2014 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 960 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 16 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Hiding behind Culture

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Yesterday I witnessed a horrifying event which got me thinking, are we so afraid of being racist we let people hide behind Culture?

When I arrived at my daughters school I heard sickening cries from a little baby girl, maybe 9months old. I saw a crowd of women gathered around her and was automatically concerned that something horrible had happened, perhaps a terrible fall. I walked towards them to see if I could be of any assistance but as I walked closer I saw that this pain was being inflicted by choice. The first thing I noticed was that they were filming this event and that was my first clue as to this not being an accident. The second was the smiles on these women’s faces, surely if your child was in that much pain you would be distressed. I was distressed listening to it and I wasn’t that little girls mum.

Soon I realised what was going on, they were piercing this little girls ears, in the school yard and using one of these women’s earrings to pierce her ear. Not only is this totally unhygienic but it was barbaric! Now one thing I haven’t mentioned was that these women were Indian. When I was talking about the horror I had just witnessed one mother said but maybe it’s a cultural thing? It was then that I started thinking, what if these women had been caucasian? Would be all be happy to sit back and watch then pierce their child’s ear with a blunt implement? Or would we sit their judging them, making sniggering comments about how awful they were as parents?

Why does culture make us blind to moral rights and wrongs? Of course if you ask anyone they would all agree sewing a woman’s vagina for cultural reasons is wrong, but that’s a pretty clear cut one. But what about circumcision? Piercing of ears even using proper tools?

We tend to think because a child is ours that we have the right to make these decisions for them. I personally don’t think we do, they are a little person, maybe without a voice but shouldn’t we let them make these choices when they are old enough to decide for themselves? I understand that we must make tough decisions for them that will benefit them in the future. Of course because they have no voice we do have to make these decisions for them. What I don’t understand is why we are allowed to make decisions for them that will impact them forever and that have no real benefits? Why are we allowed to hurt our children in the name of religion or culture or just because they are ours?

I understand my view will not be popular but my brain has been whirring and I just had to get it out there. For instance circumcision has been proven to help with the reduced likelihood of getting diseases such as HIV and as much as this seems to be a great reason to circumcise why do it to a baby under no anaesthetic, will your child be involved in sexual acts where this is relevant? As a parent I can’t understand why you would hurt your child by choice for the sake of religion or culture when it serves to have no benefit for them. If your child feels that they want to be circumcised let them make this decision for themselves, if they want the health benefits let them make that choice when they have a voice and they can have it done under anaesthetic.

Piercing of ears seems harmless enough and I guess it is but again I’m not sure why we are the ones who get the make that choice for our baby. That hole is there for their whole life, or it closes and leaves a scar. Now I know this isn’t a huge deal but it serves no benefit to them, in fact it can get infected and cause them to be very sick. So why is it that we get to chose? Why not let them decide when they are old enough to make that decision themselves? I was 6 when I got my ears pierced and I was so glad that I got to chose, it was my choice, my voice and it was special because of it. I didn’t just grow up having holes in my ears because someone had just thought I should. What if I pierced my daughters eyebrow or belly button? Why is that not ok? It might hurt a bit more to do these but when they are that little pain is pain, it would really hurt. What about tattooing my child? I know we have to draw the line and I know that a hole that scars isn’t as much of a permanent fixture as a tattoo but it is still permanent and serves them no purpose as a baby.

In the end I guess I’m not saying we can’t pierce our babies ears but I’m saying we need to start thinking about it more seriously, we need to make sure we make decisions for our children that benefit them. They are voiceless and we are their voice so we need to speak for them with their best interest at heart and try and defer as many decisions as we can for them to decide when they do have a voice.

My other point is this, we can’t be scared of being racist for not agreeing with someone of a different culture. If it is morally wrong it is wrong, it doesn’t matter if the person in Chinese, English, Ugandan or French. We are all human and we must make sure we see each other as that, not as a colour so our morals must apply to all. When we do that that is when we truly will be free of racism.

 

 

My (second) Birth Story

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A year on from the birth of my second daughter I find myself reminiscing about how she came into this world. Much like her sister she came at her own time, not when we wanted her to. My first daughter went 2 weeks over her due date and so we were expecting a similar time for her little sister. My mum was coming from Adelaide and so we had booked her flight 5 days after my due date seeing as last time she spent most of her time waiting for my daughter to arrive rather than spending time with her.

For weeks I’d had Braxton Hicks and felt that she was coming any day. Every night my husband and I would think this is it, but it never eventuated into anything. The night of the 1st of May we both went to bed smiled at each other and said, I don’t think she’s coming any time soon she seems determined to make us wait. With that we turned off the light only to hear a might POP. I felt a mighty push in my belly before the pop and I honestly thought, in my crazy hypochondriac way, that my daughter had kicked me so hard she had burst one of my organs!!! Now I look back I think I must have been insane to jump to that conclusion first. Shortly after the pop I felt warm liquid seeping between my legs and only then did it click that my waters had broken.

We quickly turned the lights back on and rang my mum to let her know (she was arriving the next day), and then messaged and called all who mattered, our birth photographer, my doula and my best friends. We then made the split decision that our 4 year old would attend the birth (we hadn’t decided what to do) and off we went for a long wet ride down the mountain to the hospital. Now this ride was a good hour so I popped on some music, my 4 year old slept and we just cruised on down. I remember going over bumps made the water gush out but other than that all was going smoothly.

I felt so empowered, shaky but empowered. It was so strange I just couldn’t stop shivering but I wasn’t cold. I mean my teeth chattered so loudly my husband could hear them. My waters had t broken last time so this was all very new to me.

I really thought I’d get to hospital be 7cm dilated like last time and it’d be show time! Boy was I wrong.

When we arrived everything was closed up, I liked having a very private entrance seeing as I was leaking water everywhere, so we buzz the buzzer and were let in. I was so embarrassed about the giant puddles I was leaving everywhere I went. It’s not a very natural for me to be what felt like peeing, in such a public place. I couldn’t help but think about the mess I was making and hoping no one was slip and fall due to my puddles.

Not only did I leave a giant mess in the elevator but then no rooms where ready for me as it had been a very busy night so I was asked to sit soaking wet in the corridor. So many things were going through my mind, how cold I was, how awkward it was to be sitting in a corridor having contractions and waters spilling everywhere, how painful would this all get but mainly how soon it would be until I would finally meet this wriggly girl I’d been lovingly carrying for over 9 months.

Finally the room was ready and we made ourselves at home. My daughter was so excited because we’d packed her a bag a yummy treats, an iPod and DVD player all to keep her entertained, so it was a very special occasion for her. Then I saw them wheel in that little plastic bed for baby and it all became so real! It was just so strange and so fearful to think my little girl would be lying in there in….well who knew how long but soon enough. All this waiting was finally over and we could finally meet her and see what she looked like. I was so excited.

I got on the bath and was very on top of it all. I was making all the right deep noises, just going with it! My 4 year d was bouncing around talking to my doula and the nurses, not looking tired even though it was 2am.

It was all feeling so good and natural. Then they checked how dilated I was, 4 cm, I repeat 4cm!!!! What was that??? Only 4?? But how could that be, I’d been in agony (or what I thought was agony at the time) for over 4 hours to only have 4 cm. I was so deflated. I honestly felt so scared, if it had been that hard for the first 4 how much tougher was it going to get?

That hippy, natural earth mumma in me was regretting everything. I kept thinking, this isn’t what it’s all hyped up to be, where’s the bit I feel empowered, when will I feel that warrior in me awaken and why am I not one of those women who orgasm? Although I really don’t know how comfortable I’d be having an orgasm in front of a room of people anyway.

I’d read the books, this was all meant to be natural instinct right. My body would know the best positions to get in, it’d know when to push, what to do. Well let me tell you, my body knows shit all. Maybe I’m too far removed from the nothing women in fields but my body said lie on the bed in the feral position. It actually said that, with legs clamped firmly together. Yep, no walking around and using gravity for me, no deep gutral sounds, nope just high pitch squeals of help me, crying and legs firmly shut. I pushed when I shouldn’t and was just a mess. I even asked for gas in desperation only to try and suck on it and decide it was too hard to do while crying and throw it to the ground.

You might think by this stage my daughter was beside herself hearing mummy in so much pain but no, she actually said to me “can you please stop screaming I can’t hear my iPod” she also mocked me by putting on my voice and screaming “help me, he’ll me”. Clearly her iPod was a lot more important than her noisy mum giving birth. Don’t get me wrong we’d prepped her that I might scream and cry but to see how relaxed she was was quite disconcerting. I even saw my husband and midwife having a good old chat while I was screaming in pain and I remember thinking, doesn’t anyone care I’m in so much pain??

Those last few hours took forever, like a well oiled machine I dilated 1cm per hour, which wasn’t fast enough for me in my state of agony but I was reassured was actual perfect. I just kept asking, how much longer do I have to do this? Begging them to give me a time frame. The planner in me just Cosby handle this unknown time that it would take. I needed numbers and I needed them now.

Eventually my OB came and prized my legs open to find I was dilated enough to push! Sweet sweet pushing, that’s all I can say. Yep it hurt like acid burning my vagina but at least it felt like progress, just sitting in pain didn’t feel like I was going anywhere but pushing made me feel in control.

This is where my body knew what to do, yep it’d gotten me into one of the most unnatural positions to both, one that makes things harder but it sure knew how to push. My daughter, husband and doula all stood there cheering me on and finally with a big push relief, her head was out.

The rest was so quick, suddenly she was in my chest, I was sure she want breathing, can you tell how neurotic I am yet? Of course she was fine, in fact she was born with the cord around her neck but my cord was so long it didn’t affect her in the slightest.

All this waiting and pain had led to this moment, meeting my little girl for the first time and she was perfect. So fair compared to my first but exactly the same size at 3.8kgs and 51cm. She fed so easily with her giant mouth and to be honest once on there never really wanted to get off. I has walked in with a family of 3 but we were now a family of 4.

Natural birth was hard and i’ll be honest it wasn’t exactly what I expected. That rush you get didn’t erase the extreme pain for me but recovery was a lot quicker than with the epidural I had. It was an experience I’ll never forget and even though I’m not a natural norther I’m glad I did it. Those books were wrong about me, I didn’t have a bloody clue but I still ended up with my gorgeous little girl.

I think my team had so much to do with it, having my husband who was literally there for me to lean on throughout, my doula who kept encouraging me and explaining things to me, my amazing OB who let me figure it all out myself and my daughter who asked me why I still had a big belly after the baby had come out but was the loudest at cheering when I was pushing, they all made it so memorable and kept me strong when I was weak.

Sleep, what is it good for??

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As I am currently struggling through a very rough week of minimal sleep due to my little ones sickness I thought it would be a good time to delve into the murky depths of sleep deprivation. Although I’m sure this post will probably make little sense and be full or grammatical and spelling errors but it’s a time when it is at it rawest form.

In all honesty this second child of mine is a relatively good sleeper, that’s arguable but compared to my first she is a dream. Waking up twice a night to tend to her, verses hourly for my first, seems very manageable. In the end sleep deprivation is all about management. You get up and manage, you manage to go to work, you manage to eat, you manage to clean, you manage to just hold in there. Let’s face it though, just managing isn’t OK, I mean I probably was terrible at my job, I was always cranky, in fact on more than one occasion I forgot to buckle my daughter’s seat belt! You feel so helpless, so powerless and in that moment in the middle of the night when you have been woken for the 4th time, the night that you will get to sleep without interruption seems like it will never come.

After hourly wake ups for 5 months I’m not sure I could have taken much more. It’s so hard to explain just how physically and mentally depleted you feel when you are woken so regularly. You look for support and understanding but no one really gets it, I mean other mothers do but no one seemed to have it as bad as me which left me feeling so alone and helpless. Yes my friends also had terrible sleepers (waking 3-4 hourly), but in my desperation I hated them, I thought to myself, how dare you even call that a sleep problem? I dream of the day I can sleep for longer than 40 minutes at a time. My husband couldn’t help as my little one refused a bottle and would only fall back to sleep being breast fed, adding to that feeling of being completely alone in this. As much as people could sympathize no one could fix it, I had to wade through it alone. The longer it went on the harder it got to keeping on wading,but you have to because that little human needs you to survive but your mind you can feel it slipping.

I knew I was totally losing it when I would fantasize about getting very ill and being put in hospital so then I didn’t have the responsibility of looking after my daughter for a while and I could just sleep. I was tested for post natal depression but every time I scored in a healthy range, but I didn’t feel healthy. Nothing about wishing you were sick to get away from it all seemed healthy to me. In fact all I could think of was sleep. I fantasized about it, I talked about it (or the lack of it) and I prayed for it. Boy did I pray, dear God please let tonight be the night this all turns around for me, please just let her sleep. My prayers were never answered because in the end I came to realise that it wasn’t magic or prayers that would fix this but me. It was all up to me.

That’s a pretty sobering thought, it meant I was really alone in this. Even though it was all up to me to change this, I came to realise that actually I wasn’t alone because people could be there on the side line cheering me on. They couldn’t do it for me but they could be there for me to lean on when I just couldn’t go on alone. I took charge of me sleeplessness and I went to my community nurse who had been there since I brought my daughter home and we discussed what actions I could take. I saw my doctor, I spoke to other mothers. In the end I felt a sleep school was what I needed and there I went. It was the best thing that could have ever happened to me, I was finally at a place which understood and were physically there in the middle of the night to support me through it. No matter what tactics I had been offered before it never worked for me because when you are running on 2 hours of sleep your tolerance is low and you do what is easiest which often isn’t what is best. Now I know sleep school isn’t for everyone, in fact I know we all love to judge each other about the approaches we choose in parenting but can I stress that in the end a mothers mental health is the most important thing if that isn’t there then that child will not experience the best of his mother.

Sleep deprivation is a form of torture and let me tell you it felt torturous but I got help and from the day I came home from that sleep school my daughter slept through the night. Don’t be bogged down with mother guilt, in the end a mothers health is more important than what others think. You need to listen to your body, talk to people about it, never hide how you feel or people can’t help you and use the services provided.

As a wade through this very challenging week of 3 hours sleep a night I am taken back to that place were I thought I would break, I am so glad I sought help before it was too late. Sleep deprivation is seen as just part of parenting and often dismissed as a small problem but from a mother who was broken by no sleep please know that it is one of the hardest things to endure and that there is a light but YOU have to reach out for it.

 

 

 

Dating for a Friend

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For whatever reason we are often faced with the need to make new friends in adult life, maybe you have moved, or your friend has moved, perhaps you’ve had a falling out over not picking them as a bridesmaid or maybe you’ve lost them forever. Whatever the reason the process is the same. I’ve moved many times now and every time I’ve had to make new friends. I’ve found this process exhausting, heart breaking, exhilarating and lonely. In fact the more times I’ve had to do this the more I’ve realised it’s exactly like dating for a life partner. The same fears, the same excitement and the same results. Yes I am dating for a friend at the moment and I’m exhausted, like anyone who’s been in the dating scene too long and longing for that special someone to share important milestones with, I too long for that special someone in the form of a friend. 

So what are these similarities I see?? Well it all starts by seeing someone who you see similarities with, maybe they have a child the same age as yours, maybe they are wearing a tshirt of a band you love, either way you see something that grabs your interest. The next step is the trickiest, although with age I’ve come to find it easy as I’m confident in myself, you need to go up and introduce yourself. Suddenly a conversation is started and you then have the nerve to exchange numbers. All the time in the back of your mind you’re thinking, someone as nice as them surely has many friends, probably a bestie they do everything with, why would they want me? Still you persevere because lets be honest that human contact was nice and you could use more, even at the risk of rejection. Now you have their number, do you message straight away and tell them you had fun or will that seem too needy? How long do you wait before you organise another meeting? What if they were just being polite giving you their number? No you felt a connection so you text and tell them you had a good time. You then spend hours analysing their response. What does it mean? If all goes well you get more catch ups and the friendship grows but the same fears creep out as they do in dating, what if you like them more than they like you? What if they’ll get sick of you, after all you are extremely needy. What if they simply don’t have space for you in their life?

Yes my friends, I’ve been doing this long enough to know all the ins and outs of finding that friend and I know not only how important having that friend is but also how hard it is to find the right one. Like dating you can settle for the first person to show you attention because you are lonely but let’s be honest they are probably not the one, maybe you’re in a friendship where the other person is always taking, or plain controlling, but your loneliness drives you to stay. Either way finding that person, who has a hole to fill in their life at the same time as you do, as well as having similar values and interests is almost impossible. It takes so long to find that friend that needs you as much as you need them but just like a life partner it is as vital to our happiness because with their love and support you can do anything.

I will always remember a work colleague in Canberra telling me quite bluntly that they didn’t have time for another friend. Yes in my desperate state she had sensed me trying to start a relationship which she quickly put an end to. At the time I felt brokenhearted, I took it really personally, what was wrong with me?? Why didn’t she have room for me? These days I get similar rejections, like when you date sometimes it just doesn’t work out. In the end I don’t want a friend who doesn’t want me and are my friend out of guilt or obligation. I can sit around moping thinking it’s me with the problem or I can pick myself up and realise not everyone will click and it’s not me that’s the problem it was just the combination. I just have to keep searching, because wasting my time with people who aren’t quite the right fit stops me from finding the perfect fit. 

Friendship keeps you sane, you need that sounding board, that cheer squad that is a great friend. That person who will push you to be the best you can be, to challenge you but also support you through the hard times. Yes a life long partner should be all those things but sometimes your partner can’t be everything you need. I find that another woman understand my emotional needs better, but having said that I couldn’t live with someone equally as emotional as me that’s why they are friends because they have a special place. If you have that support then you can achieve so much more and that is why I keep searching. It’s a bloody pain in the arse sometimes, or plain heartbreaking but in the end it’s such a wonderful thing it’s worth all the heartache. 

With that said treasure the friends you have, they are more important that you can imagine, cull the ones who are holding you back or abusive and if like me there is a hole keep on searching to fill it because when you find the one it truly is magical.

The Bond of Women

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I know women get a lot of bad press, I hear about women judging each other and being just plain nasty to one another instead of supporting each other through tough times. Now I’m not sure if I just happen to have found all the nice women of the world or if a few bad apples are giving us a bad name because my experience has been so incredibly contradictory to what I had heard.

My struggle with my second daughter has been made very public with this blog, it is my place to vent my frustrations and give other mums a look into my life, so if they are going through something similar they feel less alone. Having made it so public I was also ready to get a lot of criticism, I’m very honest and I felt I would get a lot of mums who would judge me, after all that’s what I had read over and over again that mums did to each other. To my surprise this didn’t happen, not one person has criticised me, in fact all I’ve received is support.

I have had women I know and some I don’t who are mothers, who aren’t mothers, who have children who are grown up all email, message and call me with words of love and support! I have cried because I was so overwhelmed by this unspoken bond between women, this sisterhood. All these women didn’t tear me down, tell me what I should be doing or how wrong I was doing it. All these women have just been there for me, with stories to share to make me feel less alone, support emotionally by listening to me cry or just practical things like giving me names of great doctors to contact.

Women understand each other like no one ever can, and so we can support each other in a way no man ever can. Together, supporting each other through tough times, even by just sending a quick message saying how sad you are that they are going through a rough patch, we become invincible. When my daughter was sick with her reflux, before her diagnosis I felt so alone, so sad and like I would never be able to make it. My husband was so supportive but I still felt like this was an impossible task. Suddenly all these amazingly kind women (and these are women I have never even met in some cases) have lifted me out of despair into a place of hope.

I am so thankful to be a woman and to share this beautiful bond with other women, where we can support each other through the darkness to a place of light. If you are a woman who has messaged me, called or just liked one of my blogs thank you. You have made me so hopeful again! 

If you know a woman going through a rough patch, send her a message, it might be the thing that shows her the light again!

10 tips on play for those who find it a chore

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I have often felt guilt ridden when I hear of others who have spent their whole day playing with their children. I am not a natural player, in fact I find it very difficult to sit and play with my children. My mind wonders to other things I have to do and creativity is very limited when I am distracted. It plagues me with guilt because I know how important it is. However I have come to understand that some people naturally are more skilled at play than others. My husband can spend ALL day playing with our eldest daughter where I struggle with a 20min block, so here are my tips on how to make it manageable for those who find it a challenge.

1: Set a timer

I usually do 5 minute lots between chores. My daughter finds it great that I’m sitting down with her and spending time just focused on her and I, knowing it’s only 5 minutes can give her my full attention. Plus 5 minutes is easy to squeeze in throughout your day.

2. Play with something you liked as a child

I find playing with things I used to enjoy makes it easier, I can remember what I used to do with these toys making it more natural. For me it’s Barbies, my husband Lego. Either way it comes much more naturally when you like the toy you are playing with.

3. Go to the Park

If your brain just can’t manage creative play just get out to a park. Then your child will have your undivided attention but you don’t have to think, you can just watch them play and help them. Your house chores aren’t staring you in the face distracting you so you’ll find it easier to focus and encourage your child as they try out new things.

4. Do craft together

Instead of just setting up craft for them to do, do one too. I find making and drawing really therapeutic and it’s nice to model how something is made. It doesn’t take long to draw a picture or make a little snail out of playdough and the benefits are worth it.

5. Hide and Seek/Chasey

These 2 games take seconds to play but are a lot of fun and require no preparation. You can make them last as long or as short as you want and your child will think you are the best for playing this with them. I know one round of hide and seek can really make my daughters day.

6. Make chores a game

Yes it’ll make your chore take twice as long but at least you are working on something together, even simple tasks like putting the washing powder in the washing machine for you and helping pull up the sheets on the bed can seem like fun. I know my daughters favourite thing is when we give her a ride in the sheets as we are folding them.

7. Talk

Ok this might not be playing but don’t forget to have a conversation with your child, don’t leave them all alone to play by themselves all day or sitting in front of the tv. It’s easy as just explaining what you are doing. This works for the very young, I used to tell my daughter every detail of the cooking process when she was a baby, I felt it made her feel I was paying attention to her, which is what they crave but I was still getting my jobs done.

8. Organise a play date

Your child gets to socialise and play and you don’t have to lift a finger. It’s a win win really. Plus if you like the child’s parent it can be a social event for you too.

9. Put it on your to do list

If your like me and love ticking things off a list then set it as one of your chores for the day. It means your to do list can’t be completed without playing. Putting it as a priority can help change your mind set about play.

10. Read a book

This one is my must have, I make sure every night my daughter gets a story from me, no matter what. That means if I’ve had a busy day or a bad day I can go to bed without too much guilt because I know she has had some one on one time with me where I was focused on only her. It shows that I care enough to stop for just a little while and I know she goes to bed with the memory of me being there by her side.

I hope at least one of these tips can help you play. If you feel it’s important but find it a chore then there are ways to work it into your day! Happy playing 🙂

Mummy Instincts

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I know you hear it all the time, trust your instincts but I think as a mother sometimes it’s hard to follow those instincts when they are constantly being dismissed as an overreaction. If you are a first time mother it becomes even more of a challenge because you aren’t sure what is “normal” behaviour for a baby or child and it’s easy to second guess yourself especially when an expert tells you that your fears are unfounded.

It makes me so sad that doctors are so unwilling to really listen to a mother and take more attention to her thoughts and fears. I can only speak from personal experience but I’m certain I’m not alone. Why must doctors feel they have to know everything, why can’t they admit when they aren’t sure and refer you to someone who has more experience in that field? It’s not how much you know but knowing how to find to answer if you don’t.

I have had this experience too many times with both my children but none more so than with my reflux story. As a mother for the second time I felt more confident in my abilities and knowing what was “normal” and what wasn’t. Having said that, it was a 4 year gap between babies so my memory was a little fuzzy. So when my baby girl started fussing when feeding, scrunching her whole body in pain and constantly vomitting I felt I knew what was wrong but was hoping there was a simpler explanation.

I booked her into to see a doctor at 2 weeks as I felt this wasn’t the norm, I wanted my baby to stop being in pain, I wanted to desperately to have her sleep more than 20 minutes but more than anything I just wanted an opportunity to bond properly with her. I went in to see this female doctor who was apparently an expert with babies, which is why I chose her in the first place. She took one look an my fat baby and I saw in her eyes she had already made her own assumptions and her diagnosis. I was close to tears as I explained the pain my daughter was in, the squeals of agony during every feed, the tedious holding for her to be able to even sleep. She asked a few basic questions, said it was because I had fast flow and it would settle down, I just had to be patient. She thought holding my baby upright 24/7 was completely practical and suggested we co-sleep. I tried to explain that unless this co-sleeping happened upright that I wouldn’t be getting any sleep.

I left feeling shattered, here I was just overreacting. She was fine, just a little uncomfortable from the fast flow, nothing a warm bath and some leg pumping wouldn’t fix (according to this expert doctor). This is what concerns me, right at that moment I think a lot of women would lose faith in themselves and just accept what they had been told as gospel. Who could blame them, this expert doctor would have seen thousands of babies and she surely knew what was normal.

I’m not easily deterred though and I kept searching for answers, baths weren’t helping, neither were those leg exercises and in fact she seemed to be getting worse. Now came my visit from my community health nurse, again it was just my fast flow. Just lay back when you feed she said and it will settle in a few weeks. You’d think after being given the same verdict twice I’d be convinced that this was all it was, I’m sure most first time mums would be pretty convinced right about then.

Not me, I’m like a dog with a bone. I tried all these fast flow positions, nothing was helping, she just kept looking more and more pained, the sleeps were getting shorter and further apart! There was something wrong with my baby and no one believed me. I talked to friends, I researched on the net. The more I talked and researched the more I was convinced this wasn’t just fast flow. Admittedly I do have fast flow, so it’s easy that they diagnosed that as an issue but for them to completely dismiss it could be anything else concerns me. How could they be sure that my fast flow wasn’t the only problem? How did they know with a 100% certainty? Is it because my baby was so healthy looking it couldn’t be anything more sinister? I truly believe that because it’s very unusual to have a fat reflux baby that this is why she was being dismissed.

At 3 weeks I booked her in to see another doctor, I was determined to get a referral to see a paediatrician. This doctor asked me a few questions, I told him what I felt was wrong and miraculously he said he wasn’t sure if it was reflux but he’d refer me to a paediatrician who would have a better knowledge of these issues. Finally someone who admitted they weren’t sure, yes it could be just fast flow but he couldn’t say with 100% certainty this was all it was.

I went to see the paediatrician, he knew what questions to ask and in fact diagnoses her pretty quickly with reflux. He said how grateful he was that I had come in before my baby had started losing weight from breast refusal. I explained the ordeal it had been to even get to see him and that I wasn’t taken seriously. He was shocked that this might be the reason he only sees babies once they are in a serious condition because mothers are sent home without further investigation.

My journey with reflux continues, in fact after moving states I have had to see a doctor to get a referral for a paediatrician here and when I saw this doctor and asked for one she rolled her eyes at me when I said my baby had reflux.

Maybe I wasn’t telling the doctors the right things, maybe the things I saw as important were things caused by the fast flow, I don’t know. Isn’t their  job to ask the right questions? To dig deeper to determine if there is something more serious? Or maybe it’s just the way my baby looks that gets me no attention. Either way I want to say this, please please please listen to your instincts mummas, don’t let a doctor tell you that you are overreacting. In the end no one knows your baby as well as you do. Yes you might not know the “norm” but you know when your baby is hurting and you know you want to fix it. Go out there and fight for your baby, keep pushing until you feel someone has taken the time to really investigate what is wrong with your them! If I hadn’t pushed so hard I would still be fumbling for fast flow solutions and my baby would be getting sicker and sicker, maybe even losing weight due to breast refusal. The wrong answers can be deadly, let’s hope more doctors can accept they don’t know all the answers and are so quick to dismiss a mother’s intuition.

Reflux Isolation

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Since my fat babies post I have been to see a paediatrician for my fat baby and have found that she is suffering from reflux. My battle to even get to see a paed is another blog post but today I wanted to share the sheer isolation one experiences when they have a baby with reflux.

The most frustrating thing about reflux is that everyone thinks they are an expert or they understand because their baby had reflux. In the end nearly all babies do have reflux so most people feel they do understand but until your child needs medication for it then you havent felt the sheer anguish. I can tell the people whose babies have had severe reflux because when I tell them they look at me with sadness and knowing in their eyes and they’ll often just say “It’s the worst isn’t it?” It’s then I feel connected to them, an unspoken bond of understanding how hard it truly is.

Reflux doesn’t seem that bad from the outside, I mean I too remember not giving much thought to my friends who had reflux babies, I just thought they spat up a lot and slept poorly, but then dont all newborns sleep poorly? People toss it aside like it’s just not that big a deal, that we’re all just over reacting. To those, who like many, don’t quite grasp why it’s so bad, I write you this blog.

Reflux hit me hardest in that it ruined the thing I enjoyed the most about newborns, breastfeeding! I remember hours of beautiful bonding with my first as I gazed at her little guzzling mouth, so content and peaceful. I felt so powerful, I was sustaining her, my milk was all that she needed. I’ve never felt so close to anyone as I did feeding my first. When my second came along I was so happy to do it all again, to make a new beautiful bond with my gorgeous baby girl.

Feeding soon became simply distressing, she would cry out in anguish, my life giving milk was hurting her. She would curl herself into a little ball out of sheer pain or arch back away from me. Her little hands shaking, her face contorted with hurt. She was so conflicted, she was hungry but her only food source was hurting her. This would cause us to tussle between screams, ravenous guzzling, vomiting, more guzzling, back arching until she was exhausted and fell asleep.

Not the joyous moments I remembered. I couldn’t help but feel I was hurting her. My milk, my super power was causing my baby harm. I felt heartbroken, guilty, lonely. All these other mothers were experiencing this joy and I was simply hurting my baby. Deep down I know it’s not my fault, anything she would ingest would cause her pain but how can your brain separate the fact that while you are feeding your child screams in agony!

The second thing that was stripped from me was sleep. Yes all newborns take that away from you, I understand that. In fact most people can easily relate to this as we’ve all been there. However this was sleeplessness like I’d never experienced, and my first was a terrible sleeper!

Sleep came in the form of 40 minute blocks at night and 15 minutes during the day. Between those blocks was screaming in anguish or the whole feeding saga. I could keep her sleeping for longer when she was upright on me so often house keeping was done was a baby wrapped to me. Showers were few and far between because they cant be done with a baby wrapped to you. In fact the first doctor I saw about this problem dismissed me and when I explained she only slept while upright and on me she replied “Is that a problem?” To which I said “It is at night, I can’t sleep standing up”. On bad days she didn’t sleep at all due to the pain. I often cried, just longing to have a shower, to have time without a baby attached to me, to just sleep.

The loneliness is the one they dont tell you about though, the others doctors know about because they are symptoms of reflux but the isolation they can’t get unless they been there. When your baby is attached to you 24 hours a day you can’t go out, you simply can’t shower, get dressed and go out. You don’t feel like getting out because you smell bad and you are so sleep deprived you can’t even hold a conversation any more.

When you do put on your clothes, while your baby is screaming on her play mat, and finally make it out of the house strangers come up to you and ask “Why is she crying all the time” or say to your baby “Life isn’t that bad is it?” I honestly felt like punching these people in the face but my sleep deprived arms were simply to weak to lift up so I would smile dryly and explain “She has reflux” to which I always got blank stares. No one seemed to understand that my baby was in agony, her esophagus was red raw from all the acid burning it on the way up, how all the milk going down burned her too. In fact going out just meant everyone stared at me and would judge me for not helping my crying baby, when there was nothing I could do.

My biggest fear though, when out, was feeding time. If she needed a feed I would try and see if I could just make her last til we got home. More often then not she couldn’t so I stopped and got out my breast feeding cover, a non requirement with my first, and started to feed. This painful time with me and her was there for all to see, for all to judge. I felt so alone, in the midst of all these people, I felt lonelier than ever. I was so vulnerable, everyone could see how my milk hurt her. To top it all off I had fast flow, so it wasn’t a tidy affair either, with all her pulling on and off milk was flying everywhere. We would both end up soaked in milk and miserable.

Now she is on medication, she is finally diagnosed but the loneliness hasn’t gone. I can hardly go out, feeding is still a major ordeal and to top it off I give my first daughter no attention because every waking moment is spent with my reflux baby. She needs me so much, and I can’t hand her over to anyone because they can’t feed her so my other daughter misses out, just adding to my guilt.

Reflux hurts, not just the baby but the mother too. I hope next time someone says their baby has reflux you can give them that knowing look, which is so comforting, because you have gotten a glimpse of what it’s like.

Reflux Isolation

Standard

Since my fat babies post I have been to see a paediatrician for my fat baby and have found that she is suffering from reflux. My battle to even get to see a paed is another blog post but today I wanted to share the sheer isolation one experiences when they have a baby with reflux.

The most frustrating thing about reflux is that everyone thinks they are an expert or they understand because their baby had reflux. In the end nearly all babies do have reflux so most people feel they do understand but until your child needs medication for it then you havent felt the sheer anguish. I can tell the people whose babies have had severe reflux because when I tell them they look at me with sadness and knowing in their eyes and they’ll often just say “It’s the worst isn’t it?” It’s then I feel connected to them, an unspoken bond of understanding how hard it truly is.

Reflux doesn’t seem that bad from the outside, I mean I too remember not giving much thought to my friends who had reflux babies, I just thought they spat up a lot and slept poorly, but then dont all newborns sleep poorly? People toss it aside like it’s just not that big a deal, that we’re all just over reacting. To those, who like many, don’t quite grasp why it’s so bad, I write you this blog.

Reflux hit me hardest in that it ruined the thing I enjoyed the most about newborns, breastfeeding! I remember hours of beautiful bonding with my first as I gazed at her little guzzling mouth, so content and peaceful. I felt so powerful, I was sustaining her, my milk was all that she needed. I’ve never felt so close to anyone as I did feeding my first. When my second came along I was so happy to do it all again, to make a new beautiful bond with my gorgeous baby girl.

Feeding soon became simply distressing, she would cry out in anguish, my life giving milk was hurting her. She would curl herself into a little ball out of sheer pain or arch back away from me. Her little hands shaking, her face contorted with hurt. She was so conflicted, she was hungry but her only food source was hurting her. This would cause us to tussle between screams, ravenous guzzling, vomiting, more guzzling, back arching until she was exhausted and fell asleep.

Not the joyous moments I remembered. I couldn’t help but feel I was hurting her. My milk, my super power was causing my baby harm. I felt heartbroken, guilty, lonely. All these other mothers were experiencing this joy and I was simply hurting my baby. Deep down I know it’s not my fault, anything she would ingest would cause her pain but how can your brain separate the fact that while you are feeding your child screams in agony!

The second thing that was stripped from me was sleep. Yes all newborns take that away from you, I understand that. In fact most people can easily relate to this as we’ve all been there. However this was sleeplessness like I’d never experienced, and my first was a terrible sleeper!

Sleep came in the form of 40 minute blocks at night and 15 minutes during the day. Between those blocks was screaming in anguish or the whole feeding saga. I could keep her sleeping for longer when she was upright on me so often house keeping was done was a baby wrapped to me. Showers were few and far between because they cant be done with a baby wrapped to you. In fact the first doctor I saw about this problem dismissed me and when I explained she only slept while upright and on me she replied “Is that a problem?” To which I said “It is at night, I can’t sleep standing up”. On bad days she didn’t sleep at all due to the pain. I often cried, just longing to have a shower, to have time without a baby attached to me, to just sleep.

The loneliness is the one they dont tell you about though, the others doctors know about because they are symptoms of reflux but the isolation they can’t get unless they been there. When your baby is attached to you 24 hours a day you can’t go out, you simply can’t shower, get dressed and go out. You don’t feel like getting out because you smell bad and you are so sleep deprived you can’t even hold a conversation any more.

When you do put on your clothes, while your baby is screaming on her play mat, and finally make it out of the house strangers come up to you and ask “Why is she crying all the time” or say to your baby “Life isn’t that bad is it?” I honestly felt like punching these people in the face but my sleep deprived arms were simply to weak to lift up so I would smile dryly and explain “She has reflux” to which I always got blank stares. No one seemed to understand that my baby was in agony, her esophagus was red raw from all the acid burning it on the way up, how all the milk going down burned her too. In fact going out just meant everyone stared at me and would judge me for not helping my crying baby, when there was nothing I could do.

My biggest fear though, when out, was feeding time. If she needed a feed I would try and see if I could just make her last til we got home. More often then not she couldn’t so I stopped and got out my breast feeding cover, a non requirement with my first, and started to feed. This painful time with me and her was there for all to see, for all to judge. I felt so alone, in the midst of all these people, I felt lonelier than ever. I was so vulnerable, everyone could see how my milk hurt her. To top it all off I had fast flow, so it wasn’t a tidy affair either, with all her pulling on and off milk was flying everywhere. We would both end up soaked in milk and miserable.

Now she is on medication, she is finally diagnosed but the loneliness hasn’t gone. I can hardly go out, feeding is still a major ordeal and to top it off I give my first daughter no attention because every waking moment is spent with my reflux baby. She needs me so much, and I can’t hand her over to anyone because they can’t feed her so my other daughter misses out, just adding to my guilt.

Reflux hurts, not just the baby but the mother too. I hope next time someone says their baby has reflux you can give them that knowing look, which is so comforting, because you have gotten a glimpse of what it’s like.