Monday, July 26, 2010

Love when inspiration strikes

This afternoon I had no idea what to make for tea and then suddenly I came up with a plan...Honey Soy Garlic stir fry with "chicken" pieces from the quorn range. I just had to take a pic of all the fantastic vegetables...It was yum.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Breast is best?

Ask any expert, read any parenting book and you have to agree that there is no denying the fact that breast is best. But is breast best when your 7 month old decides to totally reject one side so you end up looking like a lop sided Dolly Parton?

If you were to ask me how long I would be feeding my baby boy for, the answer would have been, 12 months. Did I think that I would wean him at 7 months? The short answer is, no and the long answer is that he kind of made the decision himself.

When my first born entered the world I was determined to feed her in the way that God intended but then she was born just over a week early at 5lb 2oz with undiagnosed IUGR (basically this just means failure to thrive in the womb due to a dodgy placenta). This meant that she had to enter special care until she was a decent weight and feeding independently (without a tube).

After the wonderful public system sent me home without my baby (she had to stay in special care for over a week but I was only allowed to stay for two days!) I was desperate to do anything to get her home. However, her sucking reflex was very poor which meant she had to be tube fed with formula and expressed breast milk to help her gain weight quickly.

At that stage if you asked me how I intended to feed my daughter, the answer was, anyway that will get her home quickly! In the end she put on weight very quickly which lead to her sucking reflex becoming stronger and finally she came home and was a fully breast fed baby for the next 14 months.

When my second child was born she was a breastfeeding natural. She latched on straight after birth and continued to feed for over an hour. The truth of the matter is that we wanted her to stop feeding because she hadn’t even been weighed yet! This early success meant she was a fully breastfed baby until just over 12 months.

Then Benjamin was born with IUGR, 4 weeks early by emergency c-section at a low birth weight (the same as his eldest sister in fact!) and I was sure he would have all the same feeding issues as Emily. But he came out of the womb and was a vigorous feeder (painfully so!!!) and I thought that was that.

But as I said before, he started to reject me about a month ago and I really wasn’t sure what to do. I was on the cusp of hiring an electric pump to increase my supply and flow when all of a sudden I just decided it was too hard and weaned him off the one remaining boob!

How did I feel after he took the bottle that first time? I have to confess that I felt guilty, I felt some grief, I felt some pain at the thought of the cost and I also felt like a failure. Should I have tried harder, done more, not given up?

The truth is that when I was first out at the shops feeding him with the bottle I just wanted to yell out to everyone, “He rejected me! I would still be feeding him! I breastfed my other two children for over 12 months! Don’t judge me!” etc, etc, etc…

And then I watched my dear husband feeding his son. How did I feel? You are expecting me to say that this tugged on my heart strings and made me feel all gooey inside but the truth of the matter is that the first emotion I felt then was RELIEF followed by FREEDOM!!!

I have just finished feeding my son. It is the middle of the night. I have held him close in much the same way as I did when he was breastfeeding. I have had great eye contact the whole time. He has held my hand and smiled at me while I am feeding him his bottle. He has finished and cuddled in for a few minutes until I get up and put him back to bed.

So now, how do I feel? The truth is that I feel exactly the same way I did when I was breastfeeding him; that it is the middle of the night and I wish I was still sleeping!!! No, just kidding!

I enjoy that quiet, sleepy night feed when bubs isn’t trying to look at everything and big sisters aren’t trying to get his attention (or mine) and he is blissfully staring up at me in adoration and I just know that I am supplying all his needs in the way man intended – via bottle. I can’t complain. He is happy and so am I.

Infrequent friends...

Do you have friends that you don’t see very often? Do you have friends who live in the same state and city as you but you still don’t see very often? Do you have friends who you haven’t really spent much time with but would love to spend more time with? We do.

Yesterday we had the joy of visiting another church with the Lilydale Adventist Academy Choir. Lynden is a member of the stage band (yes, band camp nerd alert!!!). The highlight of this visit for me was going to be catching up with some friends that we never get to see and who we wish we could see more of.

And so, earlier in the week I sent a Facebook message to said friends to alert them to the fact that we were heading their way. When I sent the message I was worried it sounded like we were fishing for a lunch invite but at the same time I was hoping that they would see the post, know we were coming and invite us to lunch so we could spend time together. Message read, received and invite sent and we had lunch together.

It was such a lovely afternoon! The kids played with their daughter and were so blissfully happy. We enjoyed great conversation, lots of laughs and lots of yummy food.

Our hosts have a pet snake which Em thought was very exciting (so did I!) and we spent lots of time “cuddling” it.

I wonder if when God invented Sabbath he had afternoons like this in mind? I sure hope so because they are fantastic. I wish we lived closer to these friends and could spend more time with them.

They know who they are and we will be returning the favour and inviting you our way very soon!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Conquering Coeliac's Disease

Last year we were faced with the scary prospect that Emily might have something wrong with her. That she might have some sort of syndrome or disorder. In fact, my doctor had referred me to a specialist to check for dwarfism.

I kind of laughed about the whole dwarfism idea but deep down I was worried that the referral and visit to the specialists at the Royal Children’s Hospital would reveal something nasty and life threatening.

Why were we worried, why did we go to the doctor and seek that referral? If you have seen my two beautiful daughters (who are 21 months apart in age) you would agree that they could be mistaken for twins. I am constantly stopped in the shops and asked if they are twins. Sometimes when Em sees an adult at the shops staring at her and her sister she will automatically say “we aren’t twins, she’s three and I’m five”.

When you look at my girls you can see that they are related but what people also see is that they are pretty much the same size. This is one of the things that lead us to the doctors. Emily is quite petite and very small for her age.

The main reason we went to the doctors was the fact that Emily, who at this stage was 4 years old, had never had a firm number two in her life. I went to the doctors because I was sick of wiping my 4 year old’s but!

After the first visit we were sent off for a blood test that was going to check all sorts of things but the most worrying screen was for chromosomal disorders. I carried a small niggle in the back of my mind that something could be wrong, she is going to have some nasty disorder that is going to affect her whole life, she is never going to grow any bigger, she is never going to be able to wipe her own bottom!

We had an appointment to go back to the hospital in a month’s time. We had been informed that if it was something serious, we would get a phone call before that time. As the days ticked by I started to feel some relief because we hadn’t had a phone call and then about a week before we were due to go back to the hospital for the results, we received a phone call from the paediatrician.

I was sitting at my desk at work when my mobile rang. I hurriedly answered it and heard, “This is Dr Robyn from the Royal Children’s Hospital” and honestly, my heart stopped or skipped a beat or did something to make me feel funny and then I felt this white heat spread over my whole body. Oh no, the hospital is ringing me! It must be bad.

And then she says, “We have the results back from Emily’s tests and it looks like it is Coeliac’s Disease”. The doctor then talked for a bit more but honestly, I wasn’t listening, I have to say that all I was feeling at that stage was relief! I was so pleased it wasn’t some awful disorder. It was the best possible result (after not having anything wrong and just being petite with runny poos!!).

Now, 12 months on we have had the formal diagnosis and have been feeding Emily a gluten free diet for six months. We have been very strict with Em’s diet because feeding a coeliac is the same as feeding someone with a dairy allergy. While some coeliac’s don’t have a visible reaction, lots of damage is done to their insides when they have gluten and that has to be avoided.

We have seen some changes in Em, she is growing more quickly and yes, she now has firm number twos! We have just been back to the RCH for follow up blood test results. I have been waiting for these test results. These results will reveal the truth.

Have we been strict enough? Do we need to do separate cheese, separate margarine, stop getting hot chips from our favourite place that cooks crumbed fish in the same oil as the chips, do we have to stop feeding her foods that contain the warning “may contain traces of gluten”? We have already made so many changes; do we have to make more?

But the results were fantastic - normal! Hooray, we have conquered it, we are doing the right things and her body is working the way it should. She is no longer anaemic and her iron stores are good. I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is.

Well done my brave Emily! There are times when you will have to sacrifice and be sad because there are things you can’t have but you are healthy and growing because of it.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Musical Beds

Picture the scene: It is 7.13pm. All three kids are in bed, asleep. The kitchen is clean and the debris of the day has been put back where it belongs.

What do you do on a Friday night at 7.13pm when all the above has been achieved? Well, I don't know what other people do but I know that Lynden and I (being the parents of three small children, the workers of one demanding job and one home business and the owners of a house that required never ending attention) go to bed to read and sleep!

After being asleep for a few minutes (at about 7.30) Benjamin starts to cry. He has a bad cold and is unwell. Lynden gets up to settle him while I snuggle deeper under the covers.

Over the next hour I get up a couple of times to settle him and finally after the fourth time getting up, I realise I am going to have to put Benjamin in bed with us just so we can get some sleep.

There was a problem though. I CANNOT sleep with my kids in the bed. I am one of those people who HATE it! But I came up with an ingenious plan…I decided to slide the spare bed in Ben’s room up against the cot so I could just reach my hand out and pat him every time he woke.

Later in the night, Jess came to visit our room and when she realised mummy wasn’t in it, she decided to take my place.

At 2.30 (when I was up getting more medicine for Ben and refilling the humidifier), Lynden put Jess back in her bed.

In the early hours of the morning, Em came to visit our room for something and when she realised mummy wasn’t in the bed, she hopped in.

By the time morning came all the girls in the house had slept in another bed at some time during the night. I can tell you that while the others slept, I didn’t!!! So tired…