Lisa

Nurse. Mummy. Wife. Life.


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Anaphylaxis

My son yesterday was confirmed by a paediatric immunologist to have anaphylaxis to egg and dairy (all non human milk).

It came as no surprise, as we have been to emergency twice in the last year due to these severe allergies. First time was a year ago when he tried some formula for the first time, and the second was last november when he accidentally ate some egg.

It is very scary as a parent watching your child in such distress and pain, and unable to do much. You feel helpless, and blame yourself for causing it. He is so young, and can’t understand what is going on. All he would know is that he is in pain, itchy, and in a very strange place with strangers poking and prodding him.

As a mother of a child with these severe allergies it has always been a concern when leaving him in the care of others. Whether it be family or friends, it is sometimes hard to really rely on other peoples vigilance. I am not talking about people not caring, but quite often I have been shocked that people don’t realise how much food out there contains dairy and egg. Foods you wouldn’t suspect have these ingredients. So many foods are so highly processed with 101 ingredients, that it is easy to miss an ingredient that is derived from egg or dairy. I religiously look at ingredients, and if I don’t know what is in it, I will not give it to him. I cook all dinners from scratch at home, and try and give him foods that are nutritious and contain calcium. We don’t eat take away, as it is hard to really know what is in it. Main reason being is that I can’t count on others knowing what ‘dairy’ means. That might sound obvious, but people often assume I am just talking about milk and cheese, but forget the other forms of dairy such as cream, butter, sour cream, custard, mayonnaise, etc. All it takes is a smear of butter on a sandwich to cause a reaction.

The Western world is very reliant on dairy in their diet, but so many other cultures and countries don’t eat dairy like we do here in Australia. It took a while to shift my way of thinking and think outside the box, but in the last 12 months it has gotten easier to live with. There are alternatives, you just have to go searching for them. Australia is the number one country for allergies followed by New Zealand. We still don’t know exactly what the cause is, but we know it is something in our environment that we are exposed to. Whoever finds the cure will no doubt win the nobel prize!!

Living with a child who has allergies just becomes a way of life. It is always in the back of my mind whenever we are out and about. Toddlers have a tendency to eat food off the ground or grab some out of another child’s hand or plate. They are curious, and innocently exploring the world. I am always having to watch my son to ensure this doesn’t happen, and often feel like the paranoid crazy mother at play group. I look forward to the day when he is a little older and can understand a little better.

On a positive note, majority of children with milk and egg allergies grow out of it by the age of 10, so fingers crossed this is the case for us.


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Stay at home mum

Quite often in the media there is debate and controversial comments made about the ‘stay at home’ mothers out there.

Is it real work? How hard can it be? Should we be entitled to take time off work to raise our children? Should the Government financially support parents who want to stay home and care for their children? And so on…….

Up until recently when someone would ask what I do, I would say Registered Nurse. It is what I do, and a huge part of my identity. But lately I started reflecting on this and realised that what I should be saying with pride is stay at home mum. I have been off work for almost 2 years, and my full time job and priority now is caring my my 2 children.
It is weird that I feel that saying ‘stay at home’ just isn’t enough of an answer, as though I should be adding something else in there to justify me not going back to work any time soon. As though I won’t be taken serious. I feel ashamed that I would think that, but to be honest it is also a part of me unwilling to let go of the past. I loved being a nurse, and at times really miss it. I miss the challenges, and rewarding work I would do. I have no doubt when the time is right I will return.

But till then, I will wear my stay at home hat with pride, and enjoy this short period of my life when I was given the opportunity to be the primary carer of my children, and witness these precious early years of they life. I honestly have nothing but high respects for all parents that care for their children full time. Unless you have lived it, it is something I can’t explain. Everyday you wake up to the unknown, and depending what day you ask me what it is like, my answer will be different. It can be scary, awesome, tiring, wonderful, frustrating, hurtful, rewarding, confusing, powerful, deflating, exciting and terrible, to name a few moments.


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So Proud of my little man

Every mother thinks their child is the most beautiful, smartest, and creative child on earth. It is our job as a mother to feel that way. They need to know that we think that of them, so that they can go out into the world knowing that there is atleast one person out there that thinks the world of them.

Since having my second child, my feelings and thoughts of my first born son have changed. I look at him in a different light, and everyday I am blown away at the way this little man can make me feel. I am so proud of him, and proud of my husband and I at the amazing job we have done so far. He has adapted so well to the baby, and learning that life no longer evolves around him. I can’t imagine how hard it has been for him, and no doubt a challenge. But he is getting there, and I know he can’t remember life without the baby.

I feel so protective of him, and often hope that having another baby so soon doesn’t have a negative impact on him. I have moments where I feel guilty that I can’t spend more quality time with him, because I am occupied with the baby. I know he doesn’t understand this, and in time things will get easier. I am sure the way I feel is nothing new, and all mothers go through this emotional struggle when introducing a sibling to the family. I often remind myself that millions of people around the world have brothers and sisters and have turned out just fine.

The daily struggle is figuring out the healthy balance between your children, and making sure that they know without a doubt that you will always be there for them. My daughter is only 2 months old, and everyday comes with a new challenge. Things were so simple with one child, but now with two, I have had to change the way I plan the day, and what I can do. There are things I can no longer do with my son, because they require my undivided attention – Activities such as taking him to the pool.

I have learnt to go with the flow, and accept that not everyday is going to go as planned. There will be good days, and bad days. There will be easy days, and days full of tantrums and meltdowns. It is what it is, and it is my reality.


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Reflux?

I think my daughter has reflux.

I really hoped it wasn’t true, and hate the thought that my baby is suffering. It is also something I didn’t want to admit, because in my industry it is often a diagnosis mothers throw around as means to make sense of their newborn crying. Too many babies are labelled as being ‘colicy’ or having ‘reflux’, when infact they are just unsettled babies that need time to adjust to the real world. Some babies just cry and appear unsettled but actually have nothing wrong with them. So you can understand my hesitation at throwing this idea out there.

Here is why I think she does:
* She always arches her back, as though trying to get into a more comfortable position
* She is always vomitting, and it most often happens at least an hour after feeding
* She is always swallowing when not feeding, like she is trying to keep food down or clear her throat
* She is a very unsettled feeder, often pulling off
* She is not always settled after a feed, and has never fallen asleep on the breast like my son did (never has the drunk baby look after a feed) She may cry after a feed and always needs burping.

I may be wrong, and maybe it is just her temperament and personality. It is a hard one to really confirm, and I haven’t gone specifically to the doctors about it because there is really nothing they can do. There is no magic cure, and babies do tend to grow out of it in time. I just make an effort to keep her upright after a feed and always burp her. If it does get worse I will of course have a doctor check her out, but otherwise will just sit on the idea for a while and see how she goes.

It is hard not to compare your babies. My son was a fantastic feeder, and very easy to settle on the breast, so you can understand my confusion when breastfeeding didn’t have the same effect on my daughter. How could a baby not want to be breastfed to sleep? It is what mothers are told not to do but works a treat.

Every baby is different, and it takes time to learn their individual likes and dislikes. For instance my daughter loves being swaddled but my son hated it. It is a lot of trial and error till you get it right. Or sometimes you never do really figure it out, instead just fumble your way through it. What I say is do what ever you have to do to get through the day, and which helps settle your baby.


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Elective Vs Emergency

I have 2 children, and both were born via caesarean.
My first was an emergency caesarean, and the second an elective.
I will probably never experience a natural birth, due to my history, and I am more than okay with that. There was a time during my second pregnancy when I was upset that I wouldn’t have a chance to go natural, but I soon let that go, and accepted the reality of the situation.

So with that said I just wanted to share my experience second time round.

I was booked in for an elective caesarean 12th december, but on 7th december I started getting contractions which was actually me going into labour. So it was still an elective caesarean, but with me in labour. Our baby girl was delivered 8th december.

I could not believe how quick the recovery was, and how great I felt this time round. From the moment I walked into the hospital the nurses, and doctors were nothing but caring and professional, and the care I received could not be faulted. I was discharged 2 days later, and was keen to get home and be with my older son and husband.

I guess for me, this amazing experience came as a shock to me because my first birth was so horrible and traumatic, I just resigned myself to the fact that pain and trauma is just part of having a baby. I didn’t think it could be a positive experience that I would one day look back on without feeling pain, or anger.

This second birth was a very healing experience for me, as it was an opportunity for me to heal, and recover from the first birth. It gave me the opportunity to have the experience I deserved, and needed to let go of the past. It gave me answers, and an experience I would wish for all mothers going through a caesarean.

I am by no means saying that people should have caesareans. I am not here to preach caesareans. I am here to say that no matter how you end up having your baby, it should be a happy and positive experience that enhances your life as a mother. It should be a memory that you can reflect on with happiness, and pride. As the saying goes it is not the destination that counts, but the journey.

8 weeks later I am fully recovered, and feeling better than ever. I am amazed at the strength of mothers, because what we have to go through is no joke. 40 weeks of pregnancy, labour, birth, and then recovery. It is a massive achievement, bringing life into this world, and something I am very honoured to be able to have experienced.


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Welcome baby girl!

I feel like it was yesterday I posted my last blog. The time has gone so fast, and so much has happened.

We welcomed our daughter early december. I was booked in for an elective c-section, but went into labour the week before so had a c-section unexpectedly. She just didn’t want to wait.

She is 8 weeks old now, and has turned life into instant chaos!! I had no idea what having 2 little kids would really be like. You just can’t prepare yourself for what is in store. I forgot how much time a newborn takes up. You think they just eat and sleep, but I forgot all the holding, settling, and crying that was involved. Can be a bit tricky when you have an 18 month old son about to have a tantrum cause he wants something and you are hoping he will understand you when you say “hold on a minute”.

I have resigned to the fact that these next 12 months are going to be a blur, and chasing my tail will be the norm. I have let go of any big expectations except to make sure that both children are fed and alive at the end of the day. But through all the chaos, and unpredictability there are some really happy and beautiful moments. Like when your daughter first smiles at you, or when your son learns a new word. I always take a moment each day to count my blessings, and enjoy the little things, because I know that those are the things that really count. Not vacuuming the house, or having a pile of dirty laundry is not what is going to define me as a mother, or how good a day I have had. What will be a good day is if I have had the opportunity to give both my children some quality time with their mother, and learn something from one another.

I am hoping to get back into the blogging, and share my journey of having 2 under 2!


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What do I know?

I have been so unmotivated as of late to write a blog. Life gets the better of you, and writing a post keeps falling further and further down the priority list.
To be honest I just have not had anything to write about. My mind has been so occupied with the pregnancy, raising a toddler, and before you know it months past. But I guess that is life. You have your moments of inspiration and motivation, and then there are times in life you just need a break.
My son is 14 months now, and well into the toddlerhood stage of life. I am trying so hard to enjoy these last few weeks with my son, because I know very soon I will be sharing my time with a newborn. I have had moments of guilt, that I won’t be able to give my undivided attention to my son for much longer. It makes you wonder if you rushed into the next pregnancy too soon, and how will he cope. I also feel guilty because as I get bigger and more tired, I am struggling to do as much with him, such as carry him and play like I used to. I know he is fine, and a happy little boy who will adapt to a sibling like all other children, but I do have my moments where I doubt my ability to juggle two children. You just really can’t fully prepare yourself for a new baby. You just have to roll with it, and adapt to the changes as they come.
I know these thoughts of doubt, concern and worry are all normal, and I am sure I am not the only mother to feel this way. I guess it is getting a little scary, and the weeks are approaching so fast. I am currently 29 weeks and due to have a caesarean at 39 weeks. The count down has begun. I am scared about my recovery, and how much pain I will have. I am riddled with guilt about the fact that I won’t be able to pick my son up in those weeks while I heal. My mind is buzzing with questions that will be answered in time.
So this is where I am at. A place of excitement and anxiety. A place of happiness and fear. But I am always grateful, and know I am one of the lucky ones. One of the lucky ones to experience this. I wouldn’t change a thing.