Monday, 30 July 2012

Fighting Sleep & Asking For Help

Lately Frostina has been fighting sleep. She's clearly tired and will fall asleep if someone is holding her. But the moment we set her down she's up again. Up and fussy. It can take some time to calm her down again and then she will sleep for a bit and then it all starts over. Lots and lots of crying. Lots and lots of time with a fussy, unhappy baby. A fussy tired baby who just won't go to sleep.

Just keep holding her? Well that would be fine if we didn't have to eat or sleep or pee, but it's not always possible to do that. Plus sometimes she will wake herself back up even when we do hold her. Everyone says that this is normal behaviour for a 7 week old baby. Everyone says it gets better. I want to believe everyone when they tell me this, but for now I'm pulling my hair out.

I have tried medicine for gas/wind which did nothing so I'm trying something new. My new strategy is two fold. First, I switched to these new bottles which are supposed to help them swallow less air, this resulting in less wind. These Dr Brown bottles promise miracles, I'll wait and see how they work.

In addition to the new bottles, I've started with a bedtime routine. We have a bath followed by a massage. Then we eat and get swaddled and put into bed. The first night this bath time routine worked like a charm. The second two nights,,, not so much. She went to bed each time looking sleepy, calm, and peaceful. This peace lasted about 10 minutes before she was back up and screaming again. But I will persevere because I'm hoping that with repetition she will figure out that bath + food = sleep.

She is the light of my life and the joy in my heart, but at this moment she is one fussy baby. I am at my wits end. I just want to make her happy. I just want her to be content and not cry all the time when she's awake. I want her to sleep well so that when she does have awake time it can be happy and fun. It may or may not be related to the colic. She may or may not actually have colic. She may just be going through a fussy phase.

Either way it's distressing and frustrating. Last night I had another meltdown about it all. When she's unhappy like this I feel overwhelmed and unable to cope. I feel like I'm not a good mother to be feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope. Then the guilt starts again because after all, she's alive. Alive and well and living at home with us. I can hold her in my arms and not just in my heart. And yet I find myself wanting to escape from the crying. To let The Hubby handle it while I curl up and cry.

I've got my 6 week post c-section appointment today. It's a bit late because my doctor has been away. I think I need to ask him about all the stress and anxiety I'm feeling. I think perhaps it's more than just having colic. I think maybe I may be dealing with some post partum depression. It's a scary thought because I've always seen myself as a stable, have my stuff together kind of person.

Accepting that I may be suffering from some kind of depression is difficult for me. Maybe this is normal? Maybe every new mother feels like this? At this point I have no idea. All I know is that The Hubby is worried about me, and I'm worried about me too. So I owe it to myself, The Hubby, and most importantly,,, to Frostina to figure it out. And to get help if that's what I need.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Maybe I Have Colic Too?

Frostina has colic.

It's not the worst case of colic I've ever heard of, trust me I've heard some stories. But it's distressing nontheless. She cries and screams and just won't settle. Usually it happens around 7 or 8 at night and can continue until midnight. It's not every day, although we have been on a 3 day streak.

I've read all the books and tried a bunch of different things to help calm her. Nothing seems to work except holding her close, walking around, and waiting until she finally wear herself out and falls asleep. By this time, The Hubby and I are also exhausted and we all fall asleep. After an episode of colic she sleeps very well and wakes up the next morning in a great mood. As if the events of the night before never happened.

It's strange watching your happy baby suddenly transform into a unhappy fussy little person. It's frustrating when there's nothing you can really do to fix it for her. We don't know the cause and we really can't fix it until she gets a bit older and grows out of it. Until then we just have to learn how to cope with an unpredictable baby.

I can relate to Frostina's mood swings because I am having them myself.

I'm not sure exactly what is going on with me. Is it normal baby blues? Is it post natal depression? Is my period getting ready to start again and I have PMS? Whatever it is, my hormones are still not settled and as a result I swing from feeling totally happy and in love with my baby to totally exhausted and feeling like I can't handle another night of crying.

I have noticed that my moods have a timetable of their own. I wake up each morning happy and fresh. I feed Frostina with enthusiasm and we enjoy our time in the activity center and swing. We go out for walks and sometimes meet up with friends. The two of us are a happy pair.

As evening comes, something changes. I find myelf feeling tired and riddled with fatigue. Not just physical fatigue, but emotional fatigue. It is at this point where my doubts and insecurities start to kick in. My mind fills with questions and doubts.

Did I do everything right today?
Did I give her enough tummy time?
Did I give her enough stimulation via music and the activity center?
Did I cuddle her enough?
Why didn't I manage to give her a bath today?
Is it ok to let her sleep in her daytime clothes or should I be switching her to pajamas?
Is it bad that I haven't figured out a bedtime routine yet?
Should I be reading books to her?
Am I a good mother?
Am I doing a good job?
Am I doing everything right? - I seem to be obsessed with doing everything right.

Exhausted with this list yet? I know I am.

This list of questions and doubts (and lots more) starts floating around in my head. Am I a good mother? Does the fact that I doubt myself make me a bad mother? Does the fact that sometimes I wish there was someone else who could swoop in when she's crying and make it all better make me a bad mother? Don't get me wrong, The Hubby is amazing and a huge help, but sometimes (especially during her fussy colicky moments) all she wants is me.

As the evening turns into night and these doubts and worries have had a chance to stew in my head I start to get anxious. Anxious that she will be colicky again tonight. Anxious that it's my fault that she's so fussy and won't settle. Worried that she will cry until late in the night and I won't be able to get enough sleep to make it through the next day.

This anxiety and worry exhaust me and I get to the point where all I want to do is go to bed and sleep. Of course, this isn't possible during a night of colic because no one could sleep through the crying. So I often find myself crying right along with her.

The worst part of it all is that I get mad at myself for feeling this way. After all, she is my rainbow baby. When we lost our son I longed for sleepless nights and dirty diapers. I always swore that if I was ever lucky enough to have a rainbow baby I would embrace it all. I swore I would never complain, because a fussy baby is always better than a dead one.

So I beat myself up for being ungrateful. How can I have a moment of unhappiness about Frostina when she alive and here with us?

She's my take home baby. The one I prayed for. The one I wanted more than anything in life. So how can I reconcile the fact that sometimes I just wish I could escape from all the crying? Not ever to escape from her of course, but sometimes I just wish the crying fairy would come in and calm her down and get her to sleep.

Last night I had a talk with The Hubby about my moods. He's a bit worried as well. Neither of us can figure out exactly what it is or how to deal with it. So for now we're taking it day by day and hope that in time it will go away.

That's when I realized that my moods flux just like Frostina's. We both wake up each morning happy as can be and get fussy at night. So that's when it hit me. Maybe I have colic too?

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Just Bin It

Having lived in England for 6 and a half years I've picked up some of the lingo. One of the terms I love is to bin it which means to throw something away. I'm not sure why I like this one so much, but I do. 

Back in January I was cleaning out my fridge and came across a bottle or Lupron left over from our IVF cycles. I wrote about how I was unable to throw it away "just in case" something went wrong and I needed to use it again. I was so worried that things wouldn't go to plan and I would be back at step one again.

Today I was doing a bit of fridge cleanup again. Side note... this makes my life sound soooo exciting doesn't it?? I found the bottle hiding in the same spot. I suddenly remembered exactly how I felt back in January.

Back in January when I was filled with so much fear. Filled with so much worry. Filled with so many what ifs. I was worried that by throwing away the bottle I was somehow testing fate. That getting rid of it would seem smug and way too confident. So I kept the bottle, even though my logical mind knew that simply keeping or not keeping medicine in your fridge has no influence on the outcome of a pregnancy.

But today is different. Today I am holding my precious rainbow baby in my arms. Today I know the outcome, and I have no need to hold onto fertility medications in my fridge. Especially since the bottle expired in April.

So what did I do??

I tossed it into the bin, and I smiled while I was doing it.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

I'm Finally One Of Them

I live in a part of London that is very family friendly. If you walk around town you will see a million baby buggies and pregnant women. You will also see a bunch of children on their way to and from school as there are a bunch of schools around. There are babies everywhere and because it's London, most people walk as opposed to driving so they are impossible to miss.

After losing our son in 2010 walking around town was painful. Each happy Mother with her sleeping baby that I passed was a dagger in the heart. I used to wear my sunglasses everywhere to hide the tears that would spring into my eyes when I saw them. Tears about my loss and also a longing to be one of "them." A longing to have a living baby of my own that I could walk through town with.

Each baby I saw brought the same thought to my mind, "Well her baby didn't die." I would torture myself with this sentence. All these women whose babies didn't die, so why did mine have to?

I know it's morbid, but I often wondered how she would be if our situations were reversed. If she was the teary woman hiding behind her sunglasses and I was the happy new Mom walking through town with her new baby. I wondered if people could tell that the mere sight of their babies was causing me so much pain. If people could tell that I was damaged. Based on the comments I got about how well I was doing I gather that I did a good job at hiding my despair.

Earlier this week I turned a corner. I ventured out of the house to meet a few friends for lunch. It took some doing, but I finally got Frostina and myself ready for the occasion. I walked up to the restaurant to meet my friends who were eager to meet Frostina for the first time. We had a lovely time and Frostina miraculously slept the entire time. It was lovely to be out of the house. As nervous as I was to take her out, it really broke up the day and it's something I will try to do more often.

When I got home, I had an email from one of my friends who was at the lunch. Attached to the email was this photo. I didn't even realize she had taken it but she said I looked so happy she couldn't resist.

I took one look at the photo and an amazing thought hit me.

I'm finally one of "them."

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Peeking Into The Moses Basket

Having a newborn baby around is a lot of work. People tell you this all the time, but until you've got your own at home you don't actually realize the impact of those words. The constant vigilance, the lack of sleep, and the general worries of new mothers are all consuming. They run through your mind even when the baby is sleeping soundly.

Each day is much like the last.
Change the baby.
Feed the baby.
Burp the baby.
Hear a loud rumble and realize you need to change the baby again.
Get the baby to sleep.
Have that internal debate with yourself while baby is sleeping. Do I sleep too? Wait, I've got to wash the dishes, or send birth announcements, or shower, or eat, or go to the bathroom,,,, this list goes on and on.

Finally you make a decision on what to do. Whatever your choice, you do it in a rush while constantly watching your baby to make sure she's still alive.

That's right, I said still alive.

Because at the moment that's my main worry with Frostina. Will she still be alive when I next peek in on her? I creep up to her moses basket a hundred times a day. Each time hoping that she will still be with us on this earth. Just as I'm about to take a peek these thoughts rush through my mind. Will she be breathing? Will she be blue? Will she be white? Or will she look a healthy shade of pink?

Will she look dead like her brother did when I saw him? 

Will she be dead like her brother was when I saw him? 

Unless you've seen a lifeless baby you probably can't imagine what I'm talking about. But if you have,,,, like I have,,, then your greatest fear is that you will have to see that again. That vision of your beloved baby, lying still with no life in him is something that never leaves you. It's a vision that I try to push out of my mind, and yet every time I peek into the moses basket I worry that it's exactly what I will find. I know every new mother worries about her baby, but when you've lost one that worry increases by a million percent.

So I'm hyper vigilant. I'm on constant alert. Watching, listening, worrying, and then doing it all over again. I've been getting these headaches on a daily basis. Headaches brought on by tension. I've been noticing that I'm never fully relaxed. I seem to have constant tension in my shoulders and in my jaw. Even when I'm doing mundane things like washing bottles I notice that I have to remind myself to relax my body. Remind myself to relax my mind and try to quiet the thoughts that are racing around in it. Such a feat to calm the mind and the body, a feat I'm not always successful at.

So I'm working on trying to live in the moment, and enjoy what I have, and not worry so much. I hope that in time I will be able to peek into the moses basket without fear. Or that like my grief, I will get better at living with the fear as time goes on.

But for now I will continue to peek into the moses basket, and wish for the best.

Joining in with Shell today over at

Friday, 6 July 2012

Breastfeeding Woes

I will warn you now, this post is going to be all about breastfeeding and my struggles with it. If you're not in the same place in life as I am you may find this post immensely boring so I'm giving you permission to skip it now.

Still here? OK here goes.

I am no longer breastfeeding Frostina. Yes I know she's only a month old (almost) and that I should try harder and longer and all that stuff. But it just didn't work for me, or for her, so I'm not doing it anymore.

I won't go into all the specifics of my failings but here's a brief summary of the issues.
  1. I have what the lactation consultants call "flat nipples." This was news to me but apparently The Hubby already knew this because it's what he first suggested when she wouldn't latch on. Since women don't go around comparing nipples I had no idea mine weren't as "perky" as the norm. 
  2. As a result of said flat nipples, it's hard for Frostina to latch on. This resulted in crying and pushing away and lots of anger on her part about not being able to eat.
  3. It was also hard for Frostina to latch on because she was so small at birth. The doctors said that at 37 weeks she was considered full term, but at 5 lbs 6 oz she was just tiny and tiny babies sometimes have trouble latching on. 
  4. As a result of no latching, my milk supply didn't even begin to come in until about day 6 or 7.
  5.  I started doing a bunch of pumping to try and get the milk to come in which worked a bit but I still have a limited supply. 
  6. This created a triple threat of issues. Small baby + crappy nipples + low milk supply = big issues with breastfeeding. 
  7. We have been feeding her a combination of formula and whatever breast mild I could manage to pump into a bottle. She has no issues eating from bottles but definitely seems to prefer the breast milk. This gave me hope that eventually she would latch on and eat away.
  8. At the suggestion of the lactation consultant I started using breast shields.
  9. The breast shields worked like a charm,,,,,,, at first. We were breastfeeding! I was super happy to be rid of the pump and be feeding my baby as I had imagined I would be able to do.
  10. After about a week on the breast shields Frostina decided that she hated them and the whole breastfeeding thing. She started refusing the breast, with or without the shield. The result was a bunch of kicking and crying and pushing away. Not fun for either of us. 
  11. So I finally threw in the towel and have figured out that my baby will be bottle fed. I'll still pump (ugh) so she can have the benefits of breast milk and supplement with formula since I can't seem to make enough of the stuff.
This was not the way I saw things going. I really wanted to exclusively breastfeed. However, Frostina didn't see things the same way. So it's bottles for us. I will still pump and hopefully my supply won't dry up for a while. So Frostina will be a combination fed baby and hopefully she will be as healthy and happy as a baby who's mother was able to breastfeed her.

I feel like a failure... but at least she's happy which I suppose is the most important thing at the end of the day.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Apologies For The Silence

Things are hectic around here right now. In addition to our new baby I've also got my parents visiting from the US. So in my "downtime" I'm either sleeping or entertaining family. That leaves no time to write unfortunately. I have lots of things floating around in my head but no time to write them down. So apologies for the silence. It's not because I've run out of things to say, I just can't seem to find the time.

Family leaves at the end of this week so hopefully I'll have more time to write then. I miss this space.