There is some good news

I crashed the car. Our new car, that we love beyond the fact that it gets us from A-B, that has air conditioning, and is much safer for the Squish than our old car. Bernard (our car) isn’t too badly off, but the parked car that I attacked will need surgery 😦 And the worst part? It belongs to Bev & Ted’s lovely neighbours, who are in the midst of a huge house renovation, and have had to move out while their house is taken apart and put back together. Who knows how much it will cost, but I am guessing around $1000, because that is what everything seems to cost….

So, the good news. The expensive GP has found me another gastroenterologist that can see me this week! So on Thursday I am off to speak to the guts man, and arrange for a nasty procedure. That will probably cost $1000. And the rest.

One small bit of further good news. EGP is reducing my asthma meds in the hope that my symptoms can be controlled with less drugs, namely, less steroids. Inhaled steroids apparently aren’t supposed to make you fat, but I don’t think it’s a massive coincidence that I started to get fat just after my asthma got worse and I was put on long term steroid medication. I’ll probably still be fat, but if I can be a little less fat and keep breathing, that would be good. I have bills to pay.

Government Breastfeeding Strategy – My response

There has been quite a bit of negative feedback in the media about the new breastfeeding strategy in the past few days. Many “opinion pieces” have attacked the strategy for “making mums feel guilty” for not breastfeeding.

This is a complete crock of shit.

Ask the mother of a child that was killed in a car accident before seatbelt laws if she feels guilty for not knowing about seat belts. Or a man dying of lung cancer if he feels guilty for smoking. The melanoma patient that loved the beach.

We make our decisions based on the evidence that is available at the time. Sometimes new informations has an impact on us, and we change our behavior. Sometimes we get the health message and decide to ignore it, like I did with soft cheese while I was pregnant – I did some research and found that there had been one case of listeria in pregnancy in Australia in the past two decades, and I decided to take the risk.

I would never tell another woman what to do, but I think it is fair to give them the information so that she can make up her own mind. It is my opinion that most mothers think a lot about what is best for their babies, and most mothers make conservative choices. And yet many women choose to artificially feed their babies. If I was doing a PHD in anthropology I think I would choose study this question. Since I’m not, I have to guess that most women don’t know how risky it is not to breastfeed their babies.

Of course, there are some women who can’t breastfeed. Some women have to have treatment that is incompatible with breastfeeding, or surgery, or there are other, valid reasons for not breastfeeding. Or they simply choose not to, and that is ok.

What is not OK with me is hiding the facts about the risks of artificial feeding in order to spare the feelings of a non-breastfeeding woman.

Below is what I wrote as a comment to a newspaper article that I read today – a new mum that “couldn’t” breastfeed because of poor advice, attacking the ABA, the one organisation that could have helped her if she had chosen to reach out.

—–

The new strategy is about supporting new mums, so they don’t get this stupid advice. If Rebecca had good advice and support when she was trying to get breastfeeding established (or even before the baby was born), her story might have been a lot different.

I too struggled to get breastfeeding established, and suffered for nearly three months. Before my baby was born, I attended a Breastfeeding Education Class run by the Australian Breastfeeding Association, and when things got hard, I turned to them for support and advice. My baby is just about to turn two, and he is still breastfeeding. It is my intention to follow World Health Organisation guidelines, and feed him at least until his second birthday.

This new strategy has looked at the “hard evidence”, and has come to the conclusion that formula use places an unnecessary strain on health services. Artificially fed babies do have worse health outcomes (and so do their mothers) – so of course the government wants to encourage and support women to breastfeed.

And if you’re after scientific evidence that formula feeding carries risks, read this article – www.onemillioncampaign.org/doc/RisksofFormulaFeeding.pdf The information is easy to read, but each point is referenced with the research papers so you can look up the results for yourself.

As for the ABA using emotive language, that is a no brainer. In my opinion, saying that breastmilk is a gift that a mother can give her baby is much nicer than saying giving formula to your baby increases his risk of diabetes, obesity, asthma, SIDS, hospitalisation for upper respiratory illness, childhood cancer, reduced cognitive development, allergies, infection from contaminated formula, altered occlusion, nutrient deficiency, etc, etc.

It is interesting to note that Cuba, which has strong government support for breastfeeding, has a lower infant mortality rate than the USA, where breastfeeding rates are even lower than they are in Australia. Breastfeeding saves lives, and I think that it is time we stopped pretending that artificial feeding is “just as good”. Hiding these facts from women who are making a choice to artificially feed their babies is patronising, and dangerous.

Something happened last night

Which I am still processing, still trying to make sense of in my iron depleted brain. But it seems pretty important.

Nearly six years ago, I said something stupid to a dear friend. It was thoughtless, and it hurt her. And she stopped speaking to me.

And for nearly six years, I didn’t know why. And I was so angry. Hurt and devastated that someone I loved so much could be so cruel to me.

And last night she was at a party I went to. She lives miles away, so I didn’t expect her to be there, I hadn’t seen her in years. It was a shock.

But we talked, and I understood, why she did what she did. I still hate what she did, but I understand, and I have forgiven her. And she’s forgiven me.

Are we friends again? I don’t know, I think it will take a while. But I’ve missed her, and I couldn’t believe that I was having a baby without her in my life. I couldn’t believe that she was missing out on knowing Inigo.

So last night she met him for the very first time. And I cried buckets.

I bought a blue car today

Well, I didn’t actually, but after spending most of the morning crying, I was due for some good news.

The very gorgeous Kate texted to let me know that she was able to get me 2 tickets to see Alan Cumming‘s new show, I Bought a Blue Car Today. If you don’t know of him, do a quick search. He was the dreamy guy that rescued Romy & Michelle from the horrible school reunion, he was the MC in the latest fab production of Cabaret, and he even has his own fragrance – be sure to click the link and watch the video if you don’t mind things being a little bit saucy on your monitor.

Inigo is having a nap, I am catching up on some email and then hoping to have a nap myself, then I’ll cook dinner for Inigo and drop him with Grandma and Papa, and head into the Opera House for a proper grown up night out.

I definitely need a laugh.

Oh, and the other thing…

The other thing that could be causing internal bleeding is coeliac disease.

And the happy thought for today?

I am going this afternoon to visit a friend whose 10 year old daughter is in intensive care at Westmead with pneumonia. She is apparently going up and down, so they are hopeful she will be home within a few weeks, but I can’t imagine how terrifying this is for her parents and her sister.

Whinge…

Moan…

Complain…

It’s all I ever seem to do around here. I feel horrible, I don’t know whether I feel worse because I feel worse, or because I might actually be really sick, and the dr is taking me seriously. Normal iron deficient anaemia happens over time, a gradual worsening with poor diet and insufficient iron intake. But because I gave blood on the 15th of October, I can’t have had low iron then, or they wouldn’t have taken my blood. So I’ve developed this deficiency in less than a month (felt like overnight to me…), and that isn’t normal.

The most likely causes of this type of anaemia (according to wikipedia, the font of all wisdom), are parasites or intestinal worms, gastro-intestinal ulcers (causing internal bleeding), and bowel polyps and cancer. That’s quite a spectrum, and though it would be poetic justice for me to have bowel cancer, I can’t believe that is it.

So, happy thoughts….

I saw the lovely Anna today, and she is spectacularly amazing. Of course, she will never be the same person as she was before Lara died, but she is finding some joy, and life is slowly gaining some colour for her.

Inigo has discovered big and small. Today we have been alternating between small (gentle and quite) cuddles, and big (loud and wobbly and squeezy) cuddles. There is no possible way to describe the joy of a small boy launching himself at you demanding “BIG CUDDLES”, and then collapsing, paralysed with glee in your lap. Or his soft breath, asking with perfect manners, “little kiss please Mama”.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

I’m not iron deficient

I’m anaemic.

Which accounts for my extremely low energy and lethargy. Doc has given me a referral to see a gastroenterologist and a different (chelated) iron supplement.

I cant get in to see the specialist until January, but if I’m not feeling significantly better in a month, well do some further investigations.

I am also going to do spirometry next week and do a proper asthma plan, and possibly see a specialist for that too. Possibly we’ll be able to manage my asthma without daily steroids. And I think that is worth looking in to.

So thanks everyone for your gp suggestions – I now feel like I am on the right track!