5 weeks and 1 day, I have no idea where the time went! Charly is changing daily now, she is no longer just a little creature that eats and sleeps. She has long periods where she is awake and alert; where she turns her head when she hears my voice and she stares into my eyes for ages until her little eyes cross. One of my very favourite things she does is try to suck her thumb, she simply cannot figure out the logistics of it yet though and so ends up chewing on her little fists and twisting her hands this way and that to try figure it out; I have no doubt she will soon (and no, she isn’t doing this because she is hungry, this is one of the best fed babies in the world & her ever-increasing weight proves that conclusively).
This new mommy business is something nobody could have put into words for me even had they tried. Yes, it is hard; the lack of sleep can make you feel you are losing your grip on reality; the pitch of the screaming is something you can’t compare to anything else and you feel like you are constantly feeding or being covered in smelly bodily fluids. Strangely, none of that has bothered me as much as I expected it to.
It is when you know that the real volume cries are a symbol of a very real pain that your child is feeling, that even though she is so little she can only process tiny amounts of information, the largest portion of that is pain that she cannot express and so much worse, that you cannot take away. That is what makes this hard for me, the overpowering love I feel for her coupled with helplessness of the highest degree. I am so angry at any power that you might believe in that my tiny helpless baby is suffering, there can be no reasoning behind it.
I mentioned in a previous post that Charly was suffering from tummy troubles and if you follow me on Twitter, you would have seen that there has been progress on that front in terms of identifying the problem. Last week Monday I finally gave into my new mommy paranoia and went to the paediatrician. I have been visiting the clinic sister, Stella (who is wonderful), at Synergy pharmacy in Belvedere Road for the three weeks before that, but I just felt Charly needed something more in terms of the amount she seemed to be suffering.
I went back to the paediatrician that was at her delivery, since I knew I needed to go back to him at 6 weeks anyway and I didn’t have the name of anyone closer. My wonderful Dr Cloete recommended him highly and so I went with that, sadly there is only one Dr C (I plan on trying to convince him to train as a family doctor so that he is the only doctor we need ever again). The paediatrician did discover that she was in all likelihood suffering from reflux, which was unsurprising considering how strongly it has run in my family, and he prescribed 2 different types of medication to help her.
In answer to my never ending insistence that something was very wrong with Charly’s bottom (with a “nappy rash” that had lasted over 3 weeks and gotten progressively worse), I was simply told I was overfeeding making her tummy work too often and then I was wiping her bottom as opposed to dabbing it; I had already begun only using cotton wool and water so I couldn’t be accused of making it worse that way. I’m sure the Dr never intended to make it sound like my fault, but nonetheless that is how I left feeling.
The day after I started giving her the medication she started spitting up in much higher volumes and so I called the paediatrician to follow up and was told to simply stop giving her the meds and see if that helped and if it got worse to follow up. Of course I did this, but it didn’t feel like enough – what was I meant to be doing to ease her pain? Was there an alternative? I simply am not a fan of experimenting by stopping and starting medications with my 4 week old. Charly’s bottom had also gotten worse and so I felt frustrated and afraid while my child was clearly suffering and I turned to you my wonderful readers and followers and asked for guidance to a new paediatrician. I got hundreds of responses across all mediums & settled on Dr Lara Smith, based on the main road in Claremont.
We took her in on Thursday and I am so glad I trusted my instincts. Dr Smith is wonderful, I felt instantly at ease with her and she was amazing with Charly. She took the time to listen to my list of concerns, addressed them all and gently examined Charly. She diagnosed the rash as thrush & prescribed medication for us both, including instruction to contact her this week should the rash not improve. She also said to not give the reflux medication unless Charly was clearly going off feeds (hahahahahaha) or seemed to be struggling with that specifically, & should we use the meds, use one at a lesser dosage than the original Dr prescribed (which we have only needed once).
Sadly the rash not only had not healed but by Saturday it had worsened, looking like severe first degree burns & Charly howled from the pain every time she passed gas or peed or pooped. By Monday, both of us were finished, cried out and had slept maybe 3 hours. Following up first thing Monday morning (& getting feedback & a new script even though Dr Smith was off after a 3 day shift at Kingsbury) we finally got the cream – literally the last tube in Cape Town – which is actually a treatment for burns. It is the first thing that I have been able to apply that didn’t cause Charly to scream and after 24 hours, I am feeling cautiously optimistic that her bottom looks better even if it isn’t feeling better as yet.
Time is a funny thing when you have a baby. Before, you judge the passing of time in days, that isn’t really possible when you are a new mommy and your baby needs to feed every 3 hours (from the beginning of the last feed mind you). Day & night are irrelevant, they are just part of the feeding cycle and you feel more tired when darkness falls. Whereas in the past there were slow days and fast days, now every day is fast – flying by, leaving no trace as to the actual hours. Every day I plan to write a little, nap where I can, maybe watch a favourite episode of a show; and then at the end of the day, if I am having a very productive day, I have bathed myself & the baby, eaten 3 meals, answered one or two emails and posted on Twitter or Facebook.
And all of that is a really long explanation for my silence and the lack of a post on the c-section. I am going to try my very best to write at least 1 paragraph every 2 days until it is done, as I think it is worth sharing with my many soon-to-be mommies. My summary – avoid it if you can. Yes, I know I was totally neutral before, but that was before I had actually had the experience. The actual op was not that bad, even when a few things go slightly wrong, especially if you have a wonderful ob-gyn & anaesthesiologist like I did. The recovery, for me at least, was too much. In the case of no choice though, as it was with me, it is manageable. Now I need to grab an hour of sleep before Charly’s next feed.