Blog Posts

Winter

Our home is feeling the grip of winter. The grey, the wind and the rain pull me down. The cold seeps into my centre and even my bones are cold and tired.
pivotcon.com
pivotcon.com

I’m finding that the sleep deprivation that comes with the mama territory, plus the fullness of the job of keeping my little being, and the cold of winter are conspiring to bring me down.

The fatigue and lethargy I’m experiencing is even chipping away at my goals and desires.

In my years battling fibro/chronic fatigue, I have (proudly) managed to accomplish much. The secret is passion, huge amounts of passion.

Now I am consumed with my boy. He is a challenge, he is tiring, he is the most exquisite creature I have ever laid eyes upon – but he is all-consuming.

Added to this, my husband is working 10 hour shifts on a rotating cycle of nights, days and weekends (in a fairly physical job). So he is exhausted.

So my most immediate goal is surviving winter. Keep warm. Retain energy. Love my boys. Spring will soon be here.

Sometimes

Sometimes you have hard days. Sometimes you have so many that they form a week.

Sometimes it is so hard you want to cry.

Just as you think you’re coping, he changes and you have to readjust again.

Right when you think you could reintroduce some work so your company’s work opportunities don’t vanish, he shows you that he’s your (more than) full time job.

Sometimes parenthood is the hardest job in the world.

Today is sometimes.

Experiments

I have previously mentioned my renewed enthusiasm for achieving a higher state of wellness, since I had my baby. I have been thinking, reading, talking and generally mulling over what I’ll do.

I met a friend yesterday who had chronic fatigue for about a year after having glandular fever. She posited an interesting idea. She found that taking an immune system support supplement (with olive leaf, echinacea and vitamin c) helped dramatically reduce her fatigue. When she stopped taking it for a time, she found she got more bugs and higher levels of fatigue.

Her theory is that, while she takes the immune supplements her energy levels are supported. She’s not expending energy to keep her immune system firing.

This makes sense to me. I had just purchased high dose olive leaf and magnesium tablets. I planned to “hit” for one month and see how I felt.

The magnesium is supposed to help my muscle pain and the strong reaction my muscles have to my trying to rebuild my tolerance for exercise. During pregnancy I had fallen to only 20 minutes of walking and no pilates or yoga by the last trimester. The olive leaf was to help me kick the cold that’s been hovering, taking hold and backing off in turns for the last few weeks.

When I have completed this month, I’m going to try the immune support idea. This will be my last trial before I go ahead and get testing for potential vitamin/supplement deficiencies and treat these specifically.

It’s quite exciting to be actively trying to combat my pain and fatigue rather than just trying to get on with my moderated lifestyle!

from www.canstockphoto.com
from www.canstockphoto.com

Things They Didn’t Tell Me

Having a baby is a constant barrage of new experiences. From learning you’re pregnant to the first almost full night’s sleep in months there are millions of things to learn. If I choose to do it again, there’s a lot I’ll change with the power of knowledge.
Here’s a few things I’ve learnt that they didn’t tell me:
  • The beginning of your pregnancy can feel like the beginning stages of your period (therefore you keep thinking it’s coming, when it’s not).
  • Nothing can prepare you for the fatigue you suffer in the first trimester (not even having chronic fatigue for years).
  • They say the second trimester is the “golden” trimester – they lied. (The fatigue didn’t recede and the pain increased with my size from week 24.)
  • It’s not discomfort, it’s pain.
  • Labour is not always made up of contained plots of pain that slowly increases in intensity. You can have severe, unrelenting backache the entire labour, in addition to the contractions (which can start with a bang at 5 minutes apart).
  • Labour is not necessarily the worst part. After 24 hours the baby begins to scream. And doesn’t stop. You need to produce milk for this tiny dictator.
  • You need to care for the baby in between running to the bathroom in order to deal with the profuse bleeding (they didn’t exaggerate about that) and hope the alkalising stuff worked so that your poor stitches don’t burn – on almost no sleep.
  • Breastfeeding DOES hurt. (And. although you will be judged, choose what works for you and your baby, we have choices now, so use them – a fantastic piece of advice from my midwife)
  • It’s so so so hard to smile and nod at unwanted advice, particularly when it’s to feed your baby -who is actually desperately windy.
  • Your stitches, while healed after several weeks, will still ache when you’re tired. Which is almost all of the time.
  • How gobsmacked you will be when your small tyrant, who kept you up most of the night, smiles properly for the first time.
  • There are no words that can describe how you feel when your baby begins watching you for sustained periods and responds to your smiles, words and touch.

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I am so in love with my boy. I can’t believe he is mine! But I am in no rush to replicate the process!

Letter To My Husband

I have made no secret of the fact that I wouldn’t have survived the delivery of our son or the last 10 weeks without you. I have told anyone who will listen.

You were the one who got me through the most intense pain of my life – you were with me through 19 hours of the most torturous back pain I had ever experienced (and I’ve experienced a lot!) and all of the other tortures that make up labour and delivery.

It wasn’t so much what you did or said (but your coaching at the end was one of the most helpful things anyone did that day, besides the numbing injections!). It was your presence.

Your presence makes everything better.

A screaming baby, a persistent neck ache or lack of sleep all seem more bearable with your company.

Thank you. I thank God for you every day. 

I am so thankful that I got to meet you, that I got to marry you and that I get to raise this precious baby with you. 

Please always remember to pause and take in these moments. They will never happen again. Please remember to invest in our relationship. Please remember family is more important than money. Please remember I will always love you.

Busy Day, Sleep At Last

I hit the wall today. I decided I needed to get some things done. So baby must sleep.
www.dailyclipart.net
www.dailyclipart.net

According to my resolution, I have put baby in either the car seat or push chair when he needs sleep, about 9am, and left the house.

This morning he gave up the fight against sleep almost immediately. Unfortunately he didn’t stay asleep long. When we returned home I decided that today would be the day he sleeps, not in my arms. Today I needed to get stuff done.

So I left him in the car seat to watch while I vacuumed. I then fed him and put him in the front pack. He snoozed while I got more things done. I then transfered him to sleep on his tummy, which he has done for 1.5 hours!!

I have finally managed to barge through a to-do list that has been haunting me for weeks. Phew!

Sometimes one just needs to enforce a day at home in order to have the space to make baby sleep. I can almost guarantee he’ll be in a great mood when he wakes. He needs the sleep and is so happy when he looses the fight and falls.

Now I need a rest!

Jobs

Being a mother is a job. A challenging, exhausting, 24/7 job that pays only in smiles.

My baby is 9.5 weeks old and I have been asked many times already if I am back at work yet! It’s also been assumed many times that, because I work from home, I don’t need childcare.
I’d like to set two things straight. First, work at home is still work. Second, the baby needs so much care there is no way I could get any work done.

My baby sleeps very little during the day. If he does sleep it is in my arms or in the pushchair – continually being pushed. In the night I am still being woken every three hours for a minimum of 45 minutes at a time, if I’m lucky. If not, like last night, we barely slept from 1am.

I’d like to encourage mums to stand up for themselves. As the amount of pressure I’ve already begun facing is huge. And I already have chronic pain and fatigue to deal with.

It will get worse. No wonder there is a vast (and growing) number of women dealing with chronic fatigue and other lifestyle related illnesses.

I will be trying to fight for balance. But gosh it is hard! In a world simultaneously dealing with increasing lifestyle related illness and increasing expectations – how have we not learnt? And how do we expect mums with tiny babies to be doing double shift? Even if the child is at daycare during work hours, the woman is still working two jobs!

So, mums, please fight for yourselves. Dads, please care for the mother of your children and help them to balance the responsibilities wisely. Families, support your mums and help them fight for balance. Let’s fight for new norms!

Sick Baby

The best thing to do when one has not slept much for two nights and their baby has a snuffly nose and chesty cough is to prop themselves up on the couch with baby on their chest.
My boy has been struggling with a small cold and has been preferring to sleep on his stomach, but this is vehemently warned against by all of the health professionals, so I’ve been allowing him to sleep on his tummy during the day – while I can supervise.
Snuggling on the couch when we’re both tired and I’m rather sore from the lack of sleep is delicious. Getting to look at and smell my precious boy is a rather large bonus!

High Energy Happiness – A Book Review

There hasn’t been much time or brain power to read recently. So I’ve been choosing what I read (of course I’m still reading something!) wisely. I also love to read books by fellow kiwis!

High Energy Happiness Book Review

Affiliate notice: Please note that some of my links are affiliate links and if you make a purchase using this link I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you. It all helps me keep making these resources. 

 

I’ve just managed to finish reading The Busy Woman’s Guide to High Energy Happiness by Louise Thompson.

Rating: Five stars
Recommended for: Anyone who has a fatigue-based illness or who is interested in learning the basics to living well.

Blurb:

In this practical self-help book, life coach Louise Thompson shares her secrets for achieving wellness, balance and fulfilment in this fast-paced world. A former corporate executive, Louise was once bedridden with extreme fatigue – but now she has energy to burn! She has written this book so that you, too, can be buzzing with energy. With Louise’s practical tips, exercises, worksheets and with real-life stories from clients, you’ll be inspired to take control of your life and lead a more energetic and rewarding existence.
You CAN have the life you want, and The Busy Woman’s Guide to High Energy Happiness will show you how.

This book has really resonated with me because the birth of my son has renewed my passion for getting well. I have so much I want to do with him, with my husband, for my work and in my life.

It is written conversationally and is easily accessible, but it is still backed by research and experience.

There’s a multitude of suggestions that I intend to follow. Including fighting for my right to rest, my right to follow guidelines that enable me to live well (including being in bed by 9.30pm, when I’m usually over the day) and my commitment to healthy living.

Other posts you might like

My Favourite Five Books About Fighting Fibromyalgia
Yoga for Chronic Pain by Kayla Kurin Book Review
Living the Best Life with Fibromyalgia: A Book Review

If you’d like to purchase your own copy of this fabulous book you can head on over to Amazon here.

Nerdy note:

If you read a lot, like me (I read around 100 books per year), then you might like Amazon Kindle Unlimited! Just sign up here. Amazon Kindle Unlimited gives you unlimited reading (say what?) and unlimited listening to their audio books. If brain fog is an issue and you need to re read over again, it’s all there. Happy reading!


For more information

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Delivered

We were blessed with our beautiful baby boy on 19 April, born after 37 weeks and 3 days.
I awoke with a shock at midnight on Good Friday with severe back pain and contractions. To cut a 19 hour story short, the extreme back pain lasted the entire labour, the epidural failed, he was the wrong way round and had his head in an awkward position. He was born weighing a healthy 7 pd 7oz.

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Unfortunately he had a problem with wind from the beginning, which degenerated into severe vomiting by his 18th day. On his third week anniversary he was admitted into hospital for tests that eventually revealed he had pyloric stenosis. An operation to trim the muscle in his stomach that had gotten too thick (a problem for about 3 in 1000 babies, predominantly in first born boys) enabled food to pass from the stomach to the intestines again.

At last, just before his fourth week begins, we can take him home and effectively meet him and learn all about him again. He’s like a new baby.

I am so in love with this little being!

My pain and fatigue levels were doing rather well up until our second hospital stay. With the stress of my precious baby being sick and sleepless nights ensuring he didn’t choke on his vomit, a flare up has ensued. But, thank God for my husband! He has done most of the night shifts at the hospital so I can sleep and express breast milk for baby. I never could have survived if not for him. He has been AMAZING!

The combination of my husband’s help, choosing to express and then feed via the bottle and my mother-in-law cooking our meals has enabled me to survive and enjoy my baby. I am so thankful, so blessed, so happy.

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