Sunday, August 30, 2009


I've been taking a lot longer to fall asleep at night since starting to wean of seroquel, which means tiredness is catching up on me, I don't think my mood is taking a hit, other than a natural drop you feel when tired. Another problem is that I've been having some abdominal pain, I have a suspicion that it's a muscular problem, so I've booked some sessions with a physical therapist, I hope she can figure out which muscle it is and which exercises I need to do, I had the same problem about 5 years ago, but I can't remember exactly what I did, or if the pain is in the exact same spot. If my hunch is right, that still means lots of work to do and no instant cure unfortunately, so to add to my general tiredness, I have pain, which is also tiring.

I still have to label Sausage Boy's school bag and coat and check through his school supplies. He has to take a snack each day and can either take a packed lunch or buy lunch. If he wants to buy lunch we have to pay some money into his account, which apparently we can do online, though they still do the old fashioned way and accept cheques.

I had a nice impromptu shopping trip with Banana Girl yesterday, DH wanted to take his brother to the top of Lincoln Square, but only realised when we were at the mall that he'd left his card at home, so he took his brother and Sausage Boy home to get it, leaving Banana Girl with me and Grace at the mall. We have a Gap credit card and they give you a percentage back in vouchers, so I took her off to Gap Kids to look for long sleeved tops and trousers, she seems to be between sizes for trousers, so she'll have to cope with the ones she already has for a few months. She really liked some tracksuit type trousers with a silver line down the side, but they really were too big. I wish I could find some similar ones for myself! I did get lucky though as I passed a sale rack as we were walking through Macy's and got a nice pair of black trousers for myself. Then we met up at P F Changs for dinner, they have a gluten free menu there and as usual, I had lemon scallops, which are gorgeous!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Test results

I just notice I never added my dancing test results. To my surprise I scored 96/100 in both, earning Highly Commended. I'm pleased with that, it's very encouraging. I think that even though I felt that they weren't performed to the best of my ability, that I must have demonstrated good technique. Unlike in ballet where when you learn a step, that's pretty much how it's done for the rest of your life, in latin dancing there are many refinements in technique, you can teach a plie to a child exactly how a prima ballerina would do it, but you can't teach even basic latin steps the way a top dancer would do them. This means I may only have been dancing silver level steps, but I've been learning slightly higher level technique.

I think I'd like to move onto learning gold level routines whilst continuing to work on technique, but I think my teacher wants me to work on standard as well.

The quilt I'm working on


This is a picture of the quilt I'm working on, before I layered it with backing and batting and basted it (lots of b's there!). I'm quilting it in what I call Sue Patten style, I can't find a good picture of her work, though this is the book I have by her. By coincidence, she quilted some of the quilts in the book I got the blocks from, which is More Biblical Quilt Blocks by Rosemary Makhan. I'm determined that I will finish quilting it before I do anything else on the sewing machine. I've done all the yellow and two shades of green and I'm currently working on the off white sections, which are the largest and also more visible, so I have to concentrate and really do my best work.
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sleep, mine and Grace's!

Grace really is our easiest baby for sleep. Sausage Boy would only fall to sleep whilst nursing for a very long time and you had to get him pretty deeply off before you could move him. Banana Girl was the exact opposite and would pop off the breast as soon as she would done, but required me to be in sight for her to fall asleep, which was often half an hour or more, I'd nurse her lieing in bed, then shuffle away from her to the other side of the bed, usually we'd both fall asleep and poor DH would come in to find no space in the bed for him! Grace's nighttime habit is the easiest of the lot, I usually nurse her last thing, she will appear to be asleep, but stir as soon as I move her, I pop her in her crib wide awake and she falls asleep without issue. Last night we had a meeting down by the pool and I nursed her through most of that, so when we came home I just changed her and gave her medicine, then lay her on the kids' bedroom floor to enjoy story time, so she was wide awake and happy for half an hour or more after her last nursing, then I popped her in her cot and didn't hear from her until past 8 in the morning.

The sleeping through seems to be a regular thing as she's been doing it consistently for over a week and only once has she woke up between 6 and 7 rather than after 7. Another habit of hers is to then go straight back to sleep, this originated from when she was routinely waking up between 6 and 7, so going back to sleep was desirable, but I've continued to do it, even if it's 8.30 or so.

We'll need to figure out what our routine is for the various different possibilities each day, like do I take all the children to drop of Sausage Boy at school or not. We are yet to discover if it's possible for the same person to drop Sausage Boy off at 8.40, then Banana Girl off at 9. I also have a few appointments scheduled at 9 to make matters even more confusing!

Having cut down my Seroquel, I'm now taking even longer to fall asleep at night, resulting in me really not getting enough sleep overnight. Unfortunately with narcolepsy, 8 hours sleep at night doesn't solve the problem of daytime sleepiness, but it certainly helps. Also, my body needs that rest even if my mind still is sleepy at random times, it's much easier to deal with that feeling if you body is rested.

I've been playing around with when I take my adderall and what I drink when. Coffee in the morning didn't really seem to help, so I started taking my adderall instead, which means I'm not taking it later in the day, but that hasn't had as much negative effect as I had expected. This is making my days manageable right now, but school starting will add a lot more driving into my day. I plan to call my psychiatrist on Monday to see if we can try something else for sleep, I also need to call my neurologist as I need a new prescription and the law prevents it from being on auto refill. I may also see if I can up the total amount, so that I can take a small dose to give me a boost when it's time for school pick up.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Grace's weight

I can't believe how chilled our doctor is, Grace weighed 10lb3oz today, up from 9lb a month ago, that's ok if you assume a smooth weight gain, as it's roughly 5oz a week. Problem is, I've been weighing her weekly and her weights have been 9lb10oz, 9lb14oz and 10lb4oz. So she's apparently lost an ounce from last week, she was due a feed both times, so that doesn't explain the difference. I wasn't all that surprised as this week she has found her fingers and started sleeping through the night and usually that's not just sleeping through, but sleeping late in the morning too for 11-12 hours of sleep. The doctor hasn't suggested we do anything, but we might try waking her in the night.

For comparision, Nathanael at the same age was 9lb8oz, i.e. 11oz less, however, he was 23oz less at birth. His weight gain was dropping off the charts used for him, whereas Grace seems to be just about holding her own on the one our doctor uses after a significant drop early on. The lactation consultants gave me the WHO growth chart, which of course I can't find right now. It's supposed to represent the ideal weight gain for breastfed babies and is available on the WHO website, so I don't need that paper version! Her weight in kilos is 4.625kg, which according to this chart is pretty much spot on the 3rd centile, her birth weight, 7lb4oz, or 3.3kg is about the 50th - though they use the point of regaining her birth weight as the centile line she should be following, which was a little past 3 weeks iirc and thus about the 15th.

The thing is, I like my doctors attitude and if it wasn't for the contrast between this and our experiences with Nathanael, I probably wouldn't give it a 2nd thought. I think we need to keep a close eye on Grace, check she meets her milestones etc. but I think the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding at this point outweight any slight disadvantage of non optimal weight gain. Whereas with Nathanael we were told that giving him formula would give him the best of both worlds, improved weight gain and the benefits of breastmilk. Knowing what I know now, I disagree with that, though if there is a genuine shortage of breastmilk, you should never restrict a baby's feed volumes. Nathanael did have some formula, firstly at about Grace's age when I fell down the stairs and was flat on my back in A&E waiting for xrays, then later during my hospital admission for depression and after that when I was working part time and not quite able to pump enough for him. I'm proud that after those troubles, the only milk he received from 6 months to a year was mine.

We also didn't get any vaccines today as I had scheduled the wrong type of appointment! It was good though, as once I saw her weight, I didn't want to give her any, sleeping more is a common side effect from vaccines and that is the last thing she needs to do. I'd also be happier if she was around the 12 pound mark when we start giving her them.

3 months


Grace was 3 months old yesterday, so I took plenty of pictures, I didn't quite manage to get her smiling. She was weighed today and she was 10lb3oz.
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Monday, August 24, 2009

My weight

I'm struggling somewhat with my weight right now, after having a very low appetite at the end of pregnancy, I think in part due to a squashed stomach, I didn't really have any fat stores laid down. Once Grace was born I became very hungry and ate to that hunger, the pounds piled on. The first few weeks I was not very active but at the 6 week mark I gradually started exercising.

Unfortunately weight gain is a common side effect of one of the drugs I'm taking to combat my depression, as far as I can tell this seems to be partly due to increased appetite, but also due to altered metabolism.

I haven't been weighing myself, so I'm not sure if I've stabilised or maybe am even still gaining, I'm definitely not losing! The diet I'm eating, combined with the exercise I do and the breastfeeding really should be putting me on a path of slow weight loss, but it isn't and that's frustrating and is definitely impacting my self esteem.

What I really need to do is to exercise more whilst being careful not to increase my calorific intake, but it's hard to find the time to do that, I'm really not keen on putting Grace in the gym daycare, so even when the older kids are back in school, it's not going to be easy. I can do strength and stretching activities at home, but it's much harder to do the cardiovascular that I really need. Getting up early in the mornings to work out just isn't going to happen, the negative impact on the rest of my day is just too much. Evenings aren't easy either, I already do dance class on Monday nights and some weeks a private lesson another night, add in other random activities that pop up continually plus Grace's desire to nurse almost constantly in the evenings, then it just ain't gonna happen.

So I feel rather stuck, we're starting to wean off the drug that's contributing to this, but even if I get off it sucessfully and weight loss becomes a little easier, I still have a lot to lose.

Think I've got my head round tomorrow's vaccines

I've been reading Dr Sears "The Vaccine Book", strange how you can come to quite different conclusions on the same information. One example is rotavirus, they don't give it in the UK (or at least didn't when our children were babies) and despite a very high percentage of children getting it ours never have, or got it so mildly as to be a non issue. So to me there seems no point in bothering, even if it could be proved to be entirely risk free.

Everything else that is scheduled for two months we'll get, but not necessarily tomorrow, I still have to go through and figure out what we'll get dependent upon what brand we are offered, my highest priority is the pnuemococcal vaccine as it's a relatively common bug that infects various parts of the body, some of which are very severe. DTaP, i.e. diptheria, tetanus, pertussis we'll also get tomorrow, pertussis is still relatively common and tetanus is important too.

The ones I'm not so bothered about are HiB and Polio, but they may come packaged with DTaP, in which case I need to double check the aluminum levels in them. Polio I strongly believe she should recieve at some point as part of the continued attempts to irradicate it. HiB I don't quite feel has such a strong reason to get for the sake of public health.

Aluminum levels are a tricky one, there was a great article in a LLL magazine about it. Basically the amount of aluminium it's considered safe to give anyone intravenously is regulated by the FDA, but amount given intramuscularly is not regulated at all, so it doesn't apply to vaccines. It could all amount to nothing, but the number of vaccines routinely given has increased in recent years and is greater in the US than in the UK. Sausage Boy had only DTaP and I think Meningitis C by injection at 2 months, polio was still given orally in the UK at that point. Banana Girl had the same, but the polio was combined in with one of them. It could all amount to nothing, but it could be something that emerges as a problem in the future, a bit like in the UK, not knowing if vCJD is going to be a huge problem, or if we've already seen the majority of cases.

I may well be being overcautious, but I'm a strong supporter of vaccination in general, just very anti the mainstream that proclaim them risk free. We got the official information sheets from our doctor, which on one page said there was no risk of combining vaccines and on the next listed several severe risks, including death for one of the individual vaccines, I don't think our governments maliciously do this, just that it's a complicated subject and chances are it's not a doctor or scientist that prepares the information.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Medal tests

I took tests in Bronze and Silver Latin dancing this afternoon. They went ok, I stumbled slightly midway through the jive and added an extra turn in the cha cha. However the examiner seemed pleased with me, so I should have passed. Unlike the formality of dance exams I took in the UK, she was quite chatty, asking me if she'd tested me before and upon finding she hadn't shook hands and introduced herself. Her comments at the end didn't surprise me at all, either relating to sight wobbles as a result of still needing to regain strength after Grace's birth and do to with my feet, which perpetually need work as the way you use them in Latin dancing is the total opposite to ballet.

Now I have to figure out what I want to do next in dancing.

Friday, August 21, 2009

One more week before school starts!

I can't believe the summer holidays are nearly over and I can't decide whether that's a good or a bad thing! Grace will be 3 months old on Monday and on Tuesday it's our 7th wedding anniversary, doesn't time fly! It's hard to believe we've been married 7 years, there have been ups and downs, but I feel blessed to be married to Andrew and to have 3 beautiful children with him.

I need to sit down and figure out what we have to do before school starts, I already bought school supplies and I think we are ok for clothes and shoes. I think the main thing to figure out is all the places we have to be and when. We just got a letter today from Sausage Boy's school and there are at least two meetings next week we need to be at and a whole variety of dates in early September to figure out.

I'm really struggling with tiredness, drinking coffee in the morning hasn't really made much difference, so I think I'm going to have to go the medication route, which means I need to go talk to my neurologist again. I'm also trying to cut down on one of the medications I've been taking for depression as that may well be contributing to my sleepiness.

We had our homeowners association AGM last night and so we could both go, we took the kids, they were so good that they deserved a treat and that it would be knitting looms. Basically that is french knitting, but on a larger scale, you still knit a tube, but it's big enough to be a hat.

I'm also investigating buying a sewing table as a thirtieth birthday present, I looked at some in the store today and they are pricey, but look good quality. In case you are wondering why I would want such a thing, it's because you can set your machine in it and have the bed of the machine level with the table, which makes life a whole lot easier if you are dealing with large things, which as a quilter, I am. They also have leaves that allow you to increase the surface area, again, very useful for supporting a large quilt. However, they are pricey, we're talking more than the cost of my sewing machine, which wasn't exactly cheap!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

a wobble

A few things have combined into making me feel a bit stressed and tense over the last couple of days. What I really want to do is to just go to bed and face the world tomorrow. Sounds good, but I've been trying to implement systems and habits that make life a little bit easier and as mornings are generally hard for me, one of them is to shower in the evening, choose my clothes for the next day and make a flask of coffee and have that and my breakfast next to my bed.

So I'm sat here, tired and a bit achy, trying to work out whether if I don't do these things will tomorrow morning go badly wrong and of course whilst I'm doing that it's getting later, thus increasing the likelyhood of tomorrow morning being tricky if I'm not 100% ready.

It's worrying me a bit that in two weeks time, school starting will make being ready to face the morning even more important and that after a few days I may just completely burn out.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I feel GOOD

Honestly, I'm amazed at how well I feel. My parents went home 6 days ago and I expected that I would have a blip in my mood, but I didn't and I feel like I coped fine looking after the children alone.

I took Grace to be weighed today, partly as an excuse to get out of the house, but also because I still don't feel entirely confident of my supply and her ability to transfer milk. She weighed 9lb14oz, which is 4oz up from last week, which is a gain our doctor would be happy with.

I also headed to the local yarn store as they were having a birthday sale, as it happened, the things I bought were on the clearance rack anyway, so unaffected by the sale. I bought some ribbon yarn in varigated purple, which will knit quickly into a fun scarf. I also bought some baby pink ribbon yarn that has holes down one side which allow you to knit is as a frill, by knitting into every 3rd hole, as demonstrated here. I want to use it to knit something for Grace, so I'm hunting for a pattern I can adapt, I think a bolero shape would be good.

My biggest problem now is sleep, one of my meds for depression, has sleepiness as a side effect, combine that with narcolepsy and I'm finding that I go to sleep very early for me, then easily sleep 10 hours and not feel bright and alert. Because of breastfeeding I'm trying to only take my alertness med once a day. I'm wondering if taking a flask of coffee to bed might be a good idea, then drinking it as soon as I wake up.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It's been a while

My parents left today, things have changed a lot in the three weeks they've been here. Grace is a different baby, she started on zantac for reflux when they arrived and it's made a huge difference, she's still needy in the evenings, but not screaming and in pain.

Her milk transfer was ok some feeds, but not others when they arrived and all feeds started with me yelping in pain whilst we sorted out her latch. Now, I sometimes get slight pain and all the evidence points to her getting what she needs each feed.

As of yesterday, she weighs 9lb10oz, I feed her in the daytime and she gets one bottle in the middle of the night, due to my sleep medication.

I saw my neurologist last week and discussed starting on medication again to help with my daytime sleepiness. So far I haven't noticed any effects in Grace, which is good, but I'm also not getting such a good result as the same meds did a year ago. This creates a challenge as by the time school starts, I need to be able to get up in the morning to get Sausage Boy to school, but also pick him up in the mid afternoon, which seems to be when the medication is wearing off!

Tomorrow I'll be trying out a new dance fitness class, offered by the studio I take lessons at, I'm a bit concerned it might be too much, I don't want to end up injured, but I won't know if I don't try.