rmc28: (rmcf+fcdf-1)
I took Charles swimming for the first time today. I think it was eventually a success, but a very tiring one. The day went something like this:

07:00 - Get woken up by kicking baby, change him, feed him, go back to sleep cuddling him.
10:30 - Get woken up by kicking baby, change him, feed him, feed self, change him, change him.
12:10 - Leave house with baby in pushchair.
12:30 - Arrive at Chesterton Sports Centre, rather damp (baby is nice and dry and fallen asleep in chair). Pay for swim and a pair of armbands. Go to get changed. Discover armbands are incorrectly labelled, put trousers back on, and traipse back to desk with baby to exchange. Return, finish changing self and baby while answering numerous questions from three pre-teen girls.
12:50 - Get in pool slowly down ladder. Lower baby into pool very slowly feet first until he is in up to his neck and supported by armbands. Gently move him around, cuddling whenever he gets bothered. Family Fun Splash session ends and Public Swim session begins - for about 10 minutes there is only us in the pool and the lifeguards pacing around the side removing all the floating toys. Baby grumbles loudly and intermittently.
13:05 - Try to warm up baby in hot showers. They are too fierce and he gets very upset. Eventually I figure out how to divert the spray onto him from my own body and he calms down a bit. Back to the pool for more gentle moving. Am rewarded by a couple of smiles, but gradually the grumbling gets more insistent (and serious adult swimmers are arriving and making me feel self-conscious about the noise).
13:20 - Get out of pool and warm baby back up in the showers. He cries. Wrap him up in towel. He cries. Attempt to get out of own costume and get dry. He cries. Attempt to feed him - this works for all of 30 seconds before he cries again. Eventually co-ordinate towels, self, baby and change bag and change him from swim nappy into normal nappy. He smiles. Put more clothes on him. He cries. Feed him. He goes to sleep. Put him in playpen. He wakes up, but is content to watch me while I get dressed (narrating as I go, of course).
14:00 - We leave the changing room and go to the cafe so I can get some much-needed lunch. Charles falls asleep in sling.
14:20 - Leave sports centre after usual 2 minute wail as I put him into pushchair and fail to instantly start moving it.
14:40 - Get home. Give baby to [livejournal.com profile] fanf. Decant contents of nappy bag and rucksack into appropriate laundry bags. Put nappy wash on. Sort most urgent laundry into box for next wash.
15:00 - Collapse onto bed. Get given baby to feed.

Charles is 3 months old today.
rmc28: (rmcf+fcdf-1)
On Wednesday, Charles had his second set of jabs on the NHS immunisation schedule. Unlike last time he was awake and recently fed when we got there. Like last time he cried at the first jab and roared with outrage at the second. Unlike last time he refused to feed at all or respond to any soothing, and just sobbed heartbreakingly for about 20 minutes before abruptly falling asleep in the sling.

It was obviously baby-tormenting day at the surgery as the next two appointments after us were also small babies who started screaming.

Later on when we got home he woke up and was quite chatty, and throughout the evening he switched between apparently happy and suddenly sobby and clingy. I dosed him twice with Calpol. By the next morning he seemed to have forgotten it all, and he's shown no sign of fever.

Today I went to buggyfit at Milton Country Park. My first visit there and I ended up being slightly late. My baby is the second-youngest, but the youngest baby's mum had a natural birth, so I feel less bad about being clearly the least fit. It was a good exercise session and good to be outdoors. Charles was even kind enough to demand a feed during the "circuit training" which was the hardest part, so I was forced to take a break when getting tired.

I followed with lunch in the Park's cafe with 4 others in the class, which was mostly fun, as I don't often get to babygeek with other parents. However, I did feel a bit odd-hippy-out: I use cloth nappies, I see no need to wean my baby or supplement with formula just because I'm going back to work soon, I booked a home birth and (most strange of all) I have no car. Very sadly, I seem to have been the only one who had no real problems with breastfeeding. My sling got a lot of attention, and at least there I wasn't the only one, as another mother had a funky ring sling.

I will only be able to go to buggyfit for a few more weeks until I start work again. I need to prod my boss to find out what has been decided about my return date. Originally I asked for 22nd January, but it might be the 29th.
rmc28: (rmcf+fcdf-1)
Yesterday he suddenly developed an interest in mirrors! I swear he's been bored by them every time I've tried waving him at them before, but yesterday his aunt Izzy tried taking him to the mirror on the wall when he was crying and it was suddenly very interesting. I remember that Matt used to often be soothed by looking at the baby in the mirror.

Aunt Lucy and I weighed him by the subtraction method and he is now 6.8kg in clothes and nappy (on Christmas Eve it was 6.6kg).

He seems to be flailing his right arm somewhat more strongly and more frequently. First sign of handedness? We make no judgements as yet, but it's interesting to note.

After missing a couple of evening baths due to New Year, he had a shower with Daddy this morning. It went much better than the one he had with me a week or two ago, because Tony is much more careful to introduce the water slowly. He still seems to regard the whole cleaning process with trepidation.

By contrast, he loves having his nappy changed, and will often smile and grin during a change. He has recently started to stop crying as soon as he is laid on the change mat (sometimes as soon as he gets upstairs), indicating he has a good idea that going on the mat means he will feel better soon.

We think he may have giggled this lunchtime but are not sure.

[livejournal.com profile] ceb very kindly gave us The Very Hungry Caterpillar (in chewable board format), That's Not My Robot (also chewable board, with tactile bits on each page, and a very Where's My Cow storyline), and The Gruffalo (large paperback, lovely illustrations). I have started reading these and similar books aloud with Charles sat on my lap, and at least some of the time he seems interested (and if nothing else it is nice cuddle time together).

Some cute pictures of him, some with smiles: http://rachel.fotopic.net/p37390934.html, http://rachel.fotopic.net/p37390939.html, http://rachel.fotopic.net/p37417166.html, http://rachel.fotopic.net/p37417160.html.
rmc28: (OMG)
He's discovered his fingers are independent of each other, and will quite often suck one or two at a time. He's dribbling an awful lot. He's really flirting with people now, lighting up with smiles and coy glances and lots of sticking-out of tongue. Lots of chattery noises.

On Thursday he was on a pillow on the floor when I was hanging out washing. I went downstairs to get the next load and came back to find him lying face down next to the pillow making confused noises. I don't leave him unwatched any more, but he's not done more than roll firmly onto his side since.

He slept until five to midnight last night (as did I), and then watched a roomful of people pull party poppers. There was a 3 second pause before his face crumpled and he dissolved into sobs, but some cuddles seemed to restore him fairly quickly. He seemed to enjoy both the New Year's Eve parties to which we took him, but eventually was clearly needing sleep and too excited to get it, so we all came home and fell asleep together.
rmc28: (glowy)
Yesterday we made a day trip to visit Mum and Mick for a vast Christmas dinner with many people. Daniel finally got to meet his nephew. I re-met Rebecca and Daniel (Mick's children) and Rebecca and I got on really well again. I must try to keep in touch. We got home shortly before 10, rather exhausted.

Today I've been tired and slightly headachey all day, in a sub-migraine kind of way. Charles has likewise seemed very tired, waking up only to eat and fuss a little and then sleeping again. Tony has stayed in bed, and if I didn't have to feed myself and Charles I'd have stayed there too.

I feel like I have a vast amorphous mass of undone tasks. I need to find and update my to-do list, then at least I'll know what it is I'm failing to do. On the good side the cats are fed, we are caught up on laundry and the kitchen is only 20 minutes or so away from tidiness.

Yesterday Charles was 12 weeks old. According to my leaflet from the physiotherapy people, I should now be healed enough to ride horses. I'll take that as meaning rock-climbing is no longer medically inadvisable (just logistically difficult). Also I can now join buggyfit and other post-natal exercise classes.
rmc28: (finches)
Very lovely, easy and gentle Christmas together.  Charles and I got up for the family service at church, where lots of people cooed at him and he cried during the sermon.  I tried to feed him in the seat, he wasn't having it, I took him quickly into the entrance area, at which point he settled right down and fed to sleep.  I went back in during the sharing of the peace.  We got home to find Tony still in bed, so went back to bed until about noon.  Then we all got up, Tony started cooking and we made phone calls to family and listened to amusing radio while sipping bucks fizz and eating smoked salmon on bread.

The potatoes caused delay again, but I think we sat down around 3:30 or 4.  Tony made fantastic roast leg of lamb, seasoned with tarragon and with cloves of garlic embedded around the outside.   Accompanying we had potatoes, yorkshire puddings, buttered leeks, steamed spring greens, carrots and peas.  Gravy made with the juices of the lamb.  A lovely French red wine given to us by Claudia on her visit last week topped it off.  Charles sat in his chair burbling at us during most of it, and then took turns sitting on our laps while we ate seconds.

When we'd finished stuffing ourselves, we rewound Monsters Inc on the PVR and watched it from the beginning.  I saw it on cinema release but Tony hadn't seen it at all.  A lot of things we found particularly funny now we are parents and I was amused that one of our nicknames for Charles - Boo - is clearly a widespread baby nickname.  I also found myself assessing the unspoken assumptions and behaviours of the film for "do I want Charles to learn this?". He didn't seem that interested except when the music got particularly loud and exciting, as Tony (who was holding him most of the time) is far more interesting.

We finished the film in time to watch Doctor Who and then thought we ought to get around to opening the presents from friends and relatives.  Most of them were for Charles, who was actually far more fascinated by the process of tearing paper.  Tony shredded several pieces of wrapping paper for his entertainment once we'd realised this.  He's started pulling soft things near his hands into his mouth but isn't really very grabby yet, so the lovely noisy twist-and-turn rattle got ignored but the small noisy soft donkey got chewed. Most of what we were given for him needs to be put away for a while.  I think our favourite present is the shiny board book with pictures of babies.  We read it to him a couple of times and he seemed fascinated, though whether with the baby pictures or the shininess was not clear.

Tony and I bought each other a number of Ian Fleming novels and the corresponding Bond films.  The plan is to read the books and then watch the corresponding films together.  Tony started off by reading From Russia With Love when we were in France and is currently part way through Dr No.  I need to catch up.

After presents I made some more phone calls while Tony cleared up and then we both vegged for a bit before bedtime.   Charles protested even more than usual during and after his bath, and was fractious during the night, so I'm leaving Tony to sleep in for now.
rmc28: (wedding)
On Thursday night Sue and I decided to do a Christmas dinner yesterday, as she'll be spending Christmas Day in Heathrow airport.  We cheated hugely - she bought a pre-stuffed turkey joint from Iceland and I got ready-to-roast potatoes and precooked Yorkshire puddings from the Co-op.  I did at least chop and cook all the vegetables myself.  Nick C came up from London to catch up with her a bit, and crashed with us overnight.  I originally aimed for dinner on the table at 2pm but didn't get the turkey in early enough; I then rescheduled for 2:30 and had fun working out what needed to be cooked when, and it all went swimmingly apart from the potatoes failing to cook properly.  So we ended up eating it sometime after 3pm.  We were saved from hungry grumpiness by smoked salmon and bread nibbles served while dinner was cooking (a cunning trick I have learned from Tony's family), and in general the atmosphere was so relaxed that I refused to get bothered by producing dinner late.

After stuffing ourselves royally we sat and chattered until our bellies could cope with dessert and then returned to the table for mince pies with custard and/or cream, and the cheese and pate platter.  After that we watched Bill Bailey: Part Troll (after which Sue went to bed) and The Transporter (after which the rest of us talked for a while and then went to bed).  We had Christmas lights on the tree and on the bookcases, and lit candles.  In total 3 bottles of red wine were consumed by the four of us during the afternoon and evening, and a small amount of port.  It was a lovely day.

This morning Sue finished packing and was collected by a taxi at 1pm.  Tony went with her to the bus to help her load her baggage on board.  I'm going to miss her hugely, and it's unlikely she'll live with us again even if she returns to the UK.   She's been great company and so often helpful with Charles.  The house will not be the same without her.

This afternoon I have listened to 9 Lessons and Carols from King's and hung up all the Christmas cards.  There are presents under the tree (most of them for Charles) and we have everything we need for tomorrow.  Keith is filling the roof with new insulation before departing for his parents' house and Cat has already gone.  Just the three of us having our first Christmas together.
rmc28: (rmcf+fcdf)
Things I love about breastfeeding:
1. It feels good. It's all warm and cuddly and I magically turn a cross hungry baby into a happy content baby.   And there's a nice bit of brain chemistry that gives me a little warm buzz every time.
2. It's so convenient (now we're past the learning stage).  Breastfeeding on demand means he gets what he needs when he needs it and I've always got food for him with me.  If baby is hungry I just find somewhere to sit and we're sorted (and I can feed him standing up for short periods if really necessary).   There's a whole load of things I don't even need to think about: having enough formula in, or what brand is best, or packing bottles when we're out of the house, or working out how much he needs and how often.

Things I find annoying about breastfeeding:
1. Being constantly interruptable for feeding unless I've got some milk expressed.  Even if someone else is watching him, no EBM means no completely 'off' time for me.  And expressing milk is a faff, even with the pump to speed things up, what with making sure there's always sterile pump parts and bottles when I need them.  I need to make that part of an automatic daily routine in order to manage when I go back to work and I haven't yet.
2. Getting milk on most of my clothes at some point.  I wear pads constantly and they mostly work unless he goes for a much longer than usual time between feeds.  Sometimes he pulls off unexpectedly mid-feed and I spray everything.  Or he just dribbles while feeding.

I'm glad we breastfeed and the good definitely outweighs the bad, as well as the background knowledge that I'm feeding Charles the best possible food.  It's cheaper than formula in the long-term, though my powered double-pump is definitely a luxury that makes the pay-back time rather longer.  I'm eating more too, but I don't think that costs as much as buying separate special food.


2006-12-18 09:22
rmc28: (happy)
I had a very nice meeting with my team leader on Friday afternoon to discuss my return to work and my request to work part-time (8am - 1pm). He told me what work they had in mind for me to do, and took me through all the reasons why, as it's not what I Was doing or was expecting to do. In fact it's the role I was filling two years ago where I slowly got very bored, as it was essentially clearing lots of small fixes - busy but not challenging in the long term.

But things have changed while I've been gone, and I do agree that it's the best fit between the hours I want to work and the work that needs to be done. I'll be useful and busy, and it'll be a rather lower-pressure return than I was expecting. It took me some time to get bored last time, and this time we can take steps to avoid it: for example there should be scope for me to have some more serious long-term background projects as well as the daily "fix this fix that fix the other" grind.

So we finished the necessary paperwork and now all that remains is for the project management team to agree a return date for me which should happen quite soon. I've asked for 22nd January but they may push it a little later if they need more time to prepare.

Tony has also had a supportive response to his request to work part-time (2pm - 7pm) so I no longer need to worry about finding childcare. I love it when a plan works.

I took Charles with me to the meeting, and made sure to arrive early and feed him in a quiet corner, and then change him. He was thus fairly angelic during the meeting, with just one little burst of crying before he fell asleep. My team leader has children and we were able to continue a useful conversation throughout.
rmc28: (finches)
New photos of Charles, taken on our lovely relaxing holiday: http://rachel.fotopic.net/c1159257.html
Photos of Louise's new home, the farm at La Charronniere: http://rachel.fotopic.net/c1159250.html

Lessons learned on yesterday's journey:
Charles likes trains.
It is best to preemptively feed both adults and baby shortly before major train changes as there is nothing like a screaming baby and low blood sugar to make finding the right seat and putting things in the right racks a complete trial.
Montparnasse is appalling to get in and out of by Metro if you have heavy luggage and/or a pushchair.  There are I think at least four flights of stairs to negotiate.  There has to be a Better Way to get between there and Gare du Nord for our next trip.
Unexpected loud noises (like a hot air hand dryer) can make a previously complacent baby dissolve into furious tears.  Sneezing loudly next to his head while trying to soothe him does not help.
Soothing a furious baby before getting off the train makes you the last people to leave Eurostar.  On the good side there are no queues on your way toward the Underground.
We need to pack lighter next time.  Two heavy suitcases, a pushchair and a baby are too much for two adults to manage without at least one of them getting very tired.

There was also the terrifying moment where Charles nearly threw himself out of his sling onto the tarmac as we were trying to get on the bus home from the station.  I'd shifted him a bit out of it in an attempt to soothe him crying with tiredness, and he arched wildly and got completely out.  I caught him mid-arc, Tony and I gasped at each other, got on the bus and then I had to soothe furiously loud baby who didn't like being bashed hard against my shoulder in the panicked retrieval.  He did settle down fairly quickly once the bus was moving, and the two drunk teenage girls rapidly ousted us from "most annoying people on bus".

Charles really doesn't like changing state - he's started crying miserably for a minute or so before falling asleep and he resists waking up fairly strongly too.  In the mornings I often get woken by his protesting grunts and can get up, use the bathroom and come back to change his nappy before he's got his eyes open. Changing him tends to finish the job and then I can feed him.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Two Christmas fairs in two days. Yesterday's was bigger and we spent rather longer there so that Louise could do a stint on the stall from her English-French association (she made scones to sell on it, they seemed to be popular). The fairs are a rather eccentric mix: we had fancy breads, handmade jewellery, the youth club waffle stand, a couple of random hippy-clothing stalls, posh wine stalls, the man with 10 different flavours of honey, ugly artificial flowers, handmade soaps of different smells and all sorts of other food and drink and craft type things.

We bought some rather nice booze from one of the local producer stands yesterday, and the lady selling to us was very impressed with Charles's sling. She called him a "petit grenouille" which proves it's not just me who calls him "frog". In fact lots of people seem to like the sling and Louise was kept busy introducing her petit fils.

Today the sun is shining so I should run around with the camera for a bit and capture the place as it is now, for "before and after" shots.
rmc28: (finches)
Mostly il pleut. Louise's new place is a great rambling farmhouse with lots of outbuildings which include a pair of rather natty gites, and another gite in the progress of conversion. We walked around it all today, being given the full plans of what will be done to which bits. There's a swimming pool, currently drained and covered for the winter, but will be great fun when we visit in warmer times. The pool is completely surrounded (with some nice grassy area and a barbecue) with a childproof fence and gate.

We're being very lazy. Tomorrow and Sunday there are local fairs so we shall be out and about more, so far the biggest expedition has been to the supermarket. The baby clothes there are rather nicer than anything in Tesco/ASDA/Boots back home. So far I have resisted splurging, but we have a couple of money-off vouchers that Louise and I might just go spend.

Charles and Louise are bonding beautifully and it's a delight to watch. Tonight she is taking a lot of expressed milk and him to give us a night off. We hope she won't be too exhausted in the morning but I can drive the car if so.
rmc28: (finches)
We are off to France later this morning, by bus, train, Underground, Eurostar, Metro, TGV and granny's car (with infant seat fitted). There was a minor stress yesterday evening when [livejournal.com profile] fanf couldn't find his passport, but it was discovered in amongst piles of important papers waiting to be sorted. Slightly more stressful was the discovery that the laundry I did on Sunday wasn't quite dry. The baby's stuff takes up quite a lot of luggage space - less so the clothes which are wee and easy to fit in, but the eco-disposables and the breast pump are quite bulky. They're not strictly necessary but will make us happier in different ways, a bit like the travel scrabble and the puzzle books.

Charles spent the weekend somewhat fretful and I think running a slight fever, although this was somewhat confused by several times being in extremely warm rooms. In any case he spent quite a lot of time stripped to his nappy, which does show off his huge milk-stuffed belly. He's more himself now, right down to vigorously resisting sleep. I hope he enjoys today's train journeys as much as he did the trip to Leeds.

We should have internet while away, but not as often as normal.
rmc28: (rmcf+fcdf)
I let a nurse stick needles in him, that's what. He's had his first two immunisations (see full schedule on the NHS immunisations site) and my goodness it's hard. He was having a nice peaceful sleep when the first jab went in one leg, and he woke up and shouted with outrage. I cuddled him to calm him and then the nurse put in the second jab and he screamed furiously and went scarlet - clearly outraged that we could do such a thing again. I cuddled and fed him while we spent the obligatory 5 minutes under observation by the nurse, and he went to sleep. He was fretty at lunchtime shortly afterward but again a feed sent him off to sleep, where he stayed for several hours.

He woke up around 4 just as I got in the house and cried almost constantly apart from the 5-10 minutes when I was feeding him until either the cuddles or the Calpol sent him to sleep around 5. I've put him in a disposable nappy because the site of one of the jabs is red and sore (not unexpected) and the nappy wrap seemed to be rubbing on it. He very definitely wants to be held all the time, and even just moving him away from my body a little caused the weeping to increase dramatically. At least the sling holds him close against me while freeing up a hand or two.

Before the jabs he had his "6 week" checkup by the GP and passed everything. He's now a whopping 5.74kg and 63cm long, and responsive in all the expected ways. I have some topical antibiotic gel for my ongoing scar infection. If it doesn't clear it up we'll move to an oral version, but this way avoids affecting my milk at least for now. I also had some swabs taken in preparation for having a new Mirena fitted.

Yesterday the health visitor came to check on us both, and gave me a questionnaire to fill out to see if I was at risk of post-natal depression. It came as no surprise that I'm not. She won't visit again unless I call her for help, and congratulated me on having things "so much under control".
rmc28: (rmcf+fcdf)
Charles had an appointment today to follow up his heart murmur they found when he was still very small. We were a little late, but this didn't seem to be a problem and we were seen very quickly. Charles decided that rather than have his chest covered in ultrasound gel, what he really wanted was a feed, and continued to put this point of view vociferously throughout the examination. I admire the patience of the doctor. My let-down reflex was triggered fairly impressively by this (I really should start carrying a spare tshirt), and I fed him as soon as possible, which meant we didn't leave the waiting room for a good half hour or so afterward.

Anyway, he still has a murmur, audible at both front and back of the chest. The small hole between the ventricles has closed up entirely, but his pulmonary valve is still a bit odd. However, blood is flowing through it well, and clearly Charles is healthy and thriving, and the doctor was at pains to reassure me that we don't need to worry. He asked us to come back in 3 months, so he could see what it's doing then. It may clear up, or get worse, or stay the same, but they'd like to keep an eye on it to find out.

There were a pair of immensely cute tiny twins sitting near me during Charles's feed. They seemed to be about half his length.
rmc28: (rmcf+fcdf)
We do seem to have been issued a remarkably calm and easy baby. He sleeps for most of the night, eats without fuss, and rarely cries for long unless we are completely inept about solving whatever is wrong (like failing to check his nappy). Tony noticed that Charles is becoming very co-operative about nappy changes, moving his legs up and down at just the right moments. Tony is rather more playful with him; I'm more straightforwardly practical, though I do pick up and deliberately use some of what Tony does. He needs both play and practicality after all. I wonder if I'll be more spontaneously playful when I'm no longer doing it full time.

He was in disposables over the weekend to reduce space for travelling, and I noticed that they smell as soon as he wets them. It's a very characteristic, not unpleasant, wheaty smell, and I remember it strongly from when we were in hospital, though then I thought it was just baby-smell. We don't get it in the cloth nappies, so perhaps it's something to do with the lock-away cores of which the adverts speak. The disposables do make him look very streamlined, and clothes suddenly become baggy. But our cloth nappies are so much nicer.

I've noticed two distinct new modes of conversation when baby is around, both of which are probably irritating to non-involved observers. The first is to speak to baby as though we are one entity: "we've got a dirty nappy haven't we?". The second is to tell the baby things for the benefit of any adult company "yes, I'd better take you upstairs now and change that". I use the former most often when alone, though occasionally in company; the latter is entirely when there is an audience. I never made a conscious decision to talk like this; it must be a weird parent thing.

He's doing a lot of waving of arms and legs now, several "exercise" sessions a day. Often he smiles at me while doing this. I melt inside when he does.

Yesterday was strange - I might whinge about how demanding looking after him is, but it was a bit worrying to have him be almost maintenance-free all day. I suppose he just slept with occasional eating when he was very new, but it's not like him now, he usually wants much more attention. His appetite came back somewhat in the evening, and he's livelier this morning.

We had an almost entirely positive bath experience yesterday - the only crying was afterward and nappy-related. I'm beginning the ghost of a 'bedtime routine' which involves a bath and a feed and putting him down when he looks sleepy. If he gets distressed I pick him up to soothe him but try to put him back down before he's actually asleep, so he can learn to put himself to sleep without relying on us. The best yet (in a week) is one pickup; last night it took about five.
rmc28: (glowy)
Last Tuesday I saw Casino Royale with Andrew, Matthew & Duncan. We had dinner in the Zebra beforehand. I left expressed milk in the fridge and Sue & Tony managed well between them. Tomorrow Sue is very kindly babysitting so that Tony & I can go out together. We will have a meal in the sort of restaurant where you can't take a baby, and have some time together as a couple rather than as parents. I have already started stockpiling the milk in the fridge ...

I'm coming strongly to the conclusion that I am not cut out to be a full-time mother. I love Charles utterly but I do get fed up spending all day every day in charge of him, and sometimes have to work quite hard not to get grumpy with Tony for not instantly relieving me the moment he gets home from work. I am impatient to get back to my own job, and need to start hounding my bosses for a decision on my request to return part-time. If they say no, I need to hunt up childcare, and that's such a horrible task I'm not doing it unless I have to. Ideally I want to return in mid-January but this requires me to submit paperwork by mid-December, and time's running out for doing so.

My scar got better for a while last week so I didn't bother to see the doctor, only then it got worse again a day or two after I'd finished the course antibiotics. So I really ought to ring for another appointment. Also this week, we have a followup cardiac appointment for Charles on Wednesday, the health visitor on Thursday, and a mega-appointment at the GP on Friday for checkups of both of us and his first immunisation.

We went to visit my mother and her partner at the weekend. Some inconsiderate git jumped in front of a train near Biggleswade and held up all the trains for about 2 hours, and then when we did get on a train it turned out to be the wrong one, only we didn't realise until we pulled into York instead of Leeds. An entertaining departure ensued, involving detaching baby mid-feed in order to grab half our belongings and jump off the train while Tony followed with the other half. We eventually arrived safely and had an enjoyable nearly-24-hours with them. Our attempts to find somewhere for Sunday lunch were a bit jinxed: the first place we tried (non-smoking, German and Belgian beers) said "no children's licence, go away", the next two places were unexpectedly closed, and so we went into Leeds centre and ate in Pizzamania. All-you-can-eat pizza and pasta buffet with music a couple of notches louder than I really like, but it did prevent sound travelling between tables so when Charles was fussing no-one glared at us. And the food was ok and even my giant appetite was sated.

Transporting the baby by train was fairly straightfoward. We kept baggage down to three small bags and the pushchair and had seats on every train. Nappy changing in the train toilets varied considerably in the amount of acrobatics required. I had enough room in every seat to feed him on demand, plus we could walk him up and down when he fussed. He enjoyed lying down and kicking a lot - once on a table and once on a spare seat. Even the lengthy wait at Peterborough didn't bother him nearly as much as it did us.

Last night Charles uncharacteristically cried a great deal and today he's been all lethargic and low appetite, waking up for very short periods to eat miniscule amounts and then cry some more. From the noises I suspect some kind of tummy upset and I've had a touch of indigestion myself. Hopefully he'll feel better soon. Keith rearranged the living room while we were gone and I approve the new layout. A side effect was to tidy a lot of my tat into the study, so I spent a fair amount of time today clearing a path to my desk. All sorting out that needed doing, but I'm glad that it coincided with a day when I did actually have some spare time to devote to it.
rmc28: (rmcf+fcdf)
It felt like everybody who commented on Charles in the pub on Thursday mentioned how he'd got bigger. We've had to expand by the width of one popper setting on the nappies, and most of the newborn wraps don't work well any more. (Which means I can send them back, regain our deposit, and we can start using the new size one wraps, which are both pretty and all ours.)

Today he is feeding on roughly an hourly basis, and wakes up and whinges every time I put him down. Slings at least make this bearable, as I can use them to hold him while he eats and sleeps, so I can type and eat things that require only one hand and don't matter if you spill them on his head. He often protests going in the sling in the snuggled-upright position, only to fall asleep seconds later. "I HATE THIS I HATE THIS I HATE THIS ... Oh ... zzzzz". A bit like the vociferous protests at being strapped into his pushchair, which fall silent as soon as we start walking.

He's developing new expressions and vocalisations by the day.
rmc28: (OMG)
I found some music that sends Charles to sleep.

Music to soothe the baby

I should probably try the Prodigy next, as it used to be so successful with certain climbers on the way back from the wall.
rmc28: (glowy)
Charles isn't very happy about baths. I'm supposed to have lots of salt-water baths to help the scar heal, so we've tried putting him in with me (with Tony doing the handing in and out). It does seem to help a bit, as I can ease him in feet first, and cuddle him if he gets distressed without worrying about getting wet. He has a couple of times relaxed thoroughly while floating with my hands supporting him, once enough to fall asleep (which was immensely cute). However, he's also several times managed to flail, dunk his face completely underwater and come up screaming. He also cries a lot when taken out, even when we use a nice warm towel and wrap him in it.

Mum diverted for an overnight stay on her way home from London to Leeds, and they had some good cuddle time together. We're off there for the weekend after next, and to France to see his other grandmother in early December.

The new pushchair suits me well. It's far easier to put up and down than the old one, shorter and thus easier to move around buses, better balanced for hanging the nappy bag over the handle, and there's room in the basket for the waterproof cover, a sling, my handbag and a bit of shopping or some library books. Actually having a waterproof cover is very good too (the one for the old one had rotted). I'm still very grateful to my stepmother for providing the old one: it made a huge difference to my mobility in the early days after the section, and I was in no state to go and buy one then.

I think I'm recovered enough to get really frustrated by how much I'm not recovered. I've got much more energy, but it still doesn't last very long. Long enough for me to see all the things that need doing, and plan out how they should be done, before I collapse in front of yet another Adam Hart-Davis show on the PVR instead.
rmc28: (rmcf+fcdf)
I've had some big wide grins which I'm almost certain indicated happiness rather than wind. He discovered sticking his tongue out a few days ago and we spent a happy time Friday morning merrily sticking them out at each other, which made me giggle a lot. Laughing seems to disconcert him a little at the moment. He has started making a few vocalised noises rather than just grunts and crying.

He's put himself to sleep a couple more times now, in daytime, with only some quiet grumbling beforehand. In general he seems a bit happier to be put down while awake and will lie peacefully waving arms and legs about and burbling, especially if there are people around making noises.

He's always cried when in "too tired to go to sleep" mode. Recently his stamina is much greater and he no longer exhausts himself into sleep quickly, so we have to work much more often to distract/sooth him. The pushchair remains an excellent soothing device, although if we are not quick enough about moving off he will complain. He seems to find riding buses calming too.

His feeding ramped up again yesterday evening, and though it was not quite as ferocious as before, I did start feeling "empty", so I foresee more growing shortly. I'm drinking plenty of water! He is taking expressed milk from a bottle now very happily, and I am trying to establish a routine of expressing once a day so that Tony can give him a late feed. The powered pump makes the process fairly easy, so it's more a matter of logistics and making sure I wash and sterilise the pump and bottle bits in a timely fashion each day.

He likes being cuddled by his dad, especially when they are both sleepy and he can fall asleep on Tony's chest.

Yesterday evening we went to a party where he met a baby about 2 months older. They stared at each other for a bit but seemed to get bored fairly quickly. I got to geek nappies with the mother :)
rmc28: (finches)
Tony got home very late on Wednesday, which meant the moment I could stop being responsible I crashed asleep. We were both horribly tired Thursday morning as a result, so I took it very easy on Thursday and didn't do much until going to the pub in the evening. There we saw lots of people, I got sufficient breaks from baby to stay awake longer, and we were able to go home together and have some actual conversation-time.

Still tired this morning, and Charles didn't drink enough yesterday so he was dehydrated and I was painfully full of milk. We spent most of the morning and early afternoon remedying this in between short naps (on his part) and faffing (on mine). I managed to list some excess baby clutter on Freecycle and then in the late afternoon and evening tackled the baby clothes. I've now got four bagfuls for Freecycling, as well as a load to go back to my friend Vicky to pass on to her brother. Charles has just grown out of most of the stuff that fitted him when he was born (not to mention the swathe of things that never fitted him), but I've kept back a few items for sentimental value. I also culled a lot of the rest of the stuff, as we had so much (thanks to generous friends, family and freecyclers) that I could afford to be picky. Our shelves are rather less overflowing now, which feels good.

Anyway, that job took hours, with breaks to feed and soothe baby and attempt to feed me, and sometimes just to rest. There was a party but I was too tired to face the walk there and back, and the necessity to be sociable. Tony came home at a sensible time and brought food, and domestic harmony ensued. The pushchair has arrived and Tony has assembled it. Maybe tomorrow I will be up to taking it somewhere.
rmc28: (rmcf+fcdf)
I won the GP appointment lottery despite not ringing until 20 minutes after the lines open. Charles was zonked for most of the morning so I could be a bit useful.

I caught up my calorie information: in the last 10 days (since I started tracking again) I've averaged 3600 calories a day, and had no change in weight. I'd like over the next few weeks to try to move some of those calories from high-GI things to low-GI things, to help protect against migraines. Chocolate has provided rather more than its fair share of my intake.

I ordered the pushchair, considerably slowed by having to soothe a suddenly-wakeful baby in the middle of entering my credit card details.

We made it into town in time to be only a bit late for lunch with Tony & colleagues, and then some time in the library. I managed to leave the library card behind but was able to borrow books by giving name and address and waving credit and uni cards at them. Perhaps I should move the library card into the wallet, as I'm using it much more often.

Then I went to the GP to discuss ongoing issues with my section scar. cut for TMI/angst )

In Boots to collect the prescription, I also gave in and bought some cute baby tshirts that were on half-price sale before we finally headed home.

Spent the evening feeding myself and Charles, roughly alternately.
rmc28: (rmcf+fcdf)
He can:
Hold his head up for seconds at a time
Roll from back onto side
Feed himself if lying next to me
(Fairly) reliably communicate: hungry, tired, change-my-nappy, pain
Sleep for up to six hours
Put himself to sleep (observed once, last night)

I can:
Walk for 15 minutes carrying him without being out of breath
Wear the biggest of my pre-maternity clothes
Feed him easily (both process and amount)

I keep being struck by how amazing he is, and also how attached to him I still am. I don't like being very far from him, though I'm happy to let other people hold him. We might not have a cord still holding us together, but my body still wants his nearby.

[livejournal.com profile] kaet made a lovely picture of us, which seemed an appropriate userpic for this post.


2006-11-01 23:57
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Six hours yesterday evening of feeding. No break longer than 15 minutes between 4pm and 10pm, and most of the breaks he was screaming while we ran through alternatives. By 10pm he was finally more tired than hungry and Tony managed to settle him while I collapsed into sleep.

He then fed twice more in the night, but with more civilised gaps, and generally today has been far easier. I even managed to express, so that's there as a standby. We did have another mostly-constant feeding session from 8pm to 10pm.

Tony's father Conrad arrived today and grandad and grandson had a nice snooze together in the afternoon. Very cute - and they both snore.

I need to do CUMC stuff badly. Hopefully Conrad can help by watching baby for me so I can do it.

Once that's out the way, I'm on a mission to buy a better pushchair, with help from Conrad. The one we got second-hand from my stepmother is very useful, but requires two hands to collapse and has no bag-carrying capacity at all. Mamas and Papas Beat Buggy has a net basket and claims a one-hand fold which would be brilliant. I want to see if I can find one to play with, otherwise it's get it from Argos and play with it at home carefully in case I need to return it.

Now to bed.
rmc28: (finches)
Charles's appetite ramped up suddenly yesterday afternoon. I've spent the time since either feeding him, winding him, feeding myself or sleeping. He hasn't let me go long enough between feeds to even contemplate expressing something so I can have a break from feeding. I think the longest gap I've had is 4 hours during last night - I slept. Most of the time it's been around an hour, if that.

I couldn't do this on my own. Sue fed me dinner last night, and when I went to bed, Tony kept taking baby away to soothe him to sleep so I could nap in between feeds.

I wonder if we should expect a growth spurt imminently.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Let me see. Monday we were visited by the Health Visitor, who left me lots of pieces of paper and weighed him. He was very nearly back at his birthweight, which is apparently good. She disapproves of him sleeping in bed with us, even when I outlined the risk/benefit analysis, so I practiced my nod-and-smile technique and let it pass. I cried about the birth a bit and she seemed sympathetic. She'll come back in a few weeks and bring with her a questionnaire which should indicate if I'm at risk of post-natal depression (though you'd think me/Tony would spot that). I think I pass at parenting, at least for now.

Oh yes, and the test results were already back from his heel prick test - he is clear for the four nasty conditions for which it tests.

Tuesday my midwife visited again. She read the health visitor notes so didn't need to weigh him again, and this time was mostly concerned with me. I've been a bit concerned about the scar which has been gently oozing since Friday. I got advice from her then, and have kept it clean and covered with gauze since. She had a look and discovered it is separating a bit in a couple of places - this shouldn't stop it healing properly but does put me at risk of infection. So she recommended seeing a doctor and rang the surgery to do battle with the appointments system for me (most appointments are on-day). She'll check on me again on Monday.

The health visitor, the midwife and the migraine all told me I'd been overdoing things so I was very unenergetic on Monday and Tuesday although I did manage to plough through the teetering intray and reduce it to a lot of things to post and a large pile of paper for recycling.

On Wednesday I had to get up for my doctor's appointment at 9:10. I also had library books to return, and by the time I'd seen the doctor, fed the baby in the waiting room, filled the prescription for prophylactic antibiotics given me by the GP, sat down and drunk some water to take an antibiotic and recovered a bit, it was about 10:30. So I decided to return the library books, get some more, and had a relaxing morning sitting in the library reading while baby slept angelically in the pushchair. Then I went to join Tony and colleagues for lunch, which of course meant baby woke up and needed a change and a feed while my food got cold ... (but I can walk around with baby feeding in half a sling which is quite impressive).

Also managed to watch Torchwood yesterday: light enjoyable fluff, will keep watching.

I think Charles slept well last night - last thing I remember is finishing a feed about 11:30 and falling asleep while passing him to Tony to wind. He woke me at about 5am making quiet noises in his basket, which turned into "feed me" motions once I picked him up. We spent a couple of hours dozing together after that feed until he demanded a feed fairly quietly around 7am. He also let me change him every time today without wailing the house down - another miracle. He seems to be tolerating the second-hand antibiotics reasonably well, but is noticably wanting more cuddle-time and walking-around to get to sleep, and thus I have done very little other than play with him today.

I have now failed to leave the house in time to make climbers Teas. Will have to apologise and sort people out with money tomorrow.

Today's cute pictures show Charles in the knitted babygro you can see Mum finishing in this photo from the early part of my labour.

rmc28: (finches)

And some more from the London Eye.
rmc28: (finches)
For at least ten days now we've noticed that Charles keeps trying to hold his head up. He isn't entirely successful yet, but he's doing way better than I'd expect at this age. He's remarkably strong too in the "arched" position when cross.

On Friday night we noticed that he can (with a lot of effort) roll from his back onto his side. It cannot be long before he figures out how to roll all the way over and then we are in trouble. I remember that Matt could get around by rolling at about 2 months, quite some time before he figured out crawling.
rmc28: (BRAINS)
Yesterday I had my first migraine in 9 months. I'd had a dehydration headache most of the morning, and it wasn't until the health visitor left that I realised it had mutated into a migraine. I haven't found out if I'm allowed to take triptans while breastfeeding (I expect probably not, as that seems to be the default for all medication) but in any case it was too late for one by the time I realised I needed it.

The difference having a baby makes is that you finish breastfeeding and then change the nappy before finding the painkillers and calling for help. I took some Motillium to force my digestion to keep working (so that painkillers, food etc get absorbed and actually work), and called Tony asking him to come and work from home in case I slept too deeply to hear the baby. Cat was at home and I got her to get extra milk and CHOCOLATE from the co-op for me. Then I put baby in the Moses basket, ate random food to get my blood sugar back up, and tried to stay vaguely awake until Tony got home.

The Motillium may have had an effect on baby, because we went through enormous numbers of nappies yesterday evening. I should perhaps have thought of that before taking it, though as side-effects go it doesn't seem that harmful, and I'm not really tough enough to go through a migraine without painkillers (also I still need pain relief for the Caesarian - thankfully they're the same sort of drugs).

I will spend most of today resting in bed again, and take things very easy tomorrow. I knew I'd overdone things a bit at the weekend, and this is just additional evidence.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Thursday was Tony's first day back at work. He put the nappies on for me (I still can't lift the fully nappy bucket easily) before going, and I put a clothes load on later in the day. Charles twice pulled the delightful trick of filling a newly-changed nappy within 5 minutes. He also managed to wake up in the middle of me making lunch - I am quite proud of being able to finish cooking scrambled eggs with a baby in one arm, and feed a baby while eating them. Got egg on the sling though.

We went into town with the pushchair, so I could drop into CUMC Teas at Queens' and start doing my job as Junior Treasurer. The walk from there to Bridge St was a bit tiring for me, but sitting at the bus stop and on the bus refreshed me enough to get to the pub, order some food, and enjoy the evening. Charles was a hit with the pub crowd, and very well behaved. It was a good day but I was very tired by the time we got home.

Friday I took things as easily as possible during the morning and early afternoon and then got ready for travelling to the wedding reception of [livejournal.com profile] techiebabe and [livejournal.com profile] techiebloke at the London Aquarium. We survived the tube journey though both baby and me were far too hot. The hotel room was comfy and contained the promised cot. Taking time to feed baby made us a little late, but it didn't seem to matter. Lots of people cooed over the baby and he was pretty well-behaved again. We had to slightly take it in turns to eat, given baby's new trick of waking up whenever I have something to eat, but at least the shark tank gave me something to watch while feeding him.

The reception itself was lovely and I was very glad we'd made the effort to attend. Both bride and groom looked lovely and the speeches were perfect. I had to hold Tony's hand at times during Mike's speech, because it was so heartfelt. I was really glad we were there to help celebrate their marriage. The food was superb and all the Aquarium staff were very helpful, even offering to bring me a drink when I was sat outside the dining area feeding Charles.

When we got back to our hotel room (just the other side of County Hall), I was again very tired, so it was fortuituous that Charles picked just then to figure out feeding while lying down (I had been trying this intermittently without success since one of the midwives mentioned it when I was sitting up half the night in hospital feeding him). It makes a surprisingly big difference to the tiringness of feeding. We managed to run out of nappies at 7am but thankfully there was a helpful small shop just opposite the hotel and Tony came back from foraging with their only pack of newborn nappies.

Saturday morning, after stuffing ourselves at the (rather crowded) all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet, we decided to take advantage of being at the foot of the London Eye and take a ride on it. Baby's first tourist experience! Actually we had lots of fun picking out buildings old and new and so on. Then back to the hotel room where I crashed a little while Tony packed, and then baby needed a feed, and then finally we could go home. Once home I spent the rest of the day in bed, recovering from the efforts of the previous two days.

Sunday morning I woke up cross and hungry and couldn't get baby to feed properly and was getting very frustrated. Tony solved things by taking baby away and bringing me breakfast. 2 minutes after I finished breakfast, Charles settled happily to a feed. I must remember this sort of thing in future.

The main event of the day was the visit from my dad and stepfamily. We were late meeting them in the pub but they seemed to forgive us, and [livejournal.com profile] jdc39 was later still (but at least he turned up, unlike Daniel). Charles got passed around and seemed to enjoy the excitement, almost too much as it was obvious towards the end of the afternoon that he was getting overtired but refusing to settle because things were too interesting. We saw [livejournal.com profile] arnhem and L briefly, and [livejournal.com profile] indigopeony spent somewhat longer with us, and then was very kind and gave Dad, Lisa and the kids a lift to the station rather than leave them to the mercies of the bus.

We made a quick stop into the next-door neighbours on the way home, to thank them for a gift they'd left, and to introduce the baby. After a bit of a flop in the living room I came up to bed for more rest. Hurray for laptop.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I think there's a rule that all passport photographs are deeply unflattering.

This one was taken at Snappy Snaps just outside Lion Yard. They put a sheet down on the floor, we laid baby on it, and they patiently took digital photographs until they got one that had a chance of meeting the requirements (it took both of us - me holding his arms by his side and Tony patiently turning his head back upwards). From there it took about 10 minutes of them messing about with cropping the photograph and printing us four copies in approved passport size. Not bad for six pounds. While we were waiting Tony got the form from the post office, so all I need to do now is to find a respectable member of the community (hi [livejournal.com profile] emperor!) to sign the back of a photo and we have acheived passport application.

This was after we'd successfully made it to lunch with Tony's colleagues, during which Charles needed both a feed and a nappy change, and before we went to the library. We were all a bit tired and frazzled when we got back home. I've started leaking milk everywhere, which is a bit tiresome, but I think better than not having enough for Charles. I should probably talk to someone about donating to the milk bank at the Rosie.

Today is Tony's first day back at work, so I did all the getting up in the night last night. Bit tired this morning and need to change the bedsheets following a stealth wee incident during his last nappy change.

My weight is still falling fairly rapidly, I think still mostly fluid retention. My feet and toes are almost back to a sensible shape, though my ankles are still fairly swollen. I was around 89kg when I got pregnant and around 109kg at the end. Today I'm just under 96kg, so I've lost about 2/3 of the pregnancy weight already. I've plenty of room for reduction, given that my preferred weight is something around 70-75kg, but I've no intention of worrying about my weight (as opposed to my general fitness level and nutrition intake) as long as Charles is breastfeeding. Interesting to observe the changes though.
rmc28: (finches)
Yesterday I got an appointment with the Registry Office at 11:30. I walked there with Charles in the pushchair, leaving Tony to sleep. It took me just under 30 minutes, whereas pre-pregnant I'd have estimated 15-20. From there we walked down Histon Road, with a short break at the Nasreen Dar for sustenance, to the pharmacy where I picked up my anti-rash gunge. Then home, by which time I was very tired. I lost my temper with Tony who was being sleepily 'helpful' while I was changing a fretful baby, which meant that I then had to calm down before I could feed the fretful baby. Tony made us both a good lunch which put everything back into perspective.

Louise arrived back about 3pm and my mother around 6:30pm and they both got to admire their grandson a lot. We had an excellent meal produced by Louise with some nice wine (I am learning to like wine again!) and chatted during the evening until I went to bed relatively early, leaving baby in the capable hands of dad and grannies. Tony brought him to bed between 1:30 and 2, and he woke again about 5:30am needing change and feed. He didn't want to go back in the moses basket after that, but I managed to settle him in bed safely between me and Tony and not covered by any duvet, which lasted us until nearly 9am.

Both mothers left around lunchtime. I managed to make an appointment with the practice nurse at my GP surgery to have the stitches removed from the biopsy sites on my arms, and left Charles with Tony while I went to it. It felt very odd indeed to be out and about without baby - the first time in over 9 months after all. While I was there I handed in the form given me by the Register Office which allows the surgery to register Charles as a patient.

My father rang just after I got back and it looks like we shall have a visit from him and my stepfamily on Sunday, almost certainly involving lunch at the Carlton.

Tomorrow is Tony's last day of paternity leave. Thursday is therefore my first full day "on my own", and on Friday we have a wedding reception to attend in London, including staying overnight in a hotel. I'm a wee bit nervous but hopefully good planning and staying relaxed will make it all go okay.
rmc28: (grouchy)
He drove [livejournal.com profile] fanf a bit mad last night, refusing to settle with anything. About 3am I got him back, fed him, jiggled him lots, and eventually got him to sleep, both of us waking again about 8am. I did the absolute minimum possible to get ready in the bedroom (which still woke a grumpy Tony) and then took baby, change bag and all downstairs to leave Tony in peace. Tonight I must actually get to bed when I'm aiming for, rather than an hour or two later, so I'm able to take over a bit sooner.

He is of course now being angelic for his aunt and grandmother.

I'm immensely thirsty, obviously I didn't drink enough water yesterday to keep up with him. On the good side, the midwife visit confirmed he has put on 90g since Wednesday and she was happy, so long as we "keep up the good work". We'll see her again in about 10 days, and the health visitor should contact me in the next day or so.

I'm continuing to lose weight rapidly, most likely from the water retention which is noticably reducing daily. More Finches are about to arrive, so I'm off to be sociable.
rmc28: (finches)
Charles is really hungry: a huge feed this morning between 6:30 and 8am. Another largish one around noon before we went out. A wee 10-minute snack in the Carlton around 4. And another series of feeds from about 8:30 to now, with the occasional nap break. If he doesn't make the midwife happy tomorrow when she weighs him I shall be very surprised.

The Tricotti arrived this morning and we tried it out going to the hospital to see the dermatologist. Our first big trip out together which we managed to be quite lightweight with baby in sling and everything else in the change bag. I found the sling very comfortable and he nestles inside it quite happily. At the hospital we swapped over so Tony could take him off if necessary while I was waiting/seeing the doctor, and it seems to work well on him too. This evening I've found I can improvise with half the Tricotti to support baby while feeding and go from needing both hands to needing about half a hand (doing so while typing this). I haven't (yet) tried feeding him from the 'proper' sling position, but going from that to this shouldn't be too faffy and is much easier than lugging pillows around the place to lift him off my belly.

Dr Ha is very pleased with the reduction in my rash and has prescribed me more of the same treatment, in steadily decreasing strength over the next few weeks. Hopefully that should shift it. There are still no results back from the biopsy, but he will see me again in 3 weeks to gauge progress. No need to go to stronger steroids which means no interruption to the breastfeeding, hurrah.

I was feeling quite energetic as we left the hospital so we decided to take the bus to the Carlton rather than go straight home. We introduced Charles to Jethro and Terri, and during our visit I both changed him and managed to give him a feed. The lounge bar was fairly empty so I didn't feel too self-conscious feeding - I haven't yet got enough practice to do it very discreetly.

We stopped at the pharmacy on the way home to get my prescriptions filled. One of them needs to be made up so I suggested collecting them all tomorrow and they were happy with that. I had forgotten until they asked me for it that I have a maternity exemption certificate and don't have to pay for prescriptions for the next year.

My SPD seems to have entirely cleared up, which is fantastic. I can reach my feet and cross my legs and walk, all without my pelvis hurting. I have lost about 9kg in the last 8 days - we know that nearly 5kg of them were in Charles and presumably placenta, fluid etc make up a lot of the rest. My hands are beginning to shrink down to normal again, and I've been able to get my wedding ring on the little finger of my left hand. It feels really good to be able to wear it again, even if it is on the wrong finger for now.

Louise and Lucy are being very helpful and looking after the three of us well with food and housework and so on. Tomorrow we have more Finch visitors and will probably go back to the pub for lunch. We ran into [livejournal.com profile] bofhcam on the way home from the pub, [livejournal.com profile] nassus popped around to say hello and meet the baby, and my colleague Anne dropped in briefly in the evening to give me a card from work.

All seems to continue going well, and I'm about to hand baby over to his father and grab some sleep.
rmc28: (finches)
Charles was obviously listening to the midwife because he has suddenly developed an appetite. We've had several huge feeds and a couple of smaller ones. I'll try to pump something off for Tony to feed him later before I go to bed - aiming to be there by 11pm tonight.

After some faff I managed to get a fresh prescription for the rash ointment out of my GP surgery and Tony went to pick it up this afternoon. The combination of treatments do seem to be having a good effect and the least bad bits are beginning to clear up. I suppose we'll find out at tomorrow's clinic appointment whether progress is good enough or if something stronger is required.

Shaun popped around at lunchtime to meet Charles, and we had a good chat. Charles' umbilical stump fell off during the conversation, and the remaining belly button is looking clean and healthy.

I ordered a Tricotti sling from NCT with next-day delivery, so I may be able to have the use of my hands back tomorrow. I've got quite adept at typing with baby in one arm but his favourite position is in the centre of my chest and that really requires both hands if he's at all wriggly.

Today's expedition with the pushchair was to the local park and back. One of the possible routes home leads past the home of my friends Liz & Keith, so I stopped there to introduce Charles to them. Liz very kindly gave me a gorgeous baby Hallowe'en theme quilt.

Tony's mother and one of his sisters arrived this evening for a short stay.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
We spent most of yesterday waiting for the senior dermatologist to come. which he did at about 2pm. I had been prescribed a topical steroid cream by the doctor who saw me on Monday afternoon, which eventually emerged from the hospital pharmacy about 1pm, so there wasn't much chance to see how useful it was. Lab results on the biopsy won't be back until probably after the weekend, but I was prescribed two more things as well as the cream: a wash instead of soap and a moisturiser to ease the itching, and given a clinic appointment for Friday to see how these treatments are working. They may want to give me more serious treatments but are reluctant to jump in with them without giving these a try.

I cannot let any of the treatments or the areas treated by them touch baby Charles. Luckily, my chest and stomach have been unaffected, so breastfeeding remains possible, but I'll be in long sleeves and trouser legs until this is sorted out, and we'll have to be careful about sheets and towels and so on that touch me.

So after that, I informed the ward staff that we were clear to go, and they began the paperwork for discharge, and also sent my prescription down to the pharmacy. Tony arranged with [livejournal.com profile] james_r to collect us and went off home by bus to retrieve the car seat while I packed up our things (frequently interrupted by Charles who was feeling neglected). Tony and James arrived fairly close together, by which time all my paperwork had been done but the additional dermatology prescriptions hadn't arrived. We were told one of us could come back and get them tomorrow and decided to get out of there.

Charles' first car journey was greeted with great disgust at being put down into the car seat, but once we were on the move he calmed down. We had managed to time leaving the hospital for the middle of Cambridge's rush hour but I was just pleased to be on the way home.

The evening at home passed in a bit of a blur. After Monday went so well breastfeeding-wise, Tuesday was a bit disastrous, starting when I got woken up soon after midnight by one of the midwives because Charles had been yelling blue murder for about 10 minutes and I'd slept through it. After calming down an outraged and exhausted baby, I gave him some EBM we'd put in the fridge the previous day, and then got him latched with the help of a midwife and he fed for about half an hour and slept the rest of the night. I then couldn't get him latched at all on Tuesday and we were both getting frazzled every time I tried to do so. Midmorning Tuesday he'd had another big meal of EBM, and he does seem to go long periods between feeds, but I just couldn't get him to feed at home in the evening and I was getting sore from being full of milk and he was getting furious. In the end James and Tony made a trip to Bar Hill Tesco and got me a manual pump and a steriliser. He got fed, and I got the relief of getting the milk out, and we can try again today to feed "properly", but at least we have the alternative available now.

Around 10pm I realised I hadn't taken any painkillers in ages (doh) so took lots and went for a sleep, with the huge relief of being able to leave Tony in charge of things. (One of the worst bits about being on the ward was being alone in charge of an apparently nocturnal baby.) I woke up again some time before 1am and found Tony with a sleeping Charles watching tv, having fed him more EBM. They came to bed and we've just passed our first night as a family together. Charles has slept through, probably because of his enormous feeds shortly before bed. I woke several times to hear him making small noises to himself, but as he never seemed to fully wake I didn't disturb him. I have come away to have breakfast knowing that Tony will let me know when he wakes up - an enormous luxury.
rmc28: (fanf)
[livejournal.com profile] fanf one more time.

Today was a busier version of yesterday. Rachel is quite pleased with the way things are going.

More progress with breastfeeding. Rachel's milk started coming last night, which makes it easier, and her double-plus bras from Bravado arrived just in time to support the extra volume. Charles is still not confident enough about it to find the breast reassuring when he's upset about something, but when it works he feeds well - so long as he doesn't fall asleep immetiately.

We had lots of nice visitors, including Rachel's dad with a hand-me-down buggy from his wife. It's ten years old and still in excellent nick. My colleague Anton gave us a big rattly toy which is apparently a favourite of one of his children.

Charles's heart checkup revealed a couple of minor oddities: a small hole between the ventricles (these are fairly common and often close as the heart grows) and some extra material attached to part of the pulmonary valve. Nothing hugely worrying, but they still want to do periodic checkups over the next year to ensure that the benign prognosis turns out to be the case. So Charles has been signed off by the paediatricians, and Rachel has been signed off by the obstetricians, but they are still in the hospital.

Rachel's referral to a dermatologist got delayed because it wasn't written up properly over the weekend, so Rachel wasn't seen until after 17:00. The dermatologist took a couple of biopsies from her arm, one for each of two tests they will perform. We're told there are two forms of pregnancy rash. The nasty form can be treated with a topical steroid cream, which will not affect breast feeding. The very nasty form can get suddenly worse (an added reason for staying in, aside from the logistical ones) and has to be treated orally. If Rachel has the latter form she'll have to stop breast feeding, which means expressing and throwing away the milk to keep it going while Charles is fed on formula during the treatment. We'll find out more tomorrow, and with any luck they will be coming home the same day.
rmc28: (fanf)
[livejournal.com profile] fanf still.

Yesterday was quite quiet, so there's less to report.

Charles started to show some interest in breast feeding around midnight on Saturday / Sunday, and by Sunday evening they were getting the hang of it. It's still a bit of a faff to get him latched on, but he'll now suckle happily for ten minutes each side. The Midwives are continuing to provide helpful advice, so Rachel has got the technique fairly well now.

Rachel is generally happy with the way the birth went, but she finds the memories of the more difficult bits upsetting. (06:30-08:30, especially the trip in the ambulance.) A cuddle helps, especially with Charles. Plenty of TLC required.

The main thing keeping us in yesterday was the lack of staff over the weekend to do the last checkups we need before being discharged.

They want to do an ultrasound of Charles's heart to verify that the murmur is benign. He had another checkup yesterday and the paediatrician seemed to think it was already sorting itself out. I understand that this kind of thing is a fairly common result of the circulatory system having to reconfigure itself after birth.

Rachel needs to see a dermatologist about her pregnancy rash, which is really nasty. The anti-histamines are keeping it just about tolerable but if anything it's getting worse. It's apparently much easier and quicker to be checked as an in-patient, since an on-call dermatologist can just pop over, whereas they say the out-patient waiting list is about six weeks.

So we're likely to be in until at least this evening. Visitors are still welcome. I should have noted before that children are not allowed on the ward unless they belong to mothers or partners - [livejournal.com profile] arnhem and L. tried to visit yesterday evening and it ended up being rather brief :-/
rmc28: (fanf)
[livejournal.com profile] fanf here, again. I've just got back from spending most of the day with Rachel and Charles.

The main difficulty at the moment is persuading him to feed. I don't think he managed to feed at all yesterday, so last night he got somewhat distressed from low blood sugar. He was given a booster of formula to get him back on track. Rachel was not entirely happy about this because she's determined to breast feed. At the moment she's producing modest quantities of colostrum which is normal at this stage, but Charles isn't interested in sucking on a teat that isn't producing much. Today Rachel has been expressing colostrum with pumps and we have been feeding Charles from tiny cups or by syringe. I think he's had about 30ml today, which seems to be enough to keep him going, judging by a blood sugar reading that was taken this evening.

The breast feeding assistants are very reassuring. We are told that it's common for babies to be too lazy to suck colostrum from the breast - it's hard work for little reward - and they typically become much happier when the proper milk comes on stream around day three. We also should not worry about the occasional formula feed at this time to keep the baby going: it doesn't make breast feeding harder so long as Rachel uses a pump to get the right hormones going. There are good signs that this is happening: her pumping is triggering cramps in her uterus, which is caused by the hormone oxytocin; this gets the milk going as well as scrunching the womb down to non-pregnant size.

There have been a series of checkups of both mother and baby. Rachel is supposed to be wearing tight stockings to protect against deep vein thrombosis; however this was overlooked yesterday so she only put them on this afternoon. Her pregnancy rash seems to be getting worse. We've had four explanations for it now: Rachel's GP was vague but sent in a blood test to ensure Rachel's liver was working OK; we thought it might have been caused by the new sheets which we didn't wash before putting on the bed; our home birth midwife said that it might be caused by male hormones from the baby; but I think I believe the doctor at the Rosie who said it was an immune response triggered by the baby, and it's known simply as "pregnancy rash". He prescribed some anti-histamines, which seem to have helped, and if Rachel is still in on Monday she will be looked at by a dermatologist who will prescribe steroids if necessary. I got to see Rachel's cut when her dressing was checked. The midwife (I think that's what she was) was very impressed by the neatness of it - and so was I. All the sutures are internal soluble ones, and there's no external blood or stitches. Impressive! It's still rather uncomfortable without paracetamol and codeine.

Charles had a general checkup of his breathing, size, heart, hips, eyes, and stuff. The paediatrician was worried he might have an unstable hip and he detected a heart murmur, so later in the afternoon his senior came for a second look. He passed the hips as fine, but confirms the heart murmur. This is likely to be an infant anomaly that goes away, but in order to rule out any serious problems he recommended that Charles should have a sonogram to check his heart in more detail. It may be an in- or out-patient appointment depending on how long we stay in. Charles has an endearing habit of preparing for examinations with a nappy full of poo. These have gone from black and sticky meconium to dark-greenish and less sticky over the course of today, and he has started peeing (fortunately not enthusiastically enough to hit me in the face while I was changing him). All good signs.

Apart from pooing he spent a lot of the afternoon sleeping quietly, including through a nappy change. When he wakes up he's generally quite quiet and happy to look at people's faces and wriggle a bit. There hasn't been any long inconsolable crying yet - he seems to either calm down or fall asleep before long. The cutest bit was when Rachel and Charles were sleeping next to each other on the bed, while I read and had my finger gripped by a tiny fist.

Thanks to everyone for your lovely comments on the previous entry. I printed them out and took them for Rachel to read, which cheered her up a lot. She would love to have visitors - see the previous entry for details. We're told that, all being well, a typical stay after a c-section is 2-3 days, though 5 days is not uncommon. So they might be leaving tomorrow or Monday, though since the discharge process takes ages I expect we'll still be there tomorrow afternoon at least.


rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Rachel Coleman

October 2017

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