Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A holiday, a nanny and a bit of a routine

We are going back to Italy on thursday for a couple of weeks, I really look forward to it but Mike's mam is in the hospital (again) and it's always worrying being away when she is not well. Hopefully she will recover soon, she has been having recurrent infections for the last few weeks and every time it is a big blow to her health. They don't seem to find a therapy that gives her time to recover and as soon as she is back home, she has to go right back in. Please spare a thought for her.

As time is flying by so quickly this time, I realised that I don't want Martina to go to the creche in November, she will be still small I feel and if we can find a way to keep her at home for a little longer it would be better. So in the space of a night I thought of a plan. I have to go back to work in the middle of October for the second half of the teaching semester (6 weeks) but then I can take my annual leave which will bridge me to Christmas holiday and teaching term doesn't start till the third week in January. If we could get a nanny short term for those 6 weeks then Martina would actually get 3 more months at home and we can probably manage to delay her going to the creche till the beginning of February. Well, one of the girls who was working in Oliver's room and for whom I had great respect, quitted a few months ago as she is studying for an MSc in education (and wasn't really getting on well with the manager) so I manage to get in touch with her and she was delighted to work for us! We have not discussed details yet because she went to Greece for a month and we all be back early September for a proper plan. I really hope it works out, she is quite local to where we live and always gave me the impression she loved her job and was very grounded. So fingers crossed! It will be a bit of stretch economically to be honest, but it's for a short time and we have some savings.

As for Martina's routine, so far I have been working on her sleep (no matter where or how it happens) and I now manage to have her in her bed asleep by 9.30 pm. Then she usually wakes around 1.30 am, nurses 10 minutes and is asleep again for a variable time which is longer if she is in my bed. So that's where she stays. Then I try to have her nap in the morning, after lunch and again late afternoon, but she is a cat napper and sleeps for 45 minutes top (on two occasions she slept for 2 hours at lunch time). And Mina is right, no point in stressing about how she will do once in the creche or with the nanny, she will adjust of course so I'm not stressing over it, just trying to organise the day a bit. Now she has a cold/cough combo which is making her miserable, poor baby.
I'm still breastfeeding her, in fact at some point last week she ditched the shield! Happily feeding without them...till my nipples were in bits again...unbelievable...I got a lactation consultant in on friday and she thought Martina may have a tongue tie and I got a referral to have it release. But then I mulled it over and I don't actually think that's true, or not severe enough that snipping it will have any effect, and my friend the paediatric surgeon will come to the house tomorrow to have a look at her himself (he doesn't believe she has it at all in fact) and then decide what to do if anything at all. I'm back on the lanolin and shields and within a few days I was  pain free again, so we keep going till it lasts I suppose. She is 17 weeks today!

Oliver is back to being the sweetest boy I knew, he's now going to bed with no issues, in fact quite happy, kisses Martina good night and sweet dreams (in Italian!) and tells her he's going to bed too! A good night sleep works wonders for him (and anyone in fact) so now his days are happier and much more enjoyable for all involved. Long may it last.

I will check on you my friends, I'll be back early September, be good!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Sleeping and other routines

We have none with Martina. It's very strange for me, I am not a first time mom, I know routine is good and I do believe in routine. With Oliver we had a routine of some sort from about 6 weeks on. With Martina every day is a surprise. She is definitely using the breast for comfort as well as for feeding, she has to be nursing to fall asleep 90% of the time (the other 9% we are on the move, other in the car or in the ergo, and the 1% miraculously she may fall asleep in her swing), this of course means that I'm the only one who can do it. At night, if she is in her cot (after falling asleep with me somewhere else) she can wake after a couple of hours, nurse for 5-10 min just to fall asleep again, back in her cot and start over. If she is in the bed with us she will go longer stretches, even 4 or 5 hours. I don't mind her being in our bed, in fact I quite like it, but we didn't do it with Oliver thinking it was best for all of us to have our own space and now I think poor Oliver missed out on the best cuddle ever for a baby...Martina wakes up not because she's hungry, before going down for the night I give her a 6oz bottle of hungry baby formula and it's the same as when she is just nursing from me. Because it is so confusing to know when she is hungry from when she is tired (both require nursing) we are all over the place all day long, with very short naps, no long naps at all, feeding a bit only to fall asleep etc. She also caught a chesty cough from Oliver which doesn't help. Now, I don't know what to do, suddenly October seems very close and I'll be going back to work (which strangely this time I don't actually look forward to), shall I impose a routine? She seems so frightened when I let her cry a bit to see if she falls asleep in her bed and clings on to me for dear life when I pick her up, it breaks my heart!! The only book I have on babies from the last time, which I didn't buy but was given to me, is the Gina Ford one and to be honest I find it hard to believe that at 3 and half month you should let a baby cry when it's obvious they need you. Maybe I should read the Baby Whisperer? My bible book for toddlers actually says that babies must be followed in their lead up to even 9 month as any form of training before hand is too much for most of them and every baby is different.

Now, on Oliver's bed time routine which was back to Hell, we enforced a bit of tough love and we are back on track, he is now asleep by 9 most of the time and sleeps till 7.30 which is huge! We had got to the point where he would not sleep till 10.30 (crying the house down) and up before 7 with no naps during the day. It was awful. Of course he was tired and it was a vicious cycle which was triggering tantrums during the day like they were going out of fashion. Even tantrums seems a bit more contained though occasionally we have to threaten him with a slap (and this is sufficient to at least make him stop shouting), I know, not best educational method but we all have to survive in a very sleep deprived household...

And finally I'm back to feeling well, the final results were of a sub-acute UTI, probably caused by dehydration which I promptly tackled with forcing myself to drink plenty. No more nausea thankfully and I no longer think those awful thoughts.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

What is wrong

Before going full on with scans and specialists (which are being arranged nonetheless) I went back to my GP on tuesday as she had asked me to let her know how things were. I wasn't feeling really any better, nausea on and off, I started keeping a diary so I knew at times I was feeling fine and at times I wasn't. I also had occasional pain on my left hand side, nothing major, more of a nagging feeling which was only exacerbating my anxiety. She visited me again, asked a bit more about symptoms etc. and did a quick urine stick test. Well, it came back with very high white blood cells and a little bit of blood too. A UTI!! Without the classic acute presentation. She said it can be that it presents with an overall feeling of queasiness. So off the urine went to be tested properly and I went in the following morning for a blood test screening for kidney, liver and thyroid function as well as full blood count and other inflammatory values. I rang my doctor friend and let him know the progress, his wife, also a consultant, works in the hospital were the blood and urine were analysed and he said she would find out for me the results asap. This morning he called me with the good news that bloods came back absolutely normal but that the lab confirmed high levels of white blood cells in the urine (no traces of blood). They are culturing them now and we'll know in a couple of days if anything grows and what can we do to treat it.
I feel relieved to say the least. Of course I started immediately all the home remedies (drinking plenty and taking cranberry juice) and hopefully I'll start feeling better even before the cultures come back. I'm also glad that it wasn't just in my head to be honest.

Interestingly, I read today that oxytocin normally associated with pleasure and released during breastfeeding, has been found in some cases to be linked with worsening anxiety which appears to be my case... ah well. I have to get back into meditation but it's not easy when things are tough.

A post for another time but our bedtime routine is back to Hell zone  which is very stressfull...

Thank you so much for bearing with me. Will update with next results.