Archive for the ‘The Mysteries’ Category

Mixed Messages

Mister Finn has been doing this really lovely thing where he acts tired (rubbing eyes, yawning, fussy, wanting to nurse) and then the minute we begin the process of getting him down for a nap his eyes spring open and he starts babbling and orating animatedly, doing everything he can to tell us that he is WIDE! AWAKE! Usually, lately, he has been sucessful with his tomfoolery; that is, his dumb parents see his spritely behavior and conclude, “why look! he’s not tired after all!” So we don’t put him down and go on with the day’s activities, only to find a once-again sleepy baby an hour later. But now I’m on to him! And presently he is screaming in his bed, awake.

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Mister Finn has not sprouted a tooth yet!  He is 8 months old and has been teething for four months! I would like to say some words to these supposed teeth:  You have wreaked havoc in our land!  Show yourselves so we might meet face to face and throw down our biscuits swords!

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I wish my weight would go down. Literally, as in move down my body. I gained a fair amount of weight during pregnancy, especially considering that I did it all in only two trimesters. I have been gradually losing the weight, but unevenly. My butt and thighs are now, surprisingly, a little smaller than they were pre-pregnancy. Not so for the top half. My belly is bigger than it was, my arms are much bigger, and my breasts are much much much bigger. I already was thick-armed and short-torsoed, and now the way I’m carrying this weight I’m worried that I’ll never look proportional again. A small complaint, I know, in the grand scheme of the body and it’s functions, but boy it would be nice to transfer some thickness where it wouldn’t be as obvious. It is odd to be wearing belts to hold up my jeans and tent-like shirts to cover my mountainous front. I’m wondering, when I stop breastfeeding: will my breasts get smaller again? or stay their current size, but become shapeless, like saggy water balloons?

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Our sleep problems have evoked internet help of the professional sort, with Drs. Heather and Esther on board.  I have come down a bit from my panic-driven frenzy of desperately searching for any opinion other than my own regarding my son’s sleep habits, and Wifey and I are in the midst of making a “How our baby will go to sleep” plan. The plan may well be that there is no plan, but it will make us feel like we’re the ones in charge if we call it a plan.

The discussion with these Internets has shifted in focus from sleep training methods to A.’s preemieness, with both of these professionals agreeing that A., as a 27 weeker now 8 months (adjusted age), should not be treated the same way as an 8 month old born on his due date.  This is confusing to me, because the neonatologists and pediatricians we’ve seen have said the exact opposite; that we should at this point try to forget that he was born 3 months early. His pediatrician does forget, and we have to remind him (this is a man who rounds regularly at the NICU). His neonatologist refers to A. as a “former preemie.” Also, I’ve studied the behaviour of the other babies in our moms group, and have drawn my very scientific conclusion that A. acts just like them, within a wide range of personality types. Several of those babies have sleep issues as well. The only difference between A. and his little friends is that they were all born around his due date, and he was ripped from his cocoon three months early. Now, shouldn’t they all be at the same place developmentally? Isn’t this the whole point of the “adjusted age?”

Also a mystery to me is the concept that preemies have a harder time self-regulating than other babies of the same adjusted age. How? Why? We have a little 6 week old, full-term babyfriend who has a wretched time self-regulating, and is crying inconsolably whenever she’s not nursing or sleeping. Literally. Mister Finn never had that hard of a time. A bad day was when there was hard-to-console crying for more than 30 minutes at a stretch. He has always been fairly easy to console. (For the first three months (at home), the challenge was keeping him consoled, and that remains our problem come bedtime).

And, if former preemies shouldn’t be treated as full-term babies (of the same adjusted age), how should they be treated? When can they be treated the same way, if ever?

I worry that I’m sounding defensive here; but I’m not really feeling defensive, just perplexed. I will never forget that A. was born three months early, and I will never treat him as anyone other than the baby I had three months early.  I don’t think the way we treat him will change at all, really, based on the advice I have gotten/will get in this context, because frankly, I think we’re doing a good job. I do welcome advice and thoughts about this, especially from other moms, because I sincerely want to understand the way preemieness fits in with our culture of mothering.

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We are four days and nights off The Wedge!  We are so happy about this. The Wedge was a good thing, as it kept Mister Finn’s reflux from waking him up at night, and he slept much longer stretches than he did flat on his back. But it always felt so medical. He looked like a little prisoner. And we were beginning to worry that he was addicted to it, would never sleep without it, and that he would have to have his college roomate strap him into bed at night.  He looks so normal now, sleeping in his crib, not strapped to a giant piece of foam.

Now that he’s not pinned down, he flips himself over, swaddled. The grand effort looks like a sow bug trying to right itself.  Once flipped, his face is smashed into the mattress and he struggles unsuccessfully, armless, to flip back over.  He cries, I find him in this position, and naturally all of my programmed SIDS alarms go off.

As most babies are swaddled sans Wedge, this flipping issue must be a common problem, right?  Is it a problem?  He still likes the swaddle, and we are fine with swaddling him at nearly 8 months (adjusted), as I’ve read/heard that it is still fine with much older babies.  We’re going to wean him gradually as he seems ready. But until then, should we be concerned about the flipping and helpless tummy sleeping?

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