ailbhe: (mamahastwo)
Quite apart from all the other issues with the article, the photo they use to illustrate it shows a baby feeding in a way that doesn't look very comfortable to me at all - the latch looks almost symmetrical. That mother's nipple could be being rubbed against the baby's hard palate with every single suck, which will HURT. Also, that latch is ok until about three months, but if it doesn't get sorted out, the demand part of supply-and-demand could get difficult later on.

It's a problem which really only exists because bottlefeeding, which DOES use a symmetrical latch, is so normal - people expect things to enter a baby's mouth that way and the extremely asymmetrical latch which is most effective and most comfortable looks slightly wrong to people who live in a society where most babies are bottlefed all or part of the time, in real life and in the meeeeeeeeeeeeeeja.

Here's the link:

My birth

Apr. 5th, 2007 03:53 pm
ailbhe: (baby)
I was born into dim light, my mother's birthday gift. She was 37, healthy, not too tired. I held my head up and looked around. I didn't cry, and no-one made me, because my health and alertness were obvious. Presumably I was covered in blood and vernix and all sorts of goo; history does not relate.

Because I was her fourth child, my mother breastfed me without hindrance from birth; no-one tried to talk her out of it, or at least not so she listened. She was confident in dealing with me, and her other children knew what to expect from a baby and supported and tolerated babyish whims and inconveniences.

My mother held my babies within hours of their births.
ailbhe: (linnea 37 months)
Well, I now have help sorted for Thursday morning and Friday afternoon, [ profile] da_pol cleared the stuff from the garden so now Rob can take it apart and we can get rid of it, and according to the Daily Mail, baby milk firms have been told to drop nutrition claims.

Linnea has been eating properly, that is, a full meal in the evening; last night she slept through until 6 am; this afternoon she fetched herself a drink of water (for some reason, in a cup with two handles and a lid) and a slice of bread and butter; she couldn't get a knife so she daubed the butter on the bread with the handle of a teaspoon.

An Outing

Sep. 20th, 2006 06:07 pm
ailbhe: (street sky)
Approx 10 am, phone rings. Friend H with whom we have tentative plans assuming she's at home and not at work today. I say "You are at home - I'll call you back within an hour."
Leaving the house )
Catching the train )
We got off the train ok and I went to buy my ticket (our local station has a ticket office only open during rush hour at bank holiday weekends when there's an R in the month, or something). Linnea handed it to the man at the gate, who was delighted above and beyond the call of duty, and we went to get money. Then we went ot the cafe, where Linnea was overwhelmed by shyness and couldn't order her lunch, so I did it for her.

By now it was 12:55. We found a table and sat down with water and tea and waited for the nice lady to bring us our lunch. And in walked H with her daughter F.

The rest of the afternoon - at least, until 15:30 or so - was what you'd expect from two toddlers, two mums, one babe in arms, a cafe, and a bookshop. We bought one book because Linnea chose it by starting to take the stickers out of the back. I asserted myself at lunchtime and didn't allow F to lick Linnea's cutlery or plate, etc. H got to tell me her news in accelerated staccato format, which was, er, interesting, and nobody ended up dead. A success, therefore.

Then H went to a toyshop and Linnea and I headed home, with Baby Emer (Linnea argued the point, but I won). I put Emer in the hugabub and Linnea in the buggy, for a bit; I swapped them for a bit, but then Emer needed a feed, so I took her out and spent ten minutes arguing Linnea into the buggy. Eventually I was able to say "There's our bus, but we can't get on it because you're not in the buggy," and she got in. So I got on the bus holding Emer in one hand, with her latched on, and pushing the buggy with the other. I am not altogether sure how I paid the fare but I did. Then I managed to park the buggy and sit down and finished Emer's feed and put her in the hugabub and got us all off the bus and took her out again and fed her again while pushing the buggy and walking home.

When we reached the door Linnea refused to get out of the buggy. I can't remember how I dealt with that.

Then I changed Emer's nappy twice in quick succession, parked Linnea in front of the TV, put a chicken in the oven to roast, fed Emer, folded up the ring sling (I'd hung it to dry this morning), and eventually, after much faffing, got Emer in the sling. She threw up on it. Oh well; we washed it last night, we can wash it tonight.

The days are just packed.
ailbhe: (tree)
"Literally" still does not really mean "figuratively".

It worries me that teachers of children do not see the irony in the statement "I can't stand judgemental people," or, worse, "judging people is just wrong." (Tom Lehrer!)

It worries me more when teachers of English can't spell "discreet" or "discrete".

But not very much, because I have cake.

A friend came and cleaned my house this week. The kitchen is clean. She also took me to the supermarket and I got a new mop to replace the one someone left in the garden for the snails. Now the kitchen floor can be clean again. And she was lovely, too, and played Scrabble with us on Thursday evening. We like Scrabble.

My old online Scrabble place now has a fee for what she used to give for free, in my home town. I need to find a new free place.

Emer appears to be just over a growth spurt. She's eating just as much as she was a few days ago but is sicking it all back up again. She's also comfort nursing less. And possibly sleeping more but I haven't been keeping track.

I do not have oversupply this time! Seriously, only about two people reading this know what a blessing that is. Maybe three. I do not appear to have oversupply. I have small painful lumps but nothing like the enormous welts last time. I only leak during letdown, instead of constantly. I'm not painfully engorged unless it's been a while since the last feed. She only chokes at the very beginning of a feed.

Calloo, callay!

Rob's back hurts again. And he's got a book out of the library called "Willing Slaves", ISBN 000716372X which looks interesting. It's about the culture of overwork.

I had another go at his overtime spreadsheet today. He's gained a day's leave since we last played with it. And he has more overtime coming on Wednesday.

The dining room carpet has to come up. I'm thinking cork tiles, the kind that snap into each other tongue and groove style, and have a tough vinyl coating. They'll be easy to lay ourselves, easy to sweep or wipe clean, cheaper than decent laminate flooring, and when we drop stuffon it it won't break. Also, there's cork tiling in mum's house on Aran and I'm fond of it.
ailbhe: (mamahastwo)
I recently acquired a set of Lilypadz because mere absorbent breastpads cannot possibly hope to cope with my supply. The idea is that these pads actually stop the leaking, rather than merely soaking it up before it reaches the outside of my clothes.

They seem to work so far, though I haven't tried them in the morning when things are soggiest.

The freakish thing is that they work basically by pushing the nipple in and holding it there. Looking down, it looks like I'm wearing some kind of padded bra. I've been smoothed. Sculpted. My clothes look different. It's very disconcerting.

I have a vague feeling that this nippleless look is considered desirable in parts of the US, partially because of the blurb on the box, not quoted here for fear of perpetuating scary anti-nipple rhetoric.

[mildly crossposted]
ailbhe: (Default)
A family of five descended on us like an inverse swarm of locusts, fed us, and bore off my firstborn. Mainly because they were leaving to go to town and she sat down and cried "My need a go a town TOO!"

Baby George on the Archers triggers my letdown reflex.

It's terribly, terribly quiet. I have a hot cup of tea and a book (Nuala O'Faolain "my dream of you") and the smell of cigarette smoke wafting in from outdoors. Emer is asleep in the next room, making occasional cheerful moaning noises.

It's lovely.

Stupid cows

Sep. 3rd, 2006 08:20 pm
ailbhe: (mamahastwo)
So I ate milk yestrday. How do I know this? The 19-day-old's stomach is distended, she's farting like a stag party after the take-away curry and she's miserable as sin. Really miserable sins, like despair, not fun ones like fornication.
ailbhe: (working)
I have two blogs - I think they're blogs - in their infancy, which may end up nothing or may be fascinating mines for semi-precious stones of wisdom. No idea.

[ profile] whoteacheswhom and [ profile] mamahastwo are about home education and tandem feeding.

(While I'm plugging syndicated feeds, I rather like [ profile] mydadsacommunis even though the title was too long for an lj username).
ailbhe: (mamahastwo)
I've just finished having a baby in hospital and was able to see just how breastfeeding "support" can sabotage a breastfeeding relationship at its inception.

One midwife reduced a woman to tears at 1 am because the woman had accepted a bottle from another member of staff earlier in the day.

Another told a woman she couldn't leave hospital without seeing a pediatrician as her baby was showing signs of dehydration because breastfeeding wasn't working - but didn't offer the woman ANY help with feeding, or ask to observe a feed, or anything; the woman waited over 6 hours for a pediatrician to become free, and no-one gave her any help or advice in that time.

A Staff Nurse (not a qualified breastfeeding advisor) twice grabbed my breast to help "correct my latch" when my baby was *swallowing* milk, as well as having some dribble out the sides of her mouth, and I was in no discomfort.

I can see dozens of reasons *originating from people who think that they are offering breastfeeding support* for women to go to formula full or part time. And that's before you go looking for people who are neutral or anti breastfeeding.

I can't find it in me to blame women who've just had a baby and are tired, emotional, insecure, and unhelped.

I know this doesn't include women who had genuine long-lasting problems feeding; really, I think that with brand new mothers being handed problems like this to cope with, we don't even need to look at helping women with genuine problems in order to increase the breastfeeding rates in this country and others like it. People with genuine problems rather than learning-curve issues are royally screwed in a system like this.
ailbhe: (Default)
(1) It is absolutely appalling that the most pain I am in now is caused by Linnea's birth, not Emer's. I will stop taking codeine immediately. I spent over an hour shaking from pain yesterday evening, and slept incredibly badly because of it.

(2) Tandem feeding works well for us, though it's difficult to position both of them to feed together on my actual lap; in bed, Linnea snuggles up beside me and I hold Emer, and in an armchair Linnea stands on the floor and I hold Emer, but Linnea would like to be on my lap.

Engorgement, however, is much easier to deal with with a toddler. I'm leaking far less this time around. It's wonderful.

(3) I am starving to death. I can't eat enough.
ailbhe: (Default)
The first was when I asked a woman in staff clothes - I think she was a Maternity Assistant, not a nurse or a midwife - to help me by giving me a cushion to keep the baby off my wound, and hand me the baby. She wanted me to try the "rugby hold", and I said "It never worked with my other daughter." She argued with me, saying that feeding the baby held in front of me wouldn't work and would cause pain to the wound. When it became clear I was going to try it my way, she walked away. Had I needed further assistance, I would have had to buzz again - as it was I had to position the cushion with one hand while holding the baby with the other, less than twelve hours after abdominal surgery. The good news is that the cushion supported my arm, which supported the baby, and we had a comfortable feed.

The next I don't really remember, but feeding lying down a Staff Nurse reached out and touched my breast to help position it. I don't remember whether I said anything, or what she was trying to do.

After that, my mother and I heard the woman in the bed next to mine having a long argument with a midwife because she and her baby had been just about discharged, gone to change the baby's nappy before leaving, and found crystals in it. This can be a sign of dehydration so they were asked to wait to see a paediatrician before leaving. There was a delay of more than six hours to see the paediatrician, during which time the woman was given no help at all with latching, positioning, determining whether the baby was sucking effectively (you can often tell by looking). She wasn't told that there was a breastfeeding clinic downstairs she could drop in to without an appointment. She wasn't offered a meeting with a lactation consultant. She was just told that the baby could be dehydrated, that this was "because feeding wasn't going well," and that she "had to" wait to see a paediatrician before she could go home. (Eventually, her mother, who is a doctor, came in and got them released somehow, after both parents and the grandmother spoke to the paediatrician - luckily the paediatrician spoke German, because the baby's mother was German and though her English was excellent she was too upset to have to cope with new-baby-panic in a second language. The grandmother's English wasn't as good as the mother's, either).

Later that evening the Staff Nurse dropped by my bed to ask how things were going and I said "Fine," and she asked how feeding was going and I said "Great, she's been on most of the day, really," and I was in the process of latching her on again as I said that. The Staff Nurse reached out and sort of squeezed my breast above the nipple to try to push more if it into Emer's mouth. I said "Please don't," and she explained that she was trying to make sure the latch was ok. I assured her it was fine. She said it couldn't be because the baby shouldn't be hungry enough to suck all day, the colostrum should be enough, and if she was sucking all day it was because the latch was bad. I ended up repeating over and over that I thought the baby just liked to suck. She'd only been born that morning, after all - and that was early. (Latch fine, baby fine, c-section babies are often very clingy and needy the first day because it's a very sudden way to come into the world).

At some point that night someone told me I shouldn't feed her when she started mouthing, I should wait until she "really wanted it" so that she'd "have a really good feed". Er, yeah. Ever tried to latch on a really, really hungry and frustrated newborn? No joke.

And the final straw was at about 1 am. Around 8 pm Emer was declared a bit cold, and they put her on a heat pad under a plastic dome in the bedside bassinet (a whole nother post about the skin to skin thing follows, I promise). At 11 pm I couldn't bear it any more and I buzzed for someone. A midwife arrived, told me to turn on the light - I had no idea how and it took a while to get her to tell me how, turns out there's a button on the buzz-for-a-nurse thing - and asked me impatiently, in a daytime voice, what I wanted. I said "I want to touch my baby." She said:

"What for?"

I said "Because she's my baby," and we had a little argument. She insisted that the baby should not be disturbed, I said I didn't want to disturb her, just touch her, she said that I ought to leave the baby alone and rest... it went on and on. Eventually I said "But how can I rest if I can't touch my baby?" and she gave in. She did a full check of blood pressure, temperature, and pulse, and then tucked Emer in beside me for skin to skin, and I fed her. The midwife asked if I'd fed my other daughter and I said "I still do," and immediately her attitude changed: now I was a Good Mother, a Good Patient, and she was going to be nice to me. She even said she'd make sure I was checked a couple of hours early to get the catheter out before breakfast time.

And a while later the woman in the bed opposite buzzed for her, for help breastfeeding. I don't remember the whole conversation, but the gist of it was that the woman had had trouble feeding earlier in the day and asked for and been given a bottle of formula. The night midwife harangued her about it - strongly implying that she was stupid, repeating and repeating that she was sure to fail if she had given a bottle, that bottles are very harmful to breastfeeding, that she needed to never give a bottle, that she shouldn't have given the bottle... she didn't stop until the woman was crying. And nowhere in the "conversation" did I hear helpful advice, or a question about what precise problem the mother had with feeding, or anything useful or supportive like that.

I was furious, but far too ill and tired to buzz for the midwife to tell her what I thought of her. I wanted to. I almost shouted across the bloody room, but I was too ill for a confrontation at 1 am - I was too ill to hear other people's confrontations, for heavens' sake. And I was sick of being given breastfeeding advice by unqualified people myself, so dishing it out wasn't really a good idea.

Next day I moved to a private room, and we found out that there's a patient-midwives meetings scheme thing to improve midwifery services. I intend to get involved. Hooboy do I intend to get involved.
ailbhe: (Default)
After Emer was born, we went into recovery, and Rob had cups of tea, we called my mother and Rob's parents, I got given drinks of water, and I gave baby Emer her first feed. She did it as efficiently and competently as Linnea had, in spite of being much, much smaller.

Somebody somewhere messed up badly when it came to having me give birth, but they sorted it out with the breastfeeding thing. I get babies who know how, and that's all there is to it.

We took photos and chatted in the recovery room, and Rob and Fiona dressed Emer in her first vest and babygro, dyed especially for her by Since she was over a kilo smaller than Linnea had been, the gro was a little loose on her, but she was fine.

There was some argument over my refusal of an electric bed. I really, really wanted a bassinet for Emer that would clip onto my bedframe so I could get her without sitting up or getting out of bed; these do not attach to the electric beds which would enable me to sit up without others' assistance. I later discovered that some of the staff don't much like the bedside bassinets anyway because they are harder to move around and make the bed much wider. But I stuck to my guns and got the bed I wanted. Then they moved us upstairs, and had some real trouble finding me food, since I was insisting on dairy and soya free things, given the dire warnings I've had about post-section digestion anyway.

I got crackers and biscuits, in the end, and a dietician came to talk to me about dinners. I hope to make a whole post about that later, because it was shocking and amusing and edifying.

I don't remember a great deal of that day. Linnea came to see me, and said "You have a baby Emer out of your tummy!" and stroked Emer's head gently and touched her hands gently. She's very gentle to Emer, in fact, and was incredibly pleased to see her, pleased she'd been born, pleased about the whole thing. Still is, a week later.

My mother came, of course, exhausted from several nights of broken sleep and two days' toddler-wrangling.

Rob spent a lot of time sitting in the bedside chair holding Emer and being tired and happy. He also left to get lunch and dinner. He changed her nappy - meconium is very, very black, and very, very heavy, and I am convinced that had Linnea waited until after being born to pass hers she'd have weighed a full 10lb.

Rob went home to dinner, and stayed home, to get to bed early, and Mum came back in to sit with me for the permitted time. We overheard some nasty arguments, from behind my curtains. Those probably need a seperate post too.

They brought me some dinner while Rob and Mum and Linnea were away eating; it was weird. They had real trouble finding something dairy-free, soya-free, and light enough to eat after abdominal surgery. What I was served in the end looked like a toddler meal of the kind one can buy in its own plastic bowl, designed to be microwaved and eaten with a fork. It was pasta and tomato sauce, soft and flavourless and overcooked. Glutinous. I ate it anyway; I don't know a whole lot about surgery but I do know that the body needs fuel to heal, and I don't intend to do anything to slow the healing process down a nanosecond.

The first night was all about breastfeeding, really. And the first day. Everything noteworthy that happened to me or that I overheard on the postnatal ward was about feeding the newborns, one way or another. So that needs its own post too.


Aug. 19th, 2006 08:05 pm
ailbhe: (Default)
We are all home and well, and I am still too tired to write the birth story up :) Hardly surprising, given how ill we were before going in.

I'm very happy. Rob's very happy. Linnea's very happy ("Where's my baby sister? I NEED him!") and Emer's very happy. My mother's very happy - I can hear her singing to Emer now.

Birth went well, healing is going well, Emer came out of the oven fully cooked and ready for the universe, feeding is going well - tandem feeding coming soon to an icon near you - and I have plans for getting involved in a group aiming to improve maternity services in the hospital where I delivered both times.

Emer has HAIR. And is unfeasibly tiny. 7lb 2.5 oz is a lot lot smaller than 9lb 14oz. She's 1.5oz bigger than I was.

Oh, and this time? Her first bowel movement was passed outside the womb, so we got to see it. Wow. (She also peed all over the obstetrician; ob said "She just weed all over me!" and I said "Good girl!" for some reason.)
ailbhe: (Default)

Title: How Children Fail

Author: John Holt

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0140135561

I haven't finished this yet, but so far it's eye-opening. Like What Mothers Do, it articulates stuff I already felt to be true, and it does it clearly. A lot of my difficulties as an adult are easy to see in terms of methods of learning and being taught and surviving school, and I am - again - massively, immensely, technicolouredly grateful to my mother for managing to encourage independent, questioning thought anyway, in spite of, well, everything she had going against her.

This book is going to be a useful reread even before Linnea is school-age, because I'm going to need to be reminded of it for myself as well as for dealing with her and with other people's opinions of how we're raising her.

(She seems socially fairly well adapted, so far, though she does have a faulty ranking system - breastmilk is better than bananas, and better than banana muffins, but not as good as Maya Gold chocolate, damn her.)

ailbhe: (baby)

La Leche League

I went to my first meeting today. It was very pleasant, but I was the only one there when I arrived with a toddler. The others were all about 7 months. I felt pretty conspicuous. Luckily the fact of its being LLL made me comfortable enough - but having had no breastfeeding problems made me an outsider again.

We did a little exercise designed to show how small a proportion of our children's lives is actually spent in intensive parenting, which was pretty nice. And a bit about our hopes for our children, which made me uncomfortable, because that's a bit close to having plans. Some people were perfectly comfortable saying "I hope she has children because I want to be a grandmother" or "I hope he gets some kind of professional qualification because I want him to be able to look himself in the mirror and be independent" which makes me... nervous.

I met a woman who is tandem nursing! She loves it! I knew it wasn't all drudgery. And I met a woman whose baby vomited blood. I had no problems. My god. No problems at all.

The La Leche Library was there - I borrowed a book about Caesarean births with a foreword by Sheila Kitzinger. It's interesting - it does cover my situation, but the book is copyright 1991, so a bit out of date in some ways. I read it over lunch, after Linnea went to sleep. Of course I cried.


I left the meeting late due to near-terminal disorganisation on my part, and so Linnea's lunch was late. We had to get a bus back into town, and that meant folding the buggy and having her on my lap, along with the nappy bag and the lunchbox. OK, fine. Initially she got a lot of compliments on being well-behaved (when we get on a bus with a folded buggy, she sits on the floor, because generally the driver doesn't wait for us to get safely settled before moving off) and quiet, so when she got fussy later it was kindly tolerated. She fell asleep, briefly, on my shoulder, and when we got off the bus, someone helped us off with the buggy. Then I had to unfold it, so I had to stand her on the path.

She threw a minor tantrum at being put down and hit her head on the footpath. There's a graze, now. I unfolded the buggy, put all the bags on the ground, and picked her up and soothed her. Then I held her on my knee and unpacked the lunchbox and fed her grapes until she was calmer. I got some funny looks from people who overheard me saying "It's ok, darling, we can have lunch right here if you want to, I'm sorry," but for some reason I wasn't bothered the way I usually am - I was able to smile back at them without grim determination. Perhaps hunger is good for serenity, or perhaps I'm just more confident in my parenting decisions.

I got her as far as Cafe Iguana and walked in. There were a few non-folding chairs so I nabbed them. The staff were great - one girl came up to me and asked if I needed a highchair ("No, she'll kick it over, but can I have a glass of water with a straw for her?") and then they left us alone until I had settled Linnea calmly and had a chance to breathe. Then they took my order. They know exactly what's in their food so I was able to have leek and potato soup, sorbet, and tea. Linnea shared the soup. Then she got up for a wander around the cafe, where she was well-received by everyone, and then she grizzled and went into the buggy. And then I paced her to sleep.

The Tot Seat got a lot of positive comments, too.

I read my book, discovered I'd left my phone numbers leaflet and Linnea's sippy cup in the LLL meeting, and got a bus to clinic.


By the time I was 15 months old, I had 100 words. Linnea is almost 14 months old, and, like most babies her age, has almost no words recognisable by the average man on the number 38 to Clapham, or whatever the bus is. But certain of my family have asked me more than once how her verbal development is coming along (the first such question was when she was 9 months old) and I've been getting nervous.

So I went to the health visitor who was lovely. It's Esme! She's back! She's not leaving until September! I am so pleased. We like Esme. She likes us. And she told me that next time they ask I can say that most 18 month old babies have between 6 and 20 words, but not all, and it's not a matter for concern if they don't. I feel better armed with information. Otherwise I'd have to kill anyone who put my baby down, and that's counterproductive, from a close maternal bond point of view.

The holiday has been sorted out - Rob and I get ten days with my mother in serene bliss, then he goes away and I get a succession of visitors, including people I want to see, people I don't mind seeing, and unknown quantities I'm slightly afraid of. Then I get about three days to recuperate in the warm and welcoming home if a kindred spirit, which will be...


ailbhe: (family)


Last night, Linnea went to bed at 20:00, had a nappy change at 23:15 and came into our bed, nursed on and off, and was finally woken by Rob at 7:30 this morning - and she had a practically dry nappy. We did our daytime stuff and went to our swimming lesson, and afterwards, she napped from around 13:30 to 16:30. And went to sleep no later than 20:45.

It remains to be seen when she will wake tomorrow, but we're now Officially Confused, which is normal for parents.

Tomorrow is Rhyme Time at the library. I hope to go with a friend.

Linnea will cheerfully swim a few feet underwater before she notices that she's underwater. She's too top-heavy to come up for air unaided - still baby-proportioned, and big with it. She will also cover surprisingly large distances hand-over-hand along the side of the pool. Surprisingly fast. Go on, ask me how I know, go on...


In knitting news, I have finished the knitting part of the Thingie and sewn it together. Ugh, sewing knit stuff is hard. It's hard to see. Knitting is much easier. But I have yet more interesting designs in my head - hats and skirts. I have to trim the Thingie first though, and see about buttons. Then I need to pick up The Other Project, which is on much smaller needles.

I have no interest in knitting scarves. It's too warm, and I can only wear one, anyway. I don't seem to do much in the way of scarves.

Things And Stuff

Yesterday I was in such a good mood that I stated a few opinions in my brash, cheerful way - and got asked whether I was in a bad mood, since I was being very strident in my opinions. That was someone who disagreed with me. I didn't think I was particularly strident. Right, perhaps. Unassailably correct, perhaps. But strident? Feh.

I also received an invitation to a hen party in Dublin on Monday the 20th of this month. In this morning's post. I can only assume that I am not in fact expected to attend, but have been sent an invitation as a polite gesture. Does this often happen? I'm kind of annoyed, as had the invitation been sent with three weeks notice instead of 11 days, I might have been able to attend, with effort. As it is, I just plain can't. There you go. This is related to the fact that I have an important but probably futile medical appointment on Tuesday the 21st, of course.

And I recently heard it expressed that a wife and mother should agree to a husband's demand that she stop breastfeeding at one year because she married him, so he shoudl come first, and that it is only normal that he should consider himself to have a right to her breasts, and that he should feel jealous of his child's trampling on that right. Don't all shout at once, the servers can't take it, and you'll break the laptop speakers. Form an orderly queue. But what the fuck?

ailbhe: (thinking)


So my cough has been getting better - I was still bringing up green phlegm but I could generally breathe ok. Except when I took my pills - the antibiotic to cure the infection. Those of you who have been following this and taking notes will recall that this is the second antibiotic. I took the pill, I felt a bit off, and gradually it became harder to speak, and I felt short of breath. I thought it was a coincidence at first - I knew taking the pill made me feel queasy, which is hardly unusual with an antibiotic, so sort of dismissed the speechlessness. But it happened again. Twice going from feeling well to feeling ill because of a pill, I thought, might be a coincidence. Three times seemed a bit much - and it was definitely linked to taking the pill. So I whispered to Rob to call NHS Direct and he whispered back that he would but he had to deal with Linnea first and then he whispered "Why am I whispering?" and then he spoke normally, which was a relief..

He soothed Linnea, fed her 14 oz of water which is astonishing, and called NHS Direct. They asked him two questions and he told them my symptoms. So they sent us an ambulance.

Ugh. I still feel bad about this. But NHS Direct asked if I had any objection to an ambulance being called, and of course I said "No," because I thought it was part of their standard chit chat before putting you on hold and having a nurse call you back. We use NHS Direct a lot. But no nurse - they put Rob straight through to the ambulance control room. He did emphasise that I was fine, I could sit up and do everything except talk, but they came anyway.

They were lovely and explained that just because the reaction wasn't bad when we called didn't guarantee it wasn't going to get worse and that it wasn't a waste of time. They waited to be sure that the reaction was getting better instead of worse, checked my pulse and blood pressure and listened to my lungs (Paramedics know how to do this without having me take my clothes off, yah boo sucks to the GP) told me not to take another dose at 6 o'clock this morning, and were lovely and amusing. There was a man called Colin and a woman with an ordinary name and the most gorgeous Welsh accent. They asked if I wanted to go to hospital and I said "No, I'm sure it's a lovely hospital, but I'd really rather not." Turns out that on Saturday the haven of calm and efficiency that gave me PTSD turns into a nightmare scene of hooliganism, thuggery, violence and beery vomit. The paramedics apologised for the way they smelled, but Rob and I couldn't tell - they had washed, so I suspect they could still smell whatever it was that bothered them even though it wasn't actually there any more, like me and banana flavouring. I can smell banana flavouring if I know it's in the room I'm about to enter. And Colin asked how long this was goin on and remarked that Rob must think there was a God after all, if I was speechless for hours at a time, and the woman agreed that if I threw a plate at Colin she'd treat him... eventually.

So this morning early we got a friend who habitually wakes at 6 am at a weekend and gets up and does things, instead of waking at 6 and crawling around the hosue moaning and drooling like a normal parent, to drive us to the weekend drop-in clinic, and saw a doctor there who has given me the ok to stop taking the antibiotics for now, for while I am most grateful. He also said it couldn't be a reaction because I'd have noticed the inability to speak and the breathlessness as soon as I took the first pill, but I still think that the fact that I was more or less speechless and unable to breathe pretty often anyway could easily have masked that.


We got the bus back from hospital, which means a change in the town centre, so we stopped for breakfast and went to John Lewis to get Linnea's feet measured. I accidentally passed the knitting needle display and now have two more sets of bamboo needles, one larger and one smaller, which seems about right to me. I have a Plan for the next project, too, to be started very soon now. I've just finished the third quarter of the current project (hitherto known as the Thingie) and more or less decided what to do about the finishing touches or trim. I also bought a fabric tape measure, since all our others are metal ones for DIY, and a couple of sewing needles in a convenient package labelled "Knitters needles". The Thingie will need to be stitched together, after all. And it may well need buttons, though I have some Beads of the Month that I think will do admirable service as buttons for it.


Linnea's feet haven't grown much in the past 8 weeks, so we can probably get away with getting her wellies in the same size as her sandals for the summer. I can't imagine taking her to Aran without wellies. I got a pair of cheap lightweight crochet-effect slip-on shoes to wear to the wedding with my nursing dress; they won't be very visible or noticable, but if anyone sees them at least they're not red DM Mary Janes. And we bought a one-litre thermos flask for our picnic rucksack; the 1.5 litre flask we currently use won't fit in the bag, so we have too much to carry, with the buggy and the nappy bag and the picnic bag. It will be much easier and more pleasant to picnic with her now and we will probably do it a great deal. We used to have lots of picnics before she was born.

And I have a new friend - a new mother about the same age as I am who is breastfeeding her baby and has taken the sensible step of finding supportive people since her family are kind of far away. If you're reading, hi! It's always nice to know there's someone not bored rigid by my breastfeeding advocacy. Someone referred to me as a "militant" breastfeeder recently, which I found surprising. I don't feel very militant. I don't feel like I'm fighting, or aggressive, or anything else I associate with the word militant. Except passionate - but I'm just passionately enthusiastic about breastfeeding. I love it. Militant, to me, implies that I passionately feel that I need to fight against something - and I don't feel any passion about formula feeding, which is the obvious "enemy". I've never been attacked by a bottle of formula, and I know several babies who have definitely benefitted from it, directly or indirectly (babies benefit from sane mothers too, you know).

So yeah, maybe I am a "militant" breastfeeder. Perhaps I'm a "militant" stay at home mother, too. And a "militant" feminist. Because I think those are three fine things to be and I like to be them, and if that makes me militant, I'll go shop for a gun tomorrow. Nothing's open on a Sunday afternoon in this town.

ailbhe: (couple)

My nursing dress arrived; Linnea took her tricycle to the sorting office this morning and fetched it for me. I believe Rob helped. It fits fine - it's obvious to me that it is designed for someone larger than I am, but it was the smallest size they sold and it's fine. It's nice and long so I don't have to worry about shaving my legs and I can wear my regular shoes and ankle socks and be comfy. The nursing bit is do-able but not partiuclarly easy - it is designed for modesty rather than convenience, I think. I may want some modifications but they can wait until after the wedding.

The new washing machine also arrived. It seems to work. It's quieter than the previous one and doesn't have a tumbledryer bit, which we never used. The filter is easier to get at for cleaning. It has a two year guarantee for parts and labour.

My father-in-law is retiring, so he has offered to fit us a new kitchen. Because after all, he doesn't have to do this kind of thing any more - so why stop? Or something. Anyway, it looks increasingly likely that I will come home from Ireland to a newer, sleeker kitchen, with fewer grease-catching corners and splintered cupboard shelves. The only difficulty will be directing operations from the Atlantic coast. I reckon if I choose the worktop and lay out some ground rules (as few moving parts as possible - yes they are helpful, but I expect my children to climb as much as I did, so handy little sliding shelves and half-folding in-cupboard trolleys are going to die a miserable death very fast) it should be ok. He wants to replace the lino, too. I quite like what we have. It's cheerful. It does have a tear in it, but that doesn't really bother me. He seems keen to do a Really Good Job on it though.

I still hate antibiotics.

October 2017

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