Tuesday, July 28, 2009

it was a day like any other day

sunday dawned, as it does; the day unfolded, as days do.

but this wasn't any ordinary sunday: sunday 26 July 2009 is the day I last nursed baby-Lo.

breastfeeding's been a trial at times. from the early days when baby-Lo struggled to feed because she had a sore neck (osteo fixed that) and "tiny mouth", and I struggled to feed her with cracked nipples and aching breasts.

3 weeks in we'd faced our first 2 bouts of mastitis and a breast abscess. 5 or so more bouts of mastitis, oversupply, nipple thrush, overactive letdown - we had our share of difficult times.

there were plenty of feeds where I cringed, cried, and just wanted it to be over. there were a lot of times I just wanted to make it to the next milestone - 3, 6, 9 months.

by 10 months in we were in a great rhythm - my body was finally making only to meet demand, the engorgement had settled, it was all good.

by 12 months it was going well, and we seemed to have had such a short time of success that I wasn't ready for it to end. we supported one another when times were tough with gentle touches and seemingly boundless patience when it seemed so hard. I for one didn't think we'd make it that far.

we've nursed on planes and in cars; in public but mostly in private.

and we've not done it alone. early on we had the support of a lactation consultant who came to home, I've spoken to ABA counsellors on the phone and in person.

and throughout it all there's been the strong influence of superdad. SD has stood by us (literally and metaphorically) through it all. he's poured water down my throat, propped pillows, delivered a freshly changed sleepy babe to even sleepier mumma. he's always said "you're doing the best job, babe". he's never once questioned why I wanted to keep going, never made a disparaging comment about why we're still feeding.

but the line? I've drawn it in the sand.

baby-Lo's ear infections have settled (thanks grommets!), but her silent reflux is only being managed with a huge dose of meds.

milk exclusion hasn't worked. the next step is a strict elimination diet. a strict diet we both need to adhere to while we're still nursing. it may seem odd that despite pain and pus, and blood and plenty of tears, that it's food that's finally made me call it quits.

it's not quite that simple of course. the prospect of me potentially screwing up a strict elimination diet by accepting a proffered biscuit is not a risk I'm willing to take when it means risking finding an answer for baby-Lo. she needs my help, and I'll be better able to help her without extra mummy guilt making me worry about every mouthful I eat.

I'm so happy we've made it this far - a few days shy of 18 months. a real achievement I never thought we would have.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


this morning, SD and I spent a few hours sorting through some of our... possessions. I'm reluctant to call them that when in truth I mean that we sorted through some of dozens of boxes of our things that we've had stored at SD's folks' place for (I'm ashamed to say) almost 3 years. the earliest boxes honestly date from August 2006 with another batch from October that year, and more still from the December.

you see, in August 2006 we were planning our wedding. we knew our groovy west melbourne pad was not where we wanted to live when we started our family, and so in anticipation of selling up we started to pack. the idea was to minimise in preparation for putting the apartment on the market. October saw more of the same packing, then we were married in November so the boxes of wedding gifts were added to the ever-increasing load at SD's folks' place. you can see where this is going, can't you?

we moved house in August 2007 when we were 4 months pregnant. what didn't fit into our teeny wee home was... added to the storage.

so we have literally dozens of boxes, many of which we've not even opened in 3 years.

it's horrifying.

so I've been thinking a lot lately about how, to me, my possessions (and purchases) are talismans. they represent something to me - and often that something is a memory, or a time in my life, or an aspiration. these dozens of boxes are filled with such symbols.

there's the boxes of books (Kerouac's Satori in Paris that I bought in, you guessed it, Paris; Joyce Johnson's Door Wide Open that I bought when I read loads of books about different characters in the Beats; this book I bought on spec at the Tate Modern - I'd joined for my birthday and the title was irresistible to me). boxes and boxes of books that all mean something and remind me of someplace or sometime special.

there's the boxes of clothes (the exquisite Valentino silk brocade coat I bought at a sample sale - iridescent hues of purple and teal; the dress I wore at my 21st; my wedding gown).

there's the boxes of linens (the chuppah we married under; the hand-printed bedlinen my parents bought us as a wedding gift). and then there's the boxes of wedding gifts (most of which we registered for as we love them - but we just do. not. have. room. for them right now).

there's boxes and boxes of empty wine bottles that we haphazardly displayed atop our kitchen cupboards in our old apartment - each one reminding us of another great evening with friends, or a wedding, or a celebration of some kind.

I have all of these things that are beautiful to me in one way or another, and yet they're shoved in boxes and I don't see them.

I don't think it's appropriate to callously dispose of them (the boxes haven't been opened in 3 years, you say, you don't need them!), I can't bring myself to donate much of it (yet, maybe this will change), and yet it breaks my heart to think I own these beautiful things and don't enjoy them.

I guess part of me had hoped that I would find, today, as I opened boxes that my feelings had changed and that these possessions would have lost some of their significance; that I would be able to let go.

and yet I've found they still hold power over me, they still hold memories (all good - the bad ones are long gone), and so they really are talismans for me still.

Friday, July 17, 2009

a break in transmission

That was a long break in transmission!

From good days, to bad nights, to bad news, to rough trots. I think that about covers it.

Crafting has been low on the agenda as we try to come to some conclusions and decisions about how to approach recurrent ear infections/suspected ongoing silent reflux/night screaming/potential allergies/possible food intolerances.

Are you following? No? I'm confused too.

But finally, finally, we have a plan, man. In no particular order we're going to...
  • wean
  • postpone gastroscopy and ph probe testing
  • stay off dairy for another 2 weeks
  • blitz with probiotics & slippery elm
  • roll with the nights as they come (with stricter guidelines for ourselves, and greater consistency about how we approach the night waking)
  • postpone the strict elimination diet til after we've weaned

Phew. That's it. Onwards and upwards!