffering from depression.

We were a little apprehensive as to how The Monster would take to being usurped from her spot as our only baby. The first day she came running every time Squirt cried. Now she’s over it. She barely glances anymore, occasionally sniffs his toes as she passes and instead occupies her time looking sad and neglected in the corner. Both WW and myself make an effort to fuss her when we pass but there’s no getting around the fact that Squirt is a little more demanding of our time. We did spend over an hour picking ticks off you the other day Monster, we show our love like apes.

  • You spend more time on your baby’s appearance than your own.

Squirt’s clothes get changed if they have spit up on them. Ours do not. Yesterday I changed his outfit 3 times trying to find the cutest one. I wore the first thing that came to hand. My jewelry was rejected on the basis that it might scratch him. He is described as ‘cute’, I’m described as ‘mumsy’ or ‘knackered’.

  • You measure your success by how much expressed milk you have in the fridge/freezer.

I’ve come to terms with exclusively expressing and given up on the breast feeding after several more failed and painful attempts. It works for me and makes me a lot more confident to get out and about when I know we can pack a few bottles and feed him wherever and whenever. I’m lucky my boobs are hard workers and can keep up with Squirt’s greed hunger.

 

 

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got milk? 10 liters excess in the freezer. finally a purpose for big boobs.

  • Poop is a regular topic of discussion with your partner.

Did he poop today? Was it normal? Oh my god, this is going right up to his belly! How many times has he pooped? What colour was it?…..Has the Monster pooped today?etc….

  • You secretly feel sorry for other people because their baby is just not as cute as yours.

We all do it, right? Nope? Just me? Well maybe that’s ‘cos my baby is cuter than yours 😉

TTFN x

PS. Squirt’s heart check up went OK. We met with a supremely unconcerned cardiologist who acted like he didn’t know what we were worried about, pointed out that Squirt is the picture of health and yes he still had a VSD (hole in his heart) but it obviously wasn’t doing him any harm. We will have another check up in a year and if that is OK not again until before he goes to school. He told us it may yet close by itself but if it doesn’t he could live unaffected by it for the rest of his life. We were given the all clear to fly, got home without any difficulties and will be seeing the Drs here soon for his 8 week vaccinations. I will be interested to see how they deal with his VSD compared to the NHS. I’ll keep you posted.

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Wrapped around the finger of a five week old.

Hello all!

So much to update…where to start? Well as this is an egocentric blog lets starts with me :-).

I’ve been through a lot of changes since I got back from hospital. Again this is probably going to contain instances of overshare but you’re used to that by now.

The first few nights I experienced an unprecedented level of sweatiness which, coming from a Scot normally resident in Bangkok, is quite something. I woke up several times every night in soaking wet clothes. Plus I had a few nasty spells of the shakes. I’m not talking ‘Brrr- it’s a bit chilly’ shakes but rather ‘OMG, do I need to go to hospital, my whole body has been shaking uncontrollably for 45 minutes’ shakes. According to the midwives I was sweating out excess pregnancy fluid and shaking out excess breast milk as my ‘engorgement’ was pretty intense.

In hindsight it seems pretty obvious that if you push an 8 pound 9 baby out of your snatch you’re going to experience a little discomfort but no one warned me how long this might go on for. I had the one week mark in my head from somewhere but that was sooooo not my experience. It was fine when I was lying down but when I sat or walked I felt like Squirt’s entire weight was back pressing on my stitches. It took me 3 weeks to be brave enough to look down there. It’s not as bad as I feared, thankfully. It took me a month to not wince when I peed. If I was straight I’m not sure I’d ever have sex again. At one point I convinced myself something was wrong and went to see my GP:

‘And how would you like me to check that?’

‘Well, as far as I know there’s only one way….’

It felt very odd, like I was forcing him to check out my vag. Not something I suggest for kicks, really. His verdict:

‘Yeah, having a baby will do that to you.’

 

 

It was a joy to no longer be peeing every 10 minutes or swigging Gaviscon like it was water in a desert but the money saved was diverted to sanitary towels. I was told a few times to keep one eye on the blood loss and read something somewhere which used an analogy of a leaking tap and how much water that could quickly add up to. I had a little scare when the blood loss tapered off and then returned with a vengeance on the 10th day. A panicky call to the midwife was met with the telephone equivalent of a shrug and advice to ‘keep an eye on it’. I wasn’t really sure what that meant but I didn’t bleed to death and it stopped around day 14 so I guess it’s OK.

I bet you’re all dying to hear about my bowels :-). It took 2 weeks for that to normalise and become pain free but I’m happy to report it wasn’t anything like as bad as that first time in hospital. My pregnancy farting hasn’t dissipated though. But now I can blame the smell on Squirt, who takes after his mother in the trumping department.

And now the boobs. By far the hardest thing about having Squirt has been the breast feeding- or lack thereof. I was told by midwives in hospital, midwives at home, the health visitor and a lactation consultant that there was nothing wrong with either Squirt or me and we could and would successfully breast feed. Despite this my nipples did impressions of moles disappearing into holes every time his gaping mouth approached, he sucked maybe five times before giving up and either falling asleep or screaming blue murder and I have never seen him swallow or get any milk. I freaked out, got frustrated, cried and felt like a failure before I made the decision to give up and continue solely expressing my milk. When we first came home I was pumping every 3 hours, which I switched to every 4 hours a few days later. I’m pleased to say my big boobs have come in useful for something and I am consistently expressing much more milk than he needs. After a month I have maybe 8 or 9 days additional milk stored in the freezer. Which is satisfying but depressing as I have no way to get it to Thailand still frozen and will have to sacrifice it.

I have sailed close to post partum depression on a few occasions mostly as a direct result of this issue. I beat myself up because breast is best and I feel like I’m not doing my duty as a mother. I beat myself up because I spend more time hooked up to a pump than I spend feeding him and I’m not convinced we’re getting the bonding time that we should be. I beat myself up because I feel like I didn’t try hard enough and the experts are telling me I should be able to do it but whenever I even think about trying again I feel panicky and tearful. I beat myself up because I can’t face dealing with nipple confusion, latching positions and attempting to breast feed every three hours plus pumping every four. And I am tired. Dog tired.

So I push thoughts of attempting to get Squirt back on the breast and all my qualms about pumping away and focus on the positive, like:

I’ve dropped from 14 stone 2 pounds to 12 stone 5 pounds in four weeks and I’m still eating bread, cheese and CAKE!

I have an amazing wife who happily gets up to feed and put a gassy Squirt back to sleep during the night while I’m hooked up to the breast pump.

I have been staying with my parents who have been amazing, keeping Squirt late in the evening and early in the morning so we can get a few hours uninterrupted kip and taking him when we need a break.

For the most part Squirt is a relatively easy, happy and healthy baby.

 

And now onto the little man himself! Squirt recovered quickly from the jaundice as soon as he started drinking proper quantities of milk. I say proper quantities, I should say huge quantities. The midwives told me he should have regained his birth weight by two weeks. At 10 days he had surpassed that by 6 ounces. We are waiting for his 6 week check up to get his next weigh in but I’m sure he’s gained a ton and grown a bunch. The kid does nothing but eat. All my visitors think I’m crazy as my most commonly asked question is ‘When did he last eat?’ because a: I can’t remember ANYTHING anymore and b: He only cries for more than a minute or two if he’s hungry.

He barely cries but he does suffer from gas which can elicit some yelps and grumbles. In the beginning he rarely burped during feeds. I hoped this was due to the cleverly engineered Dr Brown’s bottle’s we were using but suspect it was more likely our ineptitude at burping. After 3 weeks he started struggling and went from a quiet, happy baby to a grumbling, yelping, red faced, straining baby. He farts unlike any creature I have ever encountered before, including myself. The midwives showed us how to gently push his knees up to his stomach and elicit whoopy cushion sound effects. He also enjoys sitting on people’s laps and straining for 15 minutes before letting fly a sharty (shit/fart) explosion. Heaven help you if you hear gas while his nappy is off as the poo can and will come flying out of his bottom like lava out of a volcano. Plus he likes to pee on people. And himself.

He also gets hiccups several times a day and has pretty spectacular instances of spit-up fountains. My poor, gassy boy. I have eradicated all of the usual suspects from my diet except dairy. I’m praying it’s not the dairy and waiting to see what the Dr says at his 6 week check-up. Please don’t let it be the dairy. In the meantime we’re squirting Infacol down his neck before every feed which seems to help the gas pop up…and down with much more ease. Dr Google recons babies just sometimes need some time to sort their digestion out. Hopefully it should resolve itself soon.

Squirt has changed a lot over the last four weeks. He now has long periods of being awake and has found his voice, shouting and making sweet baby noises when he feels like he’s not getting enough attention. He has also gotten strong. He can now lift his head high for quite long periods of time and enjoys nutting unsuspecting cuddlers. His other new favourite past time is increasing people’s heart rates by using his legs and torso to throw himself about when you’re holding him only under the chin while patting his back to burp him. No one has dropped him…yet. I’m not sure about the smiles vs gas debate yet. His grandma recons she’s had a few real ones but she also has entire conversations with him so may not be the most reliable source.

Routines, especially with regards to sleep are pretty much non-existent. He tends to wake up during meal times. I think he hopes to catch some of the crumbs I tend to drop on him while attempting to eat with one hand. He also like playing possum with everyone, feigning deep sleep during cuddles but springing awake and protesting the minute he is put down. He tends to eat every four hours. Except if you warm milk round the four hour mark, then he’ll sleep for five or six. But if you don’t he’ll wake at four hours to the second and scream like he’s being tortured until someone shoves a bottle in his gob. He tends to drink 90mls. Except for the times he wants 150 or 60. He likes to keep us on our toes.

I think he enjoys causing us to worry. I thought I turned to google often before but that was a drop in the ocean compared to now. If you’re finding the search engine slow recently it’s probably because I’m clogging it up every 20 minutes with searches like: should my babies poo be green? How often should a three week old fart? Should babies strain while pooping? What does infant diarrhoea look like? Etc.

On the worry vein he had a hearing check as he failed while in hospital. He needed to be asleep for the appointment so, of course he slept beautifully all morning and woke up and freaked out when they started poking him. In fairness I’d scream too if someone rubbed patches of hair off my head, sellotaped electrodes to my skull and shoved noisy things in my ear . Plus, after 10 minutes of red-faced, flailing armed freak out he let rip with a spectacular shart, so that might have been part of the issue. Anyway, after a 45 minute trauma he passed with flying colours. His heart check-up is not until next week. We are cautiously optimistic as he seems fine and dandy. But I still worry.

But he’s totally worth it, just look at him!

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