Friday, August 27, 2010

Distraught.

The last few days I've been so distressed I've barely been able to eat. The CPAP machine, that wonderful life saving device I use to help me breathe while I'm asleep, is steadily screwing up my face. And I don't mean in a cosmetic sense.

It's literally shoving my lower jaw to the side by at least half a centimeter so far, receding my gums, making my molars and incisors lean inward like the Tower of Pisa, and all my other teeth as a result are screwing up as well. For those of you that have had braces or similar dental work, you know that horrible dull ache I'm talking about. Add to that an occasional sensation similar to when you eat too much wasabi in one go (albeit not quite as intense, but definitely those kind of prickles up the sinus cavity), a headache and a sore ear = a physically miserable me.

That's just the physical side. The emotional and mental anguish are seriously off the scale. I'm so angry that, yet again, there's a bitter pill to swallow in amongst the joyousness. This teeth thing aside, I'm ecstatic about how much more alert I am, how much more energy is flowing through my system. Most especially with how much more I'm the mum I want to be to Kiddlywink. And then this teeth/jaw thing happened and I've freaked the hell out.

Pure and simple, I need the cpap to live. Not only live but have good quality of life. But with how much my teeth and jaw have moved the past few nights, what damage will happen over the next months/years?

A respiratory technician from the medical supply company was s'posed to come out yesterday to help try on different masks to see if they'd help. But when I told him the actual problem, and after he spoke to his supervisor, there's nothing they can do for me.I have to see my sleep doctor tomorrow and hope that he can give me a solution that keeps my teeth and jaw happy while allowing me to live to a ripe old age, without also screwing up anything else!

And oh how I want to live. Apart from living my own life, I have a gorgeous girl who needs me, and I need to see her grow up.

I know I need that cpap. I fell asleep one night without it, too scared to put it on because of what it's do to my jaw/teeth, and it stayed on the pillow beside me. I woke up two hours later gasping for breath and with my heart absolutely pounding in my chest. Not too long ago, that was normal. Now that my body is refreshed I now know how awful/bad my body actually feels when I sleep without the cpap working.

I'm hoping and praying that the doctor can help me, because if he can't...I don't know how to cope. Living in fear of one's life is no way to live, lemme tell you!

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Commence Operation Bye-Bye Bouncer

Cue the next step in my recovery. Now that I'm getting enough sleep it's time for Kiddlywink to learn to fall asleep in her own crib/cot. Her dependence upon the bouncer to fall asleep came about through a series of events that we were unable to prevent. First of all we had to keep her upper body elevated for half an hour after she finished eating because she'd upchuck if we didn't. (Alaskaboy could wear her in a baby carrier, but I couldn't.) Secondly, I had to use a breast pump after she did finish eating, so what better way to combine the two than pump while rocking her to sleep in her chair. (Then Alaskaboy could carry her into bed until I was recuperated enough to do so.) And finally, even after she had grown out of her upchuck episodes at about 4-6 months old, I was well beyond exhausted thanks to my sleep apnea. I hadn't recovered enough to try attachment parenting either.

With Alaskaboy gone anywhere from 12-16 hours per day, I used the quickest means necessary to get Kiddlywink to fall asleep, so that I could then drag my sorry arse to bed...often napping on the couch instead. Many times I'd wake up to Kiddlywink complaining that I'd fallen asleep mid-bounce...before she was asleep!

With this being the norm until beyond her first birthday, (we and) Kiddlywink developed her bedtime routine around the use of the bouncer. A couple of months ago we'd almost completed the first stage of transferring bedtime, by making it normal for her to be bounced in her bedroom rather than the lounge room, but then teeth started happening and her schedule went to shit.

Plus, we realised she wasn't emotionally ready for the transfer to falling asleep in her bed. Neither did I have the mental or emotional fortitude yet to deal with the potential screaming/crying. So why not wait a little longer to make the eventual transition easier on all of us? Waiting until she's ready worked for other developmental stages, hopefully it'll work with this one too.

I was rested enough a couple of weeks ago to start attempting Operation Bye-Bye Bouncer, but she was showing signs of cutting another pair of teeth. Everything I learned as a nanny plus all the current resources I've perused for tips on changing a child's routine suggests avoiding doing so while they're teething. Too much happening at once for them to concentrate on = bad juju.

The first night it worked like a dream. I read to her while we both sat on the rocking chair. Then she had some quiet time in her crib while I read some more. I even read a few pages of a novel while she read some of her own books to herself. There were a few crying fits I had to soothe, but then she went straight back into bed when she calmed down. We gave Blinky Bill umpteen kisses, and then she almost fell asleep but couldn't quite get there on her own and began to cry again in frustration. I hadn't expected her to do half as well as she had done already, so I picked her up and rocked us both in the rocking chair. Eventually she was relaxed, sleepy, and not quite comfy enough, so I hoped for the best and plopped her back into bed. And after a few strategic moves to get comfy, she was out like a light!

The next day was one of those nights where she simply refuses to sleep for anything other than a couple of brief spurts. (Have one of those every 6 weeks or so just before she has a mental or physical growth spurt. I guess every child's sleep regressions are different.) We'd also switched to a night shift schedule, another clue for us that she was ready for a change in the bedtime routine. Unfortunately the sleep regression meant she was overtired each time we tried to repeat the success of the previous night. Everything I did led to screaming and screaming, so after about half an hour of scream/soothe/read/scream/soothe/read/read/scream/soothe etc I admitted defeat when she got to the point of crying so hard she dry heaved. Thirty seconds in the bouncer and she was out cold.

Last night, she couldn't settle in the bouncer either so back into bed she went and as long as I leaned over the side of the crib breathing deeply and evenly at her, she was content to lay there till she fell asleep. She had a four hour nap during the night, was awake at an ungodly hour, then back in bed by 7:30am. Again, falling asleep in her own bed after a little time in the bouncer. In the bouncer she held a book against her mouth as she comfort-sucked her bottom lip. That made her Mama Bookworm VERY proud. LOL

Today I'm applying what I've learned from the last few days. Kiddlywink showed signs of stirring between 1:30 and 2pm, so I woke her up. (Much more reasonable than after 5pm!) This afternoon's nap, we got her ready for bed at the first sign of tiredness. (Yesterday it was easy, she very blatantly handed me a book and climbed into my lap to snuggle in.) I placed her into bed and read from the rocking chair. She lay in bed doing her comfort lip suck and almost fell asleep a few times while I read to her.

After awhile I left the room to bring in the card table so I could fold some clothes, unfortunately that was a mistake because she'd dropped off in the few seconds it took to get a drink of water and the table. Deservedly so, she was very cranky now, so I picked up her to soothe her tears and then back into bed she went. About two minutes later I could tell she wasn't going to fall asleep again on her own, so when she stopped the little test boo-hoo-hoos that she did, I picked her up and put her in the bouncer. (No way do I want to reinforce crying = bouncer!)

Instead of waiting until she was deeply asleep like we used to do, I picked her up out of the bouncer as soon as she was asleep. She disturbed, but this time she snuggled back into bed and fell asleep on her own after a few minutes. Hooray!

Gradually, cautiously, and above all else while keeping her relaxed about the process, we're implementing Operation Bye Bye Bouncer. Taking bits and bobs from all different sources and applying the advice that works for us and making up the rest as we go along. The most important lesson I'm learning as a parent is that sometimes kids can follow the advice books or what works for other people you know, and sometimes we've gotta figure it out together by ourselves.

Bonus is, when Operation Bye Bye Bouncer is eventually successful, I can then implement Operation A Little Extra Time To Get More Stuff Done!

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Friday, August 06, 2010

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me.

Thanks to the lovely Rita over at The Giggly Bits I've been in a bit of a tizz lately. Awhile back she tagged me and I was IT! But I then had to come up with ten things about me that a) you don't already know, b) I want the internets to know about, and c) that isn't boring as bat shit.

I hope I've manage to do that. But first.

* Thank my friend for giving me the award. Danke, Rita!
* Link back to the giver. I give you...The runningest Rita I know!
* Reveal 10 things about me. C'mon brain, we can do this!

1. During a round robin softball tournament, the team I played for was the only one to beat the team representing Japan.
2. As a child my dream was to grow up, fall in love, get married, have children and be a housewife. Mission accomplished.
3. As a young teen I used to cook dinner for my family and I'd dress the table up nice and then we'd eat by candlelight. Romantic candlelit dinners for the whole family. LOL
4. It took me a long time to realise that romance isn't flowers, candles, chocolates, loving odes etc. Romance is whatever my husband does that makes me feel special and/or melt into a big puddle of goo.
5. It's almost impossible for my husband to surprise me with something. Somehow, even without trying, something always occurs for me to figure it out beforehand. I have learned to keep my mouth shut if I do figure it out though.
6. I wish I could learn to scuba dive, but my slight claustrophobia prevents that happening. If science came up with a way to give us amphibious capabilities...sign me up!
7. I have a photo of me holding an actual Hugo award. It's above my desk. Alaskaboy taped a speech bubble to the frame that says, "I can haz a Hugo award!"
8. I wish I hadn't cared so much what other people thought/said about me as a child/teenager.
9. I'll give people the benefit of the doubt, but once I get to the point of no return, there's no going back. When you're wiped, you're wiped. I get that from my Dad's side of the family.
10. I hate to speak in public. Certain situations I'm fine, but put me in the spotlight and I freak out. I spent my wedding day happy but unnerved by all that attention.

And last but not least, I tag the gorgeous, Shauna!

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