Five Months Old

The perfect age for his first visit to the TAB.


After my appointment with the nutritionist yesterday, I met up with Dad and Alex. Dad just happened to be at the TAB, so in we went.

Apparently my diet is pretty good. I was told to always have some juice when I have iron rich plant foods, as the vitamin C helps to metabolise the iron, and to try not to skip breakfast, no matter how difficult the infabeast is.

That’s one more thing to check off the list of possible reasons that my child is so thin.

Have spoken to Tresillian “centralised intake”, am now waiting for a cancellation.

On Monday he weighed 5.11kg, and while we were in the bath before the appointment with Dr McVeagh, INIGO REACHED OUT AND GRABBED THE RUBBER DUCKIE!!!!

I then made him repeat the feat a few times to make sure I wasn’t delusional. It’s the one thing we’ve been worried about with his development, despite the fact that he is a virtuoso of two handed dummy tricks…

Another visit with the paediatrician

Saw the Pead today, she’s booking us in for a residential at Tresillian so they can do a further “examination” of his feeding and sleep routine. They probably want to make sure I am feeding him! So I will call up tomorrow and wait for a cancellation – and then we’ll have to be on standby to go at a moment’s notice. At least this time we’ll be going to Willoughby – not back to Nepean! I hope the food there is a little better, but at least this time it’s only for 24 hours (or so they say now!).

Tomorrow morning we are going to see the nutritionist, and then I have to get a urine sample from the boy to a pathologist. We have already done two urine samples, but both were contaminated, so now we have to do a “clean catch” – which means holding a cup under the bits until he pees! It took Mark and I nearly an hour to do, but we got it – I just hope it’s “clean”!

Basically, it’s about 9 weeks since the boy has put on any real weight. The paed said today that it’s not normal, and we’re continuing investigations….

And yes, I’m worried. It doesn’t mean I have PND. It’s normal to be worried when your child doesn’t gain any weight for over two months. If I wasn’t worried, I’d be notified to DoCS, and if I worry too much I’ll be locked up in a psych ward.

I’m actually looking forward to Tresillian – at least I’ll be able to get some reassurance that I am doing my best. And hopefully we can take the next step towards diagnosis and cure, and my happy little boy will become a happy AND healthy little boy.

Tomorrow he’ll be five months old.

Skinny Baby

Img 1211

As Emily noted, he did poo yesterday. Little blighter sometimes won’t poo for 10 days at a time (which is apparently perfectly normal for fully breastfed babies), and then does 3 in 24 hours. Since lunchtime yesterday, he’s done 5.

Should have weighed him before lunch.

Today it’s eight weeks since he has put on any significant amount of weight. In eight weeks he’s gone from 4.97kg up to 5.16kg, and now back down to 5.05kg.

In the picture above, he’s wearing a disposable nappy, as I was caught short at the clinic today. It’s a Huggies, newborn size.

The same size that he was put in at the hospital.

Img 0034

The tabs are about an inch further apart than they were, but the fact that it still fits is a little creepy. As are his ribs, and bony spine.

On the advice of the clinic nurse, I rang the paed, and am seeing her again on monday.

In the meantime, we are going up to Pearl Beach for the weekend, and hopefully I can chill out a little.

The Mask of Motherhood

Img 1203

Yesterday on Monday, I baked.

I did three loads of laundry, tidied the house, made minestrone, went shopping, and made cupcakes.

Which sounds impressive when you know I have a nearly five month old baby. Until I tell you that I had a staff of three.

Yup, one to mind the baby, one to sort out five months of mail (bills, superannuation for two people, and health fund stuff), and one to help me read the recipe and do the baking, since I am so damn sleep deprived.

Mark was home sick, so he was primary baby wrangler, Dad did the paperwork, and then Mum came over after work to help me cook my first ever batch of cupcakes. And thank god she did – apparently sleep deprivation messes with your ability to read and follow simple instructions.

I read “The Mask of Motherhood” before the boy was born, and can see that the “mask” has fallen on me a little too. Which is funny.

I never thought I would be a mother, I never thought I had “it” in me. Which I suppose made it easier for me to quit my job and live off Mark while I was so ill during the pregnancy. I felt ok about not pulling my weight financially because my physical impairment was a shared burden. And Mark absolutely supported me and my needs every single day.

But now I am a Mother. With a capital M. And I don’t feel entitled to anything.

Thank you one and all for your insightful and supportive comments. I am going to do a lot more thinking about this, maybe one day it will make sense to me.

In the meantime, I’m asking for help.

I need it.


Img 1154

The boy cries a lot. Perhaps that is why he refuses to gain weight. Still 5.06kg as at last Thursday (17/04/08).

This does my head in more than I am willing to admit publicly, but his head circumference is increasing, as is his length. Apparently his brain development is going great guns, and breast milk is the best thing for that. Still, you have to have a sense of humour.

The second urine test came back with contamination again, not sure what’s going on there.

On Wednesday, he slept for a whole hour without waking, and I sewed.

Img 1168

Yes, that is a cotton chenille bib with mauve chenille rick rack trim. I even (after a false start with homosexual snaps) installed snaps that work. I am legend.

Mark looked at it and claimed it looked “like a dishrag”. I am considering a divorce.



I was able to spend 5 minutes not cuddling the child this morning. Marvellous invention!

P.S. Bumbo’s should never be off the ground – here Inigo is on a dining chair so I could get a decent picture in the light.
P.P.S. Please note hand knit socks – thanks Ailsa!

Inigo is OK.

Still skinny – he is still 5.06kg, which he has been hovering around for the past five weeks, but the tests were pretty much clear.

The urine test showed possible contamination, so we have done a re-test (it was my cleaning Emily!), but she is pretty sure it will be fine. The other thing that we discussed is his iron levels – they should be between ten and thirty. At seventeen, the paed thinks it should be a little higher.

So tomorrow I am off to get another foul tasting liquid to give him twice a day to make up for the reflux meds that he isn’t taking any more (with no noticeable change in behaviour).

And I’m to wake him up for an 11pm feed – hopefully feeding him once more per day will start to make a bit of a difference to his weight.

He grew more than a centimetre in the 10 days since she last saw him, and his head got bigger too. He’s bright and active and alert, and apparently shows early signs of being a challenging toddler.

Hopefully, by the time he’s a toddler he won’t look like a chuppa chup any more.

So, on to me.

This last few weeks has been rough on me. Hearing that my little guy doesn’t have some foul wasting disease has been a huge weight off my shoulders, and also knowing that it’s not my fault is good too. Of course the first thing that you think of with something like this is that you have done something to cause the problem. Rationality is next to impossible.

In the last week I’ve tried feeding him more, feeding him more often, and obsessed about every little thing. Nothing made the slightest bit of difference, except that he spewed more and was grumpier. He is still 5.06kg.

Mum has been worried too. Unfortunately she chose tonight to grill me about my diet, and I wasn’t capable of hearing any criticism tonight. Then Mark had a grump at me when I asked him to put away his laptop and play with his son.

And I realised, with a crashing thud, that I have unrealistic expectations.

I realise that I won’t have a body like Kate Moss six weeks after I had a baby. Especially since I didn’t have one before.

I realise that having a clean house is something that is almost impossible to maintain at a high level once you have a child sharing your space. Especially since I was somewhat of a grot before.

I realise that I won’t always have perfect communication with my partner or my mother, they won’t always understand what I need unless I tell them, and there are some things about them that I will never understand. This one is something I have got better at, but we can all use some work in this area, right?

Now here’s what I don’t really get. I don’t get why a woman of my generation, who is supposed to “have it all”, is still controlled by guilt and fear of exposing a less than perfect underbelly. My mum had help from her mum in raising my brother and myself, and it’s her expectation that I will need help too. She wants to help. She has arranged to take time off from her highly stressful, very well paying job to help me clean up baby vomit. She offers to help all the time.

So why can’t I say yes?

Because women all over the country, and the world – my peers, don’t have help. They work full time, they clean their own toilets, they raise kids and they cook meals. They may be stressed, and they may be medicating their way through each and every day (or they may cope without pharmaceutical help, who knows), but they do it. And I don’t even have a job.

And when I ask Mark to help out with housework, I wish I didn’t feel that it’s unfair of me to ask him to do it after he’s been at work all day. That’s just plain stupid. He works for 8 hours a day, I’m on call for 24. He can have a bad day at work and break some code, if I have a bad day at work the consequences can be much worse.

So though I usually have a pretty healthy self esteem, there is something about this motherhood gig that raises the stakes, it not only makes us care more, it also makes us more vulnerable to self criticism.

My thinking brain knows that Inigo is a lot of work, and that if I don’t get some help I might not be able to cope in the long term, and yet I still feel like I don’t deserve help, that I should be able to welcome Mark home every night to a gourmet meal and a happy smiling baby.

The reality is that even if other women can cope, I can’t. And some help would be great. I just wish I could believe that I deserve it, that accepting it doesn’t make me a failure, and that Inigo will have a much better life if his mother gets a little R&R.

And now I am going off to have a little cry. Tomorrow will be better.