Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Crash Test Dummies

Sadly, clumsiness runs in the family, running prominently in Riley and me. While I was pregnant with him, I fell several times, after which Monkey wanted to cover me in bubble wrap everytime I went out. I quickly gained the nickname "Crash Test Dummy". Even before (and many times after), I have had countless accidents due to my clumsiness.

Riley is quickly catching up too. He has fallen from his changing table (I cried with him when it happened), from couches, beds, while trying to stand up, you know the drill, its what happens when you are trying to grow and discover new things. My little Rambo is very inquisitive and loves to climb, explore and get up to mischief. The last fall he had a few days ago nearly gave me a heart attack. He was busy playing on our bed, with me next to him. While I was busy preparing his medication (he has tonsilitis), he stood up on the pillows, like he loves to do lately, and hold onto the wall. Then he lets himself fall backwards onto the bed. Apparently its a lot of fun. But this time, he was close to the edge, opposite me, so when he fell, half his body missed the bed and he sumersaulted onto the floor. It happened so quickly, that I didnt have time to catch him in mid air. I ran to him and scooped him up while he screamed blue murder for five minutes. Then it was over and he carried on playing. Nothing was broken, all was good. Phew!

The very next evening, which was last night actually, Riley and I had our traditional wrestling on the bed before bedtime. I lasted all of 5 minutes then I was ready to give up. That kid has an immense strenght for a 11 month old! He pulled my hair, climbed on my chest and tried several times to bite me. So I put a stop to it eventually and announced it was time to drink bottie and go to sleep. I reached back with my hand to grab his bottle, and suddenly I felt myself slipping, fast, onto the floor. I didnt realise I was close to the edge of the bed and so I fell backwards on my butt and hit my head on one of the tables near the wall. I screamed in pain while Riley just sat on the bed, his eyes wide as saucers. Monkey came running into the room, expecting another Riley fall, when he saw me sprawled on the floor, struggling to get up. He helped me up and was a bit hesitant to laugh, but as soon as I started, he sighed and laughed too. He said that between Riley and me, we are going to give him heart failure very soon.

Unfortunately, I dont think this is the end of it. Im sure there will be more scrapes and bruises to follow - just hope its more me than Riley though!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Rocking the cradle

For the past month or so, we have been having plenty of trouble getting Woki to sleep in his cot in his room. It all started when he got a viral infection due to the change of season. Since he was feeling very poorly, we spoilt him a bit by letting him sleep with us. He got used to that idea very quickly and now it has been quite a challenge for us to get him to sleep on his own!

After struggling to get him to sleep the first 3 months of his life - sometimes up to 2 hours to get him to sleep at night, and daytime naps were almost non-existent - my sleeping routines kicked in. Woki would sleep on average about 2 hours during the day, which is acceptable, and fall asleep at 7pm after drinking a bottle and sleep right through till 7am - sometimes even later! What a blessing! I was quite chuffed with these developments and would often brag about it. Well, this came to kick me in the behind and it all went haywire the moment he turned 9 months.

Woki was diagnosed with asthma at 5 months, which wasnt a surprise since my dad and Monkey's sister both have asthma, and with all the birth saga, it was bound to happen. He had a really good winter, but as I mentioned earlier, as soon as we changed into spring he started to cough a lot and developed a fever. I took him to the doc, who realised that he had a viral infection with a tight chest as his asthma is still not under control. It just never ends for our little Woki.

We managed to avoid another hospital stay (we were back in hospital twice after the ICU saga) but Woki would keep on waking up at night and refusing to go back to sleep. Since I have to get up at 5am every morning, instead of trying to get him to sleep again in his cot, I would pick him up and take him to bed with us. He would then fall asleep almost immediately. I guess I only have myself to blame but being a working mom is hard as it is, and I try to get as much sleep as I can. I have to admit that we love him cuddling in between us though who would think that this little man can take up so much space in our bed???!!! And then there's the occassional hair pulling and punching, lol.

It worsened last week when he refused to sleep at all. As soon as I left his room, he would sit up and start to scream. I tried to leave him to cry it out for a bit (something I really hate, but I was at my wits' end) hoping he would eventually stop and fall asleep, but he only got worse. I regretted it immediately when I entered his room. He was sitting up once again, screaming his heart out with vomit all over his bed. He was so upset that he had thrown up all over himself. I called Monkey and we both felt like crying with Woki. We changed him and his bedclothes immediately and comforted him. That night he slept with us the whole night.

He has improved slightly. The last 2 nights he fell asleep while drinking his bottle, just like he used to in the past. I have being adding a drop of rescue remedy to his bottle - not sure if that's what helping, but at least its going better. The first night he only woke up at 3am. Last night at 12am. Its a challenge, but Im quite confident that eventually he will go back to his old sleep routine. In the meantime, Monkey and I have added a fluffy toy dog to our bed as well, and in a few days' time it should be full of mommy and daddy smells (hopefully nice smells). We will put this in Woki's cot so that he can smell mom and dad close to him. Im hoping that will work as well.

Now I just need to get some uninterrupted sleep!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

New Beginnings

It has been a while since I last ventured into the world of blogging. It could easily be two years - where did the time go? I used to have another blog, titled "Cazzy, the devil's mother" where I chatted about life, love and music. It was music that finally led me to meet my now husband - Monkey. After a year together, a little "oopsie" changed our lives forever - we found out that we were going to be parents. Oh the horror! How can two wild, party people possibly settle down and be, "swallow", parents??? Well, we managed, but it wasnt easy!!! In fact, little Riley, aka Woki (remember the ewoks from Star Wars? Monkey and I are huge SW fans. Our dogs are called Chewbacca and Leia, even our washing machine is called Darth Vader!!!), had a very rough start in life.

Pregnancy was tough - no drinking, early bedtimes, no partying. I was forever sick - not with morning sickness, thank god, but with colds, chest infections and constant coughing. It was a tough adjustment for me and poor Monkey had to endure my ever-changing mood swings. Everyone told me, get as much sleep as you can now, because that will be non-existent as soon as the baba comes. Oh! How I wish I had listened, but how the hell can a heavily pregnant woman get any sleep when there is a huge bump in my belly and my feet have swollen to the size of melons! And lets not talk about back pain!!!

From the start I elected to have a c-section - mainly because I have scoliosis and I was worried about having complications with natural birth. I just didnt want to risk anything. But oh yes, many mothers gave me disapproving looks and tried in vain to change my mind but you know what? It was MY choice, which I was entitled too. And my doctor agreed with me so that was that.

It was the day I was due for my c-section, 19 November 2009, that the real nightmare started. At 39 weeks, Monkey dragged my heavy load to Flora Clinic at the crack of dawn. I remember it rained that whole week. I had my scary premonitions but I just didnt expect all the bad luck we had from the moment we stepped into the hospital. Firstly, I wasnt booked for a c-section so there was no record of me coming in that day. Turns out it was a little bugger from the doc, but it was quickly all sorted out and I was settled into one of the beds. However, that meant that I wasnt going in first as I had hoped. In fact, I was one of the last. It was a long, long wait, and Monkey's pacing made it worse.

Sometime after 12:00, I was wheeled into the theatre. While Monkey changed into hospital garb, the anaesthesist began with the epidural. Problem No 2: Due to my scoliosis, he couldnt insert the needle (very BIG needle) into my spine properly. After 5 very excruciatingly painful attempts, I cried out for him to stop and just put me under. It was the last thing I wanted, but I couldnt stand the pain any longer. My dream birth was slowly drifting away into nothing. As I slowly went under, I sobbed as I thought how I was going to miss my baby's first cries as he entered this world. I wouldnt get to hold him in my arms and look up lovingly at Monkey - no happy family moment.

Next thing I knew, I woke up in the recovery room, with blaring yellow lights and a new excruciating pain - just under my abdomen. Did it all happen so quickly??? I was given some painkillers then taken back to my room. On the way the orderlies stopped outside the nursery and pointed out my baby to me. In my drowsy, blurry state, I managed to make out this big boy lying in an incubater. I couldnt make the connection that he was my son.

As soon as I was left on my own, I burst into tears. After all this anticipation, I had missed out on the most important moment - the birth. It was so heartbreaking for me that not even Monkey could console me. I kept on repeating "Im sorry, its all my fault". At least he was there, wide awake (though very very nervous) when Riley was born and even got to hold him. I was so proud of him that he didnt pass out.

Then, just when we thought we were out of the woods, problem no. 3 came: Woki still had liquid in his lungs, which is expelled as the baby comes out the birthing canal during a natural birth, so he had to remain in the incubator for a while longer. I couldnt wait to hold this baby. I was a mother, but I didnt feel like I was as yet. I waited and waited, eventually I was told that he still was breathing way too fast and was being taken to neo-natal ICU so he could be put on a ventilator. Monkey sorted everything out while I recovered in bed. So I didnt get to hold him.

I only got to see him the next day as one of the orderlies took me in a wheelchair to NICU. The sight I was met broke my heart into tiny little pieces. There was my baby boy, lying in a tiny cot, full of cables attached to him, plus a big tube attached to his face. He was sedated and obviously I wasnt allowed to hold him. I cannot describe what I was feeling at that moment, it was just too painful for words. This wasnt right.

So 3 days later I went home without my baby. This was the worst pain yet, worse than the pain below my abdomen, the pain of carrying a baby for 9 months and not having anything to show for it. Yes, I knew eventually I would get to take him home, but at that stage, there was no comfort for me. And it didnt help that the baby blues decided to kick in at the same time. Not a day went by that I didnt cry. Monkey was a blessing though, he stayed at home with me to make sure I was OK and tried to distract me as much as possible. Bless him.

I visited Riley as much as I could but I was sick of the nurses telling me that progress was slow. The paed had said to me that Riley could be in there for as much as 2 weeks!!! But I spent as much time as I could with him, talking to him, touching him, even though he was always sleeping. It was only after one week that he finally made huge progress, and I got to see him awake. What a beautiful baby boy! The day after, I held him for the first time and I didnt want to let him go. The nurses taught me how to bath him and feed him. It was a struggle but we did it. The nurses loved him, they called him a labrador puppy. The one nurse I will always remember and be thankful for is Vanessa, who gave Riley such good care - though I cant thank her for Riley's love of the TV now! One day I remember entering NICU and upon seeing Riley's empty bed, I went to the nurses lounge, and found Riley on her lap watching TV to calm him down. And it worked, lol.

Exactly 2 weeks after his birth, Riley finally came home. It took us a long time to bond as he got used to his new environment and we struggled with colic, feeding and getting him to sleep. The first three months were very, very difficult and many times Monkey and I felt like running away. But we stuck around, persevered and this only made us stronger. We now have a very happy, bouncy baby, whom we love with all our hearts. I can honestly say that I didnt know what true love was, until now. There is nothing I wouldnt do for this little being. So far it has been quite a journey, and I cant wait for whatever is around the corner. Join me and my little family in our greatest adventure yet!!