Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Three month check and other craziness

Martina was 3 months old yesterday and in an amazing promptness the district nurse came over today for her check up. She is doing great, weight 3.35 kg, 59cm and right around the 50% growth chart. I wasn't worried one bit, she can lift her head easily when on her tummy, smiles, cooes, follows you with her eyes etc. She feeds well, I cannot say we have a schedule because we don't, nights are ok most of the time when she wakes up once for feeding and then goes back to sleep. During the day she is happy if she is held...which has my back in bits and mostly I can't do much at all. She may sleep for a whole 10 minutes if I put her down (asleep) in her swing chair and we have to start over. This is not ideal of course, but what can I do? She is looking more and more like her brother, have a look at this two pics, Oliver was 3 months and 3 weeks old, and below is Martina just the other day! I love that pic of Martina, looks to me like one of those ads for baby food or something.

Here is Martina and Oliver together

They make my heart smile!

And now for your joy, here are some of the craziness on my part. Remember I have convinced myself that I have some terminal disease but that I was working on snapping out of it and see if my symptoms would just go away? Well, not so easy. I went eventually to the doctor last tuesday, feeling half silly and completely well at that point. Explained I have been having this upset stomach for about ten days now and that I was worried I may have stomach cancer...she laughed it off, visited me, and said it was probably a bit of extra acidity and had I changed anything in my diet. I had actually, I started back drinking coffee (espresso) after lunch after years of not doing so and to improve my milk supply I was also taking every day an herbal mix definitely overdoing the doses and simmering times. she said to stop and see how I felt. I felt better for a couple of days and then the nagging sensation was back on sunday. It's on and off, I constantly think about it with all the dark thoughts that come with it. Of course it doesn't have to be stomach cancer, can be pancreas too or my head they are all deadly anyway so no real difference. And today I caved in. I called a friend of mine who is a doctor working in a hospital here and explained all that I have just told you. I said I wanted a scan or I would just go crazy with fear. He of course reassured me as he said it's much more likely anxiety and post-natal hormones but also said he will organise a letter for me so that I can go to one of the local centres and get it done. So there you have it, I'm a classic hypochondriac. Let's just hope we will be able to laugh about this in a short while.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Good news on the family front

I really thought this news deserved to be blogged about. You may remember that a short while ago one of Mike's cousins was diagnosed with cancer of the lungs that had spread to the liver. Getting updates on how she was doing was a bit difficult because as I'm sure you can imagine her family was devastated and it's not easy to call and ask. I manage to get in touch via messages on FB with another cousin whose parents are in closer contact with her and she had told me that the latest news was bleak, a consultant had told the girl and her mom that the prognosis was very poor and spared no details...Then she was admitted to hospital about 10 days ago as she caught an infection and was in isolation. This meant that she could not go in for a scan and the second cycle of treatment till she was stabilised. Anyway, yesterday the news spread like fire that her scan was as close to a miracle as it comes, lungs were clear and the liver almost clear!! We are all thrilled, of course we know that this is a small victory in a long battle, but I don't think anyone, including the doctors, were expecting such a result. I texted her immediately and she was really upbeat and positive she can win this battle, going into the next round of chemo knowing it's working is just that much easier.
Thank you for your positive thoughts, I was telling her there was a big underground network supporting her that she didn't even know about!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bits and bobs

I don't know what I do all day, it doesn't seem like I do much at all, but days are going by so quickly I can't believe we are nearly in the middle of July.

Anyway, one thing I wanted to tell you is that I got the promotion in work!! This was most surprising, not because I didn't think I deserved it, but for the number of applicants (about 150) and the number of places available (35) in the whole college. My Head of School called me when I was on holiday, I have to admit, when I saw his name on my screen, I thought some tragedy had happened in the lab in my absence! So it was great news and while I'm truly happy, it's a bit difficult to celebrate when several of my colleagues did not get it, I'm keeping it low key but in fairness I got many emails of congrats from friends and colleagues.

Ireland is enjoying a fabulous summer so far, sunny days and warm temperatures are putting everyone in a great mood, I think the last time we had such a stretch of good days was 2006, hopefully it'll last a bit longer.

My friend the Ultimate Vet Hero is here visiting her in laws and we got to spend some time together which was really nice and hopefully we'll get to enjoy a spa day before she goes back to Cali next week. Thinking that last year I was just on my way back after a month in the States is strange, feels like a lifetime ago. Would love to go back soon.

Despite the weather, emotionally I'm having a bit of a hard time...I'm in another spell of severe hypochondria where I think I have something incurable and I'll die soon...and what makes me anxious is that if that was going to happen my children will not remember me. How sad is that? Anyway, I'm trying my best to snap out of this and not going to the doctor to require a total body scan (which he'll probably pretend to write down while referring me to a mental hospital instead). I have to get out more and talk to people, isolation is not good at all.

Everything else is good, children are thriving, Oliver has calmed down a lot since we are back, Martina got her first multiple vaccination and did very well, no major fussiness afterwards. This weekend we are going to call a babysitter (Oliver's carer from the creche) for the first time ever so that Mike and I (and Martina) can have some time for ourselves. I'm still breastfeeding a gazillion of times a day, at night she takes a bottle, my aim is to get to 3 months and then maybe introduce another bottle in the middle of the day. Like we did with Oliver, I'm planning to introduce solids around four months, maybe when we are in Italy at the end of August. Also I can't remember if I mentioned it already, but since we are back Oliver doesn't have his ciuccio (pacifier) anymore at night which was the only time he was still taking it! Basically he forgot it in Italy and we didn't give him the spare one and after a couple of nights he stopped looking for it! He's growing so fast!

Right so, bye to all till the next time.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Holiday report, tantrums and other tricks

Hello, hello, hello, we are back. Oliver, Martina and me extended our stay in Italy of an extra couple of weeks while Mike came back to Dublin, overall we had a great time. We came back yesterday an my mom came too to help with the plane trip so we have her here till saturday which is fab!
Here are some pics:
Martina (left) and Clarissa (right) asleep with their lovely reusable nappies!

Martina with half a smile

Oliver and Martina

Oliver with my mom cutting the dough for "crescentine"

I hope I'll be able to post more pics of better quality once Mike and my sister will download them from their cameras, we have some lovely shots of the children.

Clarissa was lovely, so much bigger than Martina and only 6 weeks between the two of them, but it was amazing to see how they quickly started to recognise each other and smile to one another! Often we would change them together in a small room which my mom had set up like a professional nursery, there were even two very comfy armchairs for feeding time (by pure coincidence!) and they would touch eachother's heads! So cute!
One thing that happened was that due to the heat my milk supply dipped a bit initially and I had to up the formula for the night bottle, plus the hillside fresh air and excitement had Martina a bit more hungry. Well, my sister had milk to feed the village and so she was happy to nurse Martina in the evening so I didn't have to give her the bottle at all! She said that her sucking was so much gentler than Clarissa and maybe not as stimulating for my supply to increase. So the two cousins now have this extra connection too. It was a lovely thing. I started taking a herbal mix made specifically for breastfeeding with the classic ingredients and eventually we went back to our usual routine and now Martina only takes 90ml (3oz) in the evening to get a bit of longer stretch through the night.
Her sleeping is great and I hope it will last as long as possible. I take her into the bed with me when she stirs around 5am and she goes back to sleep till 6.30 most mornings. It is the sweetest thing to have her in my arms as we both  snuggles in under the sheets! She is the easiest baby I could imagine.

Oliver on the other hand...while he certainly had a fabulous time with nonno and nonna, he was also much more aware that Marina spended a lot of time in my arms...and this was not good. I started noticing that his kisses and hugs to Martina were just a little less gentle and clear signs of jealousy quickly appeared (one night he said to me he wanted Martina's milk...) and my adorable toddler would have outburst of rage to the point of stripping himself down screaming as if he was possessed if I told him he couldn't do something...and it could go on and on and on...There was no talking him down, no cuddles, no gentle approach that would work, and after a while even if you were to give in and let him do what he so badly wanted it wasn't sufficient to snap him out of such a state. I think he was on time out a few times a day at one point. This happened when Mike had gone back and I was on my own to try and discipline him. He would slap, bite, kick...the works. I admit I lost my cool a couple of times with major disapproval of my mother who is strongly against slaps etc. And I never did more than a tap on his bum to try and reground him. It was tough. One evening, in a calm moment, I asked Oliver what could we do to help him when he was feeling so angry (he did say he was angry) and he said I had to bite him (SHOCK SHOCK SHOCK), he even offered me his little arm! What?? I had very limited internet access but I managed to read a bit on how other mamas would deal with this (which I knew was totally normal etc, but this didn't help when I was trying to deal with an uncontrollable toddler who wanted to climb up a ladder while breastfeeding the little one) and one thing I embraced was this mama's tip which was to tell the child "we don't slap/hit/kick we only hug and kiss" and it was a definite turning point. Also I remembered I had the ebook on my phone which was fab when we were dealing with sleeping issues last year so I could read the chapter on "tantrums and other tricks" which was great help. Anyway, while I was a bit more in control, I have to say I was looking forward to being back home so that he would go back to the creche...
Thankfully he slept very well this time and my parents had his travel cot in their room, so I never had to worry when he was getting up at the crack of dawn!

I have a few other news but this post is already very long so I'll leave it till the next time, stay tuned!