Posts Tagged ‘The Alex Community Health Centre’



June 18, 2009

The last few weeks have been… odd for me. I feel down and a bit depressed.

I’m not getting any work done around the house (not like I did much before, but now I’m not even doing the laundry and that was MY Thursday thing).

I want the elliptical moved out the garage because it was $60 and it doesn’t have an even stride on it. I love ellipticals. I thought great, I can get on there when Penny’s playing, and lose some of my baby weight (still 20 lbs to go). NOT! I want to clean out Penny’s room – she doesn’t use the swing, and now that she’s a rolling machine she doesn’t need the bouncer. There’s excess crap in there that needs to be either moved downstairs or gotten rid of to make it a little girl’s room.

I want the crap cleaned off the kitchen table. I mean, it’s not like we use it, but it has seriously become a catch-all for everything that doesn’t have its own place. Toaster, wine glasses, 3 dish towels, vase of flowers my wonderful husband brought me because he thought I was down, tupperware containers, a bowl set that I want to get rid of, a basket full of bottles and pump parts. Not to mention the box underneath the table with food for the food bank and a bag of old washcloths that I’m getting rid of.

The bathroom needs to be cleaned. Our room needs to be vacuumed. The runner is still sitting on the front step from when I swept. The front garden bed has grass growing into our bedroom window (not literally but it’s about 3 feet tall), the dog can’t find a place to do her thing in the backyard because THAT grass is so tall. I had been making an effort to go through our stuff downstairs and get rid of garbage and junk and repack (neatly) the stuff that we still need to keep. Then I go downstairs yesterday and it looks like someone dropped a bomb in the basement. The lawnmower and weed-whacker are down there (because our landlord has yet to get the previous tenant’s shit out of the garage). My computer is in pieces down there. There’s boxes of crap, there’s rubbermaid buckets of crap. Oh crap, there’s my all-season tires which should be on my car. It’s June and 30 degrees and I have winter tires on still. Then again, it took me until December 10th to get the winter’s put on.

I just look at everything that needs to be done around here and I feel like shutting down. I can’t do it all myself, and I’m not even expected to. Court’s a big help. He’s been doing laundry the last couple of weeks (even though our definitions of “doing laundry” differ). Court cleans the kitchen… it’s his domain, and if I even dare wash one sink of dishes or put clean ones away, he goes into a tailspin thinking he’s not good enough for me and doesn’t do enough around the house for me. He remembered to take the diapers out before the garbagemen came this morning – for which I’m thankful. He does extra work for people on the weekends to make some extra money (which I am oh so good at spending). He’s a great husband! He cooks, he cleans, he treats me like a queen. If he’s getting up, do I need anything. If he’s sitting down with me, do I need anything. Can he get me a drink, do I want my feet rubbed, do I want to change the channel? He’s supportive of everything I do, and everything I could want to do. He’s supportive of me. He loves me and is very vocal (sometimes a little too vocal) about it. And he likes to show me he loves me too. He’s perfect for me, we’re perfect for each other.

So when he asked me last night why it feels like everything he does is wrong, and things don’t feel right between us, I adamantly said no, nothing’s wrong. But something IS wrong. I’m reminded of the movie Juno. “I feel like something has come between us,” she says, with a very pregnant belly in between them as they try to hug. Something has come between us, and her name is Penny. We both love her very much. We both devote our time and energy to her. It hasn’t left much for us, individually or as a couple.

I know we’re not the first parents to be affected by having a baby. By the way, have you noticed that I really hate when people tritely say “You’re not the first woman/parent/mom/couple/person to be go through __________”? I don’t care how many people have gone through it before me. They are not me. They don’t have my life experiences to know how to respond to any given situation the way I need to respond to it.

Anyway, back to drifting apart. I can go to all the parenting websites and read about making sure we have a date night just for us. The articles I read though just seem so impersonal and fact based, and don’t take into account what’s actually happening in different people’s lives. For example, I am exclusively breastfeeding. I have been unable to pump any significant amounts of milk (hence my email to Stacey at to come get the pump I rented). Penny refuses to eat formula (SMART GIRL!), and refuses to drink from a bottle. She doesn’t eat enough solids yet to base a meal solely on that. And she still eats every 2 hours during the day (day being when I get up to when I go to sleep). So tell me, how are we supposed to go out for dinner without her? How are we supposed to go to a movie without her? Penny goes everywhere with me. At this point, I am her supplier of all things food related, and I don’t see that changing overnight.

Maybe that’s what’s bothering me. We’ve been experimenting with solids – some pureed, some solid food like cantaloupe and cucumber. The solids don’t make a full meal for her yet. But maybe I’m depressed by the realization that soon they will be, and I’m mourning the nursing sessions that solid food will replace. I also have no idea how to transition to solids. Sometimes she’ll eat something, then nurse after. Sometimes she’ll eat a full meal of solids, but then that will leave me engorged. Or this is what happens in my mind – we haven’t actually tried yet.

Has anyone gone through this stage (and by that I mean lots of moms have gone through it, but are you willing to talk to me about it) of drifting apart from their significant other? And feeling useless and like you could be doing better as a mom but just don’t know how? What did you do that helped?

I go to playdates (which is bizarre for me because I’m normally an anti-social person). I had post-partum depression (I think I did, the docs did nothing and it did go away, so maybe baby blues). I’ve asked for help and been blown off so I think it’s pointless. I have no faith in our health region – they’ve failed me 3 times now since Penny was born. I had retained products of conception (fancy term for piece of placenta still inside me), that took 5 months to get out. I was depressed and they kept sending me to the emergency room for it, and nothing got done. And my milk supply had decreased and the public health nurses that I saw said “We’ll save you the trip to the breastfeeding clinic. Just feed her whenever’s she’s hungry.” Gee thanks. I never thought of doing that. She had only gained a pound in a month and a half prior to that. I went to the breastfeeding clinic (against the public health nurses’ advice), started domperidone, and Penny has since gained 2 pounds in 3 weeks. So to me, the Calgary Health Region (now Alberta Health Region I believe) equals FAIL in my mind. Why are they making it so hard to ask for help, only to be blown off when you do?

I am now rambling. I think I need to get up and do something. So I will put on a load of laundry before my little princess wakes up hungry. And then I think us girls, Hershey included, will go for a mei tai walk. I need the snuggles.


Week End

May 29, 2009

Week end, being the end of the week. Oh my, you have no idea how this week went. I am so glad the “work week” is over. Although Court is still on call 24/7 until 6 am Monday morning.

Monday was our visit to the breastfeeding clinic, where we determined that Penny has essentially been starving for about a month now. Nope, I don’t feel guilty for that… not one little bit. HA! I know it’s not my “fault”, but the fact is she wasn’t getting enough to eat. If we had continued at that pace I’m pretty sure she would have been “diagnosed” as failure to thrive. Instead, I’m taking domperidone (Motilium), and Penny has gained 11 oz in the 3 days I had been taking it (now 4 days, but I haven’t weighed her).

I’ve been working on an anniversary “do” for my grandparents. It is their 50th anniversary this year, and no matter how unassuming and humble they are, I’m not letting an achievement like that go unmentioned. Alot of their family is in Quebec, and without meaning to be offensive, old. They won’t be traveling to Calgary for the festivities. So it seems there will really only be close family and a couple of close friends. We decided to take them for a really nice dinner, and get them limo transportation to and from. In the meantime, I snatched old photo albums from their house to look through for ideas. I happened to grab their wedding album, as well as commemorating the births of my uncles and my mom. I went to Blacks Photography to have some of the photos scanned, retouched and reproduced. The bridesmaids’ dresses really weren’t that horrible, so I’m going to attempt to find something similar to wear to the dinner, and we have an absolutely stunning florist who I’d like to recreate my Nana’s wedding bouquet.

It was bizarre looking through all the photos! I’ve never looked at old pictures of them and never knew what they looked like before the image that I know now. I saw photos of my mom as a child, as a teenager! Again, I’ve never seen them before. Actually, my mom passed away 19 years ago (last Friday was the anniversary of her death). I was 9 at the time, and really the image of her in my mind is the photo that all of us have that was current when she died. It’s amazing how much she looked like me, or I guess I should say I look like her.

In the midst of all my running around dropping off photos, picking up photos, shopping (because we finally got money back from Manulife for Penny’s first glasses, and for Court’s, which the dog ate in January), Penny inevitably got hungry. I try to time it well so that I’m not really out in public to feed her. But it doesn’t always work. Turns out that she got hungry on my way to pick up Court from work the other day. I’m not exactly a fan of making her wait while I pick him up and fight through rush hour traffic out of downtown Calgary. In fact, I won’t do it. It was hot, the car doesn’t have air conditioning. So I told Court I was going to sit in the shade beside his building to feed her before we head home. Needless to say I didn’t have anything even resembling a blanket to try to cover up a bit with. So I sat on the bench on 8th Ave, at 5:10 pm with all the busy worker bees streaming by on their way home and fed my little gal! Most of the women that noticed turned up the corner of their mouths into a bit of a smile. The guys that noticed immediately looked away again. Regardless of their reactions, I finally nursed in public! I was so proud of myself!

And on top of my busy week, my bestest friend ever (since grade 1!) had her second baby girl on Wednesday, May 27th, which was actually her due date. So we welcome little Kacie Michaela! Looking forward to pictures and visiting her soon, and with 5 months difference between her and Penny, they should becoming great playmates.

So as the “work week” comes to a close, we are enjoying an evening of video games with friends. That’s before I put Court to work tomorrow! Muahahahaha!


Breastfeeding Failures and Success

May 23, 2009

Welcome Carnival of Breastfeeding Readers!

This blog isn’t intended to be solely about breastfeeding. But it is important to me, and I want to talk about it.

Other moms have written about their breastfeeding experiences as well. Read about them here:

When I was pregnant, I didn’t know that almost every mom should physically be able to breastfeed. I was asked if I planned to breastfeed, and it wasn’t even a question for me. I said as long as both of us were willing and able, I would be breastfeeding. And I only said it like that because the one friend of mine who has a baby wasn’t able to breastfeed. I just thought breastfeeding was natural and was the right way to feed a baby. Plus I wanted the bonding time. During our prenatal class, the instructor was listing off the benefits of breastfeeding, including cost (aka FREE) and ease (aka you don’t need to haul bottles around or sterilize or any of that). To me, that was 2 perfectly good reasons to breastfeed, beyond the fact that I just wanted to.

Well, when Penny was born, I had a pretty bad hemorrhage. I didn’t get to feed her right away because the doctors were busy fixing me up. Apparently my lips were blue, and I actually had to tell Court to go get pictures of Penny. I didn’t even get to hold her until almost an hour after she was born, nevermind feed her. After they eventually got me over to the maternity ward and settled into the bed, they pretty much thrust Penny at me and said “FEED!” That was the start of my problems…

To make a 1789 word story a heck of a lot shorter, over the course of about a month, I had at least 6 different nurses and lactation consultants tell me that my latch was fine, even though I was still in alot of pain.

I signed out books from the library and bought some from Chapters. Reading one of them, a light bulb goes on. When holding your baby in the cross-cradle position, your middle finger should be on their jaw on the bottom side, your hand around the base of their skull and your thumb just under their ear on the top side. Well geez! If someone had said to put my middle finger on Penny’s jaw I bet half of these problems could have been eliminated!

At a follow-up appointment at The Alex Community Health Centre, I tell the doctor about the jaw thing and how it made a world of difference for us. Still not perfect, but I can feel improvement. I get talking to her about positioning and using the breastfeeding pillow. Apparently most moms using the pillow rely on it too much. They actually use it to hold up the baby, rather than using it to support their arms which should be holding baby. That’s exactly what I was doing! My other failing was that I thought you couldn’t move your breast around to help feed the baby, as in move the baby over to where my nipple is, not move the nipple to where baby is. So I was moving Penny so far over to the side that her chin would end up near her chest. BAD! Over the course of the next week, every appointment I had, every book I read, even the videos I watched on YouTube, helped! Each one had one more tidbit that helped perfect what was going on. It still wasn’t perfect, but we could manage. I could feed Penny without being in too much pain, and she could get enough to eat and was gaining weight again. It took almost 3 weeks to get back to her birthweight (the norm is 2 weeks).

After a couple of weeks of not-perfect, but not-too-painful feeding, I got so frustrated with feeding Penny one morning that I just got up and fed her without hunting down my breastfeeding pillow. I just plopped down on the couch with her in the cradle position. And everything clicked into place! Jackpot! I couldn’t feed her with the breastfeeding pillow without having problems. Now that I know that, everything’s gone so much better!

We still have a bit of trouble with Penny squirming and flailing while she’s eating, and I’ve wanted to get into the clinic to ask about that. Last week, I finally attempted to feed Penny while lying down in bed at night. I was so tired that night! I’m sure we don’t have the position perfect, but we found a spot that works for us. And it’s totally hands-off for me (I might put a hand behind her just to keep her from rolling backwards away from me). I immediately noticed a difference with her. Where she’d kick and squirm before, she mostly lies quietly and feeds. Where she’d feed for 10 seconds, pop off, look around, then try feeding again – she latches on and stays there for almost the full feed. She sounds like she’s sucking and swallowing better, and she seems more content while feeding. I’ve now applied this idea to feeding her during the day too. I hold her up on the breastfeeding pillow again, but I don’t use my arms to try and hold her at all. I let her lay how she wants and feed how she wants. It really seems to be working for us!

I was also concerned about weight gain. Penny had her 4-month immunizations last week, and the nurses mentioned that she’s “on the lean side.” She is 24.5″ long and 12 lbs. Birthweight was 7 lbs 14 oz. But on last week’s Carnival I read about increasing my milk supply naturally. What I’ve taken from that is to use good fats for my extra calories – cream in my coffee, olive oil where I can. Between that, and letting Penny feed how she wants so, I think her weight is going to get back on track. I still have an appointment at the clinic on Monday, but I think everything is falling into place. (See the update to the weight gain issue here)

I’m glad breastfeeding is really working out now. I enjoy my bonding time with Penny, and I didn’t realize I would enjoy breastfeeding her this much. I think I’d be rather sad to have this connection and experience taken away from us.

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