New baby essentials

Considering we’ve been doing this new baby lark for almost 10 weeks, I thought I’d reflect on some of the things that I’ve found to be useful with baby N. I know there are a few soon-to-be-mamas out there so I hope this is helpful!

Firstly, newborn babies need hardly any stuff despite what you might think if you go to any baby shop. For the first few weeks all they do is eat, sleep, poop. So if you have the essentials for those activities then you’re covered.

Bedding

You might want to consider getting multiple sets of bed sheets as it took me a bit of practice to get the nappy/diaper application good and thus we had some wee leakage issues in the early days. Also, the more sheets you have, then you don’t have to worry about needing to do a load of washing often.

Sleeping

If you have a big house you might want to consider some kind of day bed for the baby to sleep in during the day. I had a Moses basket which had the advantage of being portable so I’d put it in whatever room I was in. I also had it in our bedroom for the first few weeks until the sounds of the baby sleeping – babies are VERY noisy sleepers – drove me nuts and I put him in his own room.

I didn’t love my Moses basket as it was not good quality though. It came from Mothercare so I don’t recommend that brand. There are other places that make nicer ones though such as Mamas and Papas (UK audience only I think).

What I do wish I’d bought though is a Sleepyhead (called Dock-a-tot in the US). They sit in a larger bed/cot/crib and make the baby feel cosy. I also borrowed a Cocoonababy for a few weeks and it helped with brilliant sleeping but the transition to the cot was HARD!

I was super excited about Ewan the Dream Sheep as a sleep aid but I’ve not seen any evidence of it helping. It didn’t make things worse either but seems a bit of an oversell to me. Lucky he’s cute though as he is now primarily decorative.

Stroller

I totally love my Bugaboo Chameleon stroller but I confess it is huge and it takes up the entire boot/trunk of our SUV. Perhaps when we transition from the bassinet seat to the stroller seat it will be smaller but if space is an issue for you then make sure to choose a stroller that collapses to a more small size. I kind of wish I’d bought a more sensible one now.

Swings and bouncers

As I’ve said before, I’d caution against using swings/bouncers. While my guy loves his Mamaroo, it didn’t help his flat head. If you’re going to get one, commit to only leaving the baby in there for short periods and don’t let them sleep in there.

Baby wearing

I do think something to wear your baby with is helpful, be that a sling or a carrier. I have an Ergobaby and I think he’s quite comfy in there. I plan to use it more when it’s not so hot here as he gets warm quickly in it.

Baby clothes

Clothes wise, when you’re super sleep deprived you do not want to be dealing with 1000 buttons to change a nappy. Choose simple clothing for the baby and make your life easier.

Baby bag

I have a wonderful nappy/diaper bag by Skip Hop which I love. It has lots of great pockets and it easily attaches on the stroller. I no longer use a handbag but just put my essentials in one of the pockets. I keep the bag fully stocked – I.e. When I get home I re-stock anything used so that it’s ready to go for next time with the exception of feeding items. This makes getting out of the house with the baby a little easier and faster and I always have everything I need in there.

Gadgets

Babies are pretty low-tech but do get things like a thermometer in case of fever, a bath thermometer so you get the bath water temperature right, and some kind of baby monitor if the baby will be sleeping in a different room to you. All other gadgets are not necessary.

Breast feeding

If you plan to breast feed then do invest in a breast pump from the start. If I had one in advance I would have tried to rescue my supply from the start of my problems. You’ll also need a steriliser machine, bottles and bottle cleaning tools.

Toys

Newborns do not care for toys so don’t go crazy buying loads in advance. Also people tend to give you gifts of toys, especially soft toys! I have a few nice toys that make crinkle sounds and have nice mirrors and it’s only about now – nearly 10 weeks in – that he’s starting to be interested in them.

FOR MAMA:

At the hospital

I optimistically packed a bunch of make-up for the hospital stay. Hahahahaha! I did use some blusher one day to look more alive but really it didn’t need to be packed. I did find that by day 2 I wanted to be in comfy non-PJ clothes during the day. This is both to distinguish night from day but also so I didn’t feel totally awful when accepting visitors. That said, I did meet my husband’s new boss for the first time while wearing flamingo PJs!!

At home clothes

Invest in advance of the birth in some clothes that are non-maternity but are a size up on your regular clothes. Unless you are a supermodel, you’ll carry some baby belly for a few weeks and it’s depressing only having maternity clothes to wear. If you’re breast feeding, look into tops that button down for easy boob access.

Feeling good about yourself

We all have a different level of commitment to beauty regimes so apply this advice as required. In order to feel nice about myself I have been making sure I shower each day and wash my hair. This may sound ridiculously simple but it’s not. Decide what your base is and try to stick to it. I also made sure to have my hair cut and coloured the week before my delivery and had a pedicure. This meant that I looked relatively put together for the first few weeks. It also means I REALLY need to go see my hairdresser again soon!

Getting out of the house

I cannot emphasise enough how good it is to get out of the house after having a baby. It is also waaaaaaaay more complicated to do than you can imagine. Expect to find the first few attempts to leave the house to be time-consuming and exhausting. It gets better. One thing I’ve found useful if I’m pushed for time is to have some make-up essentials in a small make-up bag that I can throw in the baby bag. This means I can apply make-up in the car (if I’m a passenger) or at the destination.

In this bag I tend to favour make-up sticks such as by Nars. They do great stick blusher and eye shadow. You’d be surprised what magic can be done with tinted moisturiser, basic eyeshadow, eyebrow pencil, mascara, blusher and lipstick. I can do all of this in less than 5 minutes.

A little extra

Another thing that used to drive me wild when pregnant is people always telling me to sleep now before the baby comes. I found that ridiculous because my sleep when pregnant was appalling! However now I know what they really meant. No matter how entirely awful your pregnancy sleep is, it will still be 100x more satisfying than your “sleep” with a newborn. So if you’re pregnant and thinking things will get better when the baby comes, you’re wrong. Basically enjoy not having your sleep held to ransom now by a tiny dictator. ūüėÄ

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Week 9 – New endings and beginnings

Our small guy celebrated his two month birthday on Sunday and it has made me think where has time gone and have I really not been at work for 11 weeks?! I speak to my colleagues often and one of them likes to cheer me up with tales of how things are not working without me there. While I don’t wish hardship on anyone, it’s nice to know that my work does count for something! With that in mind, I’ve also started to think of where I am going to send our guy in January/February when I return to work. ¬†I’m hoping that I’ll be able to work part time so that it won’t be too onerous on him to be somewhere away from home for a few hours a day.

I have one nursery place in my sights currently which is dual language so he’ll be able to get to grips with the local language and English too. My baby physio said that they also give the small babies plenty of floor time rather than just plonking them in chairs, which is particularly important for our guy with his weak neck and flat head.

When I go to write these weekly updates I try and think back to what happened during the week previously and it is SO HARD to remember what has happened. Parenthood does something really funky to your memory and so by today I can barely remember what happened yesterday, much less what happened last week.  My fuzzy memory seems to indicate that last week was a pretty good week overall, with no major moments of meltdown.  The past few days, however have been a bit more tricky!

According to the Wonder Weeks app, the small guy has entered another developmental leap phase so I am putting his recent crankiness down to that. ¬†He is generally really lovely and cheery in the mornings and afternoons, giving us LOTS of smiles and even laughing at us / with us these days. He is a delight! ¬†But the past few days we have hit around 6pm and just nothing makes him happy. ¬†Well, his bath makes him briefly happy but then it’s all tears and screams. ¬†I spend a long time each evening holding him, walking around home, singing to him, dancing (gently) to music and generally trying to calm him down with mixed results.

I used to run marathons and other long distances in the past (feeling like the VERY distant past now) and I remember at certain points in the races I would have to tell myself to just focus on putting my foot forward each time, rather than thinking about the finish line. ¬†I find that during these evenings where the baby is really difficult (or as the internet likes to call it,¬†fussy) I just have to focus on that exact moment and not think to myself¬†will this child ever stop crying¬†or¬†at what age do babies stop crying¬†every single night. Sometimes I succeed, other times I cry with the baby. My hubby is getting better at supporting me through these difficult times now and that also helps me enormously. ¬†While he doesn’t take the baby from me much when he’s crying he does do things like get me a drink or make up the formula for the baby.

As for the baby and his wonky head, the physio lady was very pleased that his neck is getting much stronger, although it’s not getting a lot more straight yet. ¬†Yay for tummy time, which he is now really good at! She was very optimistic and said it will get better with time so I am just trusting in her. ¬†I got a bit worked up about it when I saw her on Monday, but I’d not had much sleep or any breakfast beforehand so I think that didn’t help. ¬†She said that around 80% of babies these days get some form of torticollis (weak neck muscles) because they all sleep on their backs. ¬†I think she doesn’t agree with the recommendations to have babies sleep on their backs but – as a medical professional – she can’t really tell me that.

Age: 9 weeks + 1 day

Weight: As of yesterday he weighs 5.78kg which is almost 13lbs. ¬†This is a very normal weight for his age, and is even more okay when you consider that he’s in the 85th percentile for height. He started off a bit on the skinny side due to the issue with my lack of milk so I’m glad his BMI has caught up now to be in the normal range. ¬†Also, the doctor ¬†reassured me that he’s not chubby either which a few (stupid) people had inferred the past week.

Feeding: Confession time! ¬†I have decided to give up the combination feeding and just go for 100% formula. ¬†Why? Well the baby has actually decided for me as he’s started to reject the breast and get angry and frustrated. ¬†I don’t blame him as my milk supply is very pathetic and the poor guy just wants to eat. Also, bottles are way more efficient so it’s common for babies to develop a preference for bottles over boobs.

Up until now at most feeds I have been offering him my boob and then topping up with formula which means he’s had the best of both worlds (in theory) but I’ve had the worst of both worlds – doing both boob and formula feeding. ¬†This means it takes AGES to feed him which I’ve persevered with for two months but now he seems done and so am I. ¬†I checked with my paediatrician and she was very chilled about it all so I feel a bit better. ¬†I still feel relentless guilt for failing at breast feeding but I’m trying ever so hard to focus on the positives and that is the baby is healthy and happy and nourished. ¬†He was not being nourished by my breasts so switching to formula was a very good thing for him. Any guilt I have is my own ego at play which I have to let go.

Yesterday I thought I’d go cold turkey on the boob feeding, figuring my supply was pretty low anyway. ¬†By the afternoon I was in some pain with my left boob in particular quite engorged. ¬†This was a bit of a surprise, so I let the baby feed from it for a long time to relieve the build up and we were all happy with that solution. ¬†However, today I don’t have the same issue so perhaps I am done now. ¬†I’ll see how I go as I think the official advice is to cut down feeds gradually, but that’s probably for folks with a full supply to start with.

Sleeping routine: From my hazy memory, the small guy slept pretty well last week. ¬†Apart from the trouble in getting him to sleep in the evenings, he’s starting to settle into his night time sleeps these days. ¬†I am generally only getting up to feed him once in the night, followed by our breakfast feed at sometime around 6.30-7.30 (it varies). ¬†Depending on how easy he was to settle at night, this might mean I’ll get chunks of sleep between 4-5 hours in length, but sometimes it is more like 3 hours.

The first sleep of the night is his longest one so I try and get tucked up in bed as early as I can do so as to maximise my sleep too. ¬†If he’s cried until 10pm and I still need to have dinner, this doesn’t always work out so well which means I’ve been very tired the past few days. ¬†I remain optimistic though that this is the start of him developing longer nighttime sleeps so that soon I might get sleep periods of 6 hours at a time. ¬†Oh to dream!

Firsts: The small guy had his first vaccinations with needles today. ¬†I was really nervous for him as the thought of letting someone purposely hurt him was upsetting me, but he was so brave! ¬†They had to give him two jabs and for the first one he did a bit of a whimper and for the second one he cried for about a minute. ¬†Since then, no crying. ¬†That was about 7 hours ago and he’s been very tired since. ¬†I’m monitoring him for a fever but no sign of one yet. ¬†If he seems particularly unhappy or feverish I am to give him some Calpol but I will also give him a dose before bed tonight just to make sure he has a nice snoozy.

When not being tortured by medical professionals, the baby N is really quite gorgeous. ¬†He smiles and laughs and loves to see mummy and daddy. ¬†He’ll also smile at other people too so I think he’s going to be a real charmer! I like that he’s not shy around people and hopefully that means he’ll be a social character.

I’ve started to notice that he has different cries for different reasons these days. ¬†Obviously there is the wail that is saved for evenings which is usually from being overtired. ¬†Then there is the cry for food and now he has a kind of whiny cry when he’s just generally displeased with things. I like that one as he screws up his face and puts his bottom lip out just like I would when throwing tantrums as a child. My mum is delighting in the fact that I am getting a taste of my own medicine now. ¬†Hahaha!

He is also really enjoying looking at his surroundings. ¬†Sometimes he sees a particularly fascinating shadow or shape on the wall and he stares at it in wonderment. ¬†I’m kind of jealous he sees such magic in seemingly mundane things. ¬†My husband likes to give him a tour around our home of the different pictures and artworks and there is one nice photo of me on the wall of our bedroom that was taken by a professional photographer friend as a favour to him when I was about 16 weeks pregnant (I got the photos for free if he can use them on his website – winning deal!). ¬†You can’t see I’m pregnant in the photo, but my husband was telling baby N that he was in my belly there and the baby not only smiled at the photo but he laughed. ¬†It was really cute! ¬†At least he loves his (flawed) mummy!

Hair: Growing back! ¬†Hallelujah! ¬†He’s quite fair but not a full-on blondie. ¬†More a dirty blond kind of colour. ¬†Definitely not looking at all Mediterranean like his daddy!

Eyes: Heading towards hazel territory but still keeping quite a bit of blue in them for now.

Mummy update: Mummy had a pretty good week last week! ¬†I went to yoga twice and… wait for it… I WENT TO THE GYM!! ¬†Yep, I did a personal training session for the first time in about two years. ¬†As part of my regime to increase the odds of IVF success I gave up the gym and running and focused on yoga and walking. ¬†Although my PT only gave me pretty simple and easy exercises to do it was so wonderful to feel endorphins coursing through my veins again. ¬†I did feel a bit tight the next day, but nothing too bad. ¬†Thank goodness for daddy who took care of the baby while I got to go do my thing.

This week I’m hoping to do the same with yoga and gym and then in the coming weeks I will try and do more such as walking with the baby (when the weather gets cooler – it’s still too hot during the day here) and perhaps more gym if I can get someone to mind the baby for me. ¬†I am also going to the hairdresser tomorrow which is SUPER EXCITING as I look a bit wild at the moment.

On the weekend we had two adventures Рon Saturday hubby and I took the baby out in the late afternoon/evening for a stroll around town and spent some time at a wine bar.  Although we came home at 8pm I think we pushed him too far as he was really overtired when we got home and took a lot of work to settle.

Not put off by this however, we then took him out during the day on Sunday to the beach. ¬†The coastal areas are cooler than where we live so in the shade the baby was okay for a couple of hours of beach time. ¬†Both hubby and I had a nice swim, although obviously not at the same time as the baby needed someone to look after him. ¬†I didn’t feel he was old enough or ready to go for a swim himself yet. ¬†I think I’ll save that for next year. ¬†We then had a nice lunch at a restaurant – the baby spent half of the lunch on my lap with me eating my dinner with one hand – and headed home afterwards. ¬†Again, the baby was sooooo over stimulated by that adventure that he was very fussy in the evening, so we did consider maybe we were too optimistic with our adventures.

Although we paid for it in the evenings, it was lovely to actually get out and have a nice time together. ¬†The baby did seem to enjoy himself while he was out and about so maybe it is just a case of him getting used to these types of things. ¬†In any case, we are all still learning and it’s a trial and error kind of thing!

Eight weeks – is it time for a schedule?

Of all the tips on how to get a baby to sleep well, I keep reading about the importance of getting baby on a schedule. ¬†While I’ve been pretty great at making sure he has a bath at approximately the same time each night from the start, before now I haven’t really made any true effort beyond that, sticking mainly to survival mode. ¬†At first baby N was doing the usual newborn thing of being very sleepy all the time so the biggest challenge was making sure I got to eat dinner during one of his snoozy moments.

But then he went through a developmental phase which I can only describe as “difficult” whereby he has been next to impossible to convince to go down for a sleep in the evenings.¬†I had been warned by my best friend who has two young children that babies are tough between weeks six to eight, and boy was she right. ¬†While baby N is a lovely smiley, laughing boy in the mornings and the afternoons, something happens around 6pm where he turns into some kind of screaming monster.

I’m not joking when I say I was giving him his bath around 7pm each night last week and if I was lucky he went down for a nap (not his nighttime sleep) at around 10pm. If I was unlucky, it was more like midnight. He would of course wake up a couple of hours later for a feed so that wasn’t even the end of the baby soothing process for the night.

Meanwhile, as I was trying to get him to go to sleep in the first instance, I was holding him, walking around the house with him, bouncing him in my arms and hubby even took him for a drive in the car one night. ¬†That day I had been awake since 3am and holding the baby for practically the whole day because he’d not had much daytime nap success so by midnight I actually told my husband that I was resigning from motherhood and the baby was now his. ¬†So he took the baby out in the car with him! ¬†While the baby did sleep in the car (and I slept on the bed while they were in the car together), he then woke up the second we tried to move him to the baby bed which made me cry some more. ¬†I think he crashed out around 1am on that night so I almost pulled a 24 hours shift.

In between the bouncing and the crying (mine, more than the baby’s) I was FRANTICALLY googling how to make a baby sleep, At some point I realised that no one has any freaking idea how to make a baby sleep and most advice can be summarised as “Try anything in the hope that something, anything works for your baby”. Anyway, everyone seemed to be banging on about the importance of a schedule for baby so he knows what to do at any given time of day.

This week I am trying very hard to actually follow a schedule of some sorts. I’m two days in and so far I’m seeing some small progress, which in baby land means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING because babies like to completely change their behaviour from one day to the next it seems. ¬†However, in my more optimistic moments I like to think/hope/dream that this is the beginning of better days for us.

As for baby N’s neck and head situation, he seems to have made some good progress in just one week. ¬†We visited the baby physio again yesterday and she seemed pleased with how he is progressing. ¬†I can actually see he is getting stronger too which is making me a little relieved. He is definitely getting better and happier with tummy time too and only in just one week!

I have more or less been carrying baby N about the house when he is not asleep and I have almost gotten used to it.  When I really, really have to do something that requires two hands I do just put him down somewhere in a position that is not physio approved because sometimes you just have to get stuff done!  That said, I am now quite talented at applying make-up one-handed.  I have not attempted eyeliner one-handed though! In some ways I think it is helping to bond me closer to baby N after my rough start, so every cloud has a silver lining etc.

For those of you who are expecting a baby soon and may be making a gift list, I would caution you against getting a bouncer/swing of any kind as I quizzed my baby physio about why she banned me from using ours anymore. ¬†She explained that not only does the angle of the bouncer/swing mean that most babies will naturally favour leaning their head to one side to rest it, which can then lead to the problem with the weak neck, but also she said that these items make baby very passive. ¬†They don’t encourage babies to turn their heads to look around at their surroundings, thus strengthening their neck muscles.

It was an interesting view and something I had certainly not thought about when we bought ours, but also I think once you have one in your house, you’re tempted to use it possibly more than you should do so that you can get some rest or some chores done. ¬†I absolutely love the one we got (the Mammaroo) and so does baby N, but the wonky neck and flat head is simply not worth it! ¬†In our case the bouncer/swing did not cause baby N’s problems, but it did make it worse.

In good news though, all of this flat head situation has meant that baby N has made the transition to the cot bed. ¬†Unfortunately he has cut down the total consecutive hours he will sleep for his long sleep at night since moving out of the Cocoonababy, but I think there would have been some kind of regression when we made the transition regardless of when it was. At least we are dealing with it now and already I can see him being more comfortable in the cot bed. Given that he’s so long I would have had to move him in the next couple of weeks anyway.

He is also coping with his special Mimos pillow pretty well.  In case anyone is also having flat head issues, then I encourage you to get one of these pillows too.  They seem to be pretty magical at helping to ease away the symptoms!  They are expensive, but you have to do what you have to do. Links below to some stockists РI am not getting any endorsement for this!

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Australia

 

Age: 8 weeks +1

Weight: No idea as he’s not been weighed this week, but after holding him all day long for a week, I can officially tell you he is HEAVY!

Feeding: He feeds on a pretty consistent 3 hour schedule during the day.  It stretches to 4-5 hours at night depending on what kind of monster he is being his sleeping habits.

Sleeping routine: See above. Last week his routine was to refuse to go to sleep unless in my arms and every time I put him in bed, he would throw his eyes wide open and cry. ¬†This was infuriating! ¬†However, I am still trying to get him to sleep like the books say babies should. I bathe him at around 7pm, feed him, read him a story and then try and get him to go to sleep. The past two nights this hasn’t been too bad, but let’s see if we can make it three in a row.

During the day, he seems to have 2 morning naps of around 30-45 mins each and in the afternoon he might have 1-2 naps. ¬†He seems to prefer to nap on me in the afternoons so we’ve been watching some pretty average TV together. I also read that it’s important not to take your baby about too much during the day so that he can rest properly at nap times as a well-napped baby apparently means they will sleep better at night. ¬†With this in mind I have also been making an effort to time errands and other things around his naps so that he gets good rest and this has seemed to have positive results too, even though I’m going bananas.

I’ve also learned not to go to soothe the baby the second he starts crying when in bed as sometimes he does a small cry and falls back to sleep. If I had intervened and picked him up (for example) then he would be wide awake. ¬†However, quite often if he’s not properly awake he just drifts back to sleep which is nice.

Firsts: Baby N is quite the smiler and will smile for most people if they give him a big one themselves, but he particularly loves daddy and saves all his big smiles for him when he comes home from work. ¬†I really love his funny toothless grins and giggles. ¬†He doesn’t yet seem at all interested in the cats but I do wonder when he’ll start laughing at them too.

Last night we took him out to his first family party at a relative’s house. ¬†I was not sure this was a good idea (see above about keeping to a schedule) but apart from absolutely wailing the house down as I bundled him into his car seat to go there, he was a total angel and everyone probably now thinks I’m exaggerating about how hard he is to put down to sleep. ¬†In fact, he didn’t even wake up when I put him back in the car seat to go home, drove home, took him out of the seat and put him in bed. ¬†He even slept through to 4am which means he had 6 hours between feeds (something he doesn’t do often). Am I the only one who sometimes feels their baby is trying to mock them?

Hair: Slowly growing back so he no longer looks like quite the old man.

Eyes: I think they are starting to move a little away from blue towards a hazel/brown.

Mummy update: After a great start to my exercise regime with my return to yoga last Wednesday, I’ve failed to do anything further since. ¬†I was meant to go to yoga again on Saturday morning but it didn’t work out. Friday night was a nightmare with the baby and so both my hubby and I were exhausted on Saturday and it just seemed like too much effort.

Today I went for a lovely walk in the park with the baby, but that barely counted as a workout.  I am heading back to yoga tomorrow though and hopefully again on Saturday. I am even contemplating a gentle personal training session on Thursday which I have not done in about two years as I took a break during the IVF process. Wish me luck!

In general I find that I try and have some things to do throughout the week, but that if I don’t have the capacity to do the non-essential things on the day that I just don’t do them. I have really had to let go of a lot of what used to bother me in order to adjust to the new normal. Some days I don’t put any make-up on, others I put some on just to make myself feel better. ¬†For me the one non-negotiable is that I have to wash my hair every day. ¬†This simple task can sometimes feel like a burden but I always feel better for it.

I have always been the one to keep things neat and tidy around the house so if hubby left something out I would probably tidy it away for him. ¬†These days I just don’t have the time or ability to do this so I just leave whatever it is wherever it was. ¬†Do you know the miraculous thing is that he sometimes comes back now and tidies it up himself!! ¬†This is a REVELATION! ¬†Sometimes it takes him two days to do it, but still at least he realises he has to clean up his own stuff! ¬†The irony is that it’s only now that I think he’s getting a full appreciation of how the old me used to take care of him. ¬†New me does not take care of him so well right now (oops!).

The past week I have been hugely annoyed by my husband though. ¬†I am finding his attitude very difficult. While he is very helpful and takes responsibility for many, many things in our relationship, I feel he could be more supportive of me regarding the baby. He will come home from work and go straight to the gym or play on his computer – which is all fine, but when he does it every single day and I don’t get even 5 minutes to sit and do nothing (especially when the baby is being difficult) I find it incredibly selfish. ¬†Unfortunately I haven’t yet managed to effectively communicate my frustration to him. ¬†It usually comes out when I am at my most exhausted and just creates tension between us that I also don’t have energy for. ¬†It’s a difficult time and we are still managing the transition, but I can FULLY understand why people struggle in their relationships after having a baby.

 

 

Seven weeks – Just when you think it’s ok…

This post is a couple of days late as things have taken an unexpected turn recently. Up until Friday last week things were going well and we had a nice flow that made me generally think it was all going to be ok.

Then we visited our paediatrician and as she was doing her usual checks she asked me if baby N favours one side of his head for sleeping. To be honest I hadn’t noticed as usually I’m just so delighted he’s asleep!! The doctor had noticed that my baby has developed a flat head on one side of his skull, no doubt caused by favouring that side for sleeping.

The doctor has a way of making serious things not sound so bad and thus I didn’t think that much of if. She told me to call someone who is a specialist paediatric physiotherapist and sent me on my way.

I managed not to panic or do any Googling until Sunday, but when I did the freak out mode kicked in. Although flat head syndrome is fairly common, it can be bad for developmental health if not resolved. And it looks awful too.

On Monday we met with the baby physio who diagnosed torticollis, which is essentially a weak neck. This means that one side of baby N’s neck is stronger than the other, hence he holds his head a bit wonky and he prefers to sleep on one side of his head.

I was so upset by this diagnosis and felt once again like a total failure. It wasn’t until I did some further deep googling later that I realised in most cases torticollis is caused in the womb with baby lying in a funny position. I then went and scanned through all of my photos where it became clear that he’s been favouring one side since birth and I never noticed it. Although this makes no difference to the situation as it stands it made me feel less guilty as, up until then, I thought his problems were caused by me not holding him enough.

The physio lady seemed optimistic that with regular therapy and exercises at home that we should see a difference in a month’s time. She also instructed me to get a special pillow for him that helps to lesson the pressure of gravity on his skull.

I’m glad at least that we have caught it early and can do something. In very bad cases the babies need to wear a helmet 23 hours a day for two years. We desperately want to avoid that!!!

One of the instructions I have been given though is that the only time baby N should be lying down is when he is sleeping. At all other times he must be held or carried. This freaked me out so badly! It means no bouncer/relaxing chair (so no more Mamaroo), no leaving him to play on his activity mat and no letting him lie on the bed for a few minutes while I do my hair. I can put him in the baby carrier and wear him but he gets a bit unhappy in there after a while because it’s so hot.

And all of this for several MONTHS until his neck muscles strengthen. I’ve no idea how I will get anything done!

It is no exaggeration to say that the enormity of what I face hit me like a tonne of bricks and sent me spiralling back down the path of baby blues. The past two days I have cried and cried.

The baby – in my arms all day – must have picked up on my mood yesterday as he slept maybe a total of 1 hour during daylight hours. He was cranky most of the day which meant I couldn’t even sit down with him in my arms!! It was exhausting! He finally crashed out last night at 10.30pm by which time I was completely over motherhood and wondering if I could give him to another mother who would do a better job. If he’d been a puppy I would have taken him back.

Today I am better but I am so tired from it all. Anyway, here’s the weekly stats.

Age: 7 weeks + 2 days

Weight: He was 5kg last Friday which is average but he is now 59cm long which is in the 85th percentile. Tall boy!

Feeding: Still combination feeding but edging closer each day to exclusive formula feeding.

Sleeping routine: I still dream of a routine but we are trying to implement one so that he eventually catches on. On a good day I can have him in bed and asleep by 9pm with 2 feeds in the night after that. On a bad day he’s still awake at 11pm, I’ve not had dinner and we are all super-cranky.

Firsts: Baby N decided last Tuesday to give us his first brilliant smile and has been grinning ever since, especially at his daddy! It is so cute! I joked to my husband that it’s a miracle he learned how to smile as all I do is cry. He also had his first play date last Thursday with 15 week old twin girls. It was fun to hang out with another Mum and see what an awesome job she is going with twins. I remain utterly delighted that I only transferred one embryo as twins are a whole different level of hard!

Hair: The poor guy is still losing his hair and it looks a bit weird. I can see the new stuff growing through so hopefully soon we will get to see more of a head covering.

Eyes: Big and blue!

Mummy update: Operation MILF has started with a bit of a whimper due to the above issues, however I did go to my first yoga class in months today and it was great to feel semi-normal. I did fit into my old yoga pants so praise be to stretchy material!

I’ve been mentally so drained the past couple of days and even the basics are feeling like a struggle again. I keep repeating my mantra that “This is a phase and it will pass” but the reality is I’m not taking to motherhood naturally, I’m not enjoying it much and I miss my old life. I’m not sure if you’re meant to admit any of those things, especially with a much-longed for IVF baby but that’s the way I feel at the moment. I look forward to eating my words in the future!

Six weeks

Baby N today has hit the big 6 weeks milestone and I’m really starting to see his development come along. This has seemed like an important time benchmark to me, what with many things being allowed after 6 weeks postpartum. ¬†Things like being able to drive a car after a c-section (not that I listened to that as I started driving 3 weeks after my c-section), starting exercise (yippeeee!) and getting back to sexy time (hahahahahahah, as if I will be giving up any sleeping opportunity for sex!).

I remember looking ahead to 6 weeks in the early days, convinced that Everything Would Be Better by 6 weeks. ¬†And you know what, overall I think it is a bit better even though we are still a loooooong way off me having a proper night’s unbroken sleep (oh to dream).

In the traditional culture here they consider the first 40 days after giving birth a period is a time when the mother and baby don’t leave the house, but rather you and baby stay confined. ¬†I’m not sure the logic behind this beyond recovery and bonding with your baby, but I always thought is was totally ridiculous. ¬†Until I had a baby. ¬†Now obviously I did not want to stay housebound for 40 days, but I can appreciate that for those 40 days I have been completely useless and going through a massive readjustment so being able to stay home a lot has been important to finding my way, so maybe the tradition is not so mad after all.

Also I believe that the religious side of this practice considers you still “dirty” during the 40 days due to the bleeding etc so also the mother is not allowed to go to church and I think you’re meant to take the baby for a blessing at the church before you take it anywhere else. ¬†I think our first outing was to a coffee shop (no one tell the church!) so I guess that’s not what they had in mind.

Age: 6 weeks

Weight:¬†I don’t know as his next weigh in is on Friday but I think he has grown a lot! ¬†He is much longer now and definitely heavier. ¬†I also think his head has gotten a lot bigger in the last couple of weeks, which I believe is a sign of mental development. According to the Wonder Weeks app (download it if you haven’t already) baby N is going through a big developmental leap this week and might be extra fussy for it. ¬†This is both terrifying and exciting!

Feeding: Nothing much has changed on this front Рwe are continuing with the combined feeding and this seems to work very well for us.  There is still some boob in action but the flexibility of formula feeding. I am officially saying goodbye to my breast feeding guilt! This article about breastfeeding guilt was pretty handy too.  Have a read if you are in a similar position.

Sleeping routine:¬†We are trying so hard to get into a sleeping routine and I think we are making some early progress, albeit he’s a baby and prone to doing whatever the hell he wants so who really knows! Baby N has started to get fussy in the evenings, and for a few days last week he decided to be a total nightmare to put down to sleep. ¬†On Friday night he was impossible to console from the hours of 7.30pm through to midnight. ¬†This coincided with my husband being out of town for his friend’s wedding so I had to go it alone. ¬†I wouldn’t say I lost my mind, but it was close. ¬†I tried everything. ¬†I googled everything. ¬†I took him for a drive in the car (success in so much that he slept while in the car, but woke up the second I walked in the door. ¬†Eventually just before midnight he crashed out in the Mammaroo, by which time I was physically and emotionally spent.

When Saturday evening rolled around I got The Fear big time that he would do the same thing again. ¬†He was pretty similar for about two hours but he did fall asleep faster. ¬†Then last night he was faster again taking maybe an hour to fall asleep. ¬†Last night was the first time I tried reading him a book – one of my all time favourites, My Cat Likes To Hide In Boxes, which I can recite to you from memory – and he seemed to enjoy it, staring at the pages and at me as I performed it. So we’ll try that again tonight and see how it goes.

Firsts:¬†I think he smiled today, but it’s still a bit unclear. ¬†He certainly looked like he was having a Super Amazing time on his playmat (I have this one), with his face lit up as he inspected all of the different toys and decorations. ¬†He was kicking his legs and generally looking delighted on the mat for about an hour today.

I have definitely noticed he looks at things very intently now. ¬†Yesterday I gave him a tour of our living room and all of the pictures and artwork. ¬†There was one picture that he just stared and stared at. ¬†He also gave our wedding photo a really hard look. ¬†I told him that was when mummy was very skinny and didn’t have any baby fat. ¬†He didn’t seem to care.

Yesterday hubby and I took the baby for a spin at our local park. ¬†It’s finally gotten a tiny bit cooler (top temp each day 35 degrees, rather than 40 degrees) which meant that at about 7pm it wasn’t too horribly hot for him. ¬†Unfortunately I think he was a bit too close to dinner/bath time and all of the trees and new sounds and smells were too much for him and he got super cranky. So I’ll try again another day when he’s feeling more calm.

Today was also the first day that I attempted to go do some food shopping with him alone. ¬†I strapped him into my baby carrier so I would have free hands and away we went. ¬†I went to a smallish store as my first attempt so it wasn’t very overwhelming. ¬†Also, I found there were not many people about at 10.30am so it was pretty calm.

We are also signed up to a baby massage course that lasts for 4 weeks. ¬†I’m very excited about this!

Hair:¬†Oh he’s losing his hair on the top of his head so he looks like an old man! ¬†It’s so unfortunate! ¬†I’ve read online and confirmed with my paediatrician that this is normal and his hair will grow back, but he does look a bit weird. ¬†Hurry up and grow back, hair!!

Eyes:¬†His eyes are really huge! ¬†Actually I think he has his daddy’s eyes, which is a great thing. ¬†They’re still blue, but clearly will be brown soon.

 

Mummy update: Today I’m feeling okay and I think overall¬†I’m doing much better than last week. ¬†I don’t know what came over me last week but I had all of the feelings and most of them were not good. ¬†I am trying so hard not to overthink things or look ahead too far, but rather just to face whatever needs my focus right now. ¬†Arguably you could apply this to all aspects of life and it would probably make for better mental health.

I’ve had a real love-hate thing going on with my husband recently. ¬†I’ve either found him to be selfish, insensitive and mean or incredibly generous, patient and kind. ¬†I know that sounds weird, but it is the case that I have been loving and hating him almost in equal amounts. Of course men are not immune from all of the upheaval, but my feelings for him can swing quite fast from one direction to the next! Anyone who ever thinks having a baby will help their relationship is clearly naive and most likely their relationship is doomed!

Weight wise I lost about half a kilogram last week (about a pound) so that’s good. ¬†I’ve been trying to watch what I’ve been eating a little bit but actually I need to start moving my butt to drop the last few kilograms. ¬†I start back at yoga next week and generally will try and get more active in the next few days/weeks so as to try and kick-start my Operation MILF campaign.

Bye Clexane!

Finally, I am injection free! ¬†Last night was the last time I had to inject myself with a Clexane blood-thinning injection which means that today will be the first day since 11 November 2016 that I do not have to jab myself! I am so excited about this as it feels like a weight is being lifted off my shoulders and it’s another step towards being “back to normal”.

That being said, I’m grateful to the Clexane as I don’t think I would have my baby otherwise. ¬†I am convinced that the (higher than standard dose) of Clexane was the crucial difference between another missed miscarriage and a live baby. I even had my placenta analysed and the doctor confirmed that he could see I had issues with thrombosis and he expects that without Clexane I would have had another miscarriage. ¬†While this has been my theory all along, it is so good to have vindication from a medical professional.

For those of you who are also trying for a baby via IVF and have stuck with my blog, I just want to remind you that my IVF doctor was NOT the one who tested me for my Antithrombin III deficiency (thrombosis problem). ¬†I took myself to a haematologist for a bunch of expensive additional tests and this is how I found out about the issue with the thrombosis. It was also my haematologist who insisted on the higher dose of Clexane when my IVF doc (who is also my OBGYN) was doubtful about it. If there is one thing I have learned throughout the whole infertility/IVF journey is that you have to be your own advocate. ¬†You have to do the extra research, ask the hard questions, push for additional tests if things don’t work out as they should. ¬†I would not have a baby right now if I hadn’t done that for myself.

As for my previous post, thank you to those of you who reached out and offered comforting and helpful words. ¬†I am feeling a bit better since I wrote that post, perhaps just getting it out on the blog was therapy in a way. I did speak to my paediatrician about how things are and we have agreed that for now we won’t take any further measures but if things get worse then I am to call her right away so that we can do so. ¬†I’m happy with this as I know she is on the alert and will help me if I need help.

In the meantime, I am trying to get out of the house each day on little excursions to keep myself sane. ¬†Sometimes this is to the Mall and other times it’s to a coffee shop. Sometimes it is to catch up with friends. ¬†Next week I have set up a playdate with another new mum (who I met through this very blog!!) and I’m thinking to also pay a visit to my husband’s aunt who is very kind and will hold the baby for me. ¬†Life is far from perfect, but I am hoping that these small attempts to get my shit together will eventually help me to find my new normal. ¬†Until then, at least I don’t have to deal with Clexane jabs anymore!! ūüôā

All of the crying

I don’t know what’s been going on with me¬†the past couple of days but I have been crying so much. Everything is more or less fine; the baby is ok, nothing particular bad has happened, but I just feel so incredibly sad.

I feel sad that I’m not a good enough mother, that the baby can sense my uselessness, that he’s bored (I’m bored so this may be projecting), that I don’t cuddle him enough… the list goes on. My husband tells me constantly that I’m a good mum and that the baby likes me (he generally stops crying when I hold him) but I feel inadequate. I don’t even know what you do with him to keep him stimulated particularly when he’s awake. He’s not very interested in any toys yet but I guess that will come in time. Any tips?

I don’t wish the baby away but I really do miss my old life where I had a job that I was really good at and valued for, where I actually looked pretty and had a nice figure (no Mum-tum back then), and I could do whatever and whenever I wanted. Now it takes me hours to get ready just to go to the shops and even then I look a bit crap. Everyone keeps telling me how tired I look (someone told me yesterday that they could sense my dehydration which was an odd thing to say) and I completely agree but it’s not helpful to be told you look shit when you already feel shit.

Then there are the evenings. The baby is restless in the evenings despite my efforts otherwise. Almost every night he gets fussy just as dinner time approaches. I get stressed as hubby tends to make the dinner these days and yet we never eat the food hot as the baby disrupts it. Perhaps I need to start the bath and bedtime routine earlier.

I also have a really tough time of sleeping as I wake many times even without the baby crying out. I have a daily dream/nightmare where I wake up confused and thinking I’ve not fed the cats of the baby, and confusing how many of each we have. It sounds minor but it’s the feeling of confusion which is upsetting. I think my mind just cannot rest so it means I don’t sleep well.

My husband has been good at mentally propping me up but doesn’t have the answers either. I don’t think anyone does. Of course I’m tired because that’s normal with new babies but I think I’m mentally exhausting myself with all of this but don’t know how to cut a break. It’s still so hot here I can’t get out in nature during the day with him. I hope it cools down soon so I can at least enjoy some walks in the park to clear my head.

I’ve messaged my paediatrician today and kind of indicated I am struggling. ¬†She is going to call me in the morning to “discuss options” which sounds kind of terrifying. ¬†I hope she doesn’t suggest going for counselling or something like that because I hate counselling, but also what do I do with the baby if I have to go see a counsellor. The circle continues.