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Gayesy's parenting after loss journal

Month Four - June 28, 2002
~ Laughter is the best medicine!

Katelyn in JeansKatelyn laughed for the first time last month. Now she laughs several times a day! Every single time I feel such absolute joy at that wonderful sound. I managed to catch some on video one afternoon and am looking forward to showing it to my precious Missy Moo when she is older. Thomas LOVES watching the video he calls "Thomas baby" and I am so glad we are doing one for Katelyn as well. When she smiles or laughs, my mood instantly lifts: it doesn't matter how tired I am, whether I am a bit down, it is the BEST!

Our families are enjoying Katelyn so much. She is such a sweet little baby, so generous with her smiles, so engaging, that a short visit with her can leave Andrew's father (who has leukemia) smiling and energised. She is making quite a difference to my mother as well. It is wonderful how much impact one tiny human can make in so many lives. Thomas has actually commented several times how different it is with Katelyn, and how glad he is we have her.

Missy Moo has unfortunately been quite unsettled lately. I am not quite sure what is going on, except that she is showing some signs of possible teething. Whatever the case, her reflux has been worse (probably due to all the extra saliva), her sleep has been affected, and I have been pretty worried. She was taking quite good naps in the sling for a while there but now wakes up screaming after only fifteen minutes or so, and then won't sleep again for several hours. At night, she has been wanting to nurse a LOT more, for hours at a time and with very little time in between. I feel like I am some sort of "all night sucker" as usually these days she won't sleep without a breast in her mouth. At her four-month check-up, the paediatrician suggested we try increasing her Zantac, and if that doesn't work, there is another medication we can try.

KatelynKatelyn has started doing something really cute when she has been drifting off for her naps (short as they are!). I will hold her, patting her back and singing to her, or wear her in the snuggle position in the Maya Wrap, and she will start groaning! She isn't distressed or anything: in fact, she is quite relaxed with her little eyes shut. It seems to be a release for her and I feel quite happy when she starts groaning because I know she is going to have a much-needed rest. Another sweet thing is that if she is fussing at the breast, I have found that very gently stroking the top of her head calms her right down. She will shut her eyes and her whole little face relaxes. I find that I learn new things about her almost every day!

I have been starting to feel quite anxious about her health and safety. I am not quite sure why my fears have been increasing lately, but I have even been having nightmares. In one, I am holding her in my lap and then I realise that we are in a moving vehicle. I would NEVER ride in the car without her strapped into her car seat and this very idea really freaked me out! It is Winter here now, getting pretty cool at times, and almost everywhere we go there are people coughing and sneezing. I know that breastfeeding Katelyn gives her some protection against these things but I still do worry about her getting sick. Thomas has had two colds (mild thankfully) and one bad virus. I was pretty worried about him but even more anxious that Katelyn would get sick. I thought we had escaped but this past weekend was absolutely dreadful: she came down with an ear infection. One night I hardly slept at all and was pacing the floors with my precious baby. She was beside herself, screaming blue murder, and I was beside myself too. I wish I could just take away her pain!

SIDS is also on my mind and sometimes I lie there awake for ages next to her at night with my hand on her little chest just to reassure myself she is still breathing. I, of course, take every precaution I can to reduce the risks, but this is one of my biggest fears. Now that I am SO attached to her, SO in love with her, and I couldn't imagine my life without her, the thought that she could be taken away from me is terrifying. Sheesh . . . I am normally not superstitious, but I worry about even typing that fear!

Most of the time, these anxieties are very much at the back of my mind! I am thoroughly enjoying my little girl. She is an absolute delight and I find it fascinating and wonderful to see her grow and develop. She is at the point now where she loves being on the floor, thrashing those little arms and legs with all her might, swatting and grabbing at toys (she always uses both hands at this stage), doing little push-ups, trying to roll over. She comes pretty close in the rolling department but I think it will take a while longer. In her attempts though she manages to rotate herself, always clockwise for some strange reason! She can also move both backwards and forwards. On her tummy, she can push up a bit on her arms, get on her knees with her cute little bottom in the air, and propel herself forward slightly. Not crawling as such, but the very beginning stages I guess. Oh, and she has just realised in the past few days that she can poke her tongue out and also blow raspberries! She seems quite pleased with herself! On the very last day of this month I realised that she can now sit unsupported (very briefly, but what a clever little Missy Moo she is!). I find it so fascinating to watch her develop: every little thing she does is so special and wonderful! Thomas is finding her so much fun to play with. He has always enjoyed being with her, but now that she is so responsive to him, he is really loving it. She finds him fascinating and very amusing. I think that to Thomas, she is like the president of his fan club!

KatelynIt has actually surprised me how much she likes being on the floor! Sometimes she will be fussing in my arms, and I will be trying holding her in all different ways, nursing her, singing etc. Then when she hasn't settled I will finally think, "Hey, maybe she wants to get down!" When I put her on her little mat, she squeals with delight and starts kicking! I am so used to the idea of holding her all the time (as Thomas seemed to need) that I often forget that she actually LIKES being out of my arms sometimes. Just goes to show me how each baby is different and how much of a learning curve parenting is!

Katelyn has been becoming a bit of a "Mummy's girl" lately. Well, actually, she is happy to be with Andrew and Thomas as well (as long as she isn't wanting a nurse), but she is becoming very aware of "strangers" (that is, anyone other than Mummy, Daddy and Thomas). She is happy to smile and coo from the "safety" of my arms, but if she is handed to Grandma when she isn't ready, she drops her bottom lip and cries. That bottom lip thing is so pitiful that it just breaks my heart. Thomas did it too, but I think Katelyn's version is even more heart wrenching! I have to be careful to let her "warm up" to relatives and to be ready to take her back if she does get upset.

Katelyn in White DressAndrew took some time off work this month to try and break the back of the remaining work on his PhD. It didn't work out quite as planned because he ended up getting called in to work several times, but it was better than nothing! Unfortunately once he did return to work, he was told he had been retrenched. It is a worrying time for us now, with no income and lots of mouths to feed. I am praying that Andrew will find another job very soon, and that this time he will be appreciated and treated well.

The same day we learnt of Andrew's job loss was Missy Moo's 4-month check-up. It went GREAT! She now weighs 6.95kg (that's 15lb 5oz) and is 61.5cm (24 1/4 inches) long. The paediatrician was absolutely thrilled with both her growth and development. She sat on Andrew's lap and blew raspberries and poked her tongue out at him! This time, I put the EMLA patches on her thighs a good two hours before the appointment (which ended up being about 2 1/2 hours before the shots) and she didn't show the slightest reaction to her two injections! I was SO relieved that she didn't feel anything. I had also given some paracetamol about an hour beforehand, and I imagine that helped too. Instead of giving another dose a couple of hours after the injections, the paediatrician suggested some ibuprofen. It worked so well that there was no redness, no swelling, no crying, no fever, no anything! Apart from the pretty little bandaids he put on her chubby little thighs, you wouldn't even know she had been vaccinated! Phew!

It is so amazing and joyful to have my little Missy Moo. Even with her quite unsettled, I am enjoying this time so much. What blows me away is that there is even MORE to look forward to! Not only is the present wonderful but the future will be so great! Thomas and I have been watching the "Thomas baby" video and I get so excited thinking of Katelyn going through those stages. One day she will call me "Mummy"! I feel so incredibly blessed to have such beautiful, wonderful children.

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