Spirited

My hands have been full lately - in a good way!

I'm coming to realise that this little baby is not going to be the mellow, 'go with the flow' second sibling that I'd always heard about; the kind that gets lugged along to all of their sister's events and is content to follow along happily. Not in this household.

My kiddo knows what she wants, and I can see how strong her personality is already - at four months old! She laughs and talks with her whole face, and when she's happy, you can't help but be happy with her. But when she's not... oh man.

I often observe other babies when we're out and about, and the one thing that I've noticed with Claire is that she is loud. All babies cry, and that's perfectly fine - but when my baby cries? It's loud. LOUD LOUD. Loud enough to turn heads, that kind of loud. It echoes through rooms, it's the kind of cry that leaves her sweaty and red faced and sometimes breathless.

When she first did this at a few weeks old, it made me so nervous that I took her to the doctors for a check over, and again at the paediatrician. I was concerned it might have been silent reflux, or that something was causing her to be distressed. The verdict: physically, she was perfect. That's just her cry. Since then, I've come to realise that they were right - this is just her way. It's how she gets in the car, and we all know how much she hates that. It's how she gets when she's hungry, when she's sad, when she's tired. There's no soft little cry that escalates - it's just 0 to 100 in a flash.

She wants to be with you, to see what you're doing, to watch everything that's happening around her. She wants to sit up, even though her little body isn't quite ready for that yet. She lights up around Georgia & can recognise voices with ease.

Claire was a pleasant surprise from the start. That her transfer worked at all, that she made it through a rocky pregnancy; right up to when she graced us with her presence, looking so very different to her big sister. It shouldn't really shock me that her personality is her own as well - this spirited kiddo is going to be the best kind of handful; I can feel it already. :)

Sisters - what a lucky mama I am.

Four Months Old

... And just like that, we're at four months old!

My beautiful baby is changing every day - it's so lovely to watch. Watching her smile is just the best; it lights up her whole face, right up to her eyes. She's delightful.

I mean, LOOK AT THAT FACE. I am totally smitten.

This month has been full of smiles, screeches, and long car rides. She still hates the car, but tolerates it better in the convertible rear facing seat as opposed to the infant capsule. We also had to swap her pram from the flat-bassinet to the regular seat, so she's enjoying that a little more now too.

The most challenging thing about Claire is her sleep - it's not great. She's happy as can be, but she's up a lot. The longest stretch we've had is about 4 hours. I'm getting used to operating in zombie mode, but man, I miss my sleep like nothing else. It makes it a lot harder to parent Georgia calmly, that's for sure.

That said, she's still little. The late night snuggles and feeds won't last forever, so we're just going with the flow.

These last four months have gone so fast, I feel like I'm going to blink and I'll miss it. Love this little squish. :)

Three Months Old

Annnnnnnnd, in my sleep deprived haze, I have only just noticed that I forgot to update Claire's three month stats - and I'm almost ready to take her FOUR month stats this week. Whoops! #zombiemum

This last month, Claire started gaining more weight - largely thanks to having her tongue tie corrected the month before.
She also used to sleep ... which is one thing that has changed for the worse. We celebrated her first Christmas, even though she spent more time chewing on paper than actually taking anything in.
She's still been wearing 000 clothes but with those thighs... we aren't far off moving up another size!

She's not a newborn anymore, that's for sure. -sob-

Transfer-aversary

I still vividly remember our last transfer day. It was hot, and I was nervous. Nervous that the embryo might not have thawed well, nervous about another miscarriage, nervous about starting yet another year off with the potential for disappointment.

I remember how many times the doctor had to attempt the speculum placement. I remember them commenting that the embryo looked lovely. I remember keeping my legs tightly closed the whole drive home; something I've done after every transfer, even though I know it makes not a shred of difference to the outcome.

For anyone who's ever done IVF or who has never fallen pregnant of their own accord, that window after a transfer is magical. It's full of possibility - for a while, even just for a few short days, you're closer to being pregnant than you've ever been before. That shot that most couples get once a month, it's finally yours, after what feels like constant waiting. Those days have a lot riding on them, since it may be several more months before you get that chance again, if you're lucky.

You wait, you pray, you scream at the universe, and you pee on a million sticks. Most times it doesn't work.

But sometimes.. just sometimes, it does.

One year ago today, we 'met' our Claire for the first time. And now, she's here. I can't think of anything more amazing.

Baby Purchases I Should Have Made

Claire is 3.5 months old now, and has left newborn-hood behind while growing bigger every single day.

I sense she's going to be an emotional little poppet as she grows up - because she's either delightfully happy, or she's frightfully sad/angry. Life in the extremes; it's a real thing. When she was younger, I felt she would have quite a zen personality, she seemed so happy to go with the flow of things. Now that she's showing more of her personality, I am eating my words. She knows what she likes.. and what she doesn't like.

Unfortunately for me, those things involve sleeping, cars, being out of your arms... meaning I've not been getting much done around these parts, and that leaving the house is quite the challenge. That said - baby cuddles. Is there anything sweeter?

Now that we're a few months in, there are a few things I wish I'd purchased earlier to help with baby #2. It's probably too late to get them now, as they'd only be helpful for a short time anyway, but if we were ever to get to go through this again {wishful thinking?} OR if they should happen to fall from the sky into our laps, I think they'd come in very handy.

#1: A new breast pump

I kept my Medela Swing Maxi (double electric pump) from when Georgia was born - hoping I wouldn't have to use it with this baby. But, surprise! When Claire was having all of the issues early on, and when my boobs were so shredded from 8 weeks of tongue tie feeding, the pump soon became my best friend. Unfortunately for me, at almost four years old, it's pretty lack luster now. The suction is really poor, I've done all the troubleshooting to help it, and it's just not working. There are so many new, hospital grade pumps on the market now, I wish I'd just turfed the old one & purchased a new one.

#2: A padded swing

We borrowed a swing from my brother, but Claire is NOT a fan. Thing is, it's not the proper, cushioned, newborn-type swing, it's more of just a standard recliner seat that rocks. She was never comfortable in there & slid around a lot, so there was none of that blissful newborn swing napping that I've heard about from nearly every other baby in existence. I think if it had better padding & neck support, or potentially even the option to rock from side-to-side, she would have liked it better.

#3: A White Noise Machine

We currently use an old iPod docking station that has white noise options available as backgrounds, but we really need something that's portable and can go from room to room. We've only recently moved it out of Georgia's room and into ours - not that it's helped much with Claire's terrible sleep so far. There may still be time to invest in a good one... if I can convince hubby that it's worth trying.

Hindsight, eh? In the meantime... here is the reason I've been so busy and left my blog a little abandoned lately. This ray of sunshine // ball of emotions, she makes me smile every day. And throw in her bossy and fiesty and gorgeous big sister, and I am so happy... and so tired... and so lucky.

2016: The Year That Was

Happy New Year! I'm only a week late. :)

Reading last year's review post makes me sad - the place I was in was such a sad and frustrated one, and it was so, so lonely. If you'd told me that in a year's time, things would have been so much better, I wouldn't have believed you - how could it? But I was proved wrong. 2016 brought us hope.

I'm following the same format as years gone by - (2006200720082009, 2010, 2011201220132014 & 2015)

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before? 
Became a mama of two.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Surprisingly, yes! I vowed to get pregnant - and we did! :) 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? I did! And it was wonderful. 

4. Did anyone close to you die? Not this year.

5. What countries did you visit? None. We stayed close to home.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016? A little more patience.

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? January 28th, when we transferred Olaf. April 12th, when we found out that Olaf was a healthy baby GIRL. September 30th, when she was born & when Georgia became a big sister.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
 With the help of bedrest, family and a good doctor, I managed to bake Claire until she was ready to be kicked out - and then thanks to a fast labour, I gave birth to her naturally.

9. What was your biggest failure? Wishing time away - now I wish it would slow down!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? No.

11. What was the best thing you bought? We extended our deck and added a pergola.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration? Oh, my lovely husband. I've said it before, how lucky I am - but this year took the cake. Not only did he take care of Georgia AND look after me during my weeks of hospital bedrest, he did it while starting a new job. He has continued to step it up and help us all adjust to being a family of four. My Mum has also been a rockstar this year. Very proud of her.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? Quite a few people.

14. Where did most of your money go? IVF, pregnancy, baby stuff, pergola.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
BABY OMG BABY.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016? 
Turning Page - Sleeping at Last

I've waited a hundred years
But I'd wait a million more for you
Nothing prepared me for
What the privilege of being yours would do

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
(a) Happier or Sadder? Happier.
(b) Thinner or Fatter? Fatter.
(c) Richer or Poorer? Poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Sleeping - I miss it.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Stressing out - trying not to sweat the small stuff.

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2016? With our little family, once again. :) 

21. Did you fall in love in 2016? My heart expanded even more this year.
22. How many one-night stands? I'm too old for these questions now, I fear.

23. What was your favourite TV program? The favourite this year was Westworld.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Yes.

25. What was the best book you read? I've been embarrassingly slack on the book front this year. I did enjoy 'The Girl on the Train' earlier in the year.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Well, they're new to ME - Straight No Chaser. I listened to them a lot at Christmas time.

27. What did you want and get? My sweet Claire.

28. What did you want and not get? Time and understanding.

29. What was your favourite film of this year? Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 32 this year, and we spent the day at the park with Georgia, at 29 weeks pregnant!

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Having family things work out differently.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016? Stretchy maternity clothes!

33. What kept you sane? Friends, family & the internet.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I quite like looking at the guy from the Divergent/Insurgent movies.

35. What political issue stirred you the most? Donald fucking Trump.

36. Who did you miss? I miss my Dad.

37. Who was the best new person you met? My lovely new Mum friends, who have been so lovely this year and got me through the crazy newborn days that I had almost forgotten about.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016. You've got this.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. “Welcome to the planet, welcome to existence. Everyone's here, everyone's here. Everybody's watching you now, everybody waits for you now.. What happens next?"

40. What are your resolutions for 2017? I'm planning on letting go of the small stuff, and living in the moment with the family I never thought I'd have. :) 

Happy New Year, friends. 

The Difference a Year Makes

It's almost Christmas time! As I sit here and look at my slightly neglected blog - sorry, blame the baby! - the tree is flickering in the background and the decorations are up.. I keep thinking about what a year it's been.

This time last year, I was in a bad place. I was excited for the season, because I adore experiencing it through Georgia's eyes, but I was completely ready for the year to be over. I had just had my third miscarriage, and we were no closer to expanding our family. I spent December exploring other options for us, and my hopes were very low.

Little did I know that just the following month, we would see another positive pregnancy test, one that would stay, and grow, and develop into the tiny human who is snoring in her bouncer at my feet.

This Christmas, our family grew by two feet. This beautiful girl, she's the miracle I dreamed for last year - a sidekick for Georgia, a partner in crime. Claire is a gift, that's for sure. I'm so excited to be here.


On Hating the Car

Some days I think I'm doing okay with the whole 'keeping two small children alive' thing - and some days, I feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water.

Throw in two medical procedures in three weeks, and it's been pretty tiring. First Claire's tongue tie, then Georgia's tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy, and we're all still in the recovery phase. It's been full on.
Both girls have come out the other side and are on the mend - which makes all the stress worthwhile. But I'll admit, it's left me feeling a little a whole lot frazzled. This mama needs a drink, a massage & a night out on her own.. stat!
The big kid is a 50/50 mixture of sweetness and attitude, serious attitude. When she's good, she's very very good, but when she's bad... oy. Brace yourself. She can be hard work - and requires a lot of patience.

The little kid is a ball of smooshy squishness and is absolutely adorable. I still can't believe she's here. She's turning out a lot like her sister; in that when she's happy, she's delightful. But when she's not happy? We ALL hear about it. In fact, half the street probably hears about it. Girl's got lungs.
The hardest thing about life with the two girls right now is going anywhere. Not because I can't cope with the two, or that they're hard when they're out - that's going ok for the most part, and getting out of the house is good for everyone. No, it's the way we get there.
You see, Claire hates the car.
HATES IT.
Not just dislikes, not just fussy; I'm talking hates it with the intensity of a thousand white-hot suns. Our car rides are filled with ear piercing yells and screams, crying that builds up to fever pitch, that cannot be soothed until she's out of that hell on wheels.
Unfortunately for us, we're in the car a fair bit, especially on the hour round trip to Georgia's daycare. I literally have to brace myself at every traffic light.
I've tried nearly everything I can think of: with additional head support, with the head support removed from the car seat, car shades on the window, lullaby music, white noise on repeat, a mirror for her to see me, dangly toys, no dangly toys, dummy in (doesn't last long), her vibrating elephant doll that acts as a soother, air conditioning on arctic levels to ensure she's not sweating. I've even been to the doctor to make sure she's physically okay - and she's got the all clear.
It doesn't matter if I stop the car to comfort her; nothing works until I actually remove her from the car. And if I cuddle or feed to soothe, it's all well & good... until we get her back in, and she starts all over again. 
Has anyone else had a car-hater? I'm quite prepared to try anything to help her out of this phase. 

Two Months Old

What a doozy of a month this was!

Claire didn't put on a great deal of weight in the first half of this month, likely due to her tongue tie issues. It's been just over a week and she's feeding a lot better - so hopefully she'll just keep on gaining at a  healthy pace from here on in.

My little baby is not a newborn anymore - she's smiling, responding to you when you talk, watching Georgia like a hawk. It's lovely seeing her interact with her environment, her bouncer toys, and even the cats!

That said, those glorious sleepy newborn days are also gone, meaning she's awake a lot more and wants to be snuggled ALL THE TIME. Which is totally fine by me (babyyyyyyyyyyhugs) but means that poor hubby comes home to an empty dinner table more than I'd like to admit. Cereal for tea, anyone?

Claire has glorious munchable thighs, just like her sister had. In some respects, she's so much like her - in others, she's completely different. If I had a dollar for every time someone compared the two girls and exclaim that 'they look nothing alike!' I think I'd be a millionaire... and she's only 8 weeks old.

Yep, she's certainly different - she's her own little person, after all. And I LOVE it!

Tongue Tied

Turns out, I was right. In short: Claire had a pretty obvious tongue tie, which was 70% restricted & affecting her feeding.

Her checkup with the paediatrician was fairly boring - which was a good thing! Even after telling him about my breastfeeding concerns, he brushed off the idea of a tongue/lip tie, and barely even looked inside her mouth. I thought he might take me seriously when he weighed her & she was showing fairly slow growth on the charts.
She was 4.1kg at birth, 3.8kg on hospital discharge, and at 7-weeks old, she weighed in at 4.8kg. That means, she's gained an average of 100g a week (a 700g difference) which is under what they'd like her to be at. She's gone from being on the 97th percentile at birth, to under the 50th percentile now. It's not that average is bad; it's just that the drop has been consistent every week. 
Despite this, and despite me sharing that the pain from post-breastfeeding was bad enough to consider giving up, the paediatrician told me to 'just persevere until she hits six months, as that's a good age to aim for while feeding.' 
Are you kidding me? I left that appointment fuming. To disregard our breastfeeding troubles like that, to a Mum who has done this before and KNOWS something isn't right... well, it wasn't a great feeling.
That same afternoon, I rang a qualified Lactation Consultant who specialised in feeding issues and ties, and got an appointment for the following week. That was on Monday.
We had a lengthy consultation, and she spent a lot of time watching Claire feed, and performing an oral examination to see what was going on inside of her mouth. She commended us on feeding and gaining as she had been, and declared that Claire was working the hardest she could to feed well - but despite all of our efforts getting her latch as deep as possible, it was still too shallow to be fully effective.
Claire had a tongue tie that was fairly restricted. She could poke her tongue down, but couldn't reach it up or sideways. She wasn't forming an adequate seal at the base of the breast while feeding, and she was constantly running out of energy because of all the reattaching she had to do to keep up with the feed. She's also got an extremely high palate - likely not helped by the tongue tie - meaning she was never able to draw my nipple as far back as it needed to be.
The LC showed me a few tips to help us continue as we were, with Claire opening her mouth as far as she could to feed; but she also gave me the option to get information about the frenectomy procedure too, so that I could make a decision as to what to do next. I decided to go ahead with that option, and we had it done that same day.
The procedure itself was over with quickly, but not particularly pleasant. We opted to go the scissor route, and so it was fast - but bloody. Claire was a real champion; I was a mess! She fed straight after it was done, and fell asleep not long after that - leaving me covered in breastmilk mixed with blood. (I forgot how much mouth wounds bleed!)
It's been four full days since her tongue tie was revised, and she's definitely feeding better. Her mouth is open, her latch is wider, and she's coming on/off the breast a lot less. It's too early to say whether it's been a lifesaver for myself, but it'll take time to perfect everything - the trick will be whether we can encourage her to change her habits and become more efficient, which should in turn help with the overuse of my nipples that has been leading to vasospasms. We will see! 
All in all, it's been a good learning experience - and it's shown that I need to trust my mama-bear instincts more. :)

Update: I forgot to mention- they observed her upper lip too, and while she has quite a thick frenulum, it is not impacting her feeding and is very flexible, so that was declared completely normal & did not require revising.





All content (C) Breathe Gently 2006-2015
Blog Design by Splendid Sparrow