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Gayesy's parenting after loss journal

Month 1
~ The Adventure Begins

It's hard to believe that my little Baby Katelyn is a month old already! I feel quite emotional thinking about the birth experience and how time has been flying by. I feel quite emotional period in fact - all those hormones, the tiredness, pain, feeding worries and so on can really get to you! Part of the reason I have been feeling this way is that I have been trying to grapple with the thought that if Nicholas hadn't died, Katelyn wouldn't be here. That is hard, because I wish with all my being that my little boy was here with me, but at the same time I am so in love with little Katelyn that I hate the thought I might never have had her. Talk about difficult feelings! It has been an amazing month, both full of utter joy and the difficulties of adjusting to a new (and very unsettled) baby.

Katelyn is an absolute little doll! She is amazing and I am totally in love with her, as are Andrew and Thomas. Thomas was a bit "funny" on and off for a few days there but now has settled down and LOVES holding her, cuddling her, talking to her and so on. Katelyn has quite a lot of awake periods when she just looks at you, and Thomas loves this. The very first moment he saw her, she was asleep in her "plastic bucket" (I was heading off to the toilet) and when she heard his voice, she did a little sleep smile! She actually smiles even when awake! Some people might think I'm totally nutty, but she really does! I know people say babies don't do "real" smiles until they are around six weeks old, but when I talk to her, and call her my little "Missy Moo" she looks right at me and gives a huge grin! She also has amazing head control for a baby her age, and when being cuddled will lift her head so she can look around.

The time in hospital was a bit strange in some ways. For starters, I was actually not in the maternity ward as they were totally full. I was in the high dependency unit would you believe! That is where the maternity "overflow" goes when necessary. It was good in that it was very quiet, and yet I feel almost like I missed out on something by not being with all the other new mums. Things were also a bit different from my expectations in that Andrew ended up having to work a fair bit in Katelyn's first week. He had to drop Thomas off with my parents and his sister a couple of times, which I wasn't too happy about. Thomas actually had a ball, but I just didn't want him to feel that he was inconvenient. Andrew was technically on leave for the first three weeks but he spent half that time doing work for his job!

I came home from the hospital when Katelyn was four days old and I think I overdid things! That very first day we were out at the shops for hours, including doing a big grocery shop. That afternoon we did lots of washing as well. The word tired doesn't begin to describe how I felt.

Katelyn has unfortunately been very unsettled. She cries a LOT. I have been in touch with a great lactation consultant I saw when I had mastitis a few years back and she has had some suggestions I have been trying. One of them is cutting out dairy from my diet. I thought this would be easy but it is actually quite a pain in the neck! Hopefully soon I will be able to try reintroducing it in small amounts. I have also been making sure I just feed from the one side no matter how much she nurses in a 2-hour period, and when she pulls off during a let-down, squeezing into a cloth nappy before putting her back on. Even with these things, she was still a very unhappy little girl a lot of the time, seeming to be in quite some pain. The crying was really getting to me, and I was crying a fair bit myself.

I actually got mastitis and ended up at the doctor a week or so ago. When she asked me how I was coping I just burst into tears. I had hardly had any sleep and of course with the mastitis, an unsettled baby and so on it was probably no wonder I was feeling so rotten. She started me on Zoloft straight away, thinking that I had PPD. I saw a therapist a few days later (one I had seen after losing Nicholas) and she was SO great! She said that ANYONE with such an unsettled baby would be feeling the way I was, and that what I needed was to call the pediatrician again and to get myself some practical help. The practical help side of things is quite tricky, but I did call the pediatrician, and he has started Katelyn on some Zantac and some colic medication as well. It has helped a bit, although she is still pretty unhappy and can't be horizontal at all without being in quite some pain. I have to sleep most nights (well, try to!) sitting upright with her on my chest! We had her one month check-up and he suggested we give the Zantac a little longer to take full effect before trying something else. The past few days she has seemed in less pain and hasn't been crying quite as much, so that is encouraging! I actually feel a LOT better about things now that she has settled down a bit - when your precious child is in pain and you can't do anything about it, it is just heartbreaking! Oh, and the pediatrician was VERY happy with both her growth and development. She is now 10 pounds 11 ounces (was 8 lbs, 13 1/2 oz at birth) and has grown more than half an inch!

Car travel has been interesting to say the least! Due to Katelyn's reflux she HATES being in her car seat, and we can only travel if she is in a very deep sleep when she is put in the car. That makes getting Thomas to and from preschool quite tricky, although thankfully so far I have been managing okay most days. A few days we have ended up "stranded" somewhere while I tried to get her settled though! When I am not driving, I am able to put my little finger in her mouth for her to suck if she wakes up and that does seem to help. I almost wish she would take a dummy (pacifier) so that when I am unable to provide my finger she still has something to suck, but she wants nothing to do with a dummy.

I have been recovering pretty well from the birth. It helps that I had a pretty normal delivery this time, no huge episiotomy and no broken coccyx. My stitches were only sore for a short time and now seem to be pretty much completely healed. My coccyx was tender for the first couple of weeks, but nothing like last time, when I couldn't sit comfortably on a hard chair for about a year! I still have about 8 or 9 pounds to lose, but that's not too bad really considering how much I put on (a little over forty pounds I think! Yikes!). I even have my ankles back, as most of the fluid retention seems to have gone. My rings are still quite tight though so I am waiting a little longer before wearing them again.

Katelyn & ThomasI am really starting to feel like I know my little girl now! I know how she likes to be held, can usually work out what her different cries mean, and so on. Andrew has a way of holding her that I call "the super Katelyn" - along his arm (the colic carry), and she always sticks one of her arms out as if she is about to fly off. It looks SO cute! I am really starting to feel like I have found my feet now that she is settling a bit and am enjoying her so much. She is just so beautiful, so cuddly (like a little koala!), and has such a wonderful little personality. I LOVE watching her when she is nursing and looking at all her cute little expressions. She sometimes looks around furtively as if she is worried someone is about to steal the breast from her! LOL! She often smiles when feeding as well and looks up at me with her big blue eyes. We also have quite a few little "chats" these days too now that she has more awake times when she isn't screaming.

I think this month is possibly one of the hardest in my life in some ways, with the lack of sleep, the reflux, colic and so on, as well as adjusting to being the mother of two kids. In other ways it has been one of the best! I am just so happy to have my sweet little girl and am so excited about sharing the future with her!

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