Last Midwife Visit

A Day in the Life

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Today marked the end of my postpartum care and baby Rory’s newborn care with our fabulous midwives at Gumnut Blossom. At our last visit we said goodbye for now to Melanie Brindle, who attended Rory’s birth, and this appointment we gave some last snuggles to Louisa Wales, who was with us when Edie was born. We also said good luck to midwifery student Hollie, since her clinical exams are coming up soon and she will become a licensed midwife at the end of her program! I am so excited for her,  and simply can’t say enough about the loving, quality care and attention we received from all the women at Gumnut Blossom Midwifery. I also can’t wait to hear how it goes as they launch the Salmonberry Clinic and found the new birth center over the course of this year.

So, the news from the appointment: I am basically completely healed and everything on my end looks great, and Rory is growing so quickly everything looks great on his side too. The one issue we discussed is a pretty simple fix: Rory is tongue tied, like Edie and Daddy were, but his is having some impact on his breastfeeding. He clicks and smacks a fair amount while nursing, and still hasn’t been able to consolidate his feeds much since he swallows quite a bit of air and fills up his belly. Fortunately that all hasn’t resulted in full on colic, but his digestion has been a bit more sensitive and I wondered if it was connected.

I have kind of regretted the way we ended up handling Edie’s tongue tie, so I was glad to get some referrals from Louisa to have his tongue released as a simple in-office procedure. If we handle it pretty soon, it’s not a big deal at all.

Edie’s tongue tie looked pretty significant but didn’t affect her nursing so I didn’t plan to take care of it until she started speaking. It definitely looked like it would impact her speech; her tongue was visibly cleft by the tension of her frenulum, making a shape like the top of a heart. It was kind of super cute, and I won’t lie, I missed it. Anyway, she started talking at ten months, which turns out to be the worst time to preform a frenectomy. She was too big and wiggly, and too small and confused to do it in office, at least according to the ENT we were referred to at Mary Bridge. So, like a dork, I let the doctor talk me into putting my ten month old under general anesthesia for a routine office procedure. I now wish I had got a second opinion, and I suspect the surgeon was just too comfortable with more invasive surgical techniques, and maybe it felt spooky to work with awake babies – or inconvenient.

All’s well that ends well, I suppose, but I wish I had weighed the risks differently, and I don’t intend to let the insurance and hospital systems handle that choice for me this time. I’m kind of surprised how aggravated it made me feel to think about that again. Yay postpartum hormones. So, that said, I was delighted to leave the midwives with a better action plan and some vetted referrals.

It was weird to say goodbye today, especially since working with Louisa was literally the first parenting decision Kevin and I ever made. But it’s not forever: I’m already looking forward to the baby reunion picnic this summer!

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8 Ways NOT to put a Preschool kid to Sleep

A Day in the Life, How

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Edie was what they call an easy baby, sleeping well, gaining weight quickly, and usually cheery and alert. Rory has been just as pleasant, already sleeping long stretches at night and growing like a moose.

But babyhood doesn’t go on forever- right now I’m afraid we’re in transition to lose Edie’s nap forever. Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve worried about it and nothing is sure yet. It’s a bit disheartening, as I have always had this fantasy of all the children sleeping at once. Right now, my dreams are actually coming true, but that last round with the girl was hard won, like most of her sleep this week. While Rory crashes out all through the day and night, Edie has come into the age where being put in bed is about equivalent to being tossed in a dungeon.

It’s feeling less predictable which might work at any given time, but I have a few tricks I’ve been rotating through. The biggest trick is maintaining intentionality: setting the stage for sleep with a gradual transition, soothing routine, and having all the obvious physical needs- water, potty, snack- handled before the final lights out notice. Beyond that, we’ve tried out evening baths, gentle remedies, essential oils, massage, and guided imagery, each of which have felt positive and would probably work better if used consistently.

Here are some things that don’t work:

1. Get totally distracted by grown-up conversation and fail to move toward bed for an hour into target sleep.

2. Put kid in bed without water, potty, or Helen (or doll/stuffy of choice).

3. Get smacked by exhausted child, and reactively throw kid into dark bedroom.

4. Aggressively hurry child through bedtime routine, threatening cavities to children who miss their chance to brush teeth.

5. Travel to see exciting family members, arriving at bedtime.

6. Read bedtime story in triple time in order to quickly return to other child, now screaming.

7. Read bedtime stories you enjoy too much, especially with vivid voice acting and sound effects.

8. Successfully put child to bed, then remember vital accessories for evening chores stored in closet adjacent to child’s bedroom.

But you know, if Internet advice really worked….

Why Huckleberry School (By Mama)

Why

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Edie says I’m allowed to write a few posts on her blog. I write my own blog too, but she gets so much more traffic than me! I thought I’d start out by sharing the main reasons behind the Huckleberry School project. Huckleberries are a plant that grows wild from sea level to the mountains, and the red tart berries are one of Edie’s very most favorite food. She ate them by the fistful all summer, and there is something about that voracious, eager, sensory activity out in nature that captures what I want for my wild eager child. Bright, natural, local, easy, delicate, tangy, and wide ranging.

Memory. The number one goal of every Huckleberry School post is to save our memories of our adventures with family, friends, and all the good things out there. Edie talks about good things and bad things, and all kinds of crazy things, mostly because we want to save these moments. In the course of a day, Edie makes discoveries that will never surprise her again, and I like that they are stored here to replay later. What would the world be like if all grown ups could look back and understand their earliest discoveries through the eyes of a child?

Family. Having our special moments saved and shared online makes it easier to include our family scattered far and wide, and including family is a high priority that I am not always good at expressing. Fortunately Edie is better at it than I am. By family, we include dear friends that contribute to Edie’s life and development, and the friends who wish they could and are too far away. We love all of you, and hope that your days are brightened by Edie’s messages.

Documentation. While teaching preschool before becoming a mother, I fell in love the Reggio Emilia practice of documentation, where teachers make extensive records of children’s developmental progress and they ways they express their learning through their language, projects and play. Having photos and notes on hand make it easier to remind Edie of the new experiences and ideas she’s had, to inspire continued processing. It also makes it easier to reflect on our activities for me, so I can plan interactions and adventures that build on previous exploration.

Community. In a broader way, I hope that Edie’s experiences give something of a reference point for other children (and parents). It’s fun to share our special activities, but we also try to document something of the quiet moments in between and the gentle rhythm of life we stretch to capture- and sometimes succeed. We try out new ideas and revisit the things that worked for us before. Hopefully we don’t leave out too many rough spots and give a distorted picture… but naturally when Edie’s in her worst moods she doesn’t feel like composing a big message, and we can’t seem to get clear photos …. There is definitely some filter bias.

Inspiration. For me, the biggest benefit I didn’t expect is the opportunity each post affords for me to look closely at my daughter and try to really understand her experience and help her communicate it. This may surprise some of you, but Edie is not quite so proficient a typist or speller as it may appear from blogs only. It is a precious practice to me to sit with her and try my best to see through her eyes, drawing on my own childhood memories to decode the confusing bits. Fortunately she now has enough words to get across what is important to her mosy of the time. We have this brief window of time when I can give her relatively full attention, and I love the moments when we make a deep connection. I couldn’t bear to loose one. But for all my teary pre-nostalgic rambling, don’t be fooled. It’s all her idea.

Whatever it is, it’s all her idea.