The Teething Saga

It’s 2:10pm and I’m sitting in my living room on my laptop, sipping a cold drink with my gorgeous daughter asleep in her swing with a soft lullaby playing. This is not an accurate picture of parenting. An accurate picturing of parenting for me is 2am, top soaked in sick and milk, a crying baby who doesn’t want to be put down and a dirty nappy on the side. At least that’s the accurate parenting picture of me at the moment.

Even as I just finish writing that paragraph, my daughter bursts into tears.

It’s been pretty rough the last few months. My daughter cluster fed for a few days and then slept most of the day away after that and that was the growth spurt. Then a clear sailing day. Then teething.

It is now 2:25pm and after a nappy change, I am now typing this one handed as I breastfeed my 7 week 6 day old child.

Teething is horrible. It’s having a migraine and a hangover while someone repeatedly yells high pitch noises at you and you’re the only one who can stop it. Horrible. My partner went to Boots once it started and asked what can you give for teething to a 6 week old and the man sold him some powders and yells, got home for me to read they’re all recommended for 3 month old babies. For a week we had this teething stuff in the house we avoided using until we couldn’t take it anymore and ended up using the gel on her. It soothed it. For a week we tentatively used the gel when we just couldn’t stand her being in pain. I ended up going back to the shop and rather than ask, I looked at the packets to find there are powders for one month and above… It was a game changer.

I was pretty pissed though as she suffered an extra week because they wanted more money (because figures everything they sold my partner was the expensive stuff). When she woke up this morning, she was congested and seemed like she had a cold so we skipped the library group. My dad says thats a good sign that the worst of the teething (for the moment) is over. Here’s hoping.

Teething though is a pretty frustrating time and it means a lot of sleepless nights. I do the night shift as my partners working but when you’re on only 4 hours sleep in almost 50 hours, things begin to get to you. The crying for instance. In the last week there have been 3 nights where I have sat over my daughter, crying, saying I can’t do it any more. The first night it happened, I got a bit of sleep the next day and it seemed okay. Next time it happened, again I got some sleep and I felt better when I woke up but despite being on more sleep I just began to feel lousier and lousier as the day went on. She’s still my daughter, I will protect her and that’s why I keep repeating this sentence: “I love her, I do. I want what’s best for her and that’s not me.” I said my partner should move back to his family and they can help him look after her.

I haven’t looked into postnatal depression or even postnatal anxiety like my health visitor thinks I have. I know I’m probably beginning to develop it. I don’t know what I’ll do if I am.

Purple hair and a growth spurt.

My partner doesn’t like my dad. Never really mentioned this in previous posts but he’s never really liked him. It’s been getting worse though recently. My dad is pretty petty. An example is that I came home having forgot the bread he asked for, I sincerely apologised but he still had to make nasty comments about it and then gave me silent treatment for a bit before going out to pick my brother up and then when he came back, everything was better. I later explained to him that I forgot because my daughter was crying due to reflux and being hungry and the only way I could settle her was walking and bouncing the pram. He told me “not to use her as an excuse”. Don’t need an excuse, that’s what happened.

The next day we were going on a walk again and asked if he wanted anything. He started on about the bread again and I said “I’ll get you the bloody bread and hit you with it just for principal”. Before I left I said to him: “seriously though, do you want anything?” And he said no. It’s pretty obvious where this is going. When I got back, he asked where the bread is.

I think one of the worst things he’s done recently is comparing the fact I was struggling as when he was 22 he had 3 kids to look after. Firstly, only one was his and a newborn and the other two were his step kids. Secondly, you can’t compare situations like that. Thirdly, why did he have to make me feel so bad? I struggle with one but he can cope with three. Makes me feel shit.

My partner avoids him, if he can. I’ve begun to avoid him. My daughter is going through the 3-6 week growth spurt marked by being more fussy, less sleep, eating more and just generally being different from herself. I spent all night awake last night (except about an hour at about 6am until 7am) feeding her as she kept coming off, crying partly due to reflux and partly just fussy. The reflux means she needs gaviscon (a kind of antacid) and you can give it through a little medicine injector straight into their mouth but I know she’ll spit it out so we mix it in expressed milk. I came down stairs to get some of the expressed milk at about 10am and I usually, if I need to do something, give my daughter to my dad and do it but he was making tea (so boiling water) and dealing with my brother’s uniform and other stuff and she was very fussy, so I decided just to struggle one handed.

My dad then made a comment about how I usually get him to hold her and I said “you were making tea, with boiling water!” and honestly, I was tired and just annoyed and rather than feed her the milk downstairs like I usually would do, I just went off upstairs.

I think my biggest source of stress isn’t my month old baby but my dad. He likes to put me down, make me feel bad, use the silent treatment on me. Honestly, I’m pretty sure this is why I’m depressed. Also would bet that’s why my partner is depressed.

Add my depression to my current body issues and has my daughter got some fucked up parents? Due to breastfeeding I’ve currently hit DD boobs. Awesome. Also gone down to an 8-1o UK size waist (tend to have to get 10-12 though due to my boobs). I actually haven’t got stretch marks really from pregnancy but I’m feeling so down about my body, as far as I’m concerned, I’m fat and ugly and so to cheer myself up, my partner dyed my hair purple and it came out amazing if I do say so myself. My brother liked it. My dad just shrugged… He’s always one for the confident boosters. We’re still looking to move and we really want to be out by Christmas but it isn’t looking like that’ll happen any time soon.

Baby’s First Month

The first month has been rough. Today my daughter is a month old and it’s been a tough experience. My partner went back to work on Tuesday and so for the last 3 days I’ve been looking after my daughter on my own.

In all honesty, I spent most of my partners paternity leave secretly pissed off. He took a month off (two weeks paternity and two weeks holiday unlike most dads who just take paternity) to help in case I developed mental health issues. One of the biggest triggers to that is lack of sleep but I found myself with majority of the night shifts and sleeping 1-4 hours a day. My partner in that whole month maybe did 3 night shifts and that includes the first night in the hospital where I was in too much pain to walk or stand. The next was a few days later and there was an odd one during that month. That’s because the night he did it out the hospital (where he was fairly caught up on sleep) in the first week, he got annoyed and told her to shut up and later admitted he had been feeling down about everything and it sounded like he was describing postnatal depression. I could cope with less sleep so I took over.

When she was 8 days old, we took her to see my partner (GC) family. I was working on very little sleep and we spent 1 and a half to 3 hours at 3 different houses with his family. The first house I coped well, actually enjoyed it despite the fact it was his SIL. Second house was his sister who wouldn’t give me the baby back for the time we were there except for a feed. Her kids held the baby which was nice. But there was barely any talking so my partner found it boring. We then went up to his aunties.

Everyone was forewarned we were coming up.

We came up and she had her at least 6 cats in the same room as where myself, her, my daughter and partner had to sit. The cats getting cat hair everywhere and jumping in the pram. Despite the fact she’d promised if we came over, the cats would be out the way. So I was pretty angry and then one of the cats snared my jeans (which doesn’t sound like a big deal but they’re the only ones that fit well so don’t need them ruined). Coupled with the lack of sleep, postpartum pain, lack of food and drink, how angry I was and the fact I hadn’t actually held my daughter in about 4 hours. I just didn’t want to hold her. I feel horrible about that but it’s true. I didn’t want her near me I felt so down and like the bond between us had gone. Whenever my partner handed her to me I passed her off back to him or just held her like Rachel did Ross’ son in FRIENDS.

When we got home, rather than ask how I’d like to feed my child, he went and used one of the bottles of expressed milk. I went upstairs, but angered myself and came back down and told him if he thinks I’m doing such a bad job he can do it all and I’ll move the moses basket to his side of the bed. He told me he didn’t think I was doing a bad job but we should move the basket. So I went upstairs and chucked the basket onto his side. Laid down for a few minutes and then just got up and walked out of the house.

I never told my partner I thought about getting on the bus or the train and just not coming back. I just walked down to the shops with half working headphones and brought a ribena before heading back. I was gone about half an hour and as I was heading back GC met me and I told him off for coming – “arent I allowed to go and get a drink without being hassled”. GC tried to talk to me but I didn’t want to hear it. We came home and I just went to bed, rushing past my daughter. GC followed me up and we talked. I can’t remember what was said. All I remember was ending up crying because I wanted my daughter and ended up cuddling her most of the night.

I had a few wobbles but it was easier with my partner taking over the mornings and getting some sleep without waking, worrying if my kid is okay. I don’t think I truly appreciated it until he went back to work. I also don’t think the added stress of trying to not wake him up helps.

But since he went back to work, the tearful episodes have increased. I’ve felt more overwhelmed and upset, overprotective, sad… I guess depressed. I don’t know if it’s ‘normal’ depression or postnatal depression but I’m really struggling.

38 weeks: Gestational Diabetes.

The last week or so has been a whirlwind for me. I saw my midwife on 6th July and my fundal height was 5cm below where it should be, had a scan the next day and baby was measuring above the 90th percentile and had a scan review – they were pretty confused as to how the baby can be big but the fundal height was small. I got booked for a gestational diabetes (GTT – Glucose Test) for the next day and it came back that I have gestational diabetes.

In all fairness it does make sense, I mean the symptoms are pretty similar to pregnancy except the extreme thirst I get especially after dinner and it turns out the reason for that is because of GD. I got the results on the Monday (I was supposed to get them on the Saturday before) and on the Wednesday I was booked in to see the diabetics nurse and dietician. The dietician wasn’t great, she repeated a lot and could have cut her section down to 10 minutes with just a “these are the levels in food you need to know, here’s a few suggestions”, after was a one on one with the diabetic nurse who put me in as high priority with an appointment yesterday at the diabetics clinic. The next bit was teaching you how to use the monitor. Four times a day I have to prick myself with a little needle and write down the result. It’s tedious and I feel sorry for the people who have to do it for months. Or even years if they actually have type 1 or 2. To be honest though, diet controlled works for me and I know sometimes that diet controlled only works for a small amount of time but I have a small amount of time left.

The diabetes clinic was an appointment with: a nurse, an obstetrician and a dietitian. The nurse did my blood pressure and urine. The dietitian told me to just follow the diet laid down the day before. The obstetrician is where things got more interesting. She told me I could ONLY go to term but that really due to the size of the baby they want to induce. She gave me a membrane sweep in the hope of moving things along – if you don’t know what that is, I’ll tell you. The doctor gloves up, shoves fingers far into you (further than any person has ever fingered a person, I can promise you), fidgets around and IT HURTS. She told me she would stop if it hurt too badly but I know the memory of the pain would be worse than the pain itself so I just let her continue. She told me she had booked me for an induction on Friday 22nd July. I go in and 9am and don’t come out for a really long time. From what I can understand what happens, you get 3 pessary shots of hormones, 6 hours apart if after those 3 nothing has happened you can get a drip and they may artificially break your water, if that doesn’t get things started then c-section… C-section is also pretty likely for me since I am small and the baby is big.

So this next week is me spending time finishing a to-do list, I have written a lot of them over the past few weeks and I never finish them. But I wrote a more doable one this time and have already crossed off a lot of things. I asked my partner to help me with some of them and he does but he gets annoyed at having to do some of them. I then don’t ask him. Mentally, I’ve been rather down recently. I always expected the baby to be early (before 40 weeks) and due to being in latent labour since 36+3 weeks, I thought one final push (the membrane sweep) would start things off and I’m disappointed that it hasn’t. I now am looking at a 2-5 day stay in hospital due to needing mental health, diabetes and possibly surgery aftercare. Plus the labour itself. No one really seems to understand. I don’t like hospitals, I mean I really don’t but the extent to which I don’t like them doesn’t seem to be that clear to anyone really. Plus the chances of postnatal depression rise when complications arise during labour (looks like that’ll happen).

Plus with things not being so great living with my dad for both myself and my partner… Just makes things harder. But that’s a blog for another day.

27 weeks: pregnancy and medication

I had an appointment with the perinatal psychiatrist recently. I’d recently got discharged from my old mental health team and am now with them and again I have a psychiatrist and a community psychiatric nurse. The first opinion I had of my new psychiatrist was that I didn’t have one. When I told people my opinion of her after the first meeting I said that she hadn’t really left much of an impression – good opinions take a while to form whilst bad ones of someone can take an instant. But I had some faith she’d do the job.

My new CPN  I didn’t much like. She said that everything I was experiencing with my mood was normal when I knew that it wasn’t and she also made me feel pretty bad for not wanting to do antenatal classes. I got invited to some a few weeks back, but I have since been umming and ahhing over whether to do it for numerous reasons but involving the fact that it was at the old youth group centre I used to go to and I didn’t want to bump into the old youth group leaders with their judgmental opinions about a 19 year old getting pregnant. But also another reason is that I had been feeling disconnected to the baby and that I didn’t want to spend an hour or so being reminded of the fact that I was. Plus antenatal classes haven’t always been a regular thing for pregnant women to attend and women have had babies just fine without them.

Another thing she said that annoyed me was that it didn’t matter if I was ill because I could get someone else to look after the baby. It’s true, I have my dad and the father of my baby but if it doesn’t matter whether I’m there for the baby, why am I even bothering to get better? After cooling off from the appointment I realised how she actually meant it but seriously? You work in this profession, you HAVE to know how to word this properly.

But the thing I want to talk about is my second appointment with the perinatal psychiatrist. I get called in and she has basically forgotten who I am which isn’t necessarily bad except when she got things wrong about my life e.g. she said I lived in a studio apartment when I live in a 4 bedroom house with overcrowding issues and I then corrected her, she actually argued with me and told me I was wrong… I have to live there everyday, I know exactly where I live.

She then was reading the appointment notes from the new CPN and she told me that “wanting to cut the baby out” was not normal – which I knew. Then went onto imply I wanted to hurt the baby except I’ve never had any intention of hurting the baby. Hurting myself, yes. Hurting the baby, never. She said if I’m having these thoughts and feeling depressed (and I am but only every so often and I haven’t actually felt that depressed in a while) then I needed to go back on medication whilst pregnant. I’ve always been against it. I don’t judge anyone who does, I really don’t. Every situation is different. But I know that I’m sensitive to side effects, I know I can handle the low moods as they are every so often, I don’t think taking antidepressants (as were the only medication mentioned at the time) is wise for an unborn baby to be exposed to.

But rather than talking rationally about my fears and answering questions she snapped at me telling me I needed the antidepressants and when I said to her about being bipolar and that JUST being on anti-depressants could cause mania or like last time, rapid cycling moods. That would be way worse than what’s going on now. She didn’t really give me much of an answer, just that she’d talk to my old psychiatrist (whom never actually prescribed antidepressants alone) and that if need be a mood stablizer would be added.

To be honest, when medication was mentioned way back in the first appointment, I researched what people said and yes the antidepressants have been found, in recent studies, to have minimal risks to the baby (so not completely risk free like she tried to make out and when I asked about the minimal risks, she had no answers for me) but mood stablizers are very dependent on which ones and even then the research is very split between the risks to an unborn baby even in the third trimester (everyone agrees that no meds of these sort should be taken in the first trimester).

But the fact I don’t like her isn’t based so much on the her different opinion on medications and stuff, it’s that she had very little respect for me. Wouldn’t discuss options, just told me what I had to do and several times implied that if I didn’t follow her opinions I was going to be a bad mum. So when she handed me a piece of paper to take to reception to make another appointment, I just walked out and didn’t make one.

I moaned to my dad; ranted. Then GC phoned me when my dad went to pick up my brother but could only stay on the phone for 5 minutes and once he hung up, I just balled my eyes out. I felt so guilty and bad and just cried. Until I hit this point where I got pissed off. Being  pregnant hasn’t been easy for me – physically or mentally but I’m doing better now. I actually have formed a connection with my child now (which if she actually let me speak I could have said) but even so still experience lightheadedness, feeling faint (up to the point of passing out), nausea – all sorts of stuff that make pregnancy still difficult but I’m doing well with it now and coming out of a perinatal psychiatric appointment feeling worse about myself as a mother is not something I think is good and is kinda the opposite reason why I go.

That afternoon, the CPN called me but it was on an unknown number and I wasn’t in the mood so ignored it, she left a message asking if I could call her back to confirm an appointment for the 6th of May. I haven’t called her back. Partly because I just don’t want to but also because she asked me my preferred method of contact and I said text and she calls me so I’m just waiting to see if she calls me back.

All in all, I’m very underwhelmed by the perinatal team and regret being changed to them.