Posted on November 29, 2008 by Sarah
One of the hardest things about settling into life with two kids is fitting everything around their different schedules. One of them wakes you up in the morning needing a nappy change, breakfast, and a change of clothes. After you’re done washing up then the other kid wakes up and needs feeding and a nappy change. More cleaning up, then you try to get everything together and packed up for an outing… then “Pffffggghhhhh”! Uh-oh, a quick nappy pit-stop, followed by perhaps another feed.
It’s tempting not to even try to leave the house. But the motivating force is the fact that while you’re looking after one child the other one is destroying the house. So if you stay on the feed-nappy-clean up cycle too long you can end up with a bigger mess on your hands. Actually, that’s not true, Tess is not up to house destruction. Yet.
And speaking of nappies. We fully intended to go back to cloth nappies with Tess. We’d washed our fuzzy bunz, happy heineys and bumlicious (I think that’s what they were called) and got everything ready. We got ‘just one bag of disposables’ to tide us over until we got everything sorted. Well, things are still not sorted and we’re still using disposables. I refuse to take any heat for this from any environmental warriors. They’re more than welcome to come over to point out which part of my day could be more efficiently run. Pffffggghhhhh.
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Posted on November 27, 2008 by Sarah
Fortunately Chris managed to get a loaner laptop from work. I’ve uploaded a few more photos of our first couple of weeks together.
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Posted on November 27, 2008 by Sarah
Chris’s mum Anne has been staying in Sydney for the last week helping us out immensely. She’s been staying in a local hotel (our small 2 bedroom flat is waaay too small for us now), so she’s been arriving bright-eyed and bushy-tailed every morning ready for action. She’s launched herself into cleaning, laundry, and most of all ‘Rose duty’. She’s been taking Rose to the park every day which gives Chris a big break to be able to do some work and also help me out with Tess.
Rose has loved the individual attention. A week ago she was waking all night, crying uncontrollably, and acting very stressed. Now she’s sleeping through again, and much happier. She’s still adjusting to our new life as a family of four (as are all of us), but it’s all a lot more manageable.
Our days have been pretty jam-packed while Granny Anne has been here. We’ve been going to the park, cafes, we went to the beach one afternoon, and Chris and I even got haircuts – one of the remaining items on our pre-baby ‘To-Do’ list! We’re getting out of the house a lot sooner than we did with Rose – out of necessity. I’ve been carrying Tess in the baby sling a lot and it’s so nice to have a snuggly baby.
I’ve taken some great photos in the last week that I’m itching to share. Sadly, however, our notebook computer still isn’t fixed. The aggravating thing? Chris’s work emailed him yesterday to say that in order to fix it he’d need to bring it in. (We did that over a week ago.) Grrr.
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Posted on November 24, 2008 by Sarah
Last night Chris tiptoed into Rose’s room to check on her before we went to bed. Rose was sleeping fitfully, and he heard her mutter, “Out there!”
Filed under: Rose, Sleeping | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 21, 2008 by Sarah
We had a visit from the nurse yesterday and finally some good news – Tess put on 120grams of weight in 3 days! Yippee! It’s gratifying to know that all our hard work is paying off. And it’s been hard work, indeed.
Some might say that it’s a blessing having such a calm sleepy baby as your second. There are definitely advantages – no hours of crying, no unsettled periods. But for us Tess’s calmness has been a struggle. Every feed takes over an hour. The first 45 minutes we spend trying to get a very small bottle of milk into her. She quickly tires and we have to take her nappy off, walk around with her, change position, etc. just to wake her up a little more to keep drinking. Then there are those feeds when she simply won’t take more than a little milk. We worry and stress like crazy when she’s like that. How will she get big and strong?
After the feed we put her back to sleep and I pump for the next feed. This usually takes around 20-30 minutes. Then we wash and sterilize the bottles and pumps. Chris and I have got into a night routine where we sleep during bits of each other’s duty: he sleeps while I’m giving Tess the bottle, I sleep after I’ve expressed and he’s washing up. All round, though, we’re awake for about an hour every feed to get everything done. Breastfeeding is soooo much easier!
I would have to say that we’re both bearing the sleep deprivation well (it’s not the total hours per se, it’s more that we don’t get more than 2-3 hours in a go). I’m so grateful that Chris helps out at night; I’d hardly be getting any sleep at all if it wasn’t for him.
A couple of other milestones to note – Tess’s stump fell off yesterday. The last vestiges of our physical relationship for 9 months is gone! Also, Rose has started kissing Tess. She won’t kiss anyone else, but she loves kissing Tess.
Filed under: Rose, Sleeping, Tess | 2 Comments »
Posted on November 18, 2008 by Sarah
A quick rundown of the good and the bad from today:
- We’ve had a lovely afternoon visit with my brother (he was visiting Sydney for a morning conference). We all went to the new adventure playground at Sydney Park and we had a really fun time. Rose loves her uncle Mark.
- Went for my first walk with Tess in the front pack up to the pharmacy. I bought a second pump, so now I’m double pumping. It certainly adds to my feeling of being Farmer Brown’s prize cow, but at least pumping duty is now quicker.
- Tess has been smiling for a few days now, and it’s absolutely glorious. She’s so beautiful.
- Granny Anne arrives tomorrow – we’re very much looking forward to an extra pair of hands. We’re also excited to show off our new family.
- I’m back to expressed milk only, no breastfeeding. The breastfeeding really was tiring Tess out. As it is we spend around 40 minutes every feed trying to get the 65mls she needs into her. She’s so sleepy and tired. I called the Australian Breastfeeding Association and they gave me a lot of encouragement. They reiterated that we need to get Tess feeding strongly before trying breastfeeding, but that this is a temporary phase and that it’s highly likely that we’ll be able to breastfeed eventually. I have the light heart of someone who knows she’s doing everything she can to make this work.
- Off to bed – at 8.20pm – earliest bedtime yet! Mmmm, sleep.
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Posted on November 17, 2008 by Sarah
The early childhood nurse came around this morning and we discovered that Tess had actually lost weight since last Thursday’s visit. The nurse’s recommendation is that I stop trying to breastfeed altogether, she thinks that Tess is getting tired from breastfeeding and not drinking enough milk from the bottle. If I don’t get more nutrients into Tess she’ll get more and more tired, and lose more and more weight.
Anyway, I feel very sad about it. I’m worried about Tess and I’m also sad that my goal of breastfeeding seems further away than ever. Also, expressing milk around the clock is so unbelievably tiring. It takes so much time.
The nurse did say that if I needed more sleep I could give Tess formula. But I’m not that desperate yet.
UPDATE: the nurse called back an hour ago and said she’d showed my file to the senior lactation consultant in the Inner West Sydney region. Her advice was that it would be okay for me to continue breastfeeding, as long as I limit it to 10 minutes each side. Also, I should be limiting feeding sessions to 45 minutes total (i.e. breastfeeding and bottle feeding time). Anyway, I’m excited that this new plan allows me to continue breastfeeding! Fingers crossed for weight gain in the next week!
Filed under: Breastfeeding | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 16, 2008 by Sarah
We just got back from our first outing together as a family of four! We got the stroller set up in double mode, strapped both the girls in, and went on a short walk to Sydney Park to meet up with our friends Petra, Paul, and Persephone. There’s a great new adventure playground that’s just been built and the two girls (Percy and Rose, that is) had a lot of fun on the big slides and other equipment. Interestingly, Rose kept running over to hug me and to peek in on Tess in the stroller. I think she really liked it that all of us were out together.
It was also nice to see Rose enjoy herself. She’s been such a sad, tearful, fearful little girl since Tess came home. We had to pat her to sleep last night and it took us two hours to get her calm and asleep. It’s not that she seems jealous or anything, it’s more that she’s acting as if her world has turned upside down. Which it has, I guess. It’s also lucky that Tess is so calm because I would say that 90% of our energies right now are being spent on Rose.
Sorry, no photos to share. Our computer died and the back up laptop we have is riddled with a virus that Chris brought home from a university lecturn computer. Hussy!
Filed under: Activities, Rose, Tess | Comments Off
Posted on November 14, 2008 by Sarah
The postnatal ward of the hosptial is all kinds of hell. It’s noisy, the food is bad, being bed-bound makes you feel infantalised, the midwives give different and sometimes conflicting advice, you don’t have your own stuff with you, and you kept getting visited by doctors, food service, baby photo hawkers and people taking your blood pressure and giving you injections. Also, the midwives seem to have a good cop/bad cop routine going on. One day you’d have a bitter old Nurse Ratched type who’d insist she must be present at every feed then would take 50 minutes to show up when you called for her, then the next you’d have a charming young Scottish midwife who would not only remember your name and the gender of your child, but would sneak you illicit maternity pads (you were supposed to supply your own) and pop in to see how you were going. (I’m speaking hypothetically, of course.) Chris and I also had a total of about 10 hours sleep each during the four nights we were there.
So, naturally, I wanted to get out of there as fast as possible. But I wasn’t stupid enough to do so before we were sure that Tess would be okay. Tess being born premature meant she was relatively small and weak. She also wanted to be cuddled all the time – she wasn’t happy whenever you put her in the plastic hosptial crib. Completely understandable, really. You’ve been carried by your mum for nine months, and then you’re expected to sleep in a fish tank? The first few days of breastfeeding went pretty well, but on Day Three things started to go downhill once she developed jaundice. She got very tired, she wouldn’t wake for feeds, she had trouble feeding, and to make matters worse, they thought she had a breathing problem. Fortunately, she didn’t have a breathing problem, but the jaundice forced me to start feeding her expressed milk to make sure she was getting enough food.
Expressing milk has been both good and bad. It’s great knowing for sure how much she’s getting in, but in the hosptial it meant going out to get the pump machine at every feed, pumping, cleaning all the equipment afterwards, and then returning the pump. It took forever. We’re still on that routine, and I’m really hoping for a return to proper breastfeeding soon. But that’s another post.
The great thing about the hospital stay was being able to focus on Tess alone for five days. Chris stayed every night with me to help out with night shifts, but during the day he was running around looking after Rose and organising all the stuff we didn’t have time to organise before Tess arrived (like a car seat!) Every afternoon Mark would bring Rose to the hospital for a visit. It was pretty obvious that Rose was being very well taken care of, but that she was quite freaked out by seeing her mum in hospital. She would often run around distractedly, or act out, or simply just not seem like her usual self. The day I came home in the car she took one look at me and gave me the biggest smile I think I’ve ever seen.
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Posted on November 14, 2008 by Sarah
Name: Tessa Iris (Tess)
Weight: 3.365 kilos (7 pounds 6 oz)
Length: 48 centimetres
Birthday: November 7, 2008
Time of Birth: 7:10 p.m.
Birth City: Sydney, Australia
Birth Hospital: Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Astrological Sign: Scorpio
Chinese Zodiac: Rat
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