I think that just about sums it up! It’s a crazy, crazy life! Where to start?!? Well, firstly I’ll make the excuse that because my life has been that crazy, I haven’t written a blog post! Here is why…

If life wasn’t busy enough with a toddler under two, add a baby to the mix. Things get pretty interesting! Yes, I knew my life would change. I knew that every part of my routine I strove to create and had finally settled into would be turned on its head. And I was really bummed about that! For the first time in nearly two years, I felt on top of things and that I was finally juggling mommyhood with being a wife and a house cleaner all at the same time. I felt that I could finally attend to neglected areas and my spiritual life, my marriage, being a mommy, a friend and a cleaner of my home were achievable. I knew that would all change with a newborn and I’d go from a routine to virtually no indication of how each day would turn out. Thank goodness for a toddler who needs to bath and eat otherwise we might be starving, smelly parents who neglect ourselves to care for a baby. Said toddler needs some routine so thankfully some things have had to stay the same. Recovering from a C-section has also been challenging with a busy one-and-a-half year old. But that’s another story!

Anyway…

I literally haven’t had time to fold the washing the last two weeks! It has piled up from one load to 5 on our bedroom couch (and then floor, once the toddler tried to help me fold or used my panties as blankets for her dolls). Our newborn developed colic. At first, I thought it wasn’t as bad as our first daughter. She didn’t scream until she went hoarse. Nor was it every night for 5 hours. But then, I realised that her version was actually worse. It was unpredictable. If we wanted to medicate, I wouldn’t know when because she would flare up at different times every day. She cries for awhile after most feeds and seldom settles for more than an hour at a time unless she falls into an exhausted sleep strapped to us or pinning us down on the bed under her. Then, too afraid to put her down, we stay put until she next decides to wake up. It could be anywhere from ten minutes to four hours. She then starts writhing from the wind she swallowed at the previous feed. And, there are times where she starts to panic as she latches because she’s sore and then, either sucks in more wind because she’s squirming or won’t feed at all. To my relief, yes, relief, we found that she had a lip tie. Why relief? Because right there, I thought, was the answer as to why she wasn’t latching well. And, in turn, hopefully the reason she was swallowing so much wind and therefore battled with colic. To my joy, (only now!!) I discovered that my toddler also has a lip tie…colic explained!!! I was pretty hopeful that once we had our baby’s lip tie sorted, the colic would subside and her latch would improve drastically. According to the dentist who performed the procedure, he is conservative and doesn’t just zap every lip tie but, in our case, with feeding problems and how thick the skin was, he lasered hers and went on to say that he was sure it would make a difference because it was so thick.

Days turned to weeks and there was no improvement. In fact, things got worse. She had to learn how to feed again because now a habit had been formed. It must have been strange to her to suddenly have a floppy lip. As her wind swallowing worsened and every few seconds she slipped off because of a bad latch or because the wind she swallowed audibly compressed in her tiny tummy, I became more and more despondent. I didn’t try anymore to latch her properly. It made her more cross; she screamed more. She swallowed even more wind and became more inconsolable. I wouldn’t even look at her. My body tensed each time she drew a suck of milk because I’d hear her click, her now movable lip would jolt and slip then a big bubble of air would audibly be trapped inside. My arms would loosen around her in despair or yank her arm out the way so that I could see what I was doing. I would pull myself away violently and handle her roughly. Or I would let tears course down my cheeks letting her carry on drinking what she could get, wind and all. Putting her down on the bed and, eventually, almost throwing her down next to me became more and more frequent. My husband, hearing me sobbing and her screaming, would walk in and find her pumping every limb in angry pain on the bed or couch some distance from me. In desperation, we called in a lactation consultant about two weeks ago. She spent a good two hours with us and was exceptionally helpful. She said a lot of things that made sense. And, although the new feeding position suggested felt so unnatural and uncomfortable, it seemed to be the right thing to do. She helped me the first time and then waved goodbye.

After that, things went downhill fast! I could never quite get the right position. The pillows were the wrong size and always fell away from under my arm. It was a complete hit-and-miss as to whether they would actually prop us up at exactly the right angle. I contorted my body to try and get my daughter to uncurl or not fall between my arm and chest with her head at a 90 degree angle to her neck. It became impossible! Just latching her could take up to half an hour, never mind trying to get a good latch! I hit breaking point when, one day, her nappies were dry. It was not the first time this had happened. Ironically, milk was spewing and spraying from every tiny hole and both of us were drenched. But she wasn’t taking in a lot because she just would not latch properly. I kept taking her off each time she latched badly and sometimes she would just give up and scream or go back to sleep. I yelled at God. I sobbed into my hands. I left her crying on the bed. I fought her. And then, one evening about a week ago, I lost my mind! I put her down on the couch and ran to the bed and began to hit and punch the bed, screaming into the duvet while my baby lay screaming on the couch. I didn’t hear my husband walk in with my toddler in his arms (I thought that they were downstairs eating dinner) but I heard him say,

“Mommy’s feeling sad.”

Then the noise of a crying baby grew faint. I was horrified that my daughter had seen me lose it in a way that I never have before. I have never wanted to punch out my anger and frustration in my life. But that night, I let the bed have it. And my daughter witnessed it.  I screamed while she was in the room. She then said goodnight to a mommy with a blotchy, tear-stained face. Thank goodness she won’t remember that evening in ten years time! At that point, I called my neighbour and asked her to hold our colicky baby so that I could have just a few minutes to be the only one in my husband’s arms and on his lap. And I cried and cried. I was exhausted in every sense of the word. I was spent emotionally, physically and mentally. And I wanted to be where he had held my daughters. I wanted to be the one in his arms for a change. And, for the first time, I verbalised thoughts that I had been toying with. Maybe, for the sake of everyone’s health and sanity, it was time to give up breastfeeding and express instead. The thought broke my heart but maybe it was for the best. It killed me to think that I wouldn’t be giving my daughter the best I could, even more so knowing that I milk in abundance! But, as my husband said, our children needed a sane mommy not a stressed one. We organised to see the lactation consultant again the next day and discuss our options.

If colic, latching and our baby not sleeping off our chests wasn’t enough, the same night I hear a noise in my semi-sleep state. I bat my husband on the arm telling him I’ve heard a big bang. I then correct myself to “just a bang”. He gets up to investigate. This is a regular occurrence. I often hear things and get freaked out only for him to tell me its my cat or a window creaking. I close my eyes, attempting to go back to sleep (with a baby on my chest doing some skin-on-skin) when he marches back into the room and whispers,

“I think someone’s here.”

Well!!! My heart starts pounding in my throat! And terror grips me! I ask him what makes him think that. No, he saw someone leaning over our downstairs window. Then he saw torch lights. I forbid him from going downstairs and tell him to wait for the police to arrive. When they eventually arrive 45 minutes later, (the station is at the top of our road) they walk around our house and I see them shining a light on the very window the man was seen. He had done something to it because they spent a long time looking up and down and talking amongst themselves. As it turned out, the man was a push away from entering our lounge. He had cut the burglar guards and had started pushing it inward. To add to the chaos, my cat dashes in through that window because another cat has followed him home to cause trouble and, I think, nicked his leg on the cut burglar guard. I notice him limp up the stairs. Great! I think to myself!

We monitored him over the next few days and struggled to decide whether it was worth taking him to the vet. We decided to wait and get my parents to keep an eye on him while we went away for the weekend.

The day after the attempted break-in, we saw the lactation consultant again and she gave some more helpful tips. I didn’t feel as despondent as before and felt like I still had a few options before I got to the expressing breast milk stage.

Two days later, we packed up and went away for my brother-in-law’s wedding. We stayed on the farm close to the church and reception hall – perfect for a breastfed baby and a toddler. We were in a house with my husband’s whole family and what fun it was to catch up and spend time together. Our baby, however decided it was a great weekend to play up even more than usual. Our family of four slept all together in the same room, and, I was nervous. How would our toddler cope being woken up every three hours to a fussy, unsettled baby? And, only a dry wall separated us from my sister-in-law, her husband and her toddler. The first night was a disaster! We all barely slept. The baby didn’t last two seconds in her crib so she slept on my chest. Our eldest kept waking up (not due to the baby) complaining for the first time in her life that her tummy was sore and moaning as if she was nauseous. I lay awake for an hour waiting for her to throw up and praying like heck she didn’t have a tummy bug the night before she was supposed to be a flower girl!

The wedding day, our baby screamed all day! There came a point when I was feeding her almost every hour. When she slept, she slept restlessly strapped to me. My toddler was quite uncooperative before the wedding while we were getting dressed and as we walked to church, I was convinced, despite practising repeatedly the day before and her enjoying it, that she would not walk down the aisle with her cousin. But, after bribing her with speckled eggs, she, for those two minutes, cooperated beautifully and walked down the aisle without hesitation! Maybe it helped that daddy was crouching open-armed at the end of the aisle. I gave my sister-in-law a high-five as we ran to the side door to receive the girls from their daddies. Thank goodness for the side door at the chapel! I spent the service with my finger stuffed in the baby’s mouth (whom I had purposely fed just before the wedding to keep her calm…haha!) and rocking a toddler who just wanted daddy (who had to give a short talk and reading) and would have been quite happy to go to bed at 4pm!!! To cut a long story short, we didn’t make starters at the reception. We took them back to the house, put both girls to bed and hoped we’d be able to enjoy the rest of the meal we collected from the reception hall, together. Hilarious! The baby started to cry only tens minutes after we arrived home. I lost my marbles! I also cried because I had just had enough! And, all I wanted was half an hour alone with my husband, preferably in the reception hall dancing to “Country Roads”, “Sweet Caroline” and “Tonight’s Gonna be a Good Night”! Why?? Best DJ ever and we couldn’t be there?!? Needless to say, the wedding was beautiful, it was a really lovely day despite our miserable girls and so special to be a part of it!

We came home to a cat worse for wear. As were we! We eventually decided that we needed to take him to a vet. I cringed at the thought that they might want to do X-rays. It was a comfort that there was probably little they could do but give him an anti-inflammatory. So I decided beforehand that, should they wish to do X-rays, we’d just opt for the anti-inflammatory and hope for the best. Ha! Not so lucky! I phoned my husband and told him not to make any expensive decisions without me. No…they were busy sedating him, he told me.

What??? Why???

Apparently they needed to rule out a ligament injury. I spent the next hour praying it was not that while I spent time with a friend. My daughters started to both have meltdowns at the same time and we stopped talking to one another because we couldn’t hear each other anymore. In that moment, I felt sorry for my friend. She suddenly got a picture of what her life was about to look like in a few months when her second child was born. We left and went home. My husband brought our cat home half an hour later. He walked up the stairs cuddling and consoling a very sedated kitty.

“Do I want to know?” I asked cautiously,

“No.”

Guys, my heart literally sank! Thousands, and I mean, thousands to operate otherwise he would be in pain and medicated for the rest of his life. I don’t know that I would spend that kind of money on myself if I had it.

 

It has been 7 weeks since my second daughter was born and it’s been the roughest 7 weeks of my life! I don’t know how life will ever be somewhat normal again. And, from time to time, it feels like nothing more could go wrong. Like the other day, supper was prepped before we went to see the gynae and, with much fear and trepidation, I let my husband go and play a game of touch rugby. As he left a sobbing toddler crying his name with me, the lights went out. After asking the Lord “Why??”, I decided to use the gas, only to realise that my parents had the attachment with them 12 hours away. So my daughter and I stood in a dark kitchen, both on the brink of tears eating Easter eggs. I literally haven’t even had time to clean the craft paint off the sink in the bathroom or unpack a toiletry bag from the weekend. It feels like my hands haven’t been free for long enough.And then, to end it all off in spectacular fashion, my daughter gets sick. I’ve never seen her with such a bad cold. Yes sure, a streaming nose, a congested nose, coughing. But never watery, puffy, half-mast eyes. Never a temperature. Never 3 sleeps in a day. Never wanting to leave her friends to go home. Never coughing so much that she throws up. But this time, we got it all. There were a few times she had tears streaming down her cheeks, mixed with a river of snot and saliva hanging from her mouth. It was an impressive sight. Easter was started with a baby spitting up several times and then on new clothes while the older daughter had repeated meltdowns. We canceled two lunch engagements so that we didn’t pass on germs. We came back from church, got back into pajamas and ate toast for lunch. (Later, it got better with making Resurrection Cookies and having an Easter egg hunt.)

But everything has compounded! Right now, as I type this post, my husband has stood downstairs patting a fussy baby for the last hour and a half so that I could moan to all of you. Looking at my word count, I’ve realised that you got your word’s worth of two blog posts.

 

SO, I’m sorry that I’ve been quiet. But, it’s a crazy life!

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