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Friday, July 01, 2005
(Email to Doug.) Surprise, surprise - I am up and
showered already. Was feeling uncomfortable and wide-awake so figured I
might as well get up. Can always have a nap later if need be. Might
help the baby if I am up and about for longer at any rate :) Dark
outside - something I'll have to get used to seeing when I get up post
Posted by Al at 6:47 AM
Saturday, July 02, 2005
The due date came and we moved into the due week. Al did some planned
nesting activities the day before the due date - sorted her study and
filing, and cleaned out the fridge, oven and microwave. That resulted in
her having a sore back for a day or two. She'll think twice before doing
In the effort to help things along we have taken to doing regular walks
over the last couple days. By the end of each walk the little one has
dropped down low in the womb, feeling like it has engaged. It then often
scrambles back up a little higher once Al rests! Al also remarked that
she has had a few false contractions over the last few days. Like period
pain low across her belly that last for 20 to 60 seconds, and can happen
a couple times in a row. She thinks things are moving along, and is half
expecting something to happen in a few days.
We are both taking things well so far. Not much we can really do about
it but wait patiently and enjoy each day.
Posted by Doug at 2:25 PM
Al at full term.
Posted by Doug at 9:25 PM
Al's just headed off to bed, feeling and looking tired. Are we going to
get full nights sleep? How many more nights will I be contemplating the
Posted by Doug at 11:04 PM
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Purchased a digital video camera today. Was on the list and plans to
organise before the birth, but took a long time to do. Every time I sat
down to research them it just got overwhelming. There were far far too
many choices, and far too many models. Anyway, went shopping today with
some good general knowledge, some specific requirements, a couple brands
and a price range, and ended up with a Panasonic NV-GS250.
Al's sister visited this afternoon. She travelled for 40 hours from New
Orleans, and came here soon after landing. She was grateful that she got
to see Al's pregnant stomach. Al has been getting more of what feel like
false contractions - including a few over the last hour. The little one
has gone quiet over the last couple days - just making small little
movements here and there. It has also been sitting low. Hopefully things
are moving along, although it is very hard to know.
Posted by Doug at 7:16 PM
Monday, July 04, 2005
Had a discussion with my manager the other day about the new trainee. My
manager had worked in Asia before, and had some insightful comments on
cultural differences - particularly around language, the meaning of yes,
and the way different countries teach in their schools. Explained a few
things with his behaviour, and I've taken the knowledge on board.
Another staff member I've spent some time training was down from Sydney
last week. On her way home she arrived at the airport to be told her
flight would be delayed, but that they could put her on a later flight
that would in fact now leave earlier. No problem she says. 15 minutes
before boarding she took a prescription valium (she really does not like
flying). Shortly after an announcement was made that the flight would be
delayed... she then started getting sleepy. 45 minutes later they
announce the flight is still delayed... and she was still sleepy. After
almost 3 hours of delays she pops another valium as her flight finally
boards. Once seated she finds herself between a child overdosed on
sugar, and a pregnant woman who was constantly throwing up. As much as
she wanted to sleep she wasn't able to, and had to go through a rough
and turbulent flight. Even her taxi driver at the other end was a
kamikaze. She might work harder on her excuses for not coming down to
visit our office in future...
Posted by Doug at 6:56 PM
Meanwhile it was a busy day on the baby front.
I walk around the park near work each morning at 9:30 - covering a large
triangle loop. I do this instead of having a lunch break. I have been
thinking to myself that if Al was to call to say she was in labour, I
would likely be on my walk and at the further point from the office.
Today, on my walk, at literally the furthest point from the office, Al
She thought her waters might have broken soon after she got up. She'd
been to the toilet and was subsequently picking out clothes for the day
when she just felt herself "leaking". She quickly made her way to the
toilet where she had a mini gush of around a cup of fluid come out which
did not appear to be urine. She had a shower and waited a while, but
there were no contractions, and no more fluid. The hospital said that if
there was any possibility that your membranes had ruptured that you
needed to call them, which probably meant a trip in to be checked out.
As such I had to leave work early - under the watchful gaze and
questions of my colleagues. It was a touch embarrassing, and I indicated
it was not likely to be anything, and not to be expecting news. By the
time I had got home there was still no sign of contractions, but the
hospital wanted us to come in anyway.
They couldn't tell if Al's waters had broken or not, but spared her a
closer examination. A midwife examined the baby’s position, which
elicited the most violent kick I've seen from the baby (I saw Al's
stomach shoot out as it knocked the midwife's hand away). She gave a
surprised "Woah...". Obviously it doesn't like being poked. They wanted
to graph 10 minutes of the baby’s heart rate. After attaching the
sensors, watching it for a couple minutes while remarking on how healthy
it was, the midwife (Jenny) left the room. At this point the baby
promptly fell asleep. This produced 8 minutes of nice, calm and sedate
graph, which was no use at all to Jenny. So she decided to wake it up.
Do you know how they did that? They gave Allison a glass of iced water.
It worked, although that seems a little cruel to me!
Anyway - both baby and mother are extremely healthy. There were signs
she might have been in early stage labour - including very frequent
Braxton Hicks the midwife kept noticing (but that Al wasn't...), but
that obviously was not right since she still hasn't felt a contraction 7
hours later. In the end they don't think her waters have broken. All
told a touch embarrassing since Al really did not want to go into
hospital without need, and had not really wanted to go in with this
So more waiting. While things seem to be moving along, we are both
really ready for things to start. We have taken to walking once a day,
but otherwise can do little but relax and let nature take its course.
Posted by Doug at 9:10 PM
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Al had a second rough night in a row. It isn't related to the pregnancy
- she has blocked sinuses that are causing her a lot of pain and are
making it very difficult to get to sleep. She managed to sleep between 4
and 9am, so is feeling a little better for it. She has a friend coming
over to visit this morning, but otherwise plans to take it easy today.
I'm working from home for support, but things appear to have settled
down again on the baby front.
Posted by Doug at 10:53 AM
(Email to Lana.) Still feeling well. Happy to
have got my first 2 weeks of R&R in, since I didn't know if I would get
that long. Feeling slightly odd now, knowing it must be close, but not
knowing what day! Still just taking each day as it comes, and making
the most of the opportunity to relax. Finished all the TV shows I had
taped, but barely got into the stock of DVDs as yet, so still plenty to
keep me entertained. Have also read a few books, but still also have a
stockpile left to go. My sister just arrived back from the US on
Sunday, so she was happy to have the opportunity to see my pregnant
belly and be back in time for the arrival.
Posted by Al at 11:03 AM
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
I wonder how much time I will spend "hiding" in my study once Jack is
Posted by Doug at 9:41 PM
Friday, July 08, 2005
Jack arrived yesterday at 12:49pm - healthy and with full voice! Mum had
a 5 hour labour, did very well, and is very happy (and sore and tired!)
During our visit to the OB on the previous day he had known Al would go
into labour yesterday, but did not mention it to us. (The right thing -
we didn't sit around stressing from that point on!) I'll write more
later - what went on, and how I felt and am feeling. I just have a
little bit too much running around to do today.
Posted by Doug at 3:05 PM
10 Minutes after the birth
Posted by Doug at 9:34 PM
Saturday, July 09, 2005
There are one hundred and five different indications that labour is
imminent. When you get one of these signs you will know that the birth
should be expected some time in between an hour and two weeks away…
maybe. The most common one people raised was nesting. I was looking
forward to seeing Al running around washing windows and scrubbing the
oven, but it never eventuated.
There were three main signs that Al's labour was coming. The first were
the Braxton Hicks and period like cramps that started some weeks before,
and slowly increased in volume. The second started a few days before,
and took the form of extra discharge and spotting. (Yes I know, I
shouldn't really be mentioning things like that, but it was indeed the
second sign.) The last sign - that occurred from about 24 to 48 hours
before, was like a bad case of PMS. I wish it was cleaning the house -
but no, it was Al being extra grumpy and nasty.
Al was woken up at around 4am on Thursday with more "leaking" - about
the same as on the Monday. She also had lots of Braxton Hicks and a
number of the period like cramps. Aside the leaking, she had gone
through this several times during the week, but it had previously
stopped after half a dozen of the cramps. We assumed her body was
getting ready for the birth. When I woke at 5am she let me know how she
was feeling. I showered and got ready for work, and by the time I was
ready to leave she had had about 6 cramps.
We discussed it, and I then went into work. (I had a security access
token on me that I needed to drop off.) On arrival I had an email from
Al indicating the cramping had actually continued. After 90 minutes I
had a further email from her saying she was pretty sure it was the real
deal, and asked me to come home.
I packed up straight away (but forgot to reply to her email), and headed
home feeling relatively calm, touched by a little disbelief, and not
entirely assuming or expecting anything. When I walked into the house it
was feeling rather cold, quiet and empty. I called out to Al but she did
not respond. I went up to our bedroom and found her lying in bed on her
side looking very unwell and unhappy. (Hugging pillows if I remember
right.) It seemed real contractions were very uncomfortable and painful.
We had been given the impression that labour would last on average 12
hours, and that we shouldn't go to the hospital until the contractions
were 5 minutes apart and lasted 45 seconds each. Al had her first real
contraction at around 8am. They hit her every 15 minutes after that,
each lasting for 15 to 20 seconds. It was during this time she sent me
emails indicating it was the real thing and to come home. By the time I
got home a bit after 9 they had changed and were now coming on close to
every five minutes, and lasting 20 to 25 seconds.
Rather to Al's annoyance I wandered about the house packing my bag,
emailing work to say I wouldn't be available for the rest of the day,
and made myself a cup of tea. You see - we had plenty of time…
Al seemed to be struggling, and even had a very big urge to push during
one contraction. I sternly told her not too. It was easy for me to say,
but I figured it wasn't easy for Al to ignore since her whole back had
lifted up off the bed and twisted sideways.
She was groaning and sounding very sad and sorry for herself. I tried to
give her an optimistic pep talk about how she would soon get to meet our
baby, but it was interrupted by a contraction. After this Al told me she
didn't think she could do this for too long, and wanted to go into
hospital. I indicated her contractions hadn't got to 45 seconds yet, and
that she probably had hours more to go which might be more comfortable
to be spent at home, but she didn't seem to appreciate my view. I went
downstairs and called the hospital.
I could tell the person taking the call wasn't impressed, but I
indicated Al wasn't coping, and was told (with a touch of annoyance),
"Bring her in then". I dawdled around the house for a while longer, and
suggested Al have a shower. She sternly told me she had already tried
the shower but that it had not helped, and would I hurry up. (How was
that - being told to hurry up. This was from someone who is permanently
running behind schedule…)
On the way out of the house our cleaners arrived. Al lent against the
garage wall looking very unhappy and was hit by another contraction
while I reversed the car out. She has never been that comfortable around
our cleaners - and here she was in labour in front of them. I found it
amusing. Al didn't.
On the drive there I tried to keep up her spirits. After a while it
became apparent that her contractions were now coming along every 3
minutes, although still only lasting for 20 to 25 seconds. We got to the
hospital relatively quickly (I was calm and did not speed), but had to
wait in the car for one contraction to pass, and wait just outside of
the hospital doors as another contraction hit.
We got to the maternity ward and rang the bell. As we waited Al had
another contraction. After a couple quick questions we were shown to a
birthing suite and told a midwife would be along. They didn't seem to be
in a rush. While there Al sat on the edge of the bed, held me, and
continued to have frequent contractions. She moaned and breathed during
them, but basically just seemed to be quietly in her own world dealing
with them. During this time another midwife popped her head in,
indicated it sounded like she was having real contractions, and that she
was breathing through them the right way. Al had two contractions while
this midwife chatted, so she headed off to hurry our midwife along.
Jenny (not the same one we saw earlier in the week) arrived; checked Al
and the Baby's heart beat, and chatted to us as she prepared the birth
suite. At this time the contractions were still coming every 3 minutes
and lasting 22 to 30 seconds each. They basically continued with this
pattern until the baby was born. Lucky we never waited for those magic
45 second contractions!
She asked if Al wanted any Gas, but she indicated not yet. She then
suggested Al try the bath, and I was given something useful to do
filling it. Once done Al climbed in and basically stayed floating there
for the next 90 minutes. She barely said a word, and seemed to be
concentrating on being calm. With each contraction she would reach out
of the bath and grab hold of a support bar, her whole body would lift in
the water, her breathing would change, she would sometimes moan. I gave
her water and said what I thought were the right things - although I
noticed she would often drop her ears below the water line so probably
couldn't hear me anyway.
Jenny the midwife had already called our OB, and was waiting for him to
examine Al. After witnessing one particularly harsh contraction where Al
almost lifted out of the water with the urge to push, she decided to
examine Al closer herself. At this stage Al had been in labour for about
4 hours, and since getting into the bath, was coping ok. I remember the
midwife remark - "Oh, the babies head is right there already. I think we
will get you out of the bath and let you start pushing. If doesn't hurry
along, he might miss this one."
So just on 12pm Al started pushing.
The antenatal classes were excellent, and so far I had felt pretty
comfortable with what was happening. I was almost feeling relaxed about
it. I had thought I would support Al with encouraging words, and by
reminder her of how special the moment was, and how we were soon to get
to meet our son. While I felt I was saying the right things, Al for the
most part was just quietly concentrating and was somewhat in her own
world. At this stage I felt we were both coping and doing better than
what we could have expected.
Posted by Doug at 9:23 PM
Sleeping in his Crib at the hospital
Posted by Doug at 9:57 PM
Sunday, July 10, 2005
The actual pushing part of the birth lasted just under 50 minutes. The
midwife lead Al through the process – what position she should be in,
when she should start and stop pushing, and at various times gave tips
on what to do and what not to do. Al just concentrated on her breathing
From up around Al’s head it was kind of like any half decent TV drama
birth. Leaning forward, half quiet grunting and straining noises, lean
back and relax for a bit. It just went for a lot longer. Al didn’t seem
to be in as much discomfort – but for the most part was still in her own
little world ignoring me!
This might have been the perception I kept of the process, if it wasn’t
for the midwife and the OB (who arrived 15 minutes in) who kept calling
me down to the other end of Al to show the various stages. They seem so
enthusiastic, so I found I couldn’t really say no. I already knew birth
was a rather practical thing, now I had the visuals backing that up.
So things seemed to get into a pattern for a while – progressing at a
slow pace. The Midwife called me down to watch a pushing process towards
the end – which I am glad Al couldn’t see. The head moved forward, then
when Al stopped pushing, slipped back again. I guess that is why they
don’t use mirrors during the pushing process as they can in a caesarean
– it would be too depressing for the mother.
A short while after I had retreated back to Al’s side the OB asked Al to
stop pushing for a moment (just like they do on TV), checked the baby,
and then told her to push hard for one last time. That actually became
three pushes from memory, but on the last one little Jack seemed to be
born in a rush.
I remember two distinct things of that moment. The first was how Al’s
body twisted sharply sideways as he was born, in a way that just
screamed out “painful”. The second was milliseconds later – Jack giving
his first very strong and loud cry.
Posted by Doug at 5:34 PM
Regarding his Dad from his Hospital Crib...
Posted by Doug at 6:42 PM
Monday, July 11, 2005
I remember congratulating Al and saying she had done really well. She
looked happy but rather shaky. I was called “down” again – this time to
cut the umbilical cord. Jack was still crying loudly, and I remember
thinking there was a lot of blood around Allison, which concerned me.
The midwife wrapped Jack, then placed him in Al’s arms for a short
while. Al said hello in a perfectly motherly way, and looked at Jack
with obvious love on her face. The midwife then took Jack for his first
check up, and prompted me to get the camera out to take some snaps of
him. While this was happening the OB worked with Al to pass the placenta.
My first photos of Jack were of him crying and looking unhappy. The
Midwife wrapped him up after an all clear, and got me to hold him while
she went to help the OB. Jack (who had finally gone quiet and was
frowning) was then passed to Al.
I remember thinking “good god”, “its here”, and “no turning back”, but
didn’t have any one single shining thought. It was all a little bit of a
shock – not quite real.
The situation was made more surreal when they called me over to look at
Al’s placenta. (Remind me never to take up that offer again.) She had a
succenturiate lobe – another chamber to the placenta. While not uncommon
in itself, hers was connected to the main chamber by a major blood
vessel. It was part of the reason there was so much blood. The midwife
then remarked, “Lucky that your membranes ruptured in the main chamber,
otherwise it might have been goodbye baby, goodbye mum.”
They explained things further the following day, and indicated the risk
was actually low. But at the time it was a moment where we looked at
each other, and at our newborn Jack, and realised how precious life is.
A couple days later as I was leaving the hospital for the evening I met
another new mother – one from our antenatal class, and a nurse at the
same hospital. She had been waiting outside the birthing suite next to
ours as Al gave birth. She had been surprised at how little noise Al was
making. She then said she heard “One final push”, a quiet grunt, and
then a baby cry. She said she jokingly thought “Woah, what a bitch, talk
about giving you performance anxiety.” She went on to give birth late
So all told - I felt somewhat useless and out of place, but was really
happy with the hospital, the midwife, and the OB, who all made us feel
comfortable and as confident as we could be. I was also extremely proud
of Al, the way she handled the birth, and the way she handled the
Posted by Doug at 7:43 AM
Little Jack is home today. We felt more ready for this than expected,
and so far he's been pretty good. I'm more worried how we are going to
go without sleep tonight!
On his way home...
Posted by Doug at 10:40 PM
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
I suspect this will be something we both have to get used too...
He started crying at around 10:30pm. Changed his nappy (which should not
have been bothering him), and decided not to feed him as he had only
recently spent 90 minutes on the breast. An hour later he was still
going, so Al checked his nappy to find it full. That quietened him down
but he was still mouthing like he was hungry, so Al feed him again. Any
time spent off the breast he would cry again - and mid feed Al had to
change him again... He went back on the breast, and soon made the
obvious noise of filling his nappy yet again. From the crying upstairs I
assume Al stopped feeding him again and is changing his nappy... again.
It is now 1/2 past midnight, and both of us are looking tired. He was
apparently like this the last two nights in Hospital, but I did not see
it. We seem to have an unsettled night owl...
Al and I are really going to have to ensure we sleep during the day
while he does, and that during the night while one of us is up tending
to him, the other is in bed. (Tonight both of us are tending to him,
which is rather stupid.) We have my father (and maybe mother), Al's
sister, stepsister, her baby, and probably Al's mother visiting
tomorrow. I'm tired thinking about it already.
Posted by Doug at 1:34 AM
Friday, July 15, 2005
(Email to Jim C.) At home now and adjusting to the
demands of early parenthood. Feeling quite relaxed and enjoying the
process so far. Jack seems to have his days and nights mixed up at
moment, so tends to sleep away the morning, but then have an unsettled
period overnight. Anyway, it's all early days yet and we are just
taking 1 day at a time. I am besotted with the little fellow!
Posted by Al at 11:27 AM
Saturday, July 16, 2005
(Email to Michelle.) We have already figured out
that I have been thinking he was still hungry when he is just over
tired. Hard to just listen to him carrying on when feeding him makes
him quiet in the short term... but then he goes through many more
nappies and takes longer to settle down overall. So trying to recognise
the difference between over tired and genuine hunger, or at least make
him wait a reasonable time between feeds. All trial and error at this
stage - we think he is smarter than we are in trying to give us signals
for what he wants - just his parents are a bit slow to understand at
Posted by Al at 8:36 PM
Sunday, July 17, 2005
(Email to Caterina.) Things are going fairly well
overall. Jack sleeps well during the day and seems placid and content,
but is having trouble settling at night. We think he has his days and
nights confused at this stage. All trial and error, but enjoying the
process nonetheless, and we are both feeling reasonably relaxed, and
loving getting to know Jack. Think it will take time to get used to
these night feeds though - I do feel like I am walking around in a bit
of a fog. I am trying to make sure I get at least one day time sleep
myself in preparation for the night.
Posted by Al at 1:14 PM
Monday, July 18, 2005
Jack with both sets of Grandparents...
Posted by Doug at 8:55 PM
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
The posts on July 9th, 10th and 11th were actually written at a later
time (as was this post). I moved them so that they fitted more
logically into the time line. I’ve added this post to document some of
my thoughts over those first few weeks.
I had few expectations about the birth, what would follow over the next
few weeks, or how I would react to it all. There were some aspects that
worried me – primarily what if something went seriously wrong during
labour, or if our Child was born with a serious condition. Since these
things were out of my control, I did my best to just push such thoughts
from my mind. Right through the day of the birth I was calmer that I
expected – in fact I can’t remember feeling all that stressed. (Which
was a surprise.)
I can’t lay claim to any inspiring thoughts when I first laid eyes on
Jack, or the look of parental love that Al showed. I think it was more
“Oh, your loud, and slightly odd looking, and you don’t look happy.”
Later that day – when he was asleep in our arms, or in his crib, I
allowed myself a quiet “Wow” or three.
I did not sleep in the Hospital during Al’s stay. Initially it was
because Al was placed in a Caesarean room (the only available at the
time), and it wasn’t really set up for fathers to stay. Once she moved
into a normal suite it seemed like a good idea to ensure at least one of
us got a good night sleep, so I left Al with Jack around 9pm each
evening and drove home.
The first few weeks were filled with a constant flow of visitors, and a
rush of errands and shopping for me. While we had been relatively well
prepared, there were dozens of new items we realised would make life
easier, or items we found we did not have enough of.
I do remember in the early days having a feeling of trepidation when
returning from an errand and approaching Al’s hospital room or our house
(once Jack came home). What state would Jack be in – would we be able to
handle it properly? I might even have thought an “Oh my god, what have
we done” once or twice. (That has thankfully passed!) Mostly however my
mind was busy with whirring schedules and tips & tricks from books,
friends and family. Al and I talked frequently about what was going on,
what was working, what wasn’t, what we would try next, and how we were
The first few weeks were a big adjustment – but not as bad as I thought
it might be. Jack was more expressive that I expected, but there was
obviously little real interaction between us in that period. The feel
good times revolved around successfully dealing with Jack – getting him
to settle, realising what he was trying to communicate, stopping his
crying. The bad times were when you couldn’t.
Reading my posts in the second half of July, you might be mistaken for
thinking it was all crying baby. During the good times I was too busy to
post, during the bad I used the blog to help collect and review my
thoughts. (Hence the propensity for referring to the bad!) We did indeed
have some very bad days – but they always related to something specific,
either Al being sick, or having eaten something that Jack reacted too.
For the most part the period involved Jack and his parents learning from
each other, gaining a bit of an understanding, and slowly starting to
enjoy the whole process.
So all told I really have nothing to complain about from the first few
Posted by Doug at 10:02 PM
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Posted by Doug at 7:52 PM
Thursday, July 21, 2005
(Email to Karin.) Came home last Monday, so just
about through our first week at home now. We are both feeling
surprisingly relaxed so far - much more so than we expected by this
stage. Jack seems to have his days and nights mixed up at moment. We are
trying out different strategies on that front. It is a lot of trial and
error generally at this stage - finding something that will work one day
then not the next. At least there are different things to try - a bit of
one-step forward, one step backwards at times. Also takes an adjustment
to get used to all these feeds - particularly at night. The feeding is
going well so far (think he takes after me and loves his food) so that
has been a big relief. You never know if it is all going to happen
naturally for you, particularly since I know a lot of people who have
had problems in this area. I really enjoy it - it is a lovely bonding
time with him, and he is so peaceful and happy during feeds.
I am loving getting to know Jack, and am besotted
by him. I have been amazed how expressive his face, and how many 'cues'
he gives us this early on. Mouth opening and going when hungry, hands
pushing down like he is trying to get out of his clothes when he is
uncomfortable and needs a nappy change, snuggles in for cuddles when he
wants one but then pushes away with his little hands when that isn't
what he wants, hands and legs flailing around when he is unsettled, etc.
We think he is learning faster than we are, and it is just us that are
taking awhile to understand at times what he is trying to tell us. Doug
has been really helpful, running around behind us picking up all the
dirty stuff and getting through the loads of washing, replenishing
supplies so everything is where I need it when I need it, doing the
grocery shopping, etc, so that makes things a lot easier. I can just
focus on Jack's needs, and resting and looking after my own needs, and
it is also helping us establish routines. Doug has also jumped right in
from a hands-on approach with Jack, doing his baths, enjoying some play
and cuddle times, changing some nappies, and helping me out with
settling him at times, so it is also lovely to see them developing their
So all in all, thing going well overall so far,
although very early days yet. I am just taking things one day at a
time, and seeing each day as a fresh day regardless of how things went
the previous one. I am staying positive about it all, and enjoying the
Posted by Al at 10:08 AM
(Email to Melissa.) Had my visit to the maternal
nurse. Jack responded well to all the reflex things they tested him on.
He has grown 3cm, and put on about 100g since last week. They are
supposed to put on 200g a week on average, but she said it is all a bit
subjective. (Last time she weighed him straight after a feed, whereas
this time she weighed him just before a feed / and straight after a
nappy change.) She said as long as he is doing lots of yellow coloured
nappies, he is fine (which he is). She said he was around the 50
percentile for everything at this stage.
Have got out of the house a couple times without
him, leaving him with Doug. Went and did a big grocery shop on Tuesday
afternoon. Yesterday went back to the hospital to do a physio class,
which I didn't get the chance to do while in hospital (since we were
doing his first bath at the time it was on). That re-emphasized doing
pelvic floor exercises, to be careful of your back (and the back is
aching a bit with all the carrying Jack around), and gave some tummy
exercises to do.
Jack has slept well the last 4 nights in a row, so
fingers crossed that is a good pattern emerging, but we know it is still
a day to day thing, and there could be many variations to his patterns.
He has however instead had 1-2 restless periods during the days, but
that easier to deal with. In general, we think we are getting better at
settling him, which helps, although there are still times he just gets
overtired and can't be consoled. Poor little fellow.
Posted by Al at 4:52 PM
Friday, July 22, 2005
Posted by Doug at 11:29 AM
What a rough day. The last four nights have been relatively good, but
ever since his bath this morning Jack's been unsettled and crying most
of the time. He just seems over tired, impossible to settle, and
basically inconsolable. Whenever he does get to sleep he is being woken
within 30 minutes by the need for a nappy change, or hiccups, or some
other minor thing and he is off screaming again. He has worn both
For the second time today we have basically had to make sure he was fed,
had a clean nappy, and then just lay him down and walk away. I'm sitting
in my study at the moment with the baby monitor turned low listening to
him scream himself (to hopeful sleep) in our bedroom. Al has gone to the
single bed in the nursery to try and get some sleep before the next feed
... just did another nappy change - must have been almost 20 done today,
and put him back down again. He is still screaming.
I'd hate to think someone else in the area has the same baby monitor,
and is stuck listening to our baby crying for such a long period of
time. I am making a point of going up and stroking his head and talking
to him when he quietens down, but he isn't quiet too often. Are we bad
parents doing this?
I know I should be thinking "awww, poor little guy" - but after more
than 12 hours of it I am struggling to find such sympathy. I suspect if
Al sat with him on her breast all day he would be fine - but that sort
of short-term solution will make things much much worse in future. I'm
going to go make a cup of tea.
Posted by Doug at 11:54 PM
Saturday, July 23, 2005
I just wandered outside to check if you could hear Jack's screaming -
thankfully you can't. Our neighbours shouldn't be sitting in their homes
thinking - gosh those people are bad parents. That is unless of course
they are listening in to our baby monitor….
Posted by Doug at 2:13 AM
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Al has a fever and is feeling very unwell - we suspect she has a breast
infection. She has gone from having an air of quiet strength to an air
of being somewhat muddled and helpless. Jack seems to have picked up on
that and is restless.
I guess that means I'm meant to step up to the plate, but mostly I'm
just feeling over tired and not really in the mood for caring for an
unsettled baby. Not in the mood - an option that is no longer really
available. I hear crying - better go up and see if I can help.
Posted by Doug at 10:52 PM
Monday, July 25, 2005
He is screaming so hard at the moment he must be doing permanent damage
to his voice box.
When I went to check after my last entry he had just unattached himself
from the breast, laid back, and started to cry straight away. I took him
off Al so she could get some sleep and carried him downstairs. I walked
around with him in my arms, talking, patting, soothing, and finally
managed to get him to go to sleep. I kept at it for another 10 minutes
before putting him down. Within minutes he was awake and upset again. I
picked him up and worked on him again for another 30 minutes to get him
settled and down. This time he lasted about 8 minutes before getting
upset. I started the process for a third time but he was twisting his
whole body left and right and being overly agitated while being held.
Finally in the end I checked his nappy for the third time, put him down
with a monitor on and left him to cry.
And scream himself to an absolutely ridiculously level.
I checked him after a while to find he had worked himself out of his
wraps and along 3/4 the length of his bassinette. I checked his nappy
yet again, re-wrapped him extra tight, and put him back down. He
returned to his inconsolable screaming, with occasional pause to catch
his breath before assaulting the air waves again. Hopefully when his Mum
has had a couple hours sleep and is ready to feed him again, he'll drink
and then go straight to sleep.
I said the other day I was finding it hard to have sympathy for him when
he is in such a state. I know as a parent I am just meant to - but that
sort of empathy didn't magically appear. To be horribly honest, it more
simply annoys me. It is a typical male response - not being overly
accepting of something that has no known solution and (in your eyes) no
good reason for it.
I feel a lesser parent because of it.
I know he is just over tired - as I know I am.
Posted by Doug at 1:59 AM
Al had managed two and a half hours sleep by the time I brought Jack
back to her, and was feeling better. I left the pair of them in the
nursery as he started to feed and went to bed. Five hours later I woke
up with a start and realised neither of them were in the room. When I
went to check I found him dozing in his mother's arms. He had drank for
15 minutes after I had left, then fell off the breast and slept four
hours straight. Al did not want to disturb him, so got comfortable and
left him laying across her stomach. She said she dozed on and off, but
basically just lay there resting and stroking him. When he woke he had a
good feed on both sides, and quickly settled again afterwards. I moved
him back to his bassinette, Al and I had breakfast, and then Al went
back to bed. (Both of them are still sleeping at the moment, Al's fever
is thankfully better.)
There seems such a fine line between getting it right and getting it
wrong. Sometimes you need to give Jack multiple feeds over a short
period of time and work hard to settle him. He will then sleep soundly.
Other times the more you feed and work on him, the worse it gets. He'll
only nap for short 5 to 10 minute bursts, and require constant work
between times. Once this stretches out over more than 5 hours all
concerned are starting to feel unhappy.
Leaving him to scream himself into exhausted sleep makes me feel
uncomfortable, but I've seen in certain circumstances it has been the
only thing that has worked. What is harder is wondering if you worked
enough on him before getting to that state, or if you worked too much on
him and only made it worse.
Posted by Doug at 10:45 AM
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Al introduced the dummy last night. In initial use it worked well. Some
of his mouthing, especially when waking upset soon after a feed, is
about seeking comfort. He is often too agitated to hold, but the dummy
can calm him enough so that he can be held and soothed. It is nice to
have another option to try.
We had our scheduled visit to the health nurse. She had some suggestions
and views which fitted in with Jack's behaviour, and has given us some
more ideas. It was good to see that many of our observations and
approaches we are taking are in the right direction. While we still
think Jack easily gets over tired and does not like discomfort, now we
have a couple more ideas on what is triggering it. (A touch of nappy
rash, some of the food Al ate which we had already identified and
removed from the diet, an upset stomach not helped by feeding too
frequently some times, and Al's fever.)
I think overall we went into this assuming things would be tough.
Overall it hasn't been as bad so far as we feared. Having said that -
when things are bad, they are worse than we expected. Back to work
Posted by Doug at 12:42 PM
Thursday, July 28, 2005
(Email to Jude.) Also, just to let you know. You
know how you noticed me shivering on the Sunday? Turns out I came down
with mastitis, including fever and flu like symptoms on the Sunday night
(I was feeling really crap all day on Sunday). Anyway, I have now come
through it ok, and am feeling much better. As a consequence Jack is also
feeling much better (he was screaming when trying to feed him on
Sunday). Doug eventually worked out it was due to my skin burning up so
he was screaming every time he came in contact with it).
We were going to wait 3 weeks (as recommended) to
give him a dummy, but with Doug returning to work on Wednesday, we
decided to give it to him on Monday night. It has worked wonders in
calming him down, and reduced 90% of his crying. He has even now slept 6
hours straight for past 2 nights in a row. He has been more awake during
the day, but not that upset. Filling nappies still produces screams - I
am trying to be very conscious in what I am eating now and have read
further on things to avoid eating while breastfeeding.
The child and maternal health nurse further
supported that we should hold off between feeds for at least 3 hours as
feeding more often would contribute to his upset stomach. Pushing new
food into his stomach while he is still processing previous food. So it
feels like we are on the right track. So that is also helping him calm
down I think. Anyway we are all feeling much happier now as a result of
Posted by Al at 12:38 PM
We picked up a new camera on the weekend - a Canon EOS 350D. Had read
some good reviews, and saw the photo's our friends Justin and Melina
were able to take with theirs. Plus it will work with the lens we have
for our Canon EOS 50e film SLR. Very happy with purchase...
Posted by Doug at 10:10 PM
Friday, July 29, 2005
(Email to Jude.) Another 6 hours again last night
- 3 nights in a row. Of course we can't take anything for granted and
expect that this will now stick, but it has been a good pattern over the
past few days, and has helped me get much more rest. He was an angel
again for my mum and sister visiting - he has been an angel for all
visitors thus far, touch wood. (Thank goodness, as it wouldn't be fun
dealing with a screaming fit in front of others, although I'm sure it
will happen sooner or later.)
On Wednesday he was a bit grisly on and off and
wanting to be held a lot, but generally we had a good day together. He
was excellent all day yesterday, then had an unsettled period just
leading up to the 6 hour sleep (so maybe that helped tire himself out
enough). So it is all still just taking one day at a time, but I am
feeling so much more on top of it all again.
Posted by Al at 10:45 AM
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Most of Jack's Days are really good, but we seem to alternate between a
good night followed by a bad one. Last night was a bad one. Jack seems
to get unsettled very easily at night, and once he is crying he can go
on for hours. We are trying different things and adjusting our routine
with some success. For example, Al tries to change his nappy when
swapping from one breast to the other, so that when he finishes the
second side she can burp him and put him to bed straight away, making
him more likely to fall asleep. Once he gets into an over tired state
however, if holding / rocking him gets no where, all we seem to be able
to do is ensure he's been fed, his happy is dry, he is wrapped up and
warm, and then let him cry for a couple hours until his next feed. It is
not easy on the parents, but it seems to encourage him to fall asleep
straight after it. Feeding him every hour (as Al has tried on occasion)
seems to just prolong his crying period.
Posted by Doug at 8:26 AM
Sunday, July 31, 2005
We have noticed that his movements have become a little more coordinated
- in particular when upset and crying. During such times he seems to
have an uncanny ability to scratch people, knock over toys, and throw
things like his dummy. Personally I would have preferred him to be
turning objects over in his hands to regard and view them calmly and
Posted by Doug at 12:03 PM