Freaky Child

First of all, there is the strange triangular patch of hair on the top of his head that curls, like a cartoon baby.

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Secondly, it’s hard to photograph without studio lights, but you can see if you look closely here – his left eye (to the right of the picture) is darker and browner than his right eye, which is a kind of slate grey. First noticed by Andrew his Fairly Odd Parent, I thought he was delusional, or it was a trick of the light. But now, at least a week later, the difference is still there.

In knitting news, I am still working on the socks I started for dad’s birthday last year, and hope to finish them very, very soon. So that I can start a new project to take to Opera in the Domain!

I have just received official confirmation that my parents are willing to look after Inigo for the night, so that Mark and I can have a child free night to catch up with friends, knit a little, enjoy fabulous music and a schooner or two. Or five.

If you’re interested in coming along, and haven’t already heard about it on Ravelry, or Kris’ blog, drop me a comment and I’ll send you the details.

Home from reform school

Inigo smiles for the camera for the first time 25/01/2008

And still not reformed 😉

We were discharged this morning. We could have stayed an extra two days, but I really didn’t feel like we were going to get the help we needed there. Inigo has now got Zantac syrup for his reflux (no more crushing tablets), and has been having a few mls of thickener before every feed – and it’s made the world of difference. He is now a much more relaxed little guy, and has gone from screaming in pain and spewing multiple times after every feed to only spewing when he has too much in his tummy. This means he now sleeps properly during the day, and at night, and we are all calmer and happier.

So there has been progress, and it was worth spending the time (and money). But the only progress we have on the breastfeeding front is that we finally saw a speech therapist on Thursday, and she put her finger in his mouth to check his suck. Normally, the tongue curls around the nipple to get the milk out, but Inigo keeps his tongue flat – and therefore flattens and blisters my nipple as he sucks. Great! Now we know WHY I am having problems, but even after a follow up visit with the speech therapist, there are no answers as to how we can fix the problem. We have been given some tongue exercises to do with him, but apparently there is no evidence that they will make any difference.

I met a woman in there who is active in her local ABA, apparently there is a member of her group who had a similar experience, so I plan to go to the Glenmore Park group and try to talk to her. And go to every ABA meeting I can get to, and talk to my Community Health Nurse again (she is a lactation consultant), and continue looking for answers before I give him formula. That is still a possibility, but I feel that there is more work to do before I give up on breastfeeding.

I don’t want to sound like a hero though – one of my main reasons for wanting to breastfeed so badly (as well as Inigo’s wellbeing of course) is that I would like to be able to travel without having to worry about boiling water and keeping formula from spoiling. If I have to do it, I will, but the thought of travelling through Asia with a bottle fed baby just sounds like too much hard work. I don’t judge anyone else’s choices about breast vs. bottle, and I don’t want anyone thinking that I am doing all this for purely selfless maternal instinct 😉

The Tresillian experience has been mixed. I did get help, but it wasn’t what I had expected or thought I needed. I didn’t see a lactation consultant the whole time I was there, and it was a battle to get a nurse to watch my feeds (which was the reason I was in there – I was told that a nurse would watch every one of my feeds!), but the place is understaffed for the level of problems that the inmates (clients) have. I was spectacularly unimpressed with the paediatrician I saw – he checked that Inigo had testicles and a heartbeat and then tried to get me to leave without discussing his spewing! I had to get bolshi with him and insist that he listen to my experience, not just palm me off because reflux in babies is very uncommon, yet commonly over diagnosed.

One thing that was VERY beneficial, was talking to the counsellor. I had thought that it would be a waste of time, but it’s part of the process, and I had promised myself that I would be a good patient and go with the flow. Everything was fine until she asked me about my “birth experience”, and I burst into tears.

Though I recognise that the emergency C/S saved him from further complications (and possibly permanent damage), it was still pretty rough on me, and in talking to the counsellor I realised what it was that had made me feel so upset about it. After I had been on the monitor for 90 minutes, the doctors were called in because the heartbeat was “not reassuring”. They did an “internal” (not fun) to determine whether I could be induced or not, and his heart rate dropped.

At that point, (I now realise) I started to feel panicked and out of control. Because I had always been kept informed by my wonderful midwives, and because they had always explained anything I didn’t understand, I felt really ripped off that I wasn’t informed about the specific reasons WHY I had to have a C/S. I felt like the doctors were in a huddle in the corner of the room, talking about me in hushed tones as if they were a group of trainee mechanics talking about the best way to change an oil filter. I felt totally out of the loop, and the C/S was decided upon without me.

Of course I understand that it is the doctors job to get the best health outcome for me and my baby, and they made the right call, absolutely, no question. But they don’t appear to give much regard to the emotional outcomes for the patient, so I need to be responsible for that.

On Friday, we broke out of Tresillian (well, they let us out, but the story sounds better that way), to go to a picnic to catch up with the student midwife team from the hospital. We gave Leilani (the student that had been with me that day, and been such a wonderful support) a copy of “The Princess Bride” on DVD. I also got to chat with her and Janice, Leilani’s supervisor who was also there on the day. I told them that I had realised that I was still a bit traumatised by the events of the day, and was able to talk to them briefly about it. Apparently, his heartrate was low, but not fluctuating. A normal heartrate will go up and down with activity, and you would expect to see some changed over a 90 minute trace, but Inigo’s stayed the same for the whole period, which was why they decided to do get him out. Then, when they did the internal, it dropped to about 80bpm (normal is 110 – 160bpm), which is why it became an emergency C/S. He would not have coped with a vaginal birth.

Janice told me that the hospital had already done an internal review about my case, and suggested that I make an appointment to come in and chat with her and the other midwives who were involved on the day – when I feel better (able to talk about it without bursting into tears). And I am.

I woke up on Saturday morning, and realised that I am over it. I still feel like it was a traumatic experience (I think I always will – it was traumatic!), but I no longer feel powerless and pathetic about it. Finding out that the midwives also thought there was an issue was very validating, and knowing that I can talk to them about it and be heard is wonderful, like I’m not just a hysterical hormonal mess.

So this week has been a big one, and tomorrow we introduce Inigo to my cousins and their children, and my aunts on dad’s side of the family up at Pearl Beach. Hopefully I’ll get some cute photos for the blog, to reward faithful readers who managed to get through all that crap!

Still stuck in parent boot camp

The nurses suggested that I “might benefit” from a few extra days, so no internets until sunday. Just popped home for half an hour this morning to pick up some stuff on the way to our picnic/catchup with the student midwives from Hornsby.

Inigo is doing really well with sleeping, and we seem to have his reflux under control (hooray!), but still no progress with the boobs…

P.S. Just having my first homemade “proper” coffee in 5 days, and feeling very much in love with my husband (who made it for me).


Tresillian just called – they have a cancellation for tomorrow morning, so we’re going to be living in Penrith for a week.

Wish us luck!

PS. Inigo attended his first outdoor concert yesterday – the Pearl Beach Jazz Festival. It rained cats and dogs, and he slept happily through it all. Even his parents singing (me out of tune) “Singing in the Rain” at him!


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Inigo with his cousin Ella 23.12.07

Warning – boring baby issues!

If you’re still with me, you’re probably interested, but I am mainly documenting this for my own interest. I don’t have time to do a baby book (yet), but I can blog a little.

The weekend before last, I came to the realisation that the feeding wasn’t going well. Inigo was putting on weight, but I was dreading every feed, and crying through a lot of them. I’d heard stories of women with cracked and bleeding nipples, so I knew that other people were much worse off than me…

And then I decided not to be a martyr. I know that I am at increased risk of post natal depression because of my history with depression, so I was better off asking for help before things got out of control. So I did.

I spent the weekend expressing and bottle feeding, to give the boobs a rest. Then on monday, I started afresh, concentrating on trying to get proper attachment without the nipple shields. I also sent a long email to the ABA, knowing that a phone call would be wasted – I’d just burst into tears trying to explain what was going on.

On monday afternoon I got a phonecall from a dear friend, who suggested that I might have PND. Though I appreciate her concern, I really do think that I am just upset in the face of a difficult (and painful) situation. It wouldn’t be normal to be chirpy all the time when dealing with something like this. And I am pretty chirpy – as long as I don’t think about “the war”.

Wednesday I got a reply from the ABA, suggesting I see a lactation consultant. My problems are beyond the scope of what the ABA is able to deal with.

On thursday I went to Granville Baby Health Clinic, and explained the situation to Lynne, the lovely nurse there. Apparently, she’s a lactation consultant, so after we weighed in, I waited for her to finish her last appointment, and she watched me do a feed. From what she could tell, I was doing everything right, but it wasn’t working, and each feed was progressively damaging my nipples more. We made an appointment for her to come for a home visit today, and I agreed to keep going in the meantime.

On friday Tresillian rang to see if I could come in on Monday, as they had a cancellation. I spent six hours at Tresillian at Nepean Hospital on Monday, and Julie (the Tresillian nurse) watched me do two feeds, and also tied to help getting Inigo to sleep. Apparently if a baby doesn’t sleep properly, they won’t feed properly, and if they don’t feed properly, they can’t sleep properly. It was worse than I thought.

I left Tresillian in a positive frame of mind, ready to tackle the problem, and hopeful that it could be resolved.

Monday night Inigo refused to sleep, despite the best efforts of me, Mark, mum, and dad – he continued to fuss and grumble and scream for hours. Of course, the feeding didn’t go well, and I felt like I was back to square one.

Yesterday was another rough day. By the afternoon, I was unable to face another feed, so mum gave him a bottle (expressed breast milk) while I expressed. Inigo went to bed at about 7pm, and mum watched him while Mark and I went out for dinner. I even had a glass of wine!

He had bottle feeds through the night, to give me a bit of a break, and we started again this morning. The first feed seemed to go OK, but not well, and when Lyn arrived to see his 11am feed he was very hungry. While Lyn was here, I managed OK, and am now feeling like I might be able to cope with the 3pm feed without tears.

Tomorrow we have an appointment with a new paediatrician (who can check his mouth for tongue tie, and assess his high palate), then back to Tresillian in the afternoon. I have another appointment with Tresillian next week. And if it’s still not working then – I can do a weeks residential stay at Tresillian, where they will watch every feed for five days and four nights.

So I am getting the best help available, I am expressing when it gets too painful, and Inigo is still exclusively breast fed, even if it is from a bottle sometimes. And I plan on contacting my local ABA group today to try to get to a meeting, and hopefully get some positive reinforcement.

I know there is no shame in formula feeding, and I don’t judge anyone who makes that decision. It’s just that I need to exhaust every avenue before I take that step. In the meantime, Inigo is doing really well, and I am doing what I can to look after myself in a difficult situation.

And I must say, a smile is a great reward.


Inigo smiled today!

I spent most of the day trying not to cry in pain, and trying to stay positive while still having problems breastfeeding, but the smiles made up for everything.

And then mum watched the boy while Mark and I went out for dinner. Life would be pretty good if I could feed my baby without pain…

Six Weeks

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Inigo with Aunty Emily, my great aunt.

Inigo is screaming, and I have locked myself in the study to blog. He screamed for two hours this afternoon, and I can’t take it any more. It could be just that he is six weeks old (unexplained crying is said to peak at six weeks), or it could be reflux – we’re trying a different medication, but he refuses to swallow.

Apparently it’s not parental incompetence. I’ve been to see the baby health centre nurse today, and he is now 4.1kg – he has put on just over one kilo since he was born. The nurse watched me feed him and checked that I have the correct technique, which I do. There is a problem, but it warrants further investigation, and she is going to do a home visit next wednesday. In the meantime, I just have to carry on as I have been, and soldier on through the pain. Knowing that he is doing well is great, but the screaming and the pain are intense, and I am living a very intense life. But if you can’t be a good example, be a horrible warning…

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Inigo in his swing, wearing the latest in Modern cloth nappies from TheoreticGal

He’s not smiling yet (for me anyway), but I am looking forward to some positive feedback. I worship his stinky little butt and his furry little shoulders, his full body yawns and his adoring gaze, but a smile would be nice.
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Inigo having a bath with Nanna (my mum)

I have a picture of me being bathed by my nanna in the kitchen sink. I’ll have to dig it up to put beside this in his baby book.
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Inigo and Mark on the play mat

Life isn’t all poop and screaming – there is some really good stuff too

P.S. Mark was with Inigo last night – I didn’t leave him to scream alone!