Gone Coastal

Friday, September 29, 2006

The ugly

I recently posted an updated perspective on a post I never found time to write back in June. I can't begin to count how many different posts I wish I could've made in the last three weeks. So much to share, and it all goes by so quickly.

But here I am with some time and a little energy to post again. This will probably end up something like four different posts in one, so please pardon the chaos - it reflects my life quite well. Some of this gets ugly, but it's real, and it seems important to me at this point to share that, too.

This week I found myself flirting with the post partum devil, depression. All the great roller coaster of the last few weeks, the short, and occasionally non-existent, nights, the attempts to get Trinity to gain weight back and overcome the jaundice while balancing the long-term trade-offs of all the different options, dealing with the Bear's brutal thumb injury, then his four days away, visits and tensions with families; all of it started to catch up on me. Wednesday morning, after the longest stretch of sleep I'd had in weeks, I found myself second guessing everything I did, including allowing myself to catch up on sleep. Would the time for myself set Trinity back again, as it had twice before, now that she was finally pink and gaining weight? Why wasn't she hungry yet? And later, why won't she latch anymore?

The cycle had actually started later the day before, and for pretty much two days, I could hardly look at my precious daughter without at least a lump in my throat, and often uncontrollable sobbing and crying. I was paranoid about every action I took, and every sign I saw, or didn't see, in Trinity. And the paranoia extended to other areas of my life and relationships. I knew I was irrational, and yet the rational arguments I clung to seemed unable to hold me. I spent much of the time tied to the nursery, and the deeper I sunk, the less I ventured out, not even going online for three days.

Thursday afternoon, I mustered the strength to go online and pour out my heart to a good friend by e-mail. Just that release of letting it out, confessing as it were how helpless I felt, seemed to stem the downward spiral. I think sometimes the Lord calls us to reach out to those he's given us, to take the steps to let someone else in when we're keeping it all inside. It's not the first time that I've witnessed an answer to prayer begin even before the request could possibly have been read. I dare not say that that's the end of the emotional struggles. Yesterday morning brought another wave with a voice crying 'Failure!', and there will no doubt be many new challenges to test me in the weeks, months and years ahead, but I'm grateful for the reprieve when it comes. For the peace and the perspective to look at Trinity, even as she cries for another hard fought meal (more on that later), and to smile, even cry with joy.

Often that initial reprieve, that which comes without reason, beyond understanding, is enough to let me check my perspective, and maybe hear that other small voice, offering encouragement and ideas for what to try next. The prayer coverage from friends is greatly felt and appreciated.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

The post I never wrote

Well it's just one of many posts that I've had in my head at one time or another and never birthed (something else on my mind?), but it's come back up again in an amusing manner.

Back in June, I think it was, I had thought to write a post for the women on the irony of a particular body change during pregnancy (consider yourselves warned, guys: this may be too much information ;). All the books and official sources, you see, say that the size of your breasts have no bearing on the quantity or quality of your milk production. For those of you who don't know me personally, or are not generally inclined to notice such things, I've always been rather well-endowed. I haven't been able to wear a cheap bra since junior high - there'd be simply no point.

So I had to ask, "Why is it, then, that they still have to get bigger?" By about a month into my pregnancy, I had to go down to the maternity store to find something reasonably inexpensive and comfortable I could wear at night, as they were aching terribly without full-time support. I got the largest size available, which wasn't really big enough, but was close enough to do the job at night. By early June, the last two good bras I had finally became unwearable and I had to search out something else. Even at the high end stores, they simply don't make maternity bras for even my pre-pregnancy cup size, let alone the swollen delivery systems they are now. Hence the question why.

Which leads to the next question. Why post about it now? Because of the great irony of a mystery solved. Trinity and I have been having great troubles working out the finer points of breast feeding, and yesterday I finally picked up on a clue to the reason, which was confirmed today. She just couldn't find enough nipple in all that fleshy breast hanging off my chest. I guess technically the books said it wouldn't effect the milk, not that it wouldn't effect how the baby's supposed to get to it.

Thankfully, the great folks down at The Mothering Touch store were able to work out a solution with us earlier today, and she's been nursing up a storm since. Which is where I'm off to now.



Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Got Milk?

I'm happy to report I can finally answer that question with a resounding 'YES!' Now we just have to convince Trinity that it's worth the effort to suck it out herself. While we were most grateful Monday night for a long stretch between feedings, allowing us to catch up a little on the elusive shuteye, by mid-morning yesterday she had us concerned as she was rather too content to just keep sleeping rather than eating. Our first checkup with the Doc early afternoon confirmed officially that she was fairly jaundiced - not too uncommon in newborns - but by then she was more than just a bit yellow, but resembling much more a ragdoll than the spunky fighter that came out of me just a few days before.
It's been a very long day and night since, with formula supplements and extra attention to keep her active and alert, but late yesterday, Trinity was finally able to prime the pump for me, so to speak. The milk has been flowing with ever greater consistency since, with the help of a pump (sucking again in the background as I type - the only reason I can find time to post this) and together with the formula feedings she's turning the corner and perking up again. Still a little lazy with the actual feedings, but the day is still young.


so many posts, so little time...

First, a very brief post to officially break the news on Gone Coastal.

On Friday, September 8, 2006 at 4:09pm, baby Trinity Alexa came into the world at large from the depths of my belly. She came with a fuzzball of hair (gets a little lighter abd closer to mom's blonde each time it's washed), chubby cheeks and 9lbs 12oz of Viking constitution. But I think she's got Papa Bear's eyes. She measured up at 53.5cm long with a whopping 37cm around her head.

Needless to say we think she's beautiful. She came home with us Sunday, a special birthday present for Papa Bear. Much has happened that I've wanted to share since, and much adventure continues. I'll post as sleep and newer duties allow.


Monday, September 04, 2006

This afternoon provided a perfect example of what the coast is to me. The Bear and I went down to the shoreline in front of Beacon Hill Park. After watching the kite surfers spin around in the surf for a bit, we took some stairs down the bluff to the beach and picked our way along the glacial carved rocks, crashing driftwood and rolling pebbles.
That's the physical picture, the setting. But what never ceases to amaze me is the clarity of thought that it seems to precipitate. Watching the kite surfers, the Bear commented on how much change had come just in our lifetimes, including the technological advances that made a canopy lightweight and efficient enough to skip over the water from. As we walked the shore, I thought about something I hadn't for a long time. I remembered that as a rather typically miserable teenager, I'd gone through a long phase where I was quite certain I never wanted to have kids of my own. My outlook on the world and its future was so grim that it seemed to me cruel to willingly bring a life into it. If anything, I would adopt a child, give whatever I might have to offer as a parent to someone who was already in this world.
That was a long time ago, and clearly much more than my perspective on parenting has changed since then, but remembering that perspective even as we await the arrival of our baby raised some of the fears that still linger about becoming parents. I do still wonder at times what kind of world will this be by the time our children are able to take their place in it. With the changes in technology in just our own lives so far, and the impact they've had on life, culture and society, what will we see in the rest of our lives and the lives of our kids and even grandkids? Will we be able to ground them and equip them sufficiently to deal with it? Are the lessons we've learned in our lives going to be applicable to the times they'll live in, if we're successful in passing it on?

I'd love to hear your perspectives on this whole stream, especially those of you who are farther along this generational journey (even if some of you are actually younger than us late starters!)

Labour Day?

Well, not for us. At least it doesn't look that way currently. We were hoping that maybe the irony of labouring on labour day would be enough to encourage our little one to come out and join us, but she(?) seems pretty content to hang out for now. It seems I'm following my mother's pattern pretty closely, though I was only a week late for her, and we've just past that point.
I went for a non-stress test on Thursday, which basically means lying on my side with a monitor on my belly watching to see whether the baby's heartrate goes up with the little kicks and wiggles. Everything did what it was supposed to. Then there was another ultrasound, where I learned that there's seems to be plenty of fluid around this apparently healthy baby. Oh, yeah - the baby's got long legs - which probably comes from my side of the family. Lends weight to our current theory - that it's a girl. We'll get another status report from the doc tomorrow afternoon, following another internal exam. Other than that all we do is wait. Or to make life interesting, she'll decide to start all the action tomorrow, while the car is in the shop getting a new transmission (fortunately under warranty).
While at the hospital on Thursday, I ran into our neighbour, Jeff, who was visiting his brand new daughter in the special care nursery. Mom and baby both came home earlier this weekend and are doing well. Soon enough we may be trading off babysitting services.
The Bear has just reinsured the motorcycle, so he can leave me the car without having to take the big truck - which currently has the camper on the back as a portable crash-pad should I need to stay in the hospital for a time. I think I'll get him to take me for a last ride (it'll be awhile I'm sure before I'm free to ride with him).
We picked up our new blinds yesterday and them installed in our bedroom and in one of the new windows in the nursery. The second one will go up after some shuffling of boxes and shelves to allow access to the other window. They look really nice, though, and when the last of the boxes have been tucked away, I'll take a few pictures.

And I guess that's all there is to say today.