Sunday, March 26, 2006

Post partum hair loss

Some women experience "beautiful hair" during pregnancy (i.e. thicker, more lustrous). My own experience was that it seemed to grow faster, less fell out, but the texture was coarse and nasty. For a short period of time immediately after the birth, I experienced hair texture of the gods. It was the softest, silkiest, most wondrous hair I had ever touched. In fact, I couldn't help but touch it all the time, because I couldn't believe it was really attached to my head. Then it went away (but then again, so did my edema).
For the last week, insane amounts of my hair started coating the hair trap in the shower. I noticed that this was unrelated to whether I brushed my hair prior to washing it. I began to suspect that what my hairdresser had warned me about a few months ago was actually happening - my hair was falling out (well not all of them, but lots). This was confirmed when I went in for a trim yesterday, and the stylist washing my hair ended up with a handful of it in the sink. This is not disconcerting for them - they are used to it, and they expect it near the four month mark. It's an indication that the hormones of pregnancy are leaving my system. In fact, I shouuld make it clear that I myself am not bothered by this - mostly because I have such an extensive mane of hair. The loss is only apparent to myself, the fine staff at Holtz, and the drains of our household plumbing.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

So long infant car seat!

Rebecca is on the threshold of surpassing the height limitation on her infant car seat. This means we will be shelling out for another one - and it seems convertible is the best option. A convertible car seat can be flipped to face front after the child hits 1 year of age. Some of the convertibles go up to 40 pounds, so it should last quite some time. Of course, the trick is to get a 2005/2006 car seat that is compatible with a 1999 automobile (THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO CHECK OUT PRIOR TO PURCHASE, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE A SMALL CAR). Relatively recent changes in Ontario legislation mean that Rebecca will be in a seat or a booster for quite some time.
I was convinced our next major baby purchase would be a high chair.

A gripping anecdote

This week, Rebecca mastered the art of grabbing things. She will now grab items - blankets, toys, shirts, and really hold on. Admiteddly, she has been grabbing my hair for quite some time now, but this is different. She will reach out to take hold of something she wants and can bring it to herself (usually to her mouth so she can suck on it). Also, she can hang onto something for a good bit of time (provided she wants it enough). Her hand sucking has evolved as well. Rather than stick her entire fist in her mouth - which still occurs on occasion - she now favours thumb or thumb and index finger. Rebecca can also bring her hands together in front of her body, which, until a few weeks ago, was basically anatomically impossible. Because Becca can grip items, playtime has become far more interesting. Her hand/eye coordination has vastly improved, so she is interactive in whole new ways. Now I have a better sense of when she actually wants something.
While the infected bellybutton is healed, the phlegmy cough persists. It is always the worst starting at about midnight. She now gets a runny nose as well. This is really novel because before yesterday, her nose could get clogged but had never been runny. It's actually a really useful development as far as clearing out germs is concerned.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A story of parental angst

I had noticed Rebecca cough occasionally over the last two days. I didn't make much of it, and she wasn't running a temperature. She did seem a little more fussy than normal - but babies are so inconsistent that's it's hard to be certain. However, last night, she started bunches of phlegmy sounding coughs, and was crying inconsolably - very distressed. We called the Telehealth line, which was ultimately very helpful, and we called my parents which was comforting. The worst was that I could hear the phlegminess when she was breathing and that scared me. The last time I had phlegmy breathing was when I had pneumonia. I could also hear sounds that she was swallowing something (presumably mucus), and sometimes trying to cough up something. She did cough up a handful of mucus, which thankfully, was clear with no green, yellow or red. Greg and I were so distressed over Rebecca's health - even though some part of my brain knew that everything would probably be o.k. and normal, I just felt like a helpless child. I was so worried that something bad would happen to Rebecca and I wouldn't be able to protect her. And naturally, when you love someone a great deal, watching them suffer is a special kind of torment. Anyhow, she is still sick - but the fact that she was able to cough stuff up is apparently a very good sign - it means she is able to clear stuff out of her system. So today, my day with Rebecca will focus on cuddling and sleeping.

So much for the wedding band...

Greg and I had scheduled a date night yesterday. We had a 2 for 1 coupon for the Cineplex and we had decided to go see V for Vendetta at the StarCité in Hull, while my parents babysat. Encouraged by my recent exercising and healthy eating, I decided I would try on my wedding ring to see if it fit. Well, amazingly, I had shed some pounds on my finger because it slid beautifully over the top portion of my finger. Of course, even when it fit perfectly, I always had to shove it over the knuckle. My knuckle are big, but my finger is small - heck my ring size is 5.75 or something ridiculous like that. So - to shove or not to shove? I shoved.
Error in judgement!
It felt too snug, so I tried to get my ring off. It wouldn't come off. I tried cold water, olive oil, liquid soap - nothing was working. Meanwhile, the finger was getting swollen and red, and the tip was turning purple.
Eventually, I ended up at the nearest goldsmith, where they had to cut the ring off my finger. Two pincers go around the bottom, and then a toothed sawing wheel cuts through the top. It was tricky because the band is thick, and was on tightly. Unfortunately, my finger (or more precisely, the pad of flesh on my palm, just beneath my finger, was accidentally cut with the toothed wheel. There was blood everywhere, but it didn't actually hurt that much.
Anyhow, that is my story of gore and stupidity for this week.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Recommended Reading: And CanLit too!

I just recently started on Marni Jackson's The Mother Zone. I haven't gotten too many pages in, but I already feel confident that I can say to all you new mothers and pregos out there:


Go get yourself a copy, or wait until I finish it and I can lend it to you.
There's something to it that I haven't seen in any other books on motherhood that I have read. It touches on emotional aspects of motherhood that aren't really broached elsewhere, and it does so it a very intelligent manner. I should say here - there is no one single book that covers everything, there are a collection of books that cover the bases - and this is one of them.

Here is a quote from the introductory chapter of which I was particularly fond:

"There's no preparation for the alchemy of the self that takes place during motherhood".

All too true!

I have heard new Moms say that in these modern times we have been sold an image of what motherhood should be, that is completely unrealistic, but we buy into all the same. We try to do everything. Motherhood is an overwhelming change, and we don't even give ourselves an opportunity to adjust and cope (physically or emotionally). You can be labouring on a mini (or maxi) self-indendity crisis (that's right), while simultaneously managing household finances, chores, raising the child, being a teacher, comforter, friend, sister, keeping on top of your career field, getting in shape, enduring the endless unsolicited advice, supporting and spending time with your spouse, planning the future, running to the doctor, and squeezing in some "me" time, in addition to trying to squeeze into your old clothes. It's crazy. That's why sometimes when people say "just sleep when the baby sleeps", I fantasize about punching them.
This is my happy girl!
This is what the Vibro Chair looks like

To sleep perchance to dream... AS IF!

Believe it or not, it is not too early for Rebecca to be learning good sleep habits.

The challenge
1- To make Rebecca fall asleep in the crib (NB: There is a critical different between putting her in the crib asleep, and teaching her to fall asleep in the crib - the former is easy, the latter is not)
2 - To make Rebecca do the lion's share of her sleeping at night

To be avoided:
1 - Madeleine unintentionally falling asleep with baby in the rocking chair (due to sleep deprivation - this causes very bad neck pains)
2 - Madeleine sleeping with baby on the living room couch
3 - Baby getting addicted to sleeping on Madeleine's chest
4 - Having a hillbilly cosleeping arrangement with baby Becca (do I really know anything about the life and times of hillbilly families? No)
5 - Baby only sleeping in the vibro chair, carrier, or car seat

Current strategy:
1 - Try to limit the daytime sleeping by not letting her naps get too long
2 - Bathe her at night, put her into pjs, read her a bedtime story, and soothe her to just shy of asleep, then place her in crib
3 - When she is sleepy, put her in the crib
4 - Trying not to give in to the impulse to just snuggle her to sleep on my chest, no matter how tired and exhausted I am

What we know...

What puts Rebecca to sleep:
1 - Being in the cuddlywrap or snugli for a long time (unless she is super-alert)
2 - Riding in the car, in the car seat (unless she is uncomfortably warm)
3 - Extended cuddling
4 - Long stroller walks

What wakes Rebecca up:
1 - The cold or major temperature change (removing baby from the cuddlywrap, even if she is deeply asleep will always wake her up - if she has been sleeping for several hours she will be extremely cranky and hungry)
2 - Being unstrapped from things (such as car seat)
3 - Having her diaper changed
4 - Loud noises
5 - Hunger

What is helping:
1 - Rebecca is starting to give cues that she is tired by rubbing her eyes and being cranky

What is not helping:
1 - If she is sick, she needs more sleep and cuddles and food, so it throws off any semblance of routine
2 - The same is true for growth spurts
3 - The same is true if there are major uphevals or stresses in her life (for example, if she is visiting lots of people during the day, going to a new place etc.)

Disposable diaper injuries

It may sound odd, but I have lacerated my hand with Huggies Supreme stage 2 diapers. Perhaps it is a testimony to my need to moisturize my skin more often, but somehow, I managed to cut myself twice on the gigglastic attaching pieces. They are sharper than you think! Also, Supreme (equivalent to Pampers Ultra-dry), are not as good as regular in my opinion. First of all, the amusing pictures - not so amusing. With the Huggies regular diapers we see Nala from "The Lion King" appear in four different images, while the Huggies Supreme only showed two different pictures of Winnie the Pooh and Eyeore (plus some irrate bees). It may sound silly, but I change so many diapers in a day that I must get my amusement where I can. And at least Nala looks like she is having a good time chasing that butterfly or lizard. Pooh Bear looks like he has nothing better to do than act as ornamentation on some baby's belly. Furthermore, no lacerations have ever resulted from the use of Nala diapers, and it is more evident when they are full.
I am now considering trying out the generic disposables and generic wipes. They are certainly a good deal cheaper (especially it you consider cost over time), and someone we know has claimed that they work just as well as (if not better than) the big brand names.

For the Formula-Inclined

If you give your loyalty to a Formula company - they send you free stuff!
By registering on their website, the good people at Nestlé have provided me with at least three free cans of GoodStart, free infant cereal, plus they sent me a free bottle (the really nice Avent kind - I keep wanting to call the company Aventis- mental artifcat from my research days) and a free diaper bag which is about ten times swankier than the one I bought for myself.
Of course, what they get in return far outweighs the cost of these items.
But still! Every little bit helps. Frankly, I've never been a coupon person - but now things are different.

Fist of Fury

Yesterday Rebecca hit another developmental milestone. She learned to bat things with her fist!

This exciting event (it really was fascinating), took place in the famous vibro chair. Previously, Rebecca would swing the rattles by kicking her legs. However, this week she became increasingly interested in the cow-print arch that spans the chair. She got in the habit of grabbing it with both hands or of hitting it with her right hand (she already seems to favour her right hand - is it possible this young?). Then, she would try punching the arch to make the rattles swing instead of kicking. I adjusted her chair so that it was more upright, and it was then that she began to punch the rattles (the pig rattle in particular). She hit the lamb rattle a few times inadvertently with her left fist as she was flailing her arms about, but it was clear that all her attention was on the pig. In fact, it's not really about the pig, she just tends to focus on the objects to the right of her. At any rate, she hit the pig with her fist sufficient times, in a deliberate manner, that I am certain it was not by chance. She also did it again this morning.

Hooray for the Vibro Chair!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Pink umbilicus and the government of Ontario

I had to take Rebecca in to see the doctor this morning. Her belly button has been bright pink, occasionally crusty and sometimes oozy for two days now, so I figured it was time to seek medical advice. I am now armed with a special antibacterial creme (to be applied twice daily) and instructions to keep the area as dry as possible (via corn starch powder). Becca-boo has no objections to the creme and was happy and laughing as her inflammed umbilicus was prodded and poked. Clearly she is not suffering or even mildly concerned.
And huzzah! The birth certificate was purolatored to my home today. Unfortunately, I was at the doctor's office at the time, so I will have to drive out to fetch it (they won't deliver it without someone to sign for it).
Now... if someone will only send me my tax refund.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Tear duct open?

Seems like the blocked tear duct might now be open. It's been several days since I've seen any signs of blockage but I don't want to get too excited. I'm going to wait and see.

Rebecca update: 12.5 weeks

Rebecca seems to have acquired some new skills. She is very adept at pushing herself with her feet while lying on her back. She is also more grabby, and grasps objects in a more determined manner than previously. In fact, if I lace her fingers through the musical cow on her vibro chair, she will pull it to play the song. In fact, she will repeatedly pull on the cow, until I begin to wish that I had not helped her. Sometimes, she will hold on to the edges of the arch which goes over her chair - something that she never did before. Rebecca continues to be very chatty, but can turn surly in an instant. I had to retire more clothes due to her increasing height, and I am doing more laundry because she is spitting up more frequently. For some reason, spitting up makes her happy because she is always smiling or laughing afterwards. Perhaps it's fun to put vomit in Mommy's hair - who knows?

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Money Back Guarantee

I have finally received notice of the registration of Rebecca's birth!
After you send in your statement of live brith, you wait for the birth to be registered. Then, you wait to receive the notice of that registration. Then, you can apply for the birth certificate.
Anyhow, I merrily filled out my online application for Rebecca's birth certificate at the Ontario government website. I was surprised to see that they were advertising a money-back guarantee for birth certificates. Apply and receive your certificate in the mail within 15 days or your money back! It was odd - not the sort of slogan I expect to see touted by the provincial government. Rebecca's first birth certificate has way more in common with a pizza than I anticipated. It will be delivered to my house within a certain time or it's free. I paid by credit card. I had to specify my preference of type. At least I won't have to tip the delivery boy.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Experiment in Après-FitMom

Monday I had my Fitmom and baby class. After the class, the moms will often converge on the nearby Bridgehead for coffee and tea. This time I joined them. There were less than usual numbers due to a number of ladies being sick - so we were just four. Four moms with their babies and baby gear do tend to take up a lot of space though.
At any rate, I made the realization that while attending the Westboro fitmom class was consistent with my proximity needs, most of the women who attend the class are in a completely different socio-economic bracket and age group.
There are many things about Westboro which are - for lack of a better word - Yuppiefied. I suppose Bridgehead is one of those things. But that would be o.k. because I am certainly supportive of fair trade practices. I guess it's fair to say that I felt like I didn't really belong with these ladies. It's great that we have motherhood in common, but I don't feel that's enough to form a bond with someone. It's also true that I am a little socially disabled around new people, and I have some shyness mixed with a propensity to drawing blanks during the kind of small talk that most people seem adept at, but all that aside - I still felt the discomfort of being the odd man out.
The other moms from Fitmom (let's call them OMFFs for short), sat down with their tralala lattés, their granola bars, their zirconium-studded Gucci sunglasses, their pricey lululemon exercise outfits, their babies in designer outfits and shoes, and their diamond encrusted rings, and I began to suspect there was a fundamental difference. Discussion turned to their excellent Filipino cleaners ("oh, the Filipino house cleaners and nannies are so wonderful!"), the houses they were eyeing which only needed 200K in renovations, their attempts to resolve the post-maternity nanny situation, their dentist hubbies, their botox treatments (preventative of course - apparently if done properly, treatments won't make you look like the Joker from Batman). The thought kept running through my head - these are not my people. I haven't decided whether I will join them next week or not.

Monday, March 6, 2006

Rebecca in knitwear made by my Nanny. Somehow, pictures never do justice to Becca's personality.

The three month growth spurt

According to all the documentation I have read, babies have 4 major growth spurts in the first year: 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months. This past Saturday, Rebecca hit the 12 week mark, and this upcoming Friday, she will be officially 3 months of age.
There is no doubt that she is currently in a growth spurt. She is consuming far more food than usual, more frequently than usual, and when she is not eating, she sleeps very soundly. She is also fussier at night, but this could be due to either the strain of rapid growth or gassiness from increase milk consumption. At 3am , it's a distinction that means very little to me. :)
By 4 months, babies are supposed to double their birth weight, and by 1 year, they are supposed to have tripled it. I have no doubt that Rebecca will hit 14 pounds before the 10th of April. She already feels so heavy! Especially when she is asleep and limp.
I am tempted to go the Wellbaby clinic this week at the community centre to have Rebecca weighed, but I am afraid that I will be asked how the breastfeeding is going, and the last thing I want to do is unravel the whole saga for some strange and potentially judgemental lactation consultant. And yet, if I don't go, the next weighing will be at the 4 month vaccination. I think my curiosity will get the better of me. At worst, I suppose I can always lie. It's not that I'm ashamed, I just don't feel inclined to have to defend my choice. There are better things to do with my time.

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Where other babies have been before

Rebecca had her first official trip to a restaurant yesterday night- we brought her to Haveli in the market. Previously we'd only taken her to public eating places such as Quiznos (one occasion shortly after my release from the hospital) and the St.Luke's church hall (this past week for Shrove Tuesday dinner - where she was a very popular person). Rebecca did cry a few times (rather briefly) but not in a manner which was embarassing for us, or (I hope) irritating for other patrons. She was intrigued by a painting on the wall which depicted a bride dancing (the red caught her eye, I'm sure). I was somewhat apprehensive about imposing her on unsuspecting strangers, because she can be piercing when she so chooses. Not only was she good and eventually fell asleep, but there was anabandoned soother under an elephant statue beside our table - clearly bringing babies to Haveli is nothing new.

Friday, March 3, 2006

Bye bye to the goat

Rebecca continues to evolve at an alarming rate.
She outgrows clothes due to her height rather than girth, and has already outgrown some 3 month items (despite not yet attaining 3mo of age).
She shows a distinct preference for the colour red, and babbles all the time, making different syllable sounds. Goat-like sounds are now few and far between. It seems as though Rebecca is aiming for legitimate conversations with give and take. She is also quite good at parroting sounds we make. For example, if she makes an "ah" sound, we repeat it back to her in an encouraging manner, and she will say it again.
Rebecca also acts happy more of the time, consumes more food, and has vastly improved her head control. She turns this way and that to see items of interest.