12 December 2011

dog days, and blessed relief

Hello, stranger. I miss you. I miss the other blog, too. Here's a bit of an update.

Now that the House Move to End all House Moves (and I sincerely hope it is the end of all house moving, at least for a while) is dusted (and that is a whole other post), things are settling into more of a routine. Sort of. And for the first time since E was born (nearly five months ago!), life seems, um, normal. Sort of.

*Attaches self to wooden surface and doesn't let go*

But let me backtrack. I've found it very hard to deal with (read: had high anxiety over) E being in distress a lot of the time. Since we've had him home from hospital, he has been either vomiting, distressed with gas or reflux (and there was a horrible week of constipation too), or crazed by a hunger that can't be sated despite whole days of cluster feeding (and associated vomiting). It is just the worst, not being able to help his pain, watching his eyes fold into a thousand crinkles. And then some days, for no apparent reason, he would not go in either carrier. Or the bouncer. Or bed. But would happily sleep when attached to me. I've spent untold hours on the couch with him, or pacing aimless laps of the house (with requisite scurrying around afterwards with a wet tea towel cleaning up vomit splats). I have resented the endless washing of bottles (it really is endless with a baby who feeds like this one). And I desperately missed walking (I used to get two decent walks in a day, to and from work) and yoga. My mind went spare and my body hurt.

Amidst these days I started feeling weepy again and have struggled mentally with the transition to baby-dom. I've thought horrid thoughts and wondered why the hell I'd chosen to become a mum. (And then felt sinfully guilty, just to top it off.) I've even thought longingly about going back to desk - probably because I got more done inside the bureacratic machine than I do with a baby. And that explains why doing the dishes AND laundry feels like a major accomplishment. Also, I'm someone who needs alone-time like I need air, and coffee. Not only did I have no alone-time, I did not have time to do all those basic things that come before free alone-time (shower/toilet/coffee,etc). 'Hellooo?!' Yes, I can hear you who have had babies boggling at my propensity to state the bleeding obvious. But for me, this is new.

It feels like we've turned a corner in the past week or so. Most of our gains are the result of E sleeping more during the day. Which has given me - oh holy of holies - some time to myself. Yesterday I made muffins (blueberry + oat) AND did yoga. Unheard of. I've also been able to explore more feeding options, at last. We tried (and swiftly ditched) goat's milk formula (see constipation, above) and I'm investigating breastmilk sharing and making my own formula (both exercises in complication, especially living on an island, but very much worth checking out). I'm also ending the nappy guilt arising from our unpreparedness for E's early arrival and subsequent protracted house move. I did buy half a dozen clothies early on, but these are now too small for him.

I'm also tweaking our routine. K strung a mobile above the couch where E now sleeps during the day and this is helping keep him amused once he wakes, and sometimes - *gasp* - get back to sleep! I have some 'sanity-busters' within arm's reach to keep me from going spare during the endless feeds: a book, a notepad, my phone. K usually clocks on for dadda-time when he gets home mid-afternoon, and I'm using this time to do yoga and walk. Oh, wordless rapture.

But best of all, E seems to be doing better. He is more content, less prone to reflux and wind, though still vomits quite a bit (and I think this is in part due to the amount he eats, which is a LOT - at nearly 3 months gestational age, he's now in six-month old + clothes). And he is smiling and even silently giggling! And gurgling back when he is sung or talked to - way too cute. All the awesome bits that seemed like they would never arrive, finally have.

All this has given me hope that I will get to do some of the things on my spiralling wishlist. I bought some Very Expensive Wool before E was born (the fantastically named 'Squishy', in hues of seafoam and teal) and have a pattern for a rug bookmarked. I'd love to finish the paper crane mobile I started making when I was pregnant. And my mind gapes at the driftwood mobiles I could make! Our fledgling vegie garden could do with more tending. Oh and I would cook, and read more. And write. And write. And write...

Nevermind the things I should be doing. Ahem, Medicare application, healthcare rebates, mindless administrivia. La-la-la-la-laaa....

We also need to unpack the spare room of its boxes before we have K's family staying over Christmas, and a revolving door of friends to start the new year. Which I am very much looking forward to, btw, if not without some trepidation. Social minimalist that I am.

Anyway, that's all for now. See you in a bit, with any luck.


beth said...

Oh - so glad you posted. Have been wondering how you've been going. I'm touching our hardwood table as I type the following - it sounds like you've almost got through the worst of the brand-new-baby months - that are so awful and so joyous that it becomes mixed and swirled into a blur. Not being able to console a baby that has tummy pain is just completely heartbreaking :( I hope your feeding options are paying off - am so interested in the 'make your own formula' idea, am going to google!! I tried DB on formula the other day as I'd been given an open tin - it was 'goat' but I noticed it still had lactose in it, which I thought was odd. She didn't like it much.
Having people come to stay, while daunting, can sometimes be what you need - as long as they HELP domestically. I am not particularly a fan of Other People, but sometimes when you want them the least, they can prove to be what you need...
And there endeth my sageness...
So glad you're getting in some yoga - while pacing maybe exercise, your brain doesn't consider it so...

F. Relic said...

Oh dear...our precious girl-child, you poor thing. What a terrible time you are having of it all - if only you had let us know. I wish you could bare your soul to me, at the time you are going through it, like you do on this blog, after the event.

We wish we were not so far away, and we wish QLD were not so hot and humid, or we'd be there for you. The heat just knocks us round too much.

What can we do for you? Would ringing you more often help?

I don't think you should feel bad/guilty for those thoughts you are having...lots of new mums get that type of thought, just part of the process mostly.

Be strong my lovely, Dad and I love you all so much, just feel a bit useless down here and missing cuddling our chubby little 'up-chucking' grandson heaps!

Remember....IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT!!

Read back over your blog to the 'pregnant days,' you'll be reminded of all the hopes you had for him and the love you showed - it's still all there inside you, just buried under the pain of watching him suffer.

We'd like to carry your load.
Love you, love K, and love little E too, more than we can say.

Kate said...

Oh Sam, I loved reading this, even though your pain was palpable. As you know, I can totally relate with the out-of-controllness (?) of those first heady months and lack of me-time. It may sound like a well-worn cliche but it gets better (as you know). And it sounds like little Ellery is doing SO well. You are clearly doing a wonderful job of being a mum. I know its easier said than done, but write, its cathartic! And you'll love reading back over what happened weeks ago, as things change so quickly. xx

little earth stories said...

Beth - thanks for the kind words and touching wood! Yes I hope we're nearing the end of the difficult days - though today didn't seem like it! The Weston A Price site is the best advice I've found on home made formula. Hope you have better luck sourcing ingredients than I've had - may need to order from the US. And visitors - I know you're right!

F Relic - awwww!! Funnily, it sometimes doesn't all quite flow at the time like it does when I finally get time to write it all down - and that's mostly why I do, the writing pieces it together. Yes, we are missing you here too! We will post some videos of E soon - just been bogged down in unpacking and getting house ready for visitors. As for what you can do - your words are enough!! We love you too, very much! xxx

Kate - thank you! And for the encouragement to write - so true! We were just looking tonight at photos of E when he was a few days old and my gosh he was small! Funny how you don't notice the changes so much as they're happening. I will endeavour to document! xox