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!