Reflecting on the past few months

Reflecting on the past few months

It’s been quite a while since my last blog post and I’m not really sure why. I’ve been going through some funny phases recently and just felt I didn’t have anything interesting to say (no change now really), plus I’d kind of fallen out of love with Instagram for some reason. But something as momentous as a New Year deserves a blog post. Quite a lot has happened over the past few months, and I’ll do my best to remember it all here!

Weaning

I remember when Joseph was much younger I would say ‘I can’t wait to start weaning!’ How naive was I? Joseph is now 8 months old and our weaning journey hasn’t been easy. I miss the days of milk only feeds!

I decided a long time ago that I would go down the traditional route of purees with a bit of finger food. I choose purees as I wanted to see what Joseph was eating, plus I just couldn’t get my head around Baby Led Weaning!

We started when he was 5.5 months old as he was really showing an interest in what we were eating and drinking, plus he could sit up. We started him with little bits of pureed sweet potato, which he seemed to love. Gradually over the next couple of weeks I increased the amount of puree I was giving him and it was going well until one day he drastically reduced his milk intake, almost as if he was loving solids so much that he had lost interest in milk. I had expected him to reduce it as the solids increased but he literally went from taking 900ml of formula one day, to 500ml the next, and was then waking up multiple times a night. I figured it could be teething/a developmental leap, so I just kept doing what I was doing and hoped it would pass. Fast forward a few weeks later and I took him to get weighed, only to find he had dropped from the 75th to the 50th centile, which isn’t a lot really, but it worried me a lot and I was told to come back again in a month to get him weighed.

A month later he was still on the 50th centile, but this time when I explained that he was enjoying his food I was told to cut his bottles down to 3 a day and increase the solids. 3 bottles just didn’t work for him so at the moment we have settled on 4 x 7oz bottles a day, with 3 meals.

I was offering him finger foods at some meals, but Joseph was showing zero interest in it so I gave it a break for a month or so until a few weeks ago when I noticed he was putting everything in his mouth. He’s never been a baby who puts loads of toys in his mouth until recently, which I found strange, but I guess they all learn at different stages! So, one day I gave him some cooked sticks of carrot and to my surprise he put some in his mouth and bit a chunk off! I’ve been waiting to see this for 2 months so it was a big moment! The following day I offered carrot again and he gagged like he had the day before but then started panicking, gagging with tears in his eyes. I don’t know if he was properly choking, but it was just too much for me and I did jump up and pat his back, after which he threw it up. I know I probably over-reacted, but I just panicked seeing him like that and was just thinking the worst! It hasn’t happened since (fingers crossed), but we are at the very early stages of finger food. It’s quite disheartening to see finger food that you’ve prepared chucked on the floor, but I guess as time goes on he’ll eat more and play with less!

Making purees seems to be the most stressful thing for me, as I struggle to think of things for Nick and I to eat, never mind 3 different daily meals for a baby. Add in to that the fact that Joseph cries when I use the blender, which means I can only cook and blend stuff when Nick is in the house and not sleeping off a nightshift! Now that Joseph is more receptive to finger foods, it should make it a bit easier as he feeds himself more, and I won’t have to use that blender!

Teething

Joseph now has 4 teeth, which I just find so weird! The first one came through at about 5 months, which I was not prepared for at all! The second followed soon after that and the 3rd and 4th came through around Christmas. I think I’ve got the hang of spotting the signs now of when one is coming. He dribbles a lot, starts refusing bottles, gnaws on his fists, wakes up in the night again and then a few days later another tooth appears! Anbesol liquid has been our saviour while he is teething, it is the only thing that has worked for him. Nick has even used it for a mouth ulcer!

Sleeping

Joseph was a great sleeper until he was exactly 4 months old and then the dreaded sleep regression hit hard. That lasted a few weeks and we had a weeks’ respite before his first tooth came through, then he was waking in the night because of starting solid foods, then another tooth, then separation anxiety, then another two teeth and now he’s 8 months’ old, we’ve got another sleep regression! I feel like this is what it’s going to be like for quite a long time! I’ve accepted it now though and don’t obsess so much over the ‘why’s’ anymore! Babies don’t sleep, end of.

Me

I’ve had a few ups and downs over the past few months. A major ‘up’ obviously being Christmas! We had the most amazing Christmas, just us three as it’s Joseph’s first Christmas, plus we’re pretty sure Nick will have to work next Christmas. Joseph was loving it and it was such a joy to see his excitement over all his presents!

I still feel 100 times better about the birth than I did before, but silly things still trigger it. I was in Tesco recently and walked past Actimel yoghurt drinks. Innocent enough, but it suddenly reminded me of being in hospital and having to drink these 3 times a day with my antibiotics. Suddenly I was in a terrible mood and couldn’t stop thinking of being on that postnatal ward. It didn’t last thankfully, but it was a little reminder that I’m actually not as OK as I sometimes think I am.

It’s taken a few months for me to finally get the date for my debrief, which is in 2 weeks. The journey to this started in October when I emailed PALS at my hospital, asking them how I book a debrief. My Health Visitor had told me to contact them and said that they would be able to help me book it. No one replied to me for 2 weeks, and when I emailed again, I finally got a reply simply saying I needed to contact my GP. When I saw my GP and asked for her to refer me for a debrief I could see the horror in her eyes as she clearly didn’t know how to go about it. She asked me who my consultant was, and when I told her I didn’t know (I can’t even remember what he looked like, never mind his name!) she said ‘Oh, well I’ll just send a letter to the Obstetrics & Gynaecology Department, I’m sure it’ll get to the right person…’. She told me to call the GP surgery in a month if I hadn’t heard back from the hospital by then, so they could chase it up.

A month passed, and surprise surprise, I hadn’t heard back. I called the GP surgery to ask them to chase it up and I was told the letter was sent two weeks ago and to call back ‘in three weeks’. Unbelievable. So, I waited three weeks, called the surgery, and was told that they would fax it to the hospital. Meanwhile, I contacted PALS again to ask if they could check if the original letter had arrived, to which they said no, and they then asked me to call the admin team at the hospital in a week to see if the fax had arrived. Getting confused yet?

A week later I called the hospital to see if either the letter or fax was there and, you guessed it, nothing. But before I discovered this I had the most bizarre conversation with a member of the admin team. She was totally confused why I was calling, when all I had asked was basically ‘has this letter arrived?’ She kept putting me on hold, getting my name wrong, asking me the same things over and over before putting me on hold for a couple of minutes, so long that I thought she’d hung up. Then suddenly I was talking to someone else who just went ‘Hello? How can we help you?’ I asked her if her colleague had explained what I was asking her for and she said ‘How far along were you?’ I said ‘What? How far along was I when what?’ ‘When you had your miscarriage, how far along were you?’ I replied that I haven’t had a miscarriage, and that I found that question really upsetting.  How she got that from what I said to her I’ll never know, but I was so upset by this and just felt like giving up. It was such a massive step for me to finally have the courage to ask for the debrief and I was hitting stumbling blocks at every turn. Eventually I got passed to someone else (who I had to explain the whole thing to, again), and thankfully she got it and said she would find out what had happened to the letter and assured me she would call me back.

I spent the next few weeks chasing things up even more, getting increasingly frustrated by the whole thing, before finally getting the letter with the date. It took about 15 weeks to get this. I don’t know why it’s so hard to get this booked, it’s not an unusual meeting! Anyway, it’s booked now and I am really dreading it, but at the same time I want it to get here so I can finally get the answers I need about what happened to me.

Another thing that happened recently was receiving the letter I’d been dreading – the reminder to book my cervical smear. When I got the letter I went really downhill for a few days. Having a smear test is uncomfortable anyway, but it is so similar to sweeps, examinations and the scratch test they did in hospital that it is going to be a massive trigger for me. However, I know how important these things are, so I did what a few people told me to do, go to my GP to talk to her about it to see if there was anything that could be done to help me. I’ve heard of people who have had similar experiences getting theirs done with gas and air. Predictably my GP was about as useful as a chocolate teapot and she actually told me to put it off ‘for a while’ to see if I feel better about it. Can you believe that? My GP telling me to delay a test for cancer. I asked her what happens if I don’t feel better about it, ever, and she said I could tell the person doing the test that I was ‘nervous’. It’s not ‘nerves’ I have it’s utter fear of this invasive procedure sending me straight back to how I was a few months ago. So I’m in limbo about it just now. I still haven’t booked it but I’m going to wait to see how I feel after my debrief.

I also got told a few weeks ago that I have Carpal Tunnel which has been an absolute pain (literally) and I’m convinced it’s been brought on by all the screwing and unscrewing of the MAM bottles. I have to wear a splint at night and it is doing my head in!

It’s coming up to the end of my maternity leave and I am absolutely gutted about it. It’s a cliche, but just how have the past 9 months gone by so quickly? I’m so upset that I spent so long of my leave feeling so awful about the birth, but it’s in the past now. I just need to focus on making these last few weeks a happy time for me and my boy 🙂

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