Category Archives: MSPI

Microblog Mondays: The Good Patient

I am usually a model patient.

The chief ultrasound tech at the clinic used to comment on it, saying, “Turia, you are a good girl. You take all your medications on time. You come in when you need to come in. You are a perfect patient.”

This always struck me as crazy, because there was so much on the line at that clinic. Why spend thousands and thousands of dollars to not take the right medications or skip monitoring or do the IVF trigger shot too early or too late? But I guess she had seen all of those and more.

This morning I had my second appointment with my new endocrinologist (who is just as competent and just as pleasant and just as organized as she appeared to be at our first meeting). We went over the bloodwork I did two weeks earlier, and she was very happy with the change to my synthroid, but a little perplexed as to why one other factor still wasn’t in the ‘normal’ range.

“It could be something totally benign,” she told me, “in which case it’s just indicative of either low Vitamin D or low calcium.”

At that point I had to admit that, despite what it said in my chart, I had largely stopped taking both Vitamin D and calcium back in the summer. I got out of the habit when we went to visit Q’s family and never got back into it. I haven’t even been taking a prenatal, even though I’m still nursing P.

I’m eating dairy again, but not huge amounts of it because of what I discovered when I was regulating my cycle before P. was conceived, so I’m quite sure I’m not getting the 1200 mg a day she wanted. And I know I should be taking Vitamin D because it’s a given that everyone in Canada is deficient without supplementation. My kids get theirs, but taking care of me had slipped through the cracks.

She was very good about it and suggested that we do another round of blood tests in three months to check everything was back to normal.

I was unbelievably embarrassed.

I’m still mulling over my goals/resolutions for 2018, but one of them was definitely going to be “take better care of myself”. I had thought to start small on this by restarting my flossing habit (which once was impeccable but has been far from ideal ever since P. was born).

I guess I better add “take your vitamins” to my list.

How’s your self-care? Where are your weak spots?

This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. To read the inaugural post and find out how you can participate, click here.



Filed under Microblog Mondays, MSPI, My addled brain, Nursing, Thyroid

You wouldn’t think eating would be this complicated

I feel like January has entirely revolved around food. It’s gone like this:

  1. P. started to get interested in actually consuming food rather than just holding it in her hand and licking it. Upon starting to eat she almost immediately cut back on how much she was nursing.
  2. As a result of P’s fussy nursing, my supply dropped. This meant P. got frustrated and started having to wait for a letdown, which led to lots of pulling at the breast and a super-cranky baby.
  3. I finally realized what was happening, cut solids out entirely for a few days, and started pumping whenever I could.
  4. My supply came back but I now had a mental block about nursing because I was so worried that P. was going to do what E. did and try to self-wean. We’d have the same problem with switching to formula- her MSPI would limit our options. I didn’t think I could face pumping for five months. Also I really really really was not ready to stop breastfeeding.
  5. My mental block got so bad it started to hinder my letdown, which meant that P. would get fussy and impatient, which would make me more nervous and worried, which would hinder the letdown even further, and so on. I started to feel like I was having an anxiety attack every time I could feel a letdown beginning and the adrenaline would trap the milk in my breasts. P’s only good feeds for a few days were before her naps and in the middle of the night- any other time I offered she’d get frustrated waiting and waiting for the letdown.
  6. I solved the mental block by playing on my phone when P was nursing- writing out a message with one hand occupied my brain enough to let my body do what it needed to do. A letdown is a conditioned reflex and I was eventually able to recondition the reflex so that it became easy again.
  7. In the meantime, we reintroduced solids and discovered that BLW was NOT going to work for P. After one too many rounds of “choke until you vomit and then cry and want nothing more to do with food”, we decided to stick with spoon feeding for now (or finger foods that dissolve easily like those Mum Mum things which we never bothered buying with E).
  8. P was back to nursing at least 8 times in 24 hours. I was able to put my phone away and just go back to cuddling. She was really enjoying solids and was starting to eat quite a lot. Other than not being able to figure out when I was supposed to get anything done outside the house (as our days were a sea of drop off, nurse, nap, nurse, eat food, nurse, nap, pick up), I felt like things were going smoothly.
  9. Two days after thinking that, P got super constipated (again, something we never encountered with E.).

And that’s where we’re at. I’m pumping during her first nap every morning to get some milk for her cereal (oatmeal, not rice, so it shouldn’t be contributing to the constipation). And today we’ll be going out to buy pureed pears and prunes to try to sort out her poor tummy as she’s obviously uncomfortable.

This too shall pass.

But it’s been a real pain while it’s been happening.


Filed under Anxiety Overload, Food, MSPI, Nursing, P.- the first year

It Gets Better

Dear Turia,

I thought of you yesterday, when I was watching E. help his Daddy fix a section of the fence. I was standing there, watching E. hold the tape measure, asking his father twenty-five questions with every breath, and I remembered the summer Q. built the fence, the summer E. was born.

You spent a lot of time watching Q. build that fence.  Partly it was because Q. was an adult and you were desperate for adult contact and conversation- when you weren’t watching him build the fence you spent a lot of time in the late afternoons loitering on the front porch waiting to see if any of the neighbours were around and up for a chat. Partly it was to show E. what his Daddy was doing, even though E. wouldn’t have appreciated the rarity of having a father who is a tenured academic but who can also build fences. E. had only recently discovered he had hands at the point Q. started work on it.

But mostly it was just an excuse to get out of the house, away from the overwhelming anxiety you were feeling when the baby you loved so much wasn’t eating or wasn’t sleeping or wasn’t doing any of the things you thought he was SUPPOSED to be doing at that particular moment. So you’d scoop E. up, often in floods of tears, and take him out to watch Q. build the fence, and you’d cry and rant at Q., and he would say something undeniably true but not particularly helpful like “Babies do crazy things”, and you’d be so full of frustration and fear that you weren’t doing this parenting thing RIGHT and E. would be hopelessly damaged because he wasn’t sleeping enough or nursing enough. But it would be sunny outside, and warm, and eventually you and E. would both be quiet and happy and calm, and you’d pull yourself together to struggle on.

And so it went.

I wish I could walk past that fence, look at you in your sleep-deprived haze, clutching that tiny, fractious baby, with an air that I would like to say was equal parts exhilaration and panic but was really mostly just panic, and catch your eye. I wish I could give you a smile and a big hug and tell you what I know now.

It gets better.

I know you were at the end of your rope. At this stage three years ago, you’d only just started to transition E. back into his crib for naps, rather than strapping him to your chest in a carrier and pacing around the house non-stop. E. responded by refusing to nap for more than forty-five (or, if you were very unlucky, thirty) minutes at a time.  Carrier naps? He’d happily sleep for two hours, nestled in nice and cozy. You’d only just started to get his bedtime back to an early enough hour that you didn’t feel you had to go to bed as soon as he did.

You didn’t know what was coming down the pipe. You knew that he had a really gassy tummy in the early hours of the morning, but you were still months away from figuring out the MSPI issue. You were thrilled to have achieved even some semblance of independent sleep during the day, but you had no idea he would be ten months old before you no longer had to stand in the room, holding him on his side in the crib until he fell asleep. You didn’t know that there’d be phases where he would wake up for the day, every day, at 5 a.m., or that he would sleep so lightly that going to bed would wake him up, even if you and Q. brushed your teeth downstairs and tried to sneak up the stairs. You didn’t know that you would still be nursing him, twice a night, until after his first birthday, even though he wouldn’t nurse during the day.

E.’s sleep in his first year, in a nutshell, sucked.

I remember when you read a post on a friend’s blog, where she commented on how amazing it was that her son (who was older than E. and had also been a totally shit sleeper as an infant) would now tell her that he was tired, how wonderful it was that she could go into his room to check on him at night before she went to bed herself.

You cried.

You never, ever, believed you would reach that point with E.

Turia, you did.

Your son has slept through the night consistently since he was sixteen months old. He usually sleeps twelve hours or a bit more. He tells you when he’s tired and sometimes asks to go to bed early. He goes to sleep with little or no fuss, and needs no further parental intervention after one round of being checked on when he’s first tucked in. (You always ask the same three questions: “And how are you? How’s your nightlight? And your animals?” and E. always gives the same three answers: “I’m fine. It’s working. My animals are fine and I’m fine and my nightlight is working and everything’s fine.”) The routine didn’t change when you switched him from a crib to his medium-sized guy bed last month. He stays in bed when you put him there (at least until he wakes up the following morning).

Here is what you can do when you go into his room to check on him before you go to bed. You can pull back and adjust the covers. You can lift him up if he is too close to the edge of the bed and resettle him. You can put his head back on the pillow, or give him back his best bunny or his newest best friend, his puppy. You can put away laundry. You can adjust the curtains if he’s opened them while falling asleep. To be honest, you could probably have a conversation in there with Q. while jumping up and down and E. wouldn’t wake up.

Most of all, you can smooth back his hair from his forehead. You can give him another kiss. You can tell him that you love him. You can stand there, in the dark, and watch him sleep and notice how long his legs are getting and marvel at the little boy that fractious baby became.

I’m not sure we’re ever going to get a “do-again”. No one gets a “do-over”- E.’s infancy is finished and his and your experiences of it are set. But you often think, standing there in the dark, that it would have been nice to have a chance at a “do-again”, to go into parenting knowing this time that things change, sometimes overnight, and that eventually, eventually there is a light at the end of the sleep tunnel.

It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen, unfortunately. I can’t go back and find you watching that fence being built, so I’m writing this instead, hoping that someone else might find it one day and read it and feel, for a moment, maybe a little less alone and a little less frightened.

Because it gets better.

It does.

I promise.


Filed under Anxiety Overload, Baby, Blink and you'll miss it, Butter scraped over too much bread (a.k.a. modern motherhood), E.- the fourth year, MSPI, My addled brain, Nursing, Sleep


Back in the summer, when I was in the middle of a crisis of confidence with my PhD dissertation (which, if I’m being honest, hasn’t really ended, but I’m at the stage now where I have to just get over myself and finish the damn thing), I spent a lot of time blogging about how conflicted I was feeling about going back to the clinic and starting to try for a 2.0.

At the time, I wrote this:

And so my reticence about going back to the clinic is not just about whether or not we are truly ready for a 2.0 (because I know we can’t ever really be ready in the same way one can never really be ready for a first baby- you just have to go ahead and have one and cope with what comes), or about how we will balance two children and two academic careers, or about how E. will adjust to being a big brother.

What it’s really about is I’m opening myself up to failure again, and, what’s worse, opening myself up to failing at something at which I’ve already passed.

It’s as though failing to have a 2.0 would not only be a failure in its own right, but it would also colour/darken the triumph that is E.

I wouldn’t have really passed infertility after all. I would have somehow squeaked through the first time without the gods noticing, but my greed at trying again would ultimately catch me out. As though the universe would take back my shiny certificate I earned with E.’s birth and rip it up, shaking its head. “You didn’t really pass, Turia,” the universe would say. “You bought yourself some time for a while. But in the end you’ve failed.”

That was what I was the most afraid of.

It’s happening.

I really believed after we had E. that we had FIXED things. Yes, it took 35 months, and IUIs and IVFs and FETs, and there were many, many heartbreaking BFNs before we got there, but when we did a long protocol IVF and transferred blastocysts, it WORKED.

I got pregnant.

I gave birth to a live, healthy baby.

And I honestly believed the second time around would be easier.

Because we KNEW now, or so I thought, what we had to do.

We knew what my body needed.

I absolutely believed that one of the two blastocysts that had been frozen and waiting for us at the clinic for three years was going to be E’s younger sibling.

They were from the same cycle, you see.

The cycle that WORKED.

When both FETs failed this fall, it really shook my confidence. But Q. and I talked about it, and we agreed that it hadn’t been exactly the same.

E. was the product of a fresh cycle.

So we waded in again.

We did exactly the same thing we did to get E.: a long protocol IVF with a five day transfer of two blasts.

And it WORKED.

We felt vindicated. We’d been RIGHT. We knew what my body needed.

And then I had an ultrasound where I learned that there wasn’t going to be a baby in September and my whole world came crashing down.

I don’t know anything anymore.

I don’t know if this loss was a fluke, if we were so unlucky as to have that blastocyst grow into a baby who was never meant to be.

Worse, I don’t know if E. was a fluke, if somehow he squeaked through unnoticed, but there’s something hitherto unrecognized in my body that will cause me to kill any future babies should I be so foolish as to try to keep growing them.

All I know is any confidence I had in myself, in my body’s ability to nurture and carry a baby, has been shattered, possibly irrevocably.

I was GOOD at being pregnant, you see.

I had almost no complications with E.

I carried him to thirty-nine weeks and four days.

I still felt good in the last week of my pregnancy.

I looked freakin’ amazing pregnant.

I had a fast, unmedicated labour and delivery, with very few physical repercussions.

I was able to successfully breastfeed my son, even through the MSPI issues and his later rejection of all day feeds, for thirteen months.


I’d held on to that, all through the summer while I wrestled with my emotions, all through the fall and the FETs, all through December and the IVF grind, all through January and February, until I wasn’t allowed to believe it any longer.

All right, I told myself, I suck at getting pregnant. But that’s the hard part. I have a perfect track record with being pregnant.

One for one.

Now it’s one for three.

I didn’t blog much about the embryo that never got further than the gestational sac.

I thought about it, a lot actually, but I never wrote much down.

But if it had been the only embryo that implanted, I would have counted it as a loss.

I would have had a positive beta.

The numbers might not have doubled properly.

I might have known before that first ultrasound that things weren’t going to turn out well.

But I would have been pregnant.

It would have been a loss.

I thought about that, after the first ultrasound, but I didn’t say much to anyone else.

I had the other baby to concentrate on.

“The good baby” is what the ultrasound tech called it at that first appointment.

Except it wasn’t a good baby either, in the end.

The day after it happened my father called me. I tried to explain to him how I was feeling, how I could cope with E. being an only child but that if that was how it was going to turn out, I wished so much that we had never even tried to further expand our family, that we had been content with him as an only, that we had saved ourselves this pain and heartbreak.

“Well, Turia,” said my father, “surely it’s better to have actually tried. Everyone fails at something in their life, and you’ve done really well up until now.”

He’s right. I haven’t failed at very much before now.

But he doesn’t get it either.

There is a great gaping chasm between failing at something because I haven’t worked hard enough, or haven’t done enough research, or haven’t put enough thought into it, and failing at something when I have done everything in my power to make it work, have altered my life for months on end to give it a chance to work, have wished with all my heart that it would work, and, worst of all, have failed at it when it has already worked once before.

I thought I knew things.

I don’t know anything anymore.


Filed under 2.0 Pregnancy, A matter of faith, Anxiety Overload, Family, Grief, Loss, MSPI, Nursing, PhD, Pregnancy, Second Thoughts, Siblings

All good things…

E. is weaned.

It started when I weaned myself off the dom.peridone. E. was happily drinking all or close to the maximum 16 oz. of cow’s milk a day recommended by his paediatrician, so I didn’t feel I needed to artificially raise my milk supply any longer.

My milk supply fell off a cliff as a result. It was incredible. I went from pumping 5-8 oz. each morning (more if E. hadn’t fed much that night) to 1. So that was the end of pumping. We were away visiting grandparents for a week, and it was obvious at the night feeds that E. wasn’t drinking much and they really had become about routine and habit rather than nutrition.

When we got back home we had one night like usual, and it turns out that the night feed that night at 2:30 a.m. was the last time I ever nursed E., as the next day at dinner, Q. looked at me and said, “We should sleep train, right?” We didn’t have any more excuses- no upcoming visits, no conference to prepare for-, plus we’re going to visit his relatives in the not-so-distant future, so if we didn’t bite the bullet and cut off the night feeds now, we’d be commiting to night feeds until August.

So I, with a lot of trepidation, went off to sleep in the basement, and left Q. to deal with E. “Just don’t get angry with him,” I said as I went downstairs. I think Q. was confused. “I’m never angry with him,” he answered. “Besides, if he goes on for too long, I’ll just come get you.” He laughed, and off we went.

I don’t know what I was expecting. I guess I figured since Q. has less patience than I do when it comes to E. that he might get really frustrated, that he might not be able to see it through. I was expecting the worst.

E. did wake up, at 12:30, with a dirty diaper. And it did take Q. until 2 to get him back down. The crying comes down the vents into the basement, so it did wake me up, but according to Q’s report the next day there wasn’t actually all that much crying- it just seemed like it to me. Q. woke me back up at 3 when he came downstairs to get a snack, so at that point I went upstairs with him.

E. slept until 7 a.m.

The next night I slept in the basement, this time with my trusty earplugs. I woke up around 4 and had  a terrible time getting back to sleep. I took out the earplugs, since I figured I would have missed whatever antics had gone on upstairs, so when E. woke up screaming at 5:30, I heard him. Again he had a dirty diaper. Once Q. changed him, he was all smiles and up for the day. And that was the FIRST time he had woken up that night.

Saturday night I figured it was safe to try sleeping upstairs again. E. slept straight through until 6:15 without a peep.

Last night? Well, he went to bed very overtired, courtesy of an afternoon nap refusal, so he was asleep probably by 6:55 or so. He slept until 7 this morning! He popped up twice that I heard with a very brief cry (5 seconds or less) before settling down again.

TWELVE hours, readers. That is unheard of for E.

I know we’ll probably have some regressions and more wakings, especially given he is (still) teething like mad, having cut one molar and with another molar plus three canines moving around. But I know he can do it now.

My son sleeps through the night.

I have mixed feelings about weaning, of course. I don’t feel torn about cutting the night feed or stopping pumping, because I haven’t really felt we had a good breastfeeding relationship ever since E. day weaned at 10 months. I regret that we weren’t able to continue, but if I am very honest with myself, my regrets stem mostly from the fact that I at some point decided that nursing past the year mark was the RIGHT thing to do, and that doing this made me a GOOD MOTHER, and the fact that I am the first of my close circle of mummy friends to wean means that I am somehow falling behind in the Mummy Olympics. I really struggle with self-imposed standards and it is so hard not to compare myself or E. to the other mums and bubs around us.

When you take away the stupid self-imposed ideology about what a GOOD MOTHER should do, and look at the reality of the situation, here is what you see:

– E was done nursing at 10 months. He wanted solid food. He wanted to get on with things. He probably would have slept through the night then if I had weaned entirely

– I couldn’t wean him because of the MSPI. I had to get him to the year mark. So I got up twice a night, started taking domper.idone and herbs, and started pumping twice a day.

– I did get him to the year mark. I got him to 13 months. I got him to the point where he not only had outgrown the MSPI, but he had grown accustomed to the taste of cow’s milk and, indeed, even liked it. This is a seriously big deal in my world. I mean, read that sentence at the start of the post again. I have a son who guzzles close to 16 oz. of cow’s milk a day with NO side effects whatsoever. A son who devours cheese in any form, at any meal, at any time. A son who not so long ago, at Christmas, was up screaming in pain in the wee hours because I had eaten potatoes that were cooked next to something that had been cooked in butter. A son who at nine months writhed in agony and wept while I held him because we’d fed him yoghurt.

We’ve come a long way, baby.

So while I do mourn for the loss of our nursing relationship, I can admit to myself that it’s the imagined ideal that I mourn, the place I thought we’d be in back before he started solids and I was determined to nurse to eighteen months or beyond. It’s not the reality of these last three months that I miss. He was done. I was (mostly) done, even though a part of me dearly loved the cuddles and the closeness that came with those remaining night feeds.

And I mourn the idea that I might never nurse a baby again because, given the struggle it was to get him, it is always, always at the back of my mind that E. might be our only baby.

But it was time.

Now if I could just reteach my body to actually sleep through the night, we’d be golden…


Filed under Blink and you'll miss it, Emotions, MSPI, Nursing, Sleep

We made it.

Yesterday, E. had his twelve month well-baby checkup.

He was breastfed for his entire first year.

He has (we are nearly positive) outgrown the MSPI.

Far out. We made it.

It’s hard to feel a lot of pride as a mum. You don’t want to take any credit for the lovely things about your baby, or the things that he does, because in some way that implies that you’re equally responsible for the less-nice things, or the things that he isn’t doing yet, but the little voice at the back of your head is whispering that maybe he should be (especially when you’ve got other mums playing the Baby Olympics and claiming their babies are doing things at E’s age that seem highly unlikely, if not downright developmentally impossible).

But I did feel a sense of quiet accomplishment when we reached E’s birthday.

The last two months haven’t been easy. I haven’t enjoyed having my nursing relationship become a menage a trois with the pump. But I managed. I dealt with it. I wrote an entire dissertation chapter (17,000 words) while getting up twice a night to nurse my baby. I pumped first thing in the morning, every morning, while distracting E. with corn and kamut puffs so he wouldn’t incessantly grab at the tubing and then bite me in frustration when I told him repeatedly not to touch. I broke up my workday, or stayed in with E. after his nap rather than go for a walk, so I could pump again later in the morning to make sure there was enough milk for him to drink in the afternoon. I cuddled and sang and tried not to grit my teeth while E. picked up the feed before bed and then dropped it again a few weeks later. I held my breath and crossed my fingers while we reintroduced dairy into my diet, again, and then, into his.

And I think, I hope, that what we are now facing in E’s second year is a baby with no food allergies.

It may be that he can’t really handle straight cow’s milk. We’re still working that one out. He clearly doesn’t like it as much as the breastmilk, but he’s not showing any definitive signs of reacting, so he might just need some more time to get used to it. Even if he doesn’t drink it, we can be sure he’s getting enough of what he needs if he eats cheese and yoghurt and keeps one or two nursing sessions.

The plan now is to cut out that second night feed (the paediatrician wants me to do both, but Q. and I both feel going cold turkey isn’t going to be the best option with E.). I know he doesn’t need it- he’s had more nights than not over the past week and a bit with only one feed, and twice he’s done an eleven hour stretch. I am dying for a longer stretch of sleep. And I’ll keep pumping in the morning if E. won’t nurse when he wakes up, and I’ll probably pump after he goes to bed if he won’t nurse before sleeping, just to protect my supply. I’m not going to stop pumping until we see that E. is happily drinking milk or eating tons of yoghurt. And then, if he really doesn’t want to nurse morning/night, I’ll stop pumping and let my supply ease off.

I’d like to keep nursing; I really would. But I don’t feel the need to bend over backward to make it happen, now that we’ve made it past the year mark and it looks like his gut has matured. We’ll see what happens.

There’s a lot of noise online right now about that new Time cover (and no, I am not going to link to it), and today I can’t stop thinking about the horrible situation in the UK where it looks like a Canadian woman has killed her fourteen month old daughter and newborn son and tried to kill herself as a result of PPD. All I want to say is this:

We are all Mom enough. We are all doing our best.

And wouldn’t it be nice if, for once, the mainstream media would actually devote its time and energy to raising support and awareness for those who are struggling rather than stirring up judgment and mistrust and fanning the flames of the so-called mommy wars.

Happy Mother’s Day to all my blog readers, be you mums already, or daughters with mums, or mums-yet-to-be. Wishing you love, laughter and quiet moments this Sunday.


Filed under MSPI, Nursing, Sleep, Soapbox

And here we go again…

Since E.’s twelve-month well-baby appointment is on the 10th, and we need a definitive answer on the whole MSPI issue by then, as if he’s still intolerant we need to know how we’re going to approach nutrition in the second year (that does not include getting up twice a night, because oh my goodness I am so wanting to be DONE with these feeds), we’re challenging him again with dairy. We started on Sunday with some cheese at a reception for the christening of one of his baby friends. Thus far he’s had cheese on its own, goats’ cheese in risotto, cheese and milk in scrambled eggs, and milk and butter in a muffin. Plus I’m eating as much dairy as I can shovel in, given I never know when I might be off the stuff again.

So far, so good, I think. There’s nothing obvious to which I can point. He has been a touch gassier, but not to such an extent that he seems uncomfortable.

I think tomorrow we’re going to try yoghurt, which was the smoking gun at the ten month mark. If he manages that ok, we’ll try a tiny amount of straight  milk this weekend and see what happens.

He is definitely getting better, but I can’t yet be certain that the issue has entirely resolved.

We are definitely in the throes of the 2-1 nap transition. What a mess. E. has skipped the afternoon nap more often than he’s taken it this past week. The problem is he wakes up at 7.15 or so (or we wake him at 7.30), and he is TOAST by 9.30 or 10:00- eye rubbing, thumb sucking, etc. One morning Q. turned around from doing the dishes, and E. was lying on the floor sucking his thumb- clearly he was ready for a nap! Then we wake him up by 11:30, which should, in theory, mean he’ll be ready to go down again by 2.30 or 3.00. But he just isn’t sleeping. He’s holding up ok in the late afternoon considering how tired he gets, but I don’t think this is a sustainable pattern. The main thing is he gets incredibly clingy to me, and cries if I go more than two feet away from him. Playdates are less fun as a result. So are afternoons where Q. has him. Gah.

The travel crib is now in the kitchen, as Q. and I have decided we simply can’t have E. under our feet (or worse, holding on to our pants) when we’re using the stove. I’m ok with having a little ‘helper’ while washing dishes or chopping veggies, but it was giving me the willies to have him crawling around at my feet with boiling water directly above. And he  won’t stay on the other side of the kitchen- not for a snack, and not for a new and exciting toy (like our big mixing bowl and a spatula). So a baby-containment-system it is. The first trial run was this afternoon, and he did well for about 40 minutes, which should be enough time to make dinner on a weeknight normally, but Q. was making gnocchi and the potatoes took much longer than expected to cook.

I’m having a hard time with the balancing act that is parenting plus the rest of your life. I’m really realizing now that there will never, ever, be enough time to do everything I want/need to do again. If we watch a movie on Friday night instead of cleaning the bottom two floors of the house, that means I have to vacuum during E’s morning nap on Saturday rather than having a cup of tea and maybe a look at the paper. If I try to read a book for fun at night, that means I’m not reading for my dissertation, etc. etc. I really want to make a photobook of E’s first year, but I have NO IDEA when I’m going to fit that in.

Generally we are managing pretty well. E. is fed and happy and healthy and loved. I did get my chapter to a form that I could give it to Q. this afternoon. The house gets mostly cleaned every weekend, even if we never seem to get to the deep cleaning I think should be done. We buy good quality food and eat homemade meals every day (having a baby who is allergic to basically every restaurant out there helps a lot). But I do feel like I have a million balls in the air, and I realize a little bit more every day that I will always now feel like this. It’s just life with children and two working parents.


Filed under Blink and you'll miss it, MSPI, Sleep

Random thoughts in snatches of time

A few bits and bobs in the spare moments I have while E. naps

  • I’m dairy-free again, and will remain so until E. is closer to the year mark. He is clearly getting better, but just as clearly still has tolerance issues, so I’d rather give his system time to outgrow it than continually tax it with small doses through me. It also makes things easier, as we can’t feed E. what we eat if we’re putting dairy in it all the time. Q. and I had a ‘conversation’ about it last night where I said I really thought it made sense to remove dairy again, and Q. said nothing and changed the subject, and when I pressed him on it said, “Fine, if that’s what you want to do.” This is Q-speak for, “I think this is dumb but you’re obviously not going to change your mind and I don’t want to fight about it.” Obviously I would have rather had an actual conversation, but provided he’s not fighting me on this, I don’t care if he thinks it’s a stupid plan.
  • The other interesting thing was at bedtime on the day he had the yoghurt E. couldn’t put himself to sleep. I think it’s been more than two weeks since I started just putting him in the crib and walking out the door, and it’s been working so well. He’s often asleep within three minutes, and at the most he chats to himself and then does a bit of mantra crying and then conks out within fifteen minutes of my leaving the room. It is amazing- our bedtime routine is now maybe ten minutes from the time he’s dressed in his pjs and sleep sack, given how short his nursing sessions are. So I do wonder if his tummy was already hurting and that was why he couldn’t settle himself and eventually needed one round of pick up/put down.
  • I started my bootcamp on Monday. I felt good yesterday but sore today, so I shudder to think how I will feel after tonight’s session. It was nice in that it showed me I do have some residual level of fitness left, even if I feel shockingly out of shape. It was also nice because one of my mummy friends was chatting with another woman there when I first arrived and introduced us and then said, “And Turia runs marathons!” To which I replied, “Half-marathons and that was pre-baby! I haven’t done anything in months.” and the other mum looked at me and said, “No, you look sporty.” And the instructor asked at the end of the session whether I’ve done a bootcamp before, and when I said no, she asked if I go to the gym a lot. So I clearly did better than she was expecting a first-timer to do. This is all a huge ego-boost for me, because I used to be significantly overweight, and was for a LONG time. I only really dropped the weight during my master’s degree when I took up rowing, and then I put most of it back on again in my first few years teaching and living with Q. Then I dropped it for our wedding, and I’ve pretty much kept it all off, give or take five pounds, over the past four and a bit years (obviously leaving aside the pregnancy weight gain). But the thing is, I STILL think of myself as fat. My mental image is that skewed. And even though I rowed at quite a high level while in the UK, and now have run two half-marathons, I still think of myself as a couch potato blob. So it means a LOT when strangers and/or friends who didn’t know me before we moved to this city (where I have always been trim, and sometimes downright skinny) make comments that assume that I’m sporty and fit. I just need to get better about believing it myself.
  • So that was the good part. The bad part was at the end she took my measurements so I can track my progress over the course of the bootcamp, and the number on the scale was not good. And granted, it was the end of the day, and I’d eaten dinner, and I was wearing running shoes, and it was a different scale, but even so. I’ve been avoiding our scale because I tend to get obsessed with numbers, but I decided I better double check, so I hopped on this morning and was given definitive proof that what I’d been suspecting was true: I cannot keep eating like a trucker if E. is going to nurse as little as he does. It’s not terrible- I’m only four pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight, but that’s enough that I need to be a bit more serious about my diet again. I’ve already been cutting back portion sizes to get closer to what was ‘normal’ for me pre-pregnancy and breast feeding, but I also have to stop eating E’s leftovers. I can be smarter about heating things up in smaller batches and just doing more if he’s still hungry, but I also need to recognize that sometimes there will be food left over that can’t be saved for another meal and it is OK to throw it out. (I was raised in a house where it was not ok to waste food and we always had to clean our plates. I am NEVER telling E. that he has to finish what’s on his plate before he can leave the table. My food issues are ridiculous.)
  • Something amazing happened this morning. I was reading books to E. and we were reading Doggies, by Sandra Boynton, which is a counting and barking book. On the last page there are ten dogs and one cat and I asked E., “Where is the cat?” He turned his head to look straight at one of our cats, who was in her usual place in the window. I figured it could have been a coincidence, so I asked him again a couple of other times over the next twenty minutes as we were playing, and each time he turned his head right to look at her. HE UNDERSTANDS WORDS. Where did the tiny baby who used to just lie there and flail, bug-eyed, go?

And E. is awake. Gotta run!


Filed under Baby, Food, MSPI, Running

Sometimes I hate being right…

Thanks for all the comments on my last post. I am going to start writing, I promise. Just not today, for reasons that will become clear below.

Yesterday I gave E. a whole lot of yoghurt, because I was tired of not being able to figure anything out definitively with the dairy situation. I was still convinced he was reacting to me eating it, and Q. still thought it was all in my head. And I felt that the reacting was getting worse and E. was becoming progressively more ‘not quite right’. But he’s still teething (oh #8, you are worse than #6 was), and there was nothing I could really point to, and say to Q., “There it is- that’s the problem.” It was just a gut instinct, albeit one that was getting stronger every day.

So he ate the yoghurt, and then at 4 am he was up this morning, which is not unusual for him, except he didn’t want to feed, he just wanted to writhe and cry, and he couldn’t be put back down in the crib, and Q. couldn’t settle him, and so at 5 am I was in the rocking chair where eventually he fell asleep on my chest with the occasional burst of crying.  This is EXACTLY what used to happen with a dairy/soy exposure. It felt so familiar. And it sucked, but at the same time, I was relieved, because we finally had a clear answer.
Except Q. doesn’t seem to think it’s definitive- he STILL thinks I’m overreacting. We had a brief conversation about it and then (since he is a conflict avoider and I was obviously getting worked up) he just disappeared downstairs to shower, but it was clear from what he was saying that he doesn’t think having E. writhing in pain crying on my chest is definitive, even though that is what he used to do every time his tummy hurt, and he has never done it (not once) since we cut out dairy and soy. Nothing else causes it- not teething, not other food, nothing.
To be honest, I’m a bit flabbergasted, because I would have thought that the experiment ended the moment it became clear that our baby was in PAIN. But I feel like Q. wants to wait until the blood starts appearing in E.’s diapers again. And I’m just not going there…there is no way I’m waiting until the damage gets so bad his gut starts to ulcerate, not when he’s given me such a clear indication that all is not right.
There’s no way for me to say this to Q. without him getting defensive and angry, but having been the one to sit in the rocking chair, or hold E. on my chest in bed before he was in his own room, I can tell without a shadow of a doubt that this is a dairy reaction. I’ve sat through too many of them not to recognize it. And yet Q. is asking, “Well, what was he doing other than being awake?” and insisting, “Oh he does that back arch thing with me when he wakes up at 10 and won’t go back down too.” I don’t think there’s anything I can say to him that will convince him, because he already thinks I’m inventing the whole thing. But I was willing to entertain the belief that I was projecting; I was willing to keep going with the experiment, because there wasn’t anything definitive.
Now there is. And I need Q. to trust me when I say to him, “This is wrong; he’s in pain; we’ll try dairy again at the year mark.”, and not to second guess, or openly doubt what I’m saying. Because right now, my mama bear instincts are in overdrive, and if Q. dismisses what I’m saying, or tries to push me to continue with the dairy exposure, I am going to lose my shit.


Filed under Baby, Food, MSPI

And the results are in…

Or not.

I STILL cannot tell whether E. really has outgrown his dairy intolerance.

I did the milk binge- we had pizza for dinner with extra cheese, and I drank 500 ml of milk and then we had ice cream for dessert.

And then I felt sick.

E.? Had a normal night, was maybe a touch fussier than normal the next day, and seemed a bit uncomfortable the next night, in that he was wriggling around during his feeds like he had bubbles in his gut that weren’t coming out. No weird crying jags in the early evening.

So I ate more ice cream. And this time there was no reaction on the first night or the second. But I still thought he was gassier/fussier than normal during the day. He does this weird panting/fussing thing when crawling that I think is indicative of discomfort.

I am driving Q. mental, because my gut tells me that he is still reacting. Q. thinks it is all in my head and that it is tied up with my own (large) issues surrounding food. And what has thrown a HUGE wrench into this whole process is tooth #8.

That’s right- the day after I had my dairy binge, it became manifestly clear that E. was teething again. And this one is causing a lot of discomfort- we’ve had to break out the ad.vil most days.

E. yesterday morning did that weird panting/fussing thing, so I figured it was from the milk I’d eaten the day before. Then we dosed him with ad.vil (which I don’t think would solve stomach discomforts) and he was fine for the whole day.

So today, when Q. was out at the library, I decided to take the plunge.

I gave E. cheese at lunch.

And (and this is truly driving me crazy), I STILL don’t know if there’s a problem. He skipped his afternoon nap, and was really out of sorts as a result by the end of the day. He had several dirty diapers. But all of this could be teeth as well- we’ve had three days this week where the afternoon nap just would not happen no matter what we did, and E. definitely dirties way more diapers when teeth are coming.

Here is what is not happening:
– there is no blood or mucus in his diapers
– he is not waking up at 5 am and screaming in pain and having to sleep on my chest
– he does not act like it is an enormous challenge for him to dirty a diaper

I think the very fact that Q. can feel that the reaction I think I’m seeing in E. is entirely in my head tells us that things are definitely improving. But I guess I’m just worried that it is all building up and eventually his gut will start ulcerating again. After all- it took more than eight weeks after he was born for the blood to start appearing.

The only way to figure that out, though, is to just keep challenging him.

I’m trying very very hard not to dwell on just how amazing it is to drink milk and eat cheese (and pesto and shortbread) again, just in case this is but a temporary interlude.

The not-knowing is killing me.


Filed under Baby, Food, MSPI