Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Baby Doesn't Cry...She Screams

I swear its getting louder. We now enter a new stage of parenthood, the honeymoon phase is over & we are starting to realize what we are in for.  Little Miss Scarlett is living up to her name, well her temperament is anyway.  I guess we should have known better when we chose her name.

Some days she doesn't even warn us, just wakes up screaming.  Bad dream?  Maybe.  Gas pain?  Perhaps.  Hunger?  Likely, but not always.

Don't get me wrong, she can still be a sweet little angel, she will look up at you with her big eyes & make cute cooing & sighing sounds, & sometimes will even give you a genuine ear to ear smile (accompanied by a 'haha' sigh if you are lucky), this all just makes your day.  I have also become particularly fond of her moments of independence, when she will lay in her crib, kick, grunt & let out the occasional 'happy squeal' (I have no way to explain this, but I am sure existing parents must know what I am talking about).  Or she will just lay in your arms or her swing & baring an intense look of concentration, silently taking in the world around her.  Unfortunately, as of this past week (which felt like eternity), these moments have been further & fewer between.  

By no means do I claim that my baby is colicky - what I believe is an over-used & abused term that is too often taken out of context - out of respect to all those poor parents who actually have or have had colicky babies.  But she has been fussy when awake & I hope this is just a phase & not an increasing state that my poor child becoming.

We used to want to wake her up when she slept.  Now don't dare to wake her & hope that she stays sleeping for a while.

As new parents, we are learning how to understand & cope with the fussy moments.  We understand this is her only way of communicating with us the discomfort she is in, but that's about as far as our understanding goes (this lack of understanding become particularly prominent after a 2:00am feeding when our baby just won't go back to sleep).  These moments are made a little more copeable (I know that's not a real word, but just pretend it is) with both parents, as we can usually hand her off to the other half when we have had enough.  Yesterday, however, Dad decided to go out for a few hours (& I do not blame him, he - and the dog - need to get out once in a while). While they were gone, the baby had one of her 'moments', & although she had just been fed & changed, she was not letting up.  Dad had been gone for a few hours & I had enough.  I tried to hold her in all different positions, rock her, bounce her, (I dare not to sing to her when she is upset, it just makes it worse) nothing worked.  So I plopped her (gently of course) into her crib & left to let her cry.  After a couple ear piercing wails, she suddenly stopped & that was it.  I listened from the other side of the house as she grunted & squealed (but didn't scream), just to let me know that she was still there.  At one point she started up again, so I went in there & turned her head the other way & what do you know, she stopped again.  As soon a Dad walked through the door, she once again started up, & this time was very very mad.  I still don't know what the problem was.  Babies are so confusing.  Or maybe we parents are just confused.

So you read this & you think, "yup, I've been there," or even "had it worse," "its nothing new".  Maybe you think I don't even have a right to complain (too bad this is my blog).  But to us this is completely all new & all we know.  Perhaps we've been spoiled in our first couple weeks with a pretty relaxed baby & only now are we getting a taste of what new parents actually go through.  Regardless, I imagine there will be tougher times ahead (accompanying all those new & exciting milestones to come, of course) as little Scarlett continues to develop, rather express, her personality (aka temperament).  In the meantime I hope my little girl gets happier, as we are all happier when she is (even the dog).

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fashion Statement?

I think not.  Its that annoying purple stuff - gentian violet - that our parents used on us when we were infants to beat thrush.  Its purple & its messy & its dry.  Unfortunately its is supposed to be the best treatment for this nasty case of thrush/yeast infection we are battling.  This stuff stains everything, so you can imagine my reaction at 12:30am when I managed to spill half the bottle across the bathroom counter & everything on it, during my first attempt to use the stuff. It's been making both of us uncomfortable & cranky, but we're tough & we are getting through it :)

It's been quite the adjustment for the 2 of us.  Complimentary to this silly purple medicine (which goes on the baby's mouth & the mom's nipples), we are on a restricted diet, flucanzole (pills for mom), niastatin (for baby - at least it tastes like bananas), nipple ointment cream, grapefruit seed extract & pro biotic supplements.  That's no all...there are the bra-boiling & vinegar rinse routines to go along with the whole regime.  Needless to say our day is pretty jam packed with beating this 'systemic yeast infection'.  I don't think it is even bothering her, but my poor baby has to go through all of this just to help her mom feel better, so we don't keep infecting one another.  All I have to say is thank goodness I am on my hubby's health plan.

Could this have been avoided...probably not, but had I known what I know now perhaps could have been dealt with more effectively.  Which brings me to the observation that mothers do not talk about these types of problems to 'non-mothers' until they become mothers & go through it themselves, only after we started having the problems, did I come to know what can happen & how common these problems are (& I do appreciate all the advice given).  I've been told that this is a protective maternal strategy, where existing mothers who have gone through it all don't want to scare other childless women into not having children...however I must say I am the kind of person that would like to know what can potentially go wrong so I can better deal with it.  So here is my honest rendition of my experience & for those of you who have not yet experienced the pain & joy of becoming a mother (listen to me all experienced now, ha!) proceed with caution as I blog about my sore boobs, but please read on if you would like to learn more about what you may be able to prevent or prepare yourself for.   

So how this all started is not for us to know, but I suspect, due to my history of chronic systemic yeast infections, I started it.  A friend warned me to get checked out for a yeast infection & treated if necessary before my baby is born to avoid thrush.  I mentioned this to my doctor, but he sort of brushed it off as a common thing (thrush) & not a big deal if it happens.  As much as I like our doctor, he obviously has never attempted to latch a newborn to his bleeding nipple.   I'll only make a mere mention of the irritation below the waist (again from the yeast infection) - which is there, but second to the drama that is going on between baby & nipple.

The first challenge of becoming a mother: learning to all newbies, this is something that mom & baby need to figure out between to two of them (a little guidance is helpful - nurses shoving their hands between baby & boobs & squishing baby's face into your nipple is not helpful) .  I think had I gone to the breastfeeding clinic on my due date (which I have no excuse, other than I wasn't feeling up to it) I may have been a little more prepared. I am still a little confused as to where we went wrong int he beginning (or if the yeast infection, which will cause cracks, started from the beginning) as every time I would try to get help the nurse would say "it looks like she has a good latch."  But it still hurt.  Once in a while one of them would make a comment on how strong of a sucker she is, or how much of a piggy she is (whether latched on properly or not, she was getting her milk).  In fact in our first attempt to feed, the kid gave me a hickey just below the nipple.  It didn't take long for the nipples to start cracking, bleeding & scabbing, but I was too stubborn & naive to try anything else.  Then came the puffy, red & sensitive rash-like sensation on the nipples.  And I became what my husband would call "much more hormonal."

So here we are 3 weeks later, & finally I can bear the feeding on one side (with little or no pain in fact) & the cracks are healing up, I can see the light.  Stabbing pains in my ducts after feeding, before feeding & every time I think about feeding (or even when I yawn) has started to limit to the left side.  The only way to minimize the pain on the right is to shove my poor kid's face into my breast as squished as I can, to the point where I feel I am suffocating her & must make an airway with my finger to allow her to breath.  This makes it difficult to relax & as a result am in dire need of a massage & some Ibuprofen.  

We do most of our arguing back & forth when it comes time to feed.  I haven't yet grasped the idea of bonding with your child while breastfeeding, as many moms claim to experience.  I will be happy the day I don't cringe at the thought of feeding my child.  

But in the big picture, Baby Scarlett is healthy & plump, & despite all the hardships (with more to come I am sure) she's so totally worth it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Meet Scarlett

Full Name: Scarlett Nicole Zoerb - it was only after she was born did I realize the word scarlet is a color.  A funny coincidence considering I've always wanted to name my kids after colors & stones.  Nicole is my only sister's name, with whom I have a very unique sisterly relationship.
AKA: Mouse (squeaks in her sleep), Baby Girl (pretty self-explanatory), Scowlet (cousin Layla wanted to take her 'sister' Scowlet home), & Charlotte (much easier to remember for our 5 year old neighbor, Cali).
Weight & Height at Birth: 7lbs 2 oz & 20" long (I forgot to ask how big her head was, which is more definitive when considering the path she took to enter this world). People say "that's a nice size" - sure didn't feel nice!  

Weight & Height at 2 Weeks: Scarlett now weighs a whopping 7lbs 10.5oz & is 20 & 1/4".  It's nice to know that we are doing something right.
Labour & Birthing Experience: When people ask me how the birthing experience went, I am not really sure how to answer it & find myself giving different answers depending on who I have talked to.  It's not really something you can describe to someone who has never experienced giving birth before.  I have definitely developed a new appreciation for my mother, who delivered 6 kids by the time she was my age, & all the other childbearing women in the world...especially those who don't have access to laughing gas, jacuzzi tubs & epidurals.  But here are the facts:
Total hours of labour = 14.  About 4 of those were quite bearable, 6 becoming more intense but bearable still, & 2 what felt extremely unbearable (but obviously bearable as I got through it) 1 hour of bliss (thanks to the epidural) with a twinge of pain here & there (left side was partially unfrozen) & the last hour consisted of pushing this child out, epidural turned down (someone once told me that the pushing wasn't the hard part...I would like to contend to that statement).  At 2:00 pm we went to the hospital at which point I was 3 centimeters dilated &  Scarlett was born at 6:37 (according to the 'medical experts' it all went pretty quickly...sure didn't feel like it!).  She was crying before she was completely delivered & scored a perfect 10 on the Agar.
Coming Home: After 2 nights in the hospital we were given an instruction manual to take home with the kid.  I have to say it didn't quite cover it.  This whole time I thought the hard part would be over with the pregnancy.  Oh how naive I was.  Since coming home we have had the luxury of dealing with stitches down under...bleeding cracked nipples (despite all efforts of help from many nurses)...yeast infection & a case of thrush (entering round 2 of meds)...blocked tear ducts....blocked milk ducts...& a few sleepless nights (though Scarlett has been pretty good to us in the sleep department for the most part).  On the bright side we have a new source of entertainment, as mom & dad we just sit & stare at her tiny little expressions & listen to her funny little sounds for hours on end.  In fact, dad is already grieving over the fact that she won't be like this forever.
In just 2 weeks this kid has changed already so much.  I finally understand what new mothers mean when they say it goes by so fast.  Scarlett's nose will never again be all squished & turned up like it was 10 days ago (well, let's hope).

Monday, September 6, 2010

Introducing Scarlett Nicole Zoerb

The wait is over & with that much of the Wonder Baby mystery is gone as we welcome our wonderful new baby girl.  She is perfect in every way that a new parent can imagine, & worth every sacrifice & moment leading up to her.  We are now confronted with a whole new package of wonders about the years ahead.  Here are some pictures to enjoy of our precious little girl in her first few days.

Scarlett Nicole Zoerb
7 lbs 2 oz
20 inches
Born September 3, 2010, 6:30pm