Baby J is Three Months Today

February 24, 2011 at 10:47 pm (Uncategorized)

Weekly posts have clearly become more realistic than daily ones – certainly at least while Baby J is battling the Meanies. This week – touch wood, press thumbs, cross fingers – is showing very promising signs of being better than last, which really didn’t improve after my last post until the weekend.

That paragraph above was hastily typed on Tuesday, and here it is Thursday afternoon already. Baby J is awake. He needs a sleep, actually, since we’ve had a play, a feed AND a long chat since his last shut-eye, but he’s still reasonably composed – though that fisted grip on his blanket gives me some small cause for concern… Happily, Tuesday’s optimistic prediction has thus far proven accurate – we are having a much better week. Indeed, Baby J has not required any colic medication since Sunday. The Meanies – dare I commit these words to the screen – appear to be abating.

And I’ll tell you what’s cute: watching this little guy fight sleep as I sit typing beside him. We’re tuned to the classical music station on his little portable radio, he’s sitting in a lovely afternoon sea breeze, the curtains are flapping like a nimble chorus, and Baby J’s swinger gently rocks him from side to side, because, you see, we upgraded last weekend. It became imperative – confirming advice we were admittedly given right at the outset – that we acquire something capable of rocking itself. This whole foot-forever-on-the-bouncer thing was a total bust, a real mug’s game, especially for a child who needs to be upright more often than most. We were going stark raving mad. So now he has fallen asleep, albeit reluctantly, Jeremy Fisher sitting on the swinger’s plush headrest confiding something clearly of insufficient interest, and the thing keeps on rocking unattended. God, the relief. And I mean that literally, because I can now run to the toilet without interrupting the rhythmic motion that has finally lulled the little man to sleep.

I love the swinger.

So now there is a brief pause in my duties, and I am almost at a loss as to how best to use the time. I have already dashed around the house, pulling in and folding laundry, putting on another load (as necessitated by Baby J’s most recent masterful dump, a bodily spectacular six days in the making that narrowly avoided destroying said swinger but did succeed in filling, believe it or not, his belly button), peeling and boiling spuds to go with currently defrosting ‘Marriage Saver,’ tidying the nursery, loading the dishwasher, taking out the recycling and so on, and now here I am, finally, my computer strange on my knees like something I no longer know how to use.

I am reading a gift at the moment, from the lovely Samantha, whose IVF story some of you may recall from her wonderfully knowledgeable comments on various of my infertility posts. When Baby J was born, Samantha very thoughtfully and kindly sent me a copy of The Hand That First Held Mine, by Maggie O’Farrell. I finished Cate Kennedy’s The World Beneath a few days ago, which took FOREVER because of Baby J’s Screaming Meanies, but I’m comparatively galloping through the O’Farrell as he is so much improved that I can actually read while I hold him, something that couldn’t be attempted while he was in the grip.

I suspect I’m also bolting the novel because one half of the split narrative concerns a couple with a newborn baby. O’Farrell’s fictional depiction is astonishing in its familiarity and accuracy. I couldn’t hope to ever write about my own actual experience as well as she has succeeded in writing about an invented one. It has already left me a bit slack-jawed – the portrait is so uncanny. It’s the universalities that do it, of course, but the details with which they are furnished are truly striking, made all the more poignant (he’s awake and none too happy about it, by the way, so this post has just acquired a certain urgency) by holding my own new son while I read. I’m admiring the writing greatly, and must send Samantha a note of thanks once I’ve finished it. Talk about a well-chosen gift. My challenge will be succeeding as well when her own baby – that little miracle – shortly arrives.

As for The World Beneath, I enjoyed it very much too. I’ve mentioned Cate Kennedy a few times here; she conducted the short story workshop I attended a little while ago with Fugitive Pieces, and is one of Australia’s most renowned exponents of the form. This is her first novel, set mainly in Tasmania’s treacherous, Jurassic-style wilderness. The characterisations of the three main protagonists are both affectionate and unflinching – I lost count of the number of times I chuckled in recognition of one of these types. And the action was engrossing – I don’t want to give too much away, but most of you have probably heard of walkers going missing in one or another of Australia’s vast national parks, and it is always a race against time and conditions to find them and get them out alive. It makes for sobering reality, but gripping fiction, and Kennedy is another writer, like O’Farrell, with a really enviable eye for the telling detail. It is a rare skill, separating really great writing from the merely competent. And oh, how I love to read great writing.

Unexpected irritation: my internet connection isn’t working. God knows when I’ll get this up.

Postscript: In less than a day!

Post-postscript: Just in case there was any doubt about it, I had some cheese on my lunch today after one of the other mothers said she’s found a bit is okay for the reflux and colic, and it is NOT okay for us. We have just had his first Screaming Meanies all week, immediately following the very next feed. I can’t believe I did this to him. I won’t be dabbling in dairy again in a fit while I am still feeding this baby. Case closed.

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6 Comments

  1. Lilian Nattel said,

    I can’t believe it’s been 3 mo already! And you’ve got enough brain power to read. That’s a miracle, too.

  2. Pete said,

    Wow, three months! I think you’re doing incredibly well in battling the Screaming Meanies. And that swinger sounds like heaven. L says she wants one too. I started the O’ Farrell in the last days of L’s pregnancy and the birth trauma was too much for me just before our big day. But I really want to get back to it since I love her writing. (And I’ll email you a pic of our little one soon.)

  3. litlove said,

    Oh heavenly three month barrier! I’m so sorry that you had another episode at the end there, but at least you are getting a better idea about how to deal with the problem – and this IS parenting, as far as I can see. Something new comes along (and often dreadful) and you scratch you head, and then tear your hair, and then figure it out and finally refine it. But I am so very glad that all is headed in the right direction now, and I am sure things will get better and better. I’m looking forward to reading that Maggie O’Farrell novel, and I’ll also recommend Rachel Cusk’s A LIfe’s Work. My favourite book about early motherhood.

  4. Grad said,

    Has it honestly been three months? I feel like a lax and terrible friend. I keep promising and then not delivering, but I’ll do better. Imagine…three months already. Well, things are only going to get better…until he wants the keys to the car.

  5. Samantha said,

    Hello Di,

    I’m so touched that you are reading the book I sent you. Do you know I posted it the day you went into labour and it arrived at your post box the day Baby J made his entrance into the world? A total coincidence. The similarities between your story and the one contained in the book are striking. However, I can’t claim any special powers of prophecy!

    Thank you very much for the card and photo of Baby J. He’s a real cutie and I cannot help but see you in him. Do you see that too?

    I’m now 34.5 weeks pregnant and have just finished work to commence at least 12 months maternity leave. It will be strange not working as apart from three years at university and a small stint at unemployment, I have had a job since I was 12 years old (albeit a Saturday morning one) and at the grand old age of 40, it will feel a little odd not to have my own independent income once the 23 weeks paid maternity leave comes to an end (I get 14 weeks paid from my work and 9 weeks paid by the federal government (or 18 weeks at minimum wage)).

    My colleagues gave me a lovely send off and my gift was a nappy service for 6 weeks. I was thrilled as I had been looking for such a service and was disappointed to discover that there was probably only one such service remaining in Melbourne and hadn’t got around to calling them. Apparently 95% of parents use disposables and thus there is no market for such a service any more. Luckily for me there is still one and it’s not too far from my home.

    I’m doing very well. My two independent midwives are very happy with my progress and impressed with my overall excellent health; especially as an “elderly” primigravida where the obstetric profession has classified me as high “risk” due simply to my age and IVF conception. I’ve come to learn a lot about the meaning of risk during the pregnancy, not to mention the whole IVF journey.

    We are planning a home birth (with a water pool); a very rare thing in Australia (0.3% of all babies compared with 30% in the Netherlands). If a medical need arises, I will give birth at the Royal Women’s Public Hospital. My primary midwife has a transfer rate of 13% and it is usually primigravida’s with long and difficult labours who end up being transferred. The key is Optimal Foetal Positioning so baby and I are having a regular dialogue about being in the left occiput anterior position as it is often the easiest fetal position for the start of labour. Currently baby is right occiput transverse. Until the head engages, we have time up our sleeves but some babies won’t turn left occiput anterior until during the labour.

    I’m walking an hour a day to/from work (next week it will be to/from Yarra Bend Park); and in the mornings swim 25 laps in a 50 metre outdoor pool when the weather is fine (which this summer, has been few and far between). I’m also doing pregnancy yoga and practicing active upright positions for labour; not to mention reading lots of fabulous pregnancy books by Dr Sarah Buckley, Dr Sheila Kitzinger, Janet Balaskas, and Pam England; and baby and child development books by Sue Gerhardt and Oliver James, which D has also been reading (he also joins me for some pregnancy yoga in the spare room when he’s up for it). We’ve also done two independent childbirth classes one of which is run by a very well known natural childbirth educator who has been doing this work for 30 years. Fabulous woman.

    I’m giving myself the best chance of having a natural and normal physiological labour and birth while remaining cognizant of the reality that what is to come is unknown. I’ve now heard plenty of birth stories (most of which I am sad to say have been traumatic) so I am under no illusions. However, much of it is due to the politics of maternity care in this country (if you are interested, The Birth Wars by Mary-Rose MacColl and Our Bodies, Our Babies: the Forgotten Women’s Movement by Dr Kerreen Reiger, both Australian books make for enthralling reading.)

    Importantly, I feel good about the choices I have made and am very happy with the primary care model I have chosen. My midwives have 40 years experience between them and one has delivered 1000 babies at home (no mean feat in Victoria where a mere 300 or so are born every year). They are truly the guardians of natural birth (unlike many of their sisters in the hospital system who are really obstetric nurses). Interestingly they are both English where homebirths are 2% and in some areas of the UK upwards of 20%. Both of them were born at home in England as was my Dad.

    So what will be will be…. I’m looking forward to the journey wherever that takes me and meeting this little person growing day by day in my womb. They are certainly making their presence felt!

    I’ll be sure to let you know the outcome.

    Warm wishes,

    Samantha

  6. Woo said,

    Three months already? Good lord, it doesn’t seem possible.

    And if you and Baby J are having dairy problems (I can TOTALLY relate), you might try goats milk and goats cheese and goats joghurt. If I go near a cow dairy product my stomach goes into spasm and my skin breaks out, but goats now, ah, goats are an animal clearly beloved of the gods 🙂

    And good luck Samantha!

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