Author Archives: labmonkeyftw

Ain’t life grand

At the moment, everyone whose active blogs I follow who also wished to be pregnant this year are now pregnant or holding a newborn.

I like it.

Side note, my father is much improved which is a significant relief. This from his resident Dr. “He got better despite us not knowing what was wrong”. Not exactly inspiring words, but I’ll take the end result thank you very much.

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Microblog Mondays: Bacchanalian

microblog_mondays I have had a tough two weeks with breast feeding, as you know. Last week the pain and blebs and wounds all healed, meaning unless Spud gnaws at me a bit, breast feeding is back to pain-free. However, suddenly I was seriously struggling with supply. I’d routinely pump 9-10 oz per day, and Spud was drinking 13-15 oz in the time I was gone*.

I weigh myself weekly, and this week’s number raised an interesting possibility. I’m down four pounds over two weeks, now well below my pre-pregnancy weight. I think my supply was doing its level best with the fuel coming in, but it wasn’t as plentiful as it could have been. I have definitely relaxed my “eat all the things” stance, as I am a bit tired of constantly worrying about where the next moderate-sized meal will come from, and I’ve been less actively hungry with this virus.

And so, time to embrace a Bacchanalian view on food once again. I have packed a great many snacks for today.

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There is some scary stuff happening with my Dad at the moment, but it’s all too uncertain to discuss yet. I may be headed to Capital City later this week, to replace my elder sister, who is driving today to replace my younger sister. Cover the front – we are good at this game, but it is hard and tiring and stressful.

 

* arguably, Spud could be lightly weaned from this many feedings (still at seven or eight for a 24 hour period), but he’s not gaining weight now that he’s walking, he eats close to his body weight in solids on top of the milk as it is, and I don’t have anything good to replace this liquid with. We tested him on yogurt on Saturday, and he spent much of Sunday screaming and writhing, so that’s a hard no on dairy for now.

Catching

What are we catching? Is it a break? No, my friends, it is not.

After a week of a cough and seriously stuffy nose, Spud’s cough is now rattling and chesty, so we are off to the doctor this afternoon. My cough is also chesty and gross, but I am an adult and able to blow my own nose, and so it hasn’t been as bad or worsening in quite the same way.

Is this still hand foot and mouth? Is this an entirely new plague? Will health and wellness ever return to our household? No one can know these things.

I really really want Spud and I to get flu shots (Pea already did), but one or both of us has been ill since the clinics started*, AND Spud is allergic to egg, so I have to get his done somewhere where if he goes anaphylactic, they can handle it. Unlikely scenario, but still one that we have to account for.

At very least, the stabbing pains in my boobs have subsided, for the most part, and I do not seem to have any new blebs. Things are still sore, but not a candle to earlier this week.

 

*This concerning trend is a big part of why I really really want us to get flu shots. Spud appears to have inherited my seriously crappy immune system.

Trapped

I’m feeling trapped by my stubbornness, and by Spud’s dietary intolerances.

I spent some time last night reading the ingredients on the hypo-allergenic formulae in the baby aisle of my grocery store. The two main brands both have soy oil in them. So while they have aggressively broken the milk proteins down, trace full-size soy protein may well be present.

“So”, I thought, “not really an option.” I felt discouraged, and sad. I avoided clutching my vasospasming nipples, triggered by the chill in the meat section, as one is not meant to dramatically clutch ones bosoms in public.

Last week I had blebs on both sides again, and suck blisters from when Spud wasn’t feeling well and nursed for hours at a time, and frequently. On Thursday, the tops of both nipples peeled off, leaving raw open skin. It helped clear the blebs, but was otherwise a new level of excruciating. I think I must have thrush – the stabbing pains and the inability to heal and the blebs all point to it, despite an absence of rash or pinkness in myself or Spud.

Yesterday I brought home 9 oz, Spud had drunk an uncharacteristic 14. I am always so defeated when my best efforts are not enough to maintain supply.

I know my relationship with breastfeeding has its ups and downs, but I am getting very very tired of the downs. We are testing Spud on milk again this weekend, provided he stays healthy for a few days running. If his gut has matured, maybe this is a moot point. But if it hasn’t, I’m staring down the barrel of another year of pumping and I’m not sure I can do it. I want to transition to nursing in morning and evening, and otherwise wean Spud come January. We shall see if that option is on the table.

I miss Pea

Pea has not gone anywhere, don’t worry. But I miss him. I miss some of our basic little couple things, that have shifted or been lost in the various transitions of the past two years.

In Hilly Quirky, there was nearly always a night that we were out walking – coming home from climbing, or from an event, or headed to something, where we would hold hands and chat. Now these walks happen much less often, and when they do we aren’t holding hands because one of us is pushing the stroller.

Since we started dating, Pea and I have often showered together. It wasn’t all the time, as he prefers to shower in the evenings, and I prefer to shower in the mornings, but once or twice a week, and nearly always on weekends, one of us would hop in the shower and get started, and the other would join a few minutes later. It wasn’t sexy, but it was a companionable naked moment. Our house has two showers, only one of which is tall enough for Pea, and it is a single stall. One person barely fits in there, two would be impossible. Pea and I have not showered together more than two or three times in the year and a half since moving to this house.

Pea and I used to cook together, elaborate meals with much chopping and stirring and snacking because we were going to end up eating really late. We still cook together, but with Spud hanging off of our legs, or demanding to be held so he can see the action. We very seldom embark on as complicated a recipe, as we like to eat with Spud and he can’t wait til nine pm for dinner. We catch up with each other’s day over dinner, but we’re also balancing Spud’s meal between us, so it can get a bit fragmented.

In the hours after Spud goes to bed, Pea and I will either watch a show or two, make tea and do some work on the couch together, or sit on the couch and poke at our phones, occasionally showing each other particularly funny memes. We don’t talk all that much, and we never used to, but I feel we might need to change up our habits with this window, as it has coalesced as our only real time together as a couple.

I love Pea, and Pea loves me, and we haven’t had a fight in months and months. We are happy, and we are a team, and we are working this new stage out together. But I miss our easy couple-ness, and am realizing we need to put a bit of thought into it these days.

All of this has been exacerbated by me looking like a plague victim for the past week, and Pea very sensibly refusing to have anything to do with me. So a week’s absence of kisses and cuddles, and I’m feeling the lack all the more. I think it still bears thinking about for our usual day to day though.

A big week

On Saturday, we hosted Turia and her crew, along with a good friend and two of his kids for an afternoon of food and games and chats and laughter. It was good fun and lovely to catch up with everyone.

On Sunday, Spud’s odd diaper rash got worse, with several large blisters forming. By evening, he was fractious and running a low grade temperature, but I didn’t think the two were related, having decided the rash was yeast and that I should go get some over the counter cream for it. Spud had a rough night, with a long period awake but not upset in the middle, and many small awakenings.

On Monday, Spud woke up with spots all over his chin, mouth area, hands, and one foot. By end of day, the rash had spread up one leg. I made him a doctor’s appointment for 5:30 pm, which Pea heroically drove him to, successfully. I gave a talk to our undergraduate society that evening, hopping in a ride-share to make it home for bedtime for a feverish and grumpy kid in a full blown hand foot and mouth viral outbreak. Spud had one of his worst nights for sleep in a long time with three hours of screaming in the middle.

On Tuesday, I met my mother for lunch. She was house-hunting and neighbourhood shopping in my city, and was meant to have been staying with me, but eschewed that convenience for the luxury of a virus-free stay with a friend. My throat was sore, but I was hoping against hope that nothing would come of it. Spud took three consecutive steps for Pea, while I was at work, besting his previous record of one-and-maybe-a-half steps. Spud had another rough night, with many wake ups, though none as long or as fraught as the night before.

On Wednesday, Pea and I officially felt like zombies. I also woke up with a blister on one hand, a low grade fever, and a deeply sore throat. I worked from home, with video conference meetings. Spud took ten consecutive steps for me, just before his dad got home from work, and then refused to walk again for the rest of the evening. Making dinner, my achy joints and general malaise escalated to feeling faint and necessitating a rest on the couch to ensure I didn’t pass out. My mom put an offer on a house which is lovely and perfect and not at all what she ventured out to go looking for but which is an obvious right choice. Spud had a great night’s sleep, with one hour-long wake up for nursing and some settling at 4:40, having slept from 8-4:40. I had a rough night, waking itchy and sore, and waking at 1 am soaked through from sweat, but finally feeling better – a fever breaking is such a specific thing, it’s amazing.

Today, Thursday, I have blisters all over both hands, on the sole of one foot, and, I think, at the back of my throat (it is very sore). Spud is back to great spirits, and has been walking up a storm, from wall to wall in our house. Not just first steps, he’s straight-up walking now. He is stuffy and has a light cough, but seems otherwise recovered. His cousin P. woke up covered in spots, so Saturday’s revels have had unintended unfortunate consequences. Spud has a follow-up appointment today right when he’d be due for a nap, so we shall see how that goes. My mother’s offer was accepted and she has a new home!

Tomorrow, Friday, is Pea’s birthday. I have a present for him, and had made reservations for us to go to dinner. I’ve canceled the reservation as I’m definitely still contagious, which is sad, and I shall have to think of something nice to do instead tomorrow. Spud’s nanny had him paint Pea a card, which is super cute. Pea isn’t one to make a big deal of birthdays, but I blanked on his last one (and it was a nice round number), so I wanted this year to be a bit better. Perhaps I will bake him something tasty as recompense!

A big week!

Shoulda coulda

I have had a hell of a day.

Spud is sick, and was up hourly from 8 pm to 2:30 am, with a two hour nursery party from 11-1. He was up for the day at 6 am. Despite Pea working from home today, I only got to work at 10 am, because Spud wanted nothing but to nurse, and nurse, and nurse, and nurse.

At work, I have run around like a crazy person trying to get a package shipped to the States, on dry ice, which is a ritualistic exercise in frustration of Sisyphean proportions. I failed to get the package shipped, which, with customs layovers in mind, means it will have to wait til next week. I had all of the paperwork in place, but was unaware of an 11:30 am deadline for courier packages (see above, Sisyphus. Back down the hill I go).

In a related event, I had lunch with my mother today. She was 30 minutes late for our 90 minute window, meaning I might have gotten the package out if I’d either (a) not committed to seeing her, or (b) been informed she was going to be that late. This is a characteristic level of tardiness for my mother though, so I might have banked on it if it didn’t seem rude. I really wanted to see her, though, as she was meant to be staying at my house for the next two days, but Spud’s plague has forced her to relocate.

I sat through a departmental meeting of epic length, which included the unsavoury news that faculty merit scores for teaching will no longer take comments into account (because the department no longer has access), and undergraduate scores will be the sole metric used. I have great teaching evaluations, but there is heavily documented evidence that undergraduate teaching evaluations show a massive gender bias, and so I broke my “keep your mouth shut the first three years” rule and requested this new plan be revisited.

I forgot a meeting with a student, but was in my office by chance when they came by with their first really great results. That was fun, if flustering.

I have pumped three times, despite feeling as though there must not be milk in there anymore, after Spud’s nurse-a-thon last night and this morning.

I am typing this as I pump, in preparation to head home. I have two pieces of work to do tonight, there is not enough food in the house to support me skipping groceries again, and I ache all over with a sore and swollen throat. If it is hand foot and mouth, which is Spud’s current contagion, I will have spots tomorrow which will keep me confined at home.

I needed today to go well, and I feel like it barely went at all.

It is only Tuesday, at least. There remains time to salvage the week, even if that package is a lost cause for now.