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Gayesy's parenting after loss journal

Month 6 ~ August 26, 2002
~ Sleepless in the Sunshine State

KatelynThis month, Katelyn has continued to develop and the process has, as always, been fascinating to watch. At the very beginning of the month, she started regularly rolling from front to back, and in fact I learnt this one day when I put her on the floor and she just kept on rolling until she ran out of room! Shortly after this, she started pushing up fully with her strong little arms. It's funny how one day she wouldn't be doing something and then the very next morning she will just suddenly do something new and keep on doing it all day. Within a day or so of doing her "baby pushups", she had managed to lift her tummy off the ground briefly and push with her arms and legs to move. The only problem was that it was backwards! LOL! I remember that Thomas did that too. Pretty frustrating when they were trying to get something in front of them! Despite the fact that she can't yet move forwards, with the rolling both ways, rotating up on her arms, and backwards motion Missy Moo is relatively mobile, which I discovered to my surprise one day when I put her on the floor near my computer desk for a moment and when I looked up found her about to eat the cat food over the other side of the room. Hehe!

Katelyn's sitting skills are coming along too. She is really quite stable now and can lift her arms to reach for things. She can even use them to adjust her balance when necessary. Her only problems now occur when she decides to try and suck her feet (when she ends up on her tummy!), or if she throws herself backwards. I make sure I always have either a triangular cushion behind her or am ready to catch her if she does this. When sitting, she loves to grab something and bang it on the ground. It might be time for me to give her some saucepans and a spoon, and grab some earmuffs for myself of course!

Missy Moo has developed quite strong opinions about what she wants, and now if we try to take something away from her, she really protests, kind of a baby tantrum. Luckily she is pretty easily distracted, and as long as we offer a substitute item (it has to be better in her eyes though of course!) she seems fine. Her vocal repertoire is expanding rapidly actually. She can express displeasure or anger without crying now and if she is upset or tired she tends to "talk" about it before she breaks into tears, saying "ayayayay." Sometimes in the car she will start making this sound and within a few seconds she will be asleep! (Other car trips are an absolute nightmare but we won't go there.) When she is happy or excited she also has a lot to say. She practically hyperventilates when she sees Punky, and says "huh..huh..huh", the same noise she makes when she is about to feed. It is SO cute!

KatelynTalking about Punky, we had a strange experience on the train one day. Katelyn was on my lap, cuddling up to me, when she reached out and touched the shoulder of the woman sitting next to me. The lady was wearing a cashmere-type top, very soft looking. She said she didn't mind Katelyn stroking her shoulder. What Missy Moo did was to stroke, then turn and look at her, and then burst into tears! I got her settled down, and she did the exact same thing again. At the time I couldn't work out why she would be so happy, smiling etc. while she was touching the soft jumper and then cry when she saw the woman, but afterwards I realised that the cashmere would have felt just like Punky's hair and Katelyn was probably expecting to see her there when she turned around. She does love her so much that it would be no wonder she was upset that she wasn't there!

The search for employment for Andrew has continued. We have had to make some difficult decisions lately. There was a job in Melbourne for which he reached preliminary interview stage and I was terrified that we might have to uproot and move there. I grew up in Melbourne and even though I think it's a great place, there are so many reasons why I would not want to live there again. Apart from anything else, the sheer effort of having to have our house on the market, pack up and move 1000 miles south was too much for me to contemplate at this point. I was actually quite thankful when the interview revealed that the job was quite unsuitable for Andrew, and we have now made a decision that for at least a few months anyway he will just apply for jobs here in Brisbane.

It has been kind of weird having Andrew out of work. In some ways I guess he has more time to spend with us, but in others he seems more busy than ever, because he is trying to do so many things. One weekend though we did decide to take a drive up to my parents' unit at Bribie Island and we had quite a nice time. Katelyn even got to see the beach for the first time! Apart from that, he has been doing job applications, doing a small amount of contract work for his old firm (they haven't paid him yet though! Grrr!), and feverishly trying to get his PhD finished, with most days spent out at the university. Oh man will I be happy when that is all over!

Andrew went to see a urologist about getting a vasectomy. Well, actually he saw TWO urologists because the first one he was referred to doesn't do vasectomies - a fact we discovered AFTER we had arrived for the appointment! The second guy wanted to do it under a general anaesthetic, and apart from the extra financial cost that would be involved (anaesthetists tend to charge like wounded bulls, and we would only get back what the government deems to be a reasonable fee), I was worried about Andrew having to go under a general. So, for now we are still investigating options. I have actually been getting quite a lot of pain over my right ovary, similar to what I have experienced the other two times I have had cysts there, so if I do indeed have a cyst and need surgery to remove it, I might as well get my tubes "done" while I am under. Andrew has joked that for now we can just keep using his looks and personality as a very reliable contraceptive. LOL!

At the beginning of the month, Thomas and I were still quite ill with the bug we have had most of the winter. I ended up needing antibiotics as my chest, throat and sinuses became infected (unfortunately a common occurrence for me). Thomas's asthma has been quite a concern and the GP started him on a different puffer, one with steroids. Katelyn did get a snuffly nose for a few days but I am SO thankful that she didn't get sick at all at that point, despite being practically surrounded by germs. I did get her checked out at the GP though, as I was taking Thomas there anyway, and she was pronounced perfectly fine of course. I had her weighed while there and she was 7.6kg (that's 16 lbs 11oz - a little less than I had thought, but doing fine none-the-less).

This month I would have to say that I have had less sleep than at any other time in my life, even when Thomas and Katelyn were newborns. I have been so tired that I have been feeling physically ill a lot of the time. Thomas's nightly coughing episodes continued well past when the new puffer should have knocked the problem on the head, and Katelyn's reflux also took a turn for the worse. Between the two children and all the worries going around in my head I have been getting so little sleep that I am like a walking zombie. I ended up taking both children to the paediatrician, and he started Thomas on different new puffers (which have worked well thankfully!), and Katelyn on Losec instead of the Zantac (more about that fiasco later!). It is so awful to have my little girl crabby all day and crying half the night. It would be such bliss to just be able to lie next to her and nurse and cuddle her, to not have to pace the floors with an unsettled baby for hours on end until I feel like I'm about to pass out. I can't even nap during the day because I usually have Thomas in my care, and even when he is at preschool I find that Katelyn will only nap when I have her in the sling and keep walking around. (Well, we did have two days when she napped lying down but that was short-lived.) I almost laugh (you know, the hysterical laugh of someone half nutty with sleep deprivation! LOL!) when I see people with babies the same age complaining about having to still feed them once or twice during the night: nursing Missy Moo every 1-2 hours with her sleeping in between would be a GREAT night for me!! One consolation is that I can see the big picture - I know from experience with Thomas that it WILL get better, that within the next 2 1/2 to 3 years she will be sleeping 10 or so hours straight without any problems at all. By then I will probably look like an old woman though! LOL!

KatelynThe change to Losec was awful to say the least. Even though this drug usually works much better than Zantac, we discovered the hard way that in some people it isn't very effective at all. As the Zantac got out of her system and the Losec failed to do its thing, our poor little girl started suffering terribly. She was projectile-vomiting up mucous, screaming after every attempt at a feed, crying practically all day and night and barely sleeping at all. It got to the point where she was refusing to feed, wetting far too few nappies and was practically choking (vomiting so badly she was turning blue) every time she did have a suck or two. We called an after-hours doctor who was no help at all. He basically suggested we sedate her! No thank you, especially when he didn't even ask her weight before giving me some Phenergan to give her. By 8pm that night (it was a Sunday) she was so distressed and so was I. I called the hospital and we were about to head there when I decided to call the paediatrician's office just to see if there was any after-hours numbers. It went straight through to his pager service so I left a message and he called me back within one minute! Thankfully he was able to give advice that meant we could calm her down pretty quickly (basically to put her straight back onto the Zantac and to keep giving Mylanta until she kept enough of it down for her to be in less pain, feed well and go to sleep).

You wouldn't believe it though, but the very next morning she came down with a cold! Sheesh, it never rains around here, it just buckets down. I took her to the local doctor because I was worried about her chest. She has had an awful cough, and even extra dirty nappies for some reason. He ordered urine and poo tests as he suspected something was going on there as well. Poor little Missy Moo has been quite a mess and I confess that I have been too. I worry so much when she is sick, and it sure doesn't help to have my parents put additional worries into my head. When I mentioned to my Dad that she was ill he just had to mention that Meningococcal was going around and that I mustn't relax. Thanks Dad: no way I can do that now!!

Then I noticed that she had thrush on her nappy area so started some cream for that. The next day the doctor's office rang to say her urine test had come back positive and that we needed to go back. She is now on antibiotics (will do wonders for the thrush problem) and had to have an ultrasound of her kidneys. The ultrasound showed no kidney or bladder damage thankfully so hopefully she will be 100% again soon. I have switched back to disposables though (budget brand, not the premium ones of course), as I am so upset that in the short time I was using cloth, she got a bad nappy rash, a urinary tract infection and thrush, when previously she hadn't had any such problems. A coincidence perhaps but I'm not taking any chances.

To say this month has been difficult would be putting it mildly! We are off to see the paediatrician in a few days so I am hopeful he will be able to help with the reflux and maybe even the sleep as well. (Well, let me hope at least, okay?) Despite the difficulties though it only takes one little toothy grin from my precious little girl to make it all worthwhile. She is such an absolute sweetie! Happy half birthday little Missy Moo!

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