February 2008

Day 18 is the new Day 3

by DaniGirl on February 27, 2008 · 33 comments

in Baby days, Lucas

Remember how Day 3 was supposed to be the bad day? The day when postpartum emotions and the physical toll of childbirth and caring for a newborn come crashing down on your head leaving you a weeping, exhausted mess? Day 3’s got nothing on Day 18.

We’d hit a bit of a rough patch the last couple of days that culminated yesterday. I’d been sick (wickedly painful constipation and a head cold, followed by hemmerhoids, followed by the trots, accompanied by a chest cold, with a migraine chaser over the course of a week), the boys had been sick (Tristan has spiked not one but two fevers since Lucas was born, and Simon has had a juicy chest cough for a week), and the nanny has been either sick or absent for all or a part of the last five days. Lucas went through a couple of painfully gassy phases, one in particular on Monday night that left the poor child crying for three hours solid. By dinnertime yesterday, I was bawling my eyes out as I stuffed a frozen meat pie and french fries into the oven for dinner. And you know what finally did me in? The idea that I was not taking good care of Tristan and Simon. I’d been snappish all afternoon, and just couldn’t take any more. I bawled simply because I was overwhelmed and felt terribly guilty for not being a good mother to anyone. It was messy, to say the least.

The good news is, the bawling was the nadir, and after a good cry I did feel better. Darling Lucas slept a couple of good stretches last night, and I was ready to face the world again today. The headache was gone, the croak in my throat only a minor irritation, and I thought we were back in the game. I had planned to stop by the midwives’ office for a quick weigh-in to check our progress from last week, and then head out to make up the birthday lunch I was supposed to have with my Mom on Monday but that I had to cancel when the nanny called in sick.

The bad news is, Lucas didn’t gain any weight last week. At all. He’s still the same 9 lbs 12 oz he was last Wednesday. Babies are supposed to regain their birthweight by the time they’re three weeks old, and he’s still four ounces short with his three-week birthday in two days.

So, instead of a 10-minute weigh-in, I once again missed lunch with my Mom because we had an hour and a half visit with the midwife, where we ironed out a plan. I’ve got a call in to see a Lactation Consultant, which is fine but expensive. I have to feed him every three hours round the clock, on both sides, instead of just one one-side-per-feed pattern I’ve been following. This also means, unfortunately, that I have to set my alarm to wake us both every three hours through the night, and I don’t know which of the two of us will be more irritated by this plan. I have to keep stimulating him during a feed, because I suspect he’s getting satisfied from the foremilk and slacking off into sipping and snoozing during the fatty hindmilk phase of the feed.

Because he gained nothing, the midwives have to consult with a pediatrician to make sure there is nothing medically preventing him from gaining, so it’s a good thing I’ve already touched base with mine. We have an appointment scheduled for Friday, where hopefully we’ll see at least a couple of ounces of gain, otherwise we’ll have to start a major feeding intervention by renting an electric pump and supplementing that way. If that doesn’t work, we may have to consider formula supplementing, too. And he’ll have to be reweighed on Sunday and every two days until he regains his birthweight at least.

Sigh.

Lucas is otherwise perfectly healthy, and I’m gobsmacked that he didn’t gain so much as an ounce, because I’m an experienced mother and I can see we’re doing all the right things. Lots of wet and soiled diapers, I can hear him swallowing, I can feel him draining the breast. Aside from the fact that he’s a horrendous spitter-upper (as were his brothers) and a couple of incidents of obvious gas pain, everything seems perfect.

Frankly, it’s deja vu all over again, because I went through a lot of this with Tristan. I dunno, maybe I just make crappy milk — or maybe it takes a while for me to ramp up production. With Tristan, I could blame the poor latch and lack of experience. This time, I just don’t know. It’s kind of ironic that Lucas so physically resembles Tristan as a baby, since he’s now showing the same weight-gain issues. Starving Simon, who demanded to be fed every two hours for the first — well, he STILL demands to be fed every two hours, but now it’s pogos and guacamole instead of breastmilk, never had any weight gain issues as a newborn.

So my job for the next couple of days at least is to exclusively concentrate on feeding this baby and try not to hate my breasts all over again. I swear to god, they’ve truly been my nemesis since I was twelve years old, and continue to vex me all these years later. At least they don’t really hurt anymore, because I can see we’re going to be doing a whole hell of a lot of latching over the next couple of days.


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Funny that in the comments on my penultimate post, both Snackmommy and KarynB said they want to see some pix of Lucas’ baby fat rolls, because I was already planning to post a few pix to show y’all exactly what a 10 lbs 1 oz baby (now a svelte 9 lbs 12 1/4 oz, as of his appointment last week) looks like. You’d think he’d be like Simon was (at 10 lbs), chubby and corpulent with rings and rolls of baby fat all over him. You’d be wrong. Take a look at these chicken legs!

Chicken legs

Here’s another one, cuz he was too squiggley to get a good picture:

Just take the picture already, Mom!

I don’t know where he’s keeping all the weight, but I suspect his bones may well be the source of the elusive “dark matter” that counterbalances the universe. His legs are so long that he’s already too long for the 3-mos size sleepers, and his ginormous flipper feet keep getting stuck in the legs of the sleepers. His feet are so big that even the 12-mos size socks keep sliding off. Here he is wearing a pair of newborn socks — note the heel right about where the arch in his foot is!

Sasquatch

Truth be told, his weight must come from his sheer length. I brought him in for his first visit to our pediatrician last week, and had to laugh at his nurse’s reaction when she measured Lucas’ length. Keep in mind, our pediatrician (I’ve blogged before about how much I like him) is one of the more popular and busy peds here, and the day I was there he was seeing three newborns — I can only imagine how many new babies cruise through that office in the average week. Dozens in a month, I’m sure. All that to say, it made it even funnier when Judy the nurse went to measure Lucas’ length and did a classic double-take then laughed out loud. “He can’t possibly be 24 and a quarter inches long,” she laughed as she remeasured him. “He’s the longest one we’ve ever had!”

Barrhaven’s biggest baby — that’s my Lucas! (Okay, so Barrhaven’s busiest ped’s biggest baby — but that just doesn’t flow quite so well.)

He’s a tad on the slow side regaining his birth weight, but not enough to be concerned about yet. The ped confirmed that he’s “borderline” tongue-tied, and we may consider getting his frenulum clipped. I’ve read everything from “this is cruel and unnecessary” (Sick Kids says it won’t do it under any circumstances before age one) to “this is vital to a good latch, decent feeding and essential weight gain.” The nursing is much better than it was – my nipples are no longer cracked or bleeding – but still painful. We’ll give it to his next visit to the ped on Friday to decide, I think. Each day is better, though, so I’m leaning toward leaving it be — like circumcision, it comes down to the fact that I just can’t bear to cause him any discomfort that’s not absolutely necessary, and the latch seems to improve day by day. As long as his weight gain is okay – and right now, it’s just on the low side of acceptable at this point – I am tempted to just let it be.

A 10+ lbs baby with no fat rolls — how about that?


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Happy Birthday Mom!

by DaniGirl on February 25, 2008 · 6 comments

in Uncategorized

It’s my Mom’s birthday today. I had wanted to write a long and lovely post telling you about all the things that are wonderful about her (and to capture them all, it would be a long post indeed!) but the whole newborn-in-the-house thing coupled with the I’m-brain-dead-from-sleep-deprivation thing, with a heaping helping of mothers-of-newborns-aren’t-supposed-to-get-sick, is playing havoc with my muse. The great thing is, she’d be completely sympathetic to this and just tell me to not worry about it. It’s the thought that counts. And she’d really believe it, too.

If you’ve been reading the blog for any length of time, you know my Mom and I are quite close. It’s wonderful to be at a stage in my life when she can be both my mother and friend. And it’s somewhere between funny and scary how much of a mother she can still be to me, her 38-year-old baby, and how often she comes through for me when I need her for things both large and small. She has been an ideal role model as a mother, and the best of what I am as a mother is directly attributable to her. (The worst, I take responsibility for myself. Either that, or you can blame my Dad!)

A few of the many things I learned from my mother:

  • Bullshit baffles brains.
  • There is nothing you can’t do. But, you don’t have to do it all.
  • Treat everyone with kindness and respect, but pay special attention to the support people in an organization. Make friends with the secretaries, the clerks and the janitors, and your life will be much easier.
  • If you love me, buy me things.
  • There is no higher law than a mother’s word.
  • Corollary: don’t mess with Mom.
  • Be easy on yourself. If you are doing the best you can, it’s the best you can do. Don’t expect more from yourself than you would from others.
  • If you’ve got it, flaunt it!

I’ve been pecking away at this post in stolen moments all day, and it’s not coming out anything like the tribute I’d like to pay to the most wonderful woman I know. I was thinking about her when I was nursing Lucas just now, and realized that perhaps the most telling thing about my mother and my relationship with her is this: I can’t recall a single time in my life, as a child or a teenager or an adult, when I wished someone else were my mother. No matter whether we were butting heads (and luckily for me, we didn’t do that often) or whether I was misbehaving outright (and because of her, I really don’t think I did that too often either), I always knew – I always know – that my mother loves me dearly and deeply.

My mother is a strong, smart, funny and immensely likeable woman, and I’m fiercely proud to be her daughter. The highest compliment I can pay her is that I hope I do as good a job raising my boys as she (and my Dad) did in raising Sean and me. Looking back, there is nothing I could hope to do to improve my relationship with my mother, and nothing I would ever want her to change about herself. And I hope to be as good of a friend to my boys when they are grown and with families of their own as my mother is to me today.

One of the very best things about my relationship with my mother now, aside from the fact that she is one of my very best friends and confidants and co-conspirators, is watching the boys loving her. I had a great relationship with my grandparents, and hardly a day goes by that I am not grateful that five years ago this month my folks made the decision to move across the province from London to Ottawa to be closer to us. She spoils the boys silly, of course, but she’s earned that right. It’s truly lovely to see her firmly ensconced as the matriarch of a family of the five grandchildren who have appeared over the last six years, a gift that my brother and I have been happy to share.

Happy birthday, Mom! We all love you, more every day.


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Lucas gets to know the family

by DaniGirl on February 22, 2008 · 17 comments

in Baby days, Lucas, Photography

I'm your big brother!

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I think I’m an inherently lazy person. Given the choice between action and inaction, I’ll often default to inaction. It’s just easier! Not that I don’t get things done when I have to, but in general I’d rather be understimulated than overstimulated and have lots of leisure time rather than having activities scheduled back to back to back all day long.

So you’d think that mothering a newborn, with all its sitting around doing not much except holding the baby would appeal to me. In fact, it’s driving me batshit! I’m good for one solid activity per day, and I have no idea what happens to the rest of the day. How the laundry remains unfolded for three days is a mystery, and the question of when the floor was last washed perhaps remains best unexamined. The post with Lucas’ birth story is stuck at six paragraphs, which if you know my long-winded style at all barely covers the drive to the hospital.

Yesterday my activity-du-jour was the payroll forms for the nanny’s taxes (itself a bit of a bureaucratic nightmare — you’d think after nearly 20 years with the tax department I’d find the forms and processes a little bit less intimidating!) and the day before that it was an expedition to Service Canada to complete the paperwork for my maternity benefits. (We’re actually drowning in paperwork right now, between registering Lucas’ birth and registering Simon for junior kindergarten and tax time and getting my maternity leave in order.) If there’s an appointment, the day is a write-off. Same for a trip to the grocery store. One activity is all I’m good for, and the rest of the day passes in a blur of baby wanting to be held, baby being fed, baby being changed, and loads of laundry being done (oh my sweet lord, the crushing amounts of laundry) but not folded. And then there are the two other patient, sweet and understanding boys who occasionally demand if not equal time, at least the occasional game of Uno or Candyland as recompense for continuing good behaviour.

I know I should look at all this as valuable nurturing time — not to mention an excellent chance to catch up on the rewatching of all my favourite movies on DVD while Lucas either nurses or snoozes contentedly in my arms — but I can’t help but get agitated over all the things that aren’t getting done. Like blogging. Or blog reading. (I’m actually afraid to look at my bloglines account right now!) Or Scrabulous on Facebook. Oh, and you know, dinner and housekeeping and personal hygiene and stuff. Yeah, of course I meant to put those first.

I think the third child is especially challenging this way. I’ve gotten pretty good at the multi-tasking required to keep a household of four running smoothly, and while I enjoyed the respite that came with being ridiculously pregnant and unable to do much for myself except waddle around the house and take care of things I could reach without bending over, now it feels like I’m supposed to step up and get back to business again. Except there’s this absolutely adorable and engaging little guy who sucks up even more of my time (gasp! it’s true!) than the Internet ever did.

Meh. I guess checking only one thing per day off the to-do list is not too bad. I’m just afraid that I might get used to it!

Edited to add: Ha! It’s like she was reading my mind. This may explain things. From Lee’s Doodles today:

2008_02_20_plan_vs_reality_pe

Doodle by Lee. The code for this doodle and other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.


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The sky is falling!

by DaniGirl on February 20, 2008 · 6 comments

in Memes, My inner geek

No, not really, but there are two really cool reasons to look up into the night sky tonight.

Way back in the day, blog used to cater more to my inner geek. I wrote about why we should explore space, and ranted about the evolution versus creationism debate. I don’t remember when I last wrote on the subject, but when I saw this meme at About Miche, I couldn’t resist:

JustSayHi - Science Quiz

(I would’ve done better if there were more astronomy questions! Theoretical astronomy and cosmology – stuff like chaos theory and string theory and the origins of the universe – have long been a fascination of mine.)

So, back to the free show in the sky tonight. First, there will be a gorgeous total lunar eclipse tonight, and for a nice change it is both at a reasonable hour AND at least here in Ottawa, the skies should be clear. The eclipse will be visible from most of North America, as well as South America and Western Europe, and the next lunar eclipse visible in Canada won’t be until December 2010.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes into the earth’s shadow — that is, the earth comes between the sun and the moon (as opposed to a solar eclipse, when the moon passes between the sun and the earth.) The moon won’t disappear completely, but will become a deep red or orange colour. You can see the earth’s shadow take the first ‘bite’ out of the moon starting at 8:43 pm EST, and totality begins at 10:01 pm and will last until 10:51 pm. For more info on lunar eclipses, see this excellent primer.

As if that weren’t cool enough, you will also be able to see the American military spy satellite USA 193 as it passes over Ottawa starting at 6:06 pm EST tonight. (You can get information about tracking the satellite in your hometown’s sky starting here.) This is the satellite that’s been in the news lately for its decaying orbit – either the US military will shoot it down in the next couple of days, or it will crash to earth some time in March.

You should be able to see the satellite with the naked eye. It will be about as bright and the same size as the brightest stars, and will take about five minutes to move across the sky. It will rise in the southwest and rise more or less overhead across the southeast sky before disappearing to the northeast. This website has a star chart with the path marked across it.

Cool stuff!


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A little rant on “Family Day”

18 February 2008 Rants and rambles

So it’s “Family Day” in Ontario, also known as Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s ill-planned if not well-intentioned vote grabbing proposal. And I’m sure there are more clever scribes than I with rants against this silly holiday, but I can’t help myself. I too must rant. It may be “Family Day” – but, according to one […]

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In which my four year old observes the wonders of human anatomy

15 February 2008 Ah, me boys

I was walking around the house after my shower without my shirt or bra on, giving my poor beleagured bits some fresh air to help them heal. (It’s getting better, but still not great. Lucas is spitting up a bit of my blood when he nurses on one side, which has happened with all three […]

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Breastfeeding sucks

13 February 2008 Baby days

Ouch. No really? Ouch. I’m not sure you’re getting the message here. I mean it. Ouch. It gets better, I know. I nursed Tristan for ten months and Simon for 16 months, so I know it gets better, but holy fuck does it ever hurt right now. I’m lumpy and engorged and bruised because the […]

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Beyond Day Three

12 February 2008 Baby days

When I was pregnant, I read something on someone’s blog about Day Three, and how it’s a well-known fact (at least in some circles, it was news to me but made a lot of sense) that Day Three postpartum is one of the worst, hardest days. It’s a perfect storm of dismay: you’ve lost the […]

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