Saturday, November 24, 2012

Keeping Up


I am not gonna lie.

The transition from two to three kids was pretty intense.  I'd say the first month was the hardest in terms of just getting through each day.  Some days weren't too bad, there were even a couple of really great days, but more than a few were pretty terrible.  One in particular ended up with me in the pantry, crying and not wanting the kids to see, but they found me there anyway.  That was my low point.

There wasn't anything in particular that happened where I could say, "Be sure to prepare for this and you'll be fine."  I honestly don't think that you can prepare for the transition of adding another child to your family.  I believe it is a matter of the individual personality of the baby and your older children and that it just takes time to develop a new rhythm. 

We definitely had some things in Drew's first weeks of life that made things more difficult.  His readmission to the hospital was a challenge.  Having all three kids come down with The Plague was also incredibly awful.  This was no ordinary cold, either.  All three of them were super, duper SICK.  Again, though, not something that you can prepare or plan for.  We just had to go with it.

There were a few days when I was really worried and didn't know how I could ever handle all three at the same time.  In the end, I knew that I didn't have a choice and there was nothing to do but to pull up my big girl panties and move foward.  I had figured it out when Emma was born; I knew I could figure it out with Drew added to the mix.  So, that is exactly what I have been doing.

At six weeks out, we are still in the Newborn Trenches.  Drew still sleeps pretty poorly.  We have had a couple of five hour stretches here and there, but for the most part, he sleeps one three hour stretch in a night and then is up every hour or two after that.  He still wants to be held for every single nap.  We are finally just having some sucess with him taking a nap in his swing, but it is hit or miss. The biggest difference is that I am trying to not stress out over it and hope that time will help his sleep patterns develop (as they did with Will).   The one thing that I can say with some confidence is that we seem to have dodged a bullet when it comes to colic.  Drew is soothed fairly easily.  All he wants is his mama and a snuggle (earning him the nickname Velcro Baby), possibly a little nursing thrown in for good measure, and he is a happy camper.

All three kiddos are still fighting some sort of respiratory yuck.  Both of the older ones have had antibiotics and are still sick so my guess is that it is viral and will just take time. . . which seems to be the theme lately.  I will say that both of them are so incredibly sweet to their baby brother.  They just love him and often fight about whose turn it is to hold "Drew Boo" or "Gubba Gubba Drew" (not sure where Emma developed that nickname for him, but it is so cute when she says it). 

Speaking of which, Emma has gotten over her aversion to me nursing him and isn't phased by it any more, but she still wants my attention most of the time.  She still is doing a lot more crying and whining that she was before, but it is starting to settle down just a bit.  A lot of her personality these days is driven by the fact that she is two and I am pretty sure she would have gone through a lot of this even if Drew hadn't joined our family

Will has actually been the easiest in terms of the transition.  He has his moments of challenge, but I am finding four to be a pretty agreeable age as far as it goes.  He is old enough to be pretty helpful around the house.  He can do simple things like buckle and unbuckle his own seatbelt, get himself a snack, let the dog out, and get dressed.  These all are pretty small things, but they add up to minutes of the day that make life just a bit easier.  And he tells me all of the time how much he loves Baby Drew and is so glad that he is in our family.

So, I haven't really painted a very rosy picture of life with three, and yet. . . things are a lot easier and better lately.  Nothing much has really changed besides my attitude. 

I took Drew in to meet one of the doctors that I call on and was chatting with his nurse who has six (grown) children.  I asked her how she did it and when does it get easier and she asked me what was hard.  I told her that it was keeping everyone happy.

She arched an eyebrow at me and said, "Well, that's your problem right there.  It isn't your job to keep everyone happy.  Your job as a mom is to keep them safe, fed, and loved.  No one will be happy all of the time and it's best they learn that now."

I gotta be honest.  That kind of blew my mind.  But once I started thinking about it from that perspective, I found my attitude changing.


Here we are, six weeks out.  We are more than surviving; there are more good times than bad and I haven't cried in the pantry (or at all) lately.  And even though it isn't my responsibility to keep everyone happy, I would say most of the time, everybody is pretty happy.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Grapefruit Seed Extract Triumphs Over the Beast

I HATE nystatin.  Most specifically, I detest oral nystatin.

I have had three babies and all three have had thrush (yeast in the mouth) and therefore I have gotten thrush in my breasts (ouch).  And when we get thrush, nystatin is the bane of my existence.  It just doesn't seem to work.  Although I guess it must, because eventually, the thrush clears.  But it takes. . . FOREVER and I feel like the baby and I just pass it back and forth for a few weeks. 

This time, when Drew got a NASTY diaper rash (the nastiest I have ever seen in three babies and the first time the yeast has made its way into the diaper area) and I had shooting pains in my right nipple, I knew that the yeastie beastie had struck again.  I was determined to be The Victor this round. 

Oh, I so WAS. 

And here is how you can also trump thrush without visiting the pediatrician or getting any sort of prescription.  Well. . . since I am not a doctor, you should PROBABLY check in with your pediatrician, at least over the phone. 

The magic ingredient in your fight against thrush and yeastie-beastie diaper rashes?



Grapefruit Seed Extract (tablets and oil)
Spray bottle (I used two)
Distilled water (not just filtered, distilled)
Medicine dropper

I already had the spray bottles and medicine dropper, so my total for a bottle of the tablets and oil and a huge just of distilled water water was $22; barely more than a copay! 

First step:  Manage to find GSE. 

This was quite a bit more difficult than I imagined.  You need to find both the tablets and the oil.  I found the tablets at GNC and the oil at Fred Meyer.  Total expenditure for both was $25.

Second step:  Get in touch with your inner pharmacist.

You will need to make a diaper area/nipple spray.  You will combine 20 drops of GSE with every ounce of water.  So for example, take a spray bottle and fill it with eight ounces of water and 160 drops of GSE.  Shake well to combine.  The oil is very thick, so you will have to shake pretty vigorously and for a couple of minutes to get it good and combined.  USE DISTILLED WATER so that the chemicals do not negate the effects of the GSE.  I made two bottles of this magic elixir, one for upstairs on Drew's changing table, and one for downstairs where I do the majority of his nursing.

Third Step:  Apply and ingest.

Apply to the baby:  Use the spray bottle to liberally spray the diaper area and then use wipes to clean up excess yeast and all areas of the rash.  Use a lot of wipes to avoid spreading the yeast.  After everything is clean, spritz the entire diaper area (anywhere there is rash) with the GSE mixture.  Don't be shy.  Make sure to get all of the "folds" in the skin, where yeast likes to hang out.  Do this four times a day.  Let the baby air out as much as possible in between changes.  I also used a touch of desitin at night before bed to prevent secondary diaper rash from setting in.

If your baby also has oral thrush (or even as a preventative measure if not) take a soft wash cloth and gently wipe the baby's cheeks or anywhere you see the telltale white mucus on babies lips/cheeks.  Then, using the medicine dropper, apply the GSE mixture by squeezing it into the cheeks/onto the lips.  Squirt it into the cheeks to make sure they are being covered.  Also feed the baby 1 mL full of the liquid to get it into the GI tract.  Do this BEFORE feeding so that the baby will not identify breastfeeding with the sour taste of the GSE.

Treat yourself:  After feeding, take the spray bottle and spritz your nipples.  I also tried to let the girls "air out" whenever possible.  Do not use lansinoh, because this will create a "wet" area, which is where yeast thrives.  If your nipples are really sore, try asking your OB for a prescription for triple nipple ointment (or do what I did and make your own).  Also, take two 100 mg GSE tablets every day to have it work from the inside.

Treat anything else with a "bath":  Make another dilution of GSE and distilled water (again 20 drops to every one ounce) and put in a dish.  Then, put anything that touches the baby's mouth (bottle nipples, pacis, etc.) in that mixture and store them there until you need them.  I also added a few drops of GSE to every load of wash I did to get extra yeast out of towels, shirts, my bras, etc.

I used a variety of sources to put together this plan of attack, and it took some time to research it and also find the ingredients, but it was worth it for me.  I avoided an unnecessary trip to the pediatrician and it WORKED.  Within the first day, my nipple pain had diminished (not completely, but noticeably).  It was gone by the third day of treatment.  Drew's oral thrush was gone in the FIRST DAY of treatment.  FIRST DAY, people.  It took days and even weeks of applying it with both Will and Emma to get rid of the oral thrush.

I will be honest, his diaper area took a lot longer to clear up.  It was probably close to a week.  BUT I noticed a HUGE improvement within 48 hours and it didn't really seem to be bothering him anyway.  Also, this was a SERIOUS diaper rash.  It was awful, awful, awful.  I googled trying to find images of it and his was worse than anything I came up with.  I imagine if you caught it a bit earlier, you would see it clear up much faster. Just a day ago, I noticed another spot of yeast.  I applied the GSE and it was gone by the next diaper change. 

So for anyone else that will battle the Yeast Beast, I hope this helps.  It made a big difference in how we handled it this time around.  I only wish I would have known about it two babies ago!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Then and Now

First off, thank you for the kind comments left last week to my "Just Me" post.  That was me being pretty vulnerable and admitting that this transition period has been a bit rough.

I was trying to figure out what is so different this time than when Emma was a newborn.  Because, honestly?  I killed in in the transition from one to two.  I mean, sure, I had a few bad days, but for the most part, I feel as if it was a breeze for me.  So?  The difference?

1)  The Baby Slept

Emma slept great as a newborn.  She still sleeps great now.  I can take no credit for this.  She came out that way.  There was virtually NO sleep training required for Emma.

But you can't hate me because I have also had rough sleepers that I had to train.  Will was ROUGH on me.  Drew has been ROUGH on me.  I have a lot of rough weeks to go and I definitely think we'll have to sleep train him at some point, which I really am not looking forward to.

When the baby sleeps, the mama sleeps.  And when the mama sleeps, the mama is much happier, healthier, and rested.  I know that this will pass, and that someday, Drew will sleep through the night and nap without being held.  But right now?  It seems a long time from now and I am so very tired.

2)  Camaraderie

When I had Emma, two very good friends of mine had babies at the same time and were making the transition from one to two right along with me.  Our second babies were all three weeks apart.  It was wonderful, because on those rough days, I had someone to moan and groan about the rough days with.  I had someone to brave the zoo with two kids along for the ride or to talk on the phone with when we didn't feel brave enough to leave the house.  I could have playdates with these women without them judging me for the craziness, because they were going through the craziness, too.  I didn't feel alone or isolated. 

This time, I don't really know anyone who has had a baby recently; I know very few people with more than two children at all.  I am also still in that weird "not really a SAHM, but not quite a WOTHM, either".  My working mom friends are all. . . well, working, and my SAHM friends have created lives that don't include me.  It's not as if I couldn't call them up, but they already have playdates and plans for most days.  And again, I am not really up for major outings yet or really hosting any big playdates (a separate post. . . playdates are a lot of work). 

So, I am lonely.  My nanny is here every day, and I enjoy her company.  But she isn't my friend, she is my employee.  Not that we aren't friendly with each other, because we are, but I also can't exactly break down sobbing in front of her and how exhausted I am or talk about how sore my nipples are, like I could with a good girlfriend. 

And it isn't that I am not in contact with my friends, because I AM, it is just different than what I experienced with Emma.

3)  Preparation

With Emma, I was prepared for another newborn like Will.  I went into having Emma as some might go into battle.  This time, not so much.  I guess I was hoping for another Emma in terms of sleep habits.  I had let other people talk me into the rubbish that I somehow caused Will's sleep (or lack thereof) in the first few weeks by being a nervous first time mom.  I was hoping that my more laid back attitude would help.


So, while I was prepared to have Andrew, I wasn't as prepared as I should have been.  I am honestly not sure that you can ever prepare yourself for the onslaught of a sleepless newborn, but you can do other things to help yourself, which leads to. . .


1)  Get Myself Up, Presentable, and Out Of the House

Last week, I didn't leave the house three out of the five days of the week.  Big mistake.  Huge.

So, this week, I will get up and shower, put on makeup, and clothes every day, first thing in the morning, no matter how tired I am.  This is not to say that I will not nap later, but I am not going to stay in my pjs.

And I will leave this house, even if it is to walk to the mailbox to get the mail.  Preferably, it will be for a bigger outing, like (gasp) Target or the grocery store. 

2)  See Friends

I will start making plans with friends.  Most of these plans will likely include at least one of my children, but I will also make a concerted effort to get out the house without a child every now and again. 

3)  Identify and Eliminate Stressful Times Of the Day

Making meals is too awful to even talk about right now.  Even trying to make something simple ends up with someone(s) crying.  So I am going to use my crockpot and put together meals that can literally sit on the counter and wait for us to eat them.  I am using all of this nursing time to look up good recipes that can be thrown together in the morning when our nanny first arrives or during naptime.  I am trying this recipe for Creamy Crockpot Spaghetti today.  I will let you know how it turns out.

Bathtime is another hectic time, so I am going to start having our nanny do bathtimes during the day.  On days that she can't get to it, we are skipping it.  My kids are clean enough that missing a tubby here or there won't kill 'em.

So.  These are my plans moving forward.  That, and just to try and take each day as it comes.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Just Me

I realize some of these entries (or maybe all of them?) are a little down.

I guess I could come here and write a sunshine and lollipops entry about how wonderful life with three children is.  While there are definitely some fantastic moments, mostly, life with a newborn and two other small children is HARD.

I am not sure if there is something lacking in me, personally, or if everyone has problems with the transition from two to three.  The problem is that I don't know anyone in real life with more than two kids. . . unless they are much older and the newborn days and haze are long behind them. 

I do know a few bloggers with more than two children, but when I read their blogs, I don't see a lot of issues with the transition.  So.  Maybe it's me.  Maybe I am just not great at parenting three kids.  YET.  I do believe that I am a good mom.  And perhaps that is even part of the problem right now.  Because even running as fast as I can and barely taking time to eat or shower, I feel like I am falling short of everyone's expectations.

I also don't function well on lack of sleep.  I learned this during Will's newborn phase.  I mean, I actually can do okay for a few days, maybe even a week.  But after several weeks of poor pregnancy sleep, and now week three of poor sleep and c-section recovery, I am feeling the effects of it.  I was actually doing "okay" with it until Drew got sick. 

Yep.  Drew caught the crud.  He is miserable.  His little nose is so congested that he can barely nurse.  He will not sleep in his bed for more than twenty minutes.  But even if I take him to bed with me, he doesn't sleep much longer.  My nipples are sore from all of the comfort nursing I've been doing, just to get a half hour of sleep here and there. 

Emma is a mess.  She wants my attention all of the time.  No one else will do.  From when she gets up in the morning, til she goes to bed at night, she wants me to do everything for her.  As this is not possible, she is spending a lot of the day in tears.  And though I know it won't kill her to cry, it makes me feel awful to listen to it.  It doesn't help that she is just now getting over the crud and hasn't been feeling well.

Will is doing the best out of the three.  He is still very sweet and helpful with Drew, but we have definitely had more opposition from him.  He is talking back and saying no more and more, which means I have to constantly be on him so that this doesn't become a bigger issue.

I do know this will all get easier and better.  I am curious, however, for my readers out there with more than two kids. . . is it just me or his parenting three (or more) kids just really hard in the beginning (or always)?