Monthly Archives: December 2008

Addenda

A quick collection of bits that either don't easily fit into another post or that I omitted to include in the post they should have fitted into:

We had the LISM (Local Inclusion Support Meeting – the get-together of relevant people to discuss how Jamie was doing and what he needed to do next).  I'd pictured this being a large group of people sitting round a conference table in some long bleak boardroom, but in fact it was just a few of us in a very nice room with a few chairs clustered round a coffee table and plenty of toys that Katie could play with (so she spent much of the meeting trying to play with people's Filofaxes and briefcases).  There were only three other people there besides us – Manda and Jane from the nursery, and Sharon, the area SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator).  Dr M., Carol (our health visitor), and the speech therapist who's been coming in and doing sessions with Jamie at nursery once a week had all been invited but couldn't make it, although we did get long and detailed notes from the speech therapist to compensate for her absence.

We all sat around and talked about Jamie's many strong points and general wonderfulness, and discussed what things needed to happen next.  Barry and I are having another shot at toilet training him, Manda has some ideas for working on things at nursery to help him with making transitions between activities and so forth, and when we know which school he's been allocated to (which apparently we won't until February, unfortunately) we can put in an application for him to have an aide for the initial weeks of the school year to provide him with some extra support.  Sharon documented all this, including (I was pleased to hear) my heartfelt compliments and thanks to the nursery staff for the truly spectacular job they're doing with him (do you know they even offered to help with the toilet training in any way they could?  Good god, I don't even want to do the job and he's my son, yet here they are just volunteering for a share in it!)  Then we all went our separate ways to get on with the various things we'd agreed to do, which, in our case, involves putting Jamie into pants for a bit of time each day and trying to make sure that as many as possible of the resultant puddles end up vaguely aimed at the toilet.  (We are making progress, although in a terribly slow way.)

Katie is still breastfeeding twice daily (on days when I'm at home – on my work days, I leave before she wakes up in the morning, so obviously she only gets the evening breastfeed on those days).  I'd assumed I'd have to drop the morning breastfeed when I was no longer pumping, but it seems the production system does have that much leeway in it and I have been able to keep up the twice-daily breastfeed.  She can pretty much take or leave these and I think that if I went to "don't offer, don't refuse" now, she'd be weaned within a day or so with no looking back.  I have in fact given some serious thought to whether I should do it that way and thus make the final weaning easy, but, well, antibodies, winter coming, all that, not to mention that I still like doing it.  So, I'm still sticking with the original plan of keeping going until either she gets bored with it or spring comes, whichever happens first.

Finally, because I like recording such things, here's the list of milestones Katie's card from the health visitor tells us children should have reached by the end of one year (all nicely achieved in her case, I'm pleased to say):

  • Standing, crawling, and sitting to play
  • Finger feeding/enjoying a wide range of foods
  • Drinking from a cup/feeder cup
  • Making lots of babbly noises and saying 'Dada, Mama, Baba'
  • Waving and clapping hands
  • Enjoying books (I assume that last one covers 'enjoying pulling them off the shelves and trying to eat them'.)
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Pumped

My pumping days ended not with a bang, a whimper, or even the cheer I'd have expected to give, but with a bewildered feeling of "Wait… was that it?"

As soon as I'd finished my last day of pumping for the milk bank, I dropped Katie's middle-of-the-day breastfeed on my days at home. 
(Not before time; she'd clearly been entirely ready to drop it weeks earlier, and the only reason I'd kept coaxing her to take it was because I
knew that without it my supply might drop further and I wanted to pump
as much as possible for my last donation.  It was a somewhat ironic
turnaround; after all those months of pumping at work so that I could
keep up my supply to keep feeding Katie on my days at home, I ended up
feeding Katie on my days at home so that I could keep up my supply to
keep pumping at work.)  My plan for reducing the pumping was fairly simple; instead of the detailed schedule I'd worked out when I stopped pumping at the end of Jamie's first year (and then almost entirely disregarded when it came to the point, having realised that I'd planned a far slower reduction than I actually needed for winding down the few ounces of milk that were all I was producing each day by then), I realised all I had to do was let my body be the guide.  If I waited to pump until I was getting uncomfortable and then pumped the minimum needed to get comfortable, then that would automatically work out at the right rate.  Since I'd been down to about five or six ounces a day for months by then, I didn't expect it to take long.  However, the speed with which the end came still startled me.

The day I gave Gillian the second and last lot of milk was Thursday November 20th.  On Friday 21st, I made it through until 2 p.m. without pumping, pumped for ten minutes, followed it up with a further ten minutes during my afternoon break, and got a grand total of an ounce and a half.  It should of course have been obvious from that yield that that would be the last day on which I needed to pump, but I'd spent all year assuming that the wind-down would take at least several days and possibly weeks.  Besides, I was still giving Katie a
morning feed as well as an evening feed during the days when I was at
home, and I knew that doing that over the weekend might bring my
production up again by Monday. So, I went into the following week assuming that I'd still need to do some
pumping, even though presumably it would only be a minimal amount, and thus found myself blindsided as hour after hour of Monday rolled by without the ache in my right breast (it was just the right – maybe I was feeding lopsidedly without even realising it) ever becoming bad enough for me to need to do anything about itI couldn't take in the thought that this might actually be it as far as pumping went. 

Like an animal crouching in the opened door of its cage rather than making a break for freedom, I even ended up strapping up to the pump one more time just to be sure, and, well, for old times' sake.  (In my defence, I was semi-delirious with exhaustion at the time, having stayed up far too late in order to grab a rare bit of childfree time with my husband and then been woken in the few hours that I did get to sleep by Katie waking up with her cold.)  However, all I got on that occasion was a few drops; and I then went through Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday without needing to hook up at all.  (A good thing too – I was on call on the Thursday, and it was one of those on-calls from hell.  Finding time to pump during that day would have been possible – it's always possible – but, good grief, am I ever glad I didn't have to.)  The acid test, as it happened, was coming up the following week, when I had the Monday off to go to the meeting about Jamie; since I normally have Tuesdays off anyway, that meant a four-day stretch of being at home and giving Katie a feed in the morning.  Despite that potential supply boost, I still made it through all of that next Wednesday a pump-free zone and without any more than minor and bearable discomfort. 

There is, of course, still the Christmas break, when I'll be off for six days… but the hell with it.  For day-to-day purposes, it seems fair to say that I'm off the pump. No more lugging the extra bag into work with me each morning and home each evening.  No more facing the choice, in every minute free from actually seeing patients, between strapping myself up to that sucker or feeling guilty that I'm not.  No more trying to concentrate on paperwork over the distraction of its monotonous two-note drone.  No more restricting my caffeine intake for fear that an extra cup of coffee would put me over the limit that the premature babies possibly getting my milk could tolerate.  No more finding space for the milk bags in the freezer each evening.  No more having to wash the pump parts out each evening after work, that one extra annoying job each evening when I'm tired.  No more having to turn down courses I'd like to go on because it would mean spending the breaks stuck in whatever spare corner I could find for pumping.  I am, in Internet parlance, hanging up the horns.

Two children.  Close on two years of pumping.  And now… I'm… done.

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Twelve Months: Zzzzzz

Katie's main milestone from her twelfth month was that very popular and hotly controversial one in ParentingWorld – sleeping through the night.  There is a longer story as to how this came to be (a somewhat timely one, since I've once again been embroiled in debate with another blogger over whether any method of dealing with sleep problems that involves letting your child cry for even a few minutes is a high-risk strategy to be avoided if at all possible or whether there might, perhaps, be circumstances in which it's a valid and reasonable approach), but, in the interests of getting this post up some time before the thirteen-month update is due, I shall leave the full story to a subsequent post and constrain myself, at this point, to merely reporting this happy state of affairs.

She isn't yet walking, but she can stand for several seconds at a time (in fact, she's been able to do that for some time, so I think strictly speaking it belongs in a previous month's post, but what the hell).  She can climb stairs.  (We don't often let her, but she can.)

She's started hugging soft toys.  This is terribly sweet to see, even if her next action generally involves dangling them upside down or grabbing their eyes.  It's nice to finally have some use for the drawerful of soft toys that Jamie was given but never showed the slightest interest in.

She had her first birthday party.  We had a joint party for her and Jamie, on the Sunday in between their birthdays.  Barry was planning to stack their cakes in a two-tier system, but that didn't look as though it was going to work all that well and in the end we carried them in separately.  Since she's too young to blow candles out, he found one of those mini-firework candles.  Jamie was most impressed by this: "I had four candles that were fire," he told us, "and Katie had one candle that was a firework."  Katie, unfortunately, had a rotten cold, which somewhat hampered her enthusiasm for the day, but she seems quite pleased with her presents (although it turned out that what she really really wanted more than anything else was an old comb.  She was so enamoured with Barry's mother's comb that she insisted on carrying it up to the bath with her and howled when I finally insisted on removing it from her clenched fist just before putting her in her cot.)

Other than that, she really hasn't done much of note this month.  She's probably gathering her energies for storming the second year of life.

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