Saturday, March 24, 2007

First bath

Toby does not like being exposed! Nappy changes, bath time and general nakedness are a trial to him. I don't think he's quite ready for baby massage classes yet - they'd be more of an ordeal than a pleasure.
But he still manages to look sweet even when he's screaming.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Cup feeding

My milk didn't come in until the evening of day 3 after birth, and with Toby weighing 8lb 2oz at birth, the colustrum I was producing until then (and to a large extent expressing as we had latching issues) simply wasn't enough to fill his tummy and satisfy him, plus he started looking quite jaundiced. I knew that lots of new babies get jaundice, but wasn't really sure what caused it; apparently the baby is born with extra red blood cells to cope with the oxygen they are receiving via the mother's blood in the womb and then when they are born, it can take a little while for the liver to work efficiently enough to process these excess blood cells, and so that's why the baby turns yellow. Regular feeding helps to flush the toxins out of the baby's body.
So whilst Toby & I were still in hospital (and in the middle of my second exhausted night having had only about 5hrs sleep since the sleepless marathon labour, where Toby was really fractious and I was beside myself with tiredness), I decided to take the midwives' advice to give him a top-up feed with formula. Partly to stop the damn crying so I could just, please God, get some sleep, but mostly because of the jaundice issue (and because the poor babe was starving!). Our local hospital trust is incredibly pro-breastfeeding, so they weren't suggesting that they give him formula from a bottle, which I wouldn't have been happy with due to the possibility of nipple confusion (especially given Toby's lack of inclination already to latch on my large, flat-nippled boobs); instead they cup-feed. This is meant to more closely replicate breastfeeding, as although the baby isn't sucking, they lap with their tongue, just like a cat, which is the same action that they use on the nipple to "milk" the breast. It is so cute to watch, although they can tend to gulp down the formula/expressed breast milk and get a lot more windy. The picture above is of Karen giving Toby a cup feed - she's much better at it than I am. Initially the cup feeds we did were with formula, now if we do them, it tends to be with expressed breast milk, as it's lovely for Karen to be able to feed him too. And sometimes I'm just too flipping exhausted/fed-up of needing to feed The Boy yet again, so it's good that we can share to some extent.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Baby wearing

Hanging out in the sling is already one of Toby's favourite places to be. When he's fractious, I know that I can just tie it on (it's a soft & stretchy wrap; a Hugabub), pop him in and he calms almost instantly. He quite likes having a little look around at first, but he soon drops off to sleep in there, and can sleep for 2-3 hrs at a time whilst I'm wearing him. Meanwhile, I can get on with other stuff, like catching up on the computer!


The Unbearable Cuteness of Being

A photo for your delectation, until I have more time to post.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Meme - like I have nothing better to do!

Stolen from Sophia via Tex and Blondie. Put an X next to every activity you've done.
( ) Smoked a cigarette (never an actual cigarette, but I have tried a joint on a grand total of 3 occasions - wild living)
(X) Drank so much you threw up.
(X) Crashed in a friend’s car.
( ) Stolen a car.
(X) Been in love.
(X) Been dumped.
( ) Been Laid off/fired.
(X) Quit your job.
(X) Been in a fist fight.
( ) Sneaked out of your parents' house.
(X) Had feelings for someone who didn’t have them back.
( ) Gone on a blind date.
(X) Lied to a friend.
( ) Skipped school.
(X) Seen someone die.
( ) Been to Canada.
( ) Been to Mexico.
(X) Been on a plane.
(X) Been lost.
( ) Been on the opposite side of the country.
( ) Gone to Washington, DC.
(X) Swam in the ocean.
(X) Felt like dying.
(X) Cried yourself to sleep.
(X) Played cops and robbers.
( ) Recently colored with crayons.
( ) Sang karaoke.
( ) Paid for a meal with only coins.
(X) Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t.
( ) Made prank phone calls.
(X) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose.
(X) Caught a snowflake on your tongue.
(X) Made a snow angel.
(X) Danced in the rain.
(X) Written a letter to Santa Claus.
( ) Been kissed under the mistletoe.
( ) Watched the sunrise with someone you care about.
(X) Blown Bubbles.
( ) Made a bonfire on the beach.
( ) Crashed a party.
(X) Gone roller skating.
(X) Gone ice skating.

Our beautiful boy!

After a long on-line absence, I'm delighted to be able to introduce our son Toby Alexander, born Friday 9th March at 20.07 GMT, weighing 8lb 2oz /3.68kg. Head circumference 13 1/2 inches/34cm, body length 21inches/53cm. And he's utterly perfect in every way imaginable! He has very dark brown hair, slightly olive skin and rich brown eyes (they changed from a slatey navy blue within just a few days) - all characteristics that we were hoping he would inherit from the donor. He has my "fade-away" eyebrows, my lips, chin and associated clefts/dimples, but unlike me, he has the most elegant long-fingered hands with perfectly shaped fingernails. Plus long legs, feet and toes. His skin is perfectly soft and velvety, his hair is like duck's down and we're totally in love with him.
I haven't had the time or energy to come online until now; most of my time has been spent eating/sleeping/crying (both me and Toby!). The birth didn't exactly go according to plan (I laboured naturally for 30hrs, but my body just wouldn't establish a regular pattern of contractions, and ultimately after a total of 44hrs of contractions I needed a C-section for "failure to progress in labour" - it didn't help matters that his head had turned during labour and was presenting transverse, so he wouldn't have come out vaginally anyway. Karen was the most amazing support for me throughout the labour, as was my mother - having them both there made it all much easier to cope with. Karen was in theatre with me for the op, and got to hold Toby straightaway; he settled instantly in her arms, clearly knew exactly who she was, and she certainly has the magic touch in being able to settle him when he is fractious (she's much better at winding him than I am too!). Full birth story to follow, as well as numerous posts on breastfeeding, sleeping, emotional ups & downs etc.

Our gorgeous boy is doing really well already at just 9 days old, which makes life much easier than it could have been, although there are also low points, mostly associated with breastfeeding, and the state of my poor pain-wracked body. Sleeping is going pretty well since my milk came in on Tuesday, but I had to resort to nipple shields on Wednesday to combat the extreme pain of breastfeeding (and latching issues with the RHS), and now Toby won't feed without them which is frustrating. Karen's taking the brunt of the night-time waking - I just put in my earplugs so that I can't hear every little whimper, just the major crying which means that I need to get up & feed him. She does all the re-settling etc. so that I can try & get some decent sleep to aid the birth recovery process.

I'm inevitably taking some while to recover after the long labour culminating in a C-section (via artificial rupture of membranes, a Syntocin drip and an epidural!!) My body is decidedly battered, bruised and stiff/numb still, which is not the best way to start life with a new baby, but I'm feeling a little better each day. Our first outing was to the chiropractor on Wednesday - not the way things should have been really. But truly, every minute of the labour was worthwhile for the end result, even if the hopsital probably didn't need to drag things out for quite so long. We were perfectly well aware that I was almost undoubtedly going to end up with a C-section about 8 hrs before it happened, but we still had to go through the drip process etc. When I spoke to my midwife the other day about the implications of this labour (i.e. failure to contract regularly/to progress) on further births, as well as reassuring me that there was no connection between labours (and the good news was that I went into labour spontaneously, and did eventually fully dilate on the drip), she said that they "wouldn't flog me so hard next time" (as my uterus wouldn't take it having had a C-section already). That pretty much sums up the labour process once we were admitted to hospital 22hrs in!