ailbhe: (Default)
We had a phenomenally stressful morning which pretty much ruined the day. In fact, we're both still exhausted today. However, Rob left for work on time and I got up, dressed, ate, made the bed, sorted nappies, failed entirely to get Emer in the ring sling, and shoved Linnea upstairs brutally after she picked up the blanket Emer was lying on.

Time for nappy changes now.

(LJ Support are still working on my weird usericon problem.)
ailbhe: (Default)
Emer woke from a long, leisurely nap just as the beans were almost done (beans for Linnea's lunch; she had about half a 200g tin; 100g contains 0.9g of salt. Dear gods) and the toast had popped. And she needed an immediate nappy change.

I can see that for the next year I will eat all my meals except dinner with a baby on my lap.


And scratching.

Anyway, she's just nodded off, after a solid 90 minutes - maybe more - of awake alert time. I had another go with the hugabub but I'm wearing dungarees which aren't the best for experimenting with it. I'll try the ring sling when she next wakes.

She's my second baby. That's why she's sleeping slumped in the bouncy chair while the toddler watches tv and bounces on an armchair. I'm not sure how long TV will last today; after this (so far, she's watched 7 minutes of Something Special) there's 50 minutes of Big Cook Little Cook, which is loathesome. However, we might have visitors, which would be good.

I really need to clear the dining table and tidy the library. My incision - one of my internal incisions, that is - aches. I'm tired. Linnea did a stinky poo and Emer did a milky poo (explosive, and full of curds) and I cleaned them both up and I'm finding it hard to eat enough.

I wonder how long Emer will sleep for this time.
ailbhe: (mamahastwo)
I'm trying to learn to wear Emer in the hugabub. I think the problem is that I'm not tying it tight enough; she won't sit high on my torso in it. So far, I've tightened it every single time I took her out today, and I'm not taking the sling off - she's currently asleep upstairs in the moses basket - until I've achieved a tight enough tie to hold her in the right position. She's light enough that it's ok if she's not quite right first off; I can tote her around as long as she's comfy, and it doesn't matter so much that it would be awful if she weighed another 3lb.

So far today I've had breakfast, washed, dressed, done my hair and teeth, cleared the dining table, filled and run the dishwasher, hung a load of laundry and a load of nappies on the indoor drying rails (I can't really stretch to the outdoor line with any confidence), folded another load of laundry wet so's it doesn't dry crumply, sorted dry laundry into piles by owner (but not put it away; Emer's asleep in there!), cleared one and a half kitchen counters, put the magimix bowl to soak (encrusted banana cake mix - need to work on that recipe; cakes were incredibly dense and flat), took a phonecall from someone who hadn't been informed of Emer's birth (oops), found the cordless phone, fed Linnea her snack, and read some of another Adriana Trigiani, which are incredibly easy and lightweight and not too funny. I'd love to read the new Bryson, and we have some Fforde waiting for me, but I can't laugh too much yet. A little giggle is fine. I can get away with a chortle. Up to three chuckles don't strain the stitches. But side-splitting isn't amusing when it feels literal.

In other news, I seem to have lost the ability to make usericons out of lj pics photos. Huh?

Home Alone

Sep. 4th, 2006 09:09 am
ailbhe: (Default)
It's my first day home alone. Rob left (late!) 20 minutes ago. I can't believe the godawful state the house is in. How is it that it's fine when my mother is here, fine when I'm well, but 48 hours after my mother leaves and while I'm sub-par the kitchen is almost uninhabitable, the floors are filthy, and even the kitchen bins are overflowing? There isn't even anything here for our lunch, as far as I know.

Augh! Despair!

Also, I can't quite figure out how to tote Emer about in the Peapod hold in the hugabub. I think I'm doing it too loose. That, or I'm just too damn short. None of the women in the video seemed to be carrying babies that took up as much of their torso as Emer does of mine. I know this was a problem with Linnea until she learned to hold her head up. Please, this baby is tiny. Let me be able to learn this one. She keeps sagging down to the horizontal.
ailbhe: (trike)
Friday morning, Rob left the house at 8:30, leaving Linnea, Emer, me, and my mother. Linnea was fed and dressed, which was fabulous. My mother was drugged out on antihistamines and unrousable. I got up, fed Emer again again, put her in the hugabub (badly!), and made tea and had breakfast. Then Linnea and I emptied the dishwasher, I cleared the table, filled the dishwasher, sorted some laundry, brushed our teeth (while carrying Emer!), and sat down in the library, where I fed Emer again and read livejournal, and Linnea read one of her books.

Mum got up at 9:30 and came downstairs. "Wow, it all looks so peaceful!" she said.

I felt terribly accomplished. Mind you, the major tidy-up of the two downstairs rooms had been done by Rob the night before, but you couldn't tell by looking that a toddler had been up and about all morning, just the same. Nor that three people had had breakfast.

Today we got up and out the door by 8:10, took Mum to the train station to get her bus to the airport, bought tea and bananas so that Mum and I wouldn't faint (Linnea stole my banana), waved Mum goodbye, went and found breakfast in one of the few cafes open before 9 am on a Saturday, bought a pack of pipecleaners as a birthday-girl's-brother present for the party in the afternoon (tobacconists are open early, it seems), ate, found a charity shop opening at 9, bought a couple of gift bags and a birthday card, and incidentally a set of small ice-lolly makers, and went to WH Smiths to find a couple of books for the birthday girl for the party, and then went to Mothercare to have the assistant look at my buggy-cum-pram and tell me why it was acting all funny now we've turned it into a pram (we've lost the manual; my gods, my buggy comes with a manual!), and then went to the Farmer's Market, where I got a jug I've sort of had ordered since June, and a cute, dinky, dainty, adorable teeny tiny teaset suitable for children, large dolls, or covetous adults with a thing for handmade pottery. I couldn't help it. It was so cute I almost exploded on sight.

And then we went home for lunch.

After lunch, Rob and Linnea had a bath, and we all four set off on the trike for the party. It was a pretty stiff cycle - there was wind, and drizzle, and a non-trivial hill, and we'd never gone that way before. Several times I asked Rob whether I should get out and walk; he was huffing a bit. But I think he enjoyed it really, and he gets a bit of a kick out of pedalling his whole family around. Emer's carseat just fits - we've emailed the retailer to ask if there are any tips on transporting an infant in one, like a special small carseat that would fit better - and Linnea and one adult still fit ok. It's even fairly comfy, though carrying shopping is out of the question; Rob had to take the nappy kit on his back.

At the party Linnea sought the birthday girl out and gave her her presents (the one-year-old handed them on to Is, who gave them back to Linnea, but they all had fun and the presents were indeed left at the birthday girl's home when everyone went away again and that's what counts) and talked to a few people. I was too tired (can't imagine why) to be very sociable but we got there.

18 days after a c-section, attending a toddler party is about all I'm asking of myself. Being its life and soul costs extra.

Then we came back home late enough that we stopped for dinner at Chilis, where I realised I have never seen a fat or even plump member of staff, which is a bit weird when I think of the shapes I see walking around town. Then we went to Boots to buy cotton wool, and Linnea pushed a tiny trolley with a huge flag, and took things off the shelves and pushed them to the till and unloaded the trolley. It was gorgeous.

And then home, milk, bed.

And then we watched the hugabub howto video again, and learned where we've been going wrong with the newborn carry ("peapod"), and Rob practised it but dipped the hugabub in the bowl of clean water we keep for nappy changes, by accident. So he used the ring sling for the first time ever instead.

And here we are. I need a picture of all four of us lined up with the trike, now.

The four of us.

Oh my god. What have we done?!
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)
Emer is nine days old today. Rob did four hours of work, two and a half of them in his actual office. I'd love to know what they'd have done had he refused outright to interrupt his paternity leave. As things stand he's going to go back to work a day late, which we somehow feel to be a remarkable concession on their part.

Other than that, things are fabulous. Today I left the house. I walked to the community garden, which is easily twice as far as Elle's Baguettes, and we were over halfway there when I realised that it was two whole hours past the time I should have taken my pain medication. Once in the garden, I sat around for a while until Rob came with my meds, and after I took them I was able to walk around with my mother and look at the garden. We fed and changed Emer, and then got the call from Rob's work so had to leave earlier than we wanted to.

But it wasn't until Linnea was 14 days old that I was able to walk to Elle's Baguettes, leaning on the buggy all the way, and it took me an hour of sitting outside to recover from the walk enough to walk home. I was medicated to the max before we left, too.

This is so different an experience that I am baffled by it. I can't believe how much I can do - and I have to stop myself doing too much to prove to myself that I am not sick, am not incapacitated, am not disabled like I was last time.

And the SPD is almost all gone; I have a little ache in the middle bone now but that's about it. No more sharp pains, no more feeling almost weak enough to collapse outright. I haven't tried climbing into the bath, mind you :)
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. 22nd, 2006 07:35 pm
ailbhe: (Default)
We arrived in the hospital in plenty of time, and queued up to be dealt with. The officiating midwife (Gina) came and took my notes, then led us to the waiting room, where I was given a fetching hospital gown (ankle-length on me, and would go around me at least twice) and Rob was given scrubs but told not to change into them until about 8:30. We sent My Lovely Midwife (Fiona) a text message to let her know that we were both (a) not vomiting and (b) at the hospital, and she responded that she was getting her kids off to their various childcare placements and she'd be with us shortly.

So Rob went to find himself a cup of tea, and we broke out the Scrabble. I thrashed him, of course, while Gina took my blood pressure and found my notes and took my pulse and my temperature (she forgot to turn the thermometer on, at first, ditzy lady) and went to hunt down my blood test results and so on. Fiona arrived, left her jacket with us for safekeeping (things in the pockets) and went to change into her scrubs; Rob changed into his, too.

Then it was time to go. Gina pushed my wheelchair to theatre, while Fiona pushed a Marks and Spencers trolley with the day-clothes and wallets. We got to the theatre and I was instructed to sit up on the table. People introduced themselves to me by job title, rather than by name, but they almost all addressed me and Rob by name. Everyone was very cheerful and calm; Rob and I were almost capable of making jokes, though all I did was refuse to have music playing, because the things I wanted playing would put the surgeons off. Then came all the nudey bits; I was covered in front, where Rob was, and exposed entirely behind, where a bunch of total strangers were. Medical stuff )
There was some pulling strong enough that my back was partially lifted from the table. That was weird. Then the baby was born; Fiona told Rob he could stand up to take a picture, so he did, and sat down again in a hurry because he was shaking. Someone asked whether it was a boy or a girl, and someone said "It's a girl!" and I said "Of course it is!"

Then the obstetrician said "She just weed on me," and I said "Good girl!"

She was taken to the resuscitaire and Fiona manouvred things so that I could see her almost continuously while they dried her off, nappied her, and wrapped her up. I managed not to cry, but couldn't stop my hand reaching out towards her; she seemed so far away. She was put across my chest at a funny angle, because the screen was still in the way, and I was able to sort of hold her. Then Gina asked if we wanted her dressed now or later, and I was much affronted. I said something like "She's been messed around enough, poor thing."

They stitched me up, and we got from theatre to recovery somehow. I was in a proper room for that, too, with a real door. They left us with Fiona to be tired and happy.


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)
15 August 2006, 3250g, 9.39 am.Amazing how tiny.

She and I are both well as poss given circs. Ihave lovely story and some breastfeeding "help" rants for later.

birth was like a party.

October 2017

8910111213 14


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags