Thursday, July 29, 2010

Our family

A portrait by Lily...

You have to click on it to really appreciate it. I love how she and I have eyelashes. And in case you couldn't tell, Lily is wearing make-up and a sparkly dress, Finn is wrapped in a sparkly blanket and I am wearing a black shirt (as per usual) with sparkly shoes. Dad just has really dark hair.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I find it amusing how some people think all doctors are created equally... But it's like graphic design or any other profession. Some people are mediocre, others average or slightly above and then there are a very small handful who are truly great what they do. I've never met a medical professional that falls into that last group, so I can't confirm they exist.

But thankfully within our medical system, I can be persistent (annoying) and see ten doctors and get ten opinions without shelling out a nickel – except in medication and remedies for ailments I don't actually have – until I get what I want. An answer that I agree with. A correct one...

My point? While it wasn't quite ten doctors or nurses or lactation consultants that I saw, it only took one who actually asked different questions to get it right. After a few days (and lots of internet reading), I realized that the medication I got from the ER doctor wasn't quite right, mostly dosage-wise.

First of all, Finn immediately got really dry skin and my pain wasn't subsiding. It just didn't seem right to me. So, back to the breastfeeding support centre. Again, they backed up every doctor's "theory" that I had developed a ductal yeast infection because of the way I'd described the deep, throbbing, burning, stabbing pain. The nurses there recommended a yeast/sugar-free diet which left vegetables, meat and nuts. No dairy, no sweeteners, no bread, no fun. But whatever, I was willing to try anything because I was so exhausted and short-tempered from being in pain all the time. I also asked them if they would try getting me an appointment with another doctor, who just so happened to also be a lactation consultant.

That was on Friday the 16th and they amazingly got me in to see her on the following Monday afternoon. First of all, she wanted to take care of the "milk blister" I'd had for seven weeks. She was the only one in town I'd heard of who would unplug them, even though I brought it up to every doctor I'd seen. (Everyone else just threw anti-fungal cream at it.) All she needed to do was take a nice, sharp needle to clear the bleb. And yes, it hurt. Kinda the same way it hurt to get stitches in my crotch without adequate freezing. Yeeeouch. After that, she asked me to nurse Finn on that side to clear out the trapped milk, to check his latch and examine me afterwards. And that's when she noticed that my nipple was kinda white. Aka, blanching.


Blanching due to vasospasm

Vasospasm, which is more severe, is a sudden constriction/narrowing of a blood vessel (in the nipple, in this case) that is extremely painful. It might occur a short time after nursing or in between nursings.

Vasospasm can also be caused by Raynaud's Phenomenon (more info here), which causes sudden vasospasms in the extremities. When nipple vasospasm is caused by Raynaud's Phenomenon (Raynaud's of the nipple), the nipple turns white, then there is usually a noticeable triphasic color change - from white to blue to red - as blood flow returns. The color change may also be biphasic - from white to blue.

Vasospasms may also occur in fingers or toes. Cold typically triggers the vasospasm and/or makes it worse.

Per Anderson et al, "Because the breast pain associated with Raynaud’s phenomenon is so severe and throbbing, it is often mistaken for Candida albicans [yeast] infection. It is not unusual for mothers who have Raynaud’s phenomenon of the nipple to be treated inappropriately and often repeatedly for C albicans infections with topical or systemic antifungal agents."

That was interesting. So, I started taking the vitamin B6 and extra calcium she recommended and aside from a couple painful periods in the last five days, I've felt a whole lot better. The key seems to be to keep warm. Really warm. So I haven't been turning on the air conditioner much, at least until supper time or the early evening. I put blankets on when I feed Finn. And we nap up in our sunny bedroom – for five hours yesterday, three of which I shared.

How funny that when you know the problem, the solutions to manage and control it are so much easier.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Three months old

My boy, you sure have changed over the last month. Not only are you bigger, obviously over fifteen pounds now, but you are more awake, more bubbly and more vocal every day. Your toys are holding your interest for quite some time these days. We could have just left you in your car seat yesterday because you seemed to really be mastering the spinny things on your lion.

Unfortunately, with the good comes the bad and since I'd been on medication and radically changed my diet, you've been grouchy. My usually so-very-patient boy is slightly less patient and you've even been crying. Out loud. In my arms. Which is really kinda new since we got the hang of you. Hopefully when I feel better and add some sugar back into my diet (in three or four weeks) you'll turn sweeter, too...

But then you laughed. Twice one morning last week and once yesterday when I tickled your side. I called your dad up to see, but it was too late. The moment was gone. You go from jubilant to stoic in an instant.

One of the more impressive things you do now is your rolling over, mostly at night, but now pretty much every time you're a little owly and on your back, you swing that heavy little leg over to propel your whole body face down. At first, you sleeping on your tummy was very disconcerting after all the "back to sleep" literature we've seen. But your dad and I always slept on our tummies and we're here to tell the tale. (Okay, so I don't really leave you alone when you are on your tummy, but perhaps that will pass. Perhaps...)

You love to talk. All we need to do is say ahhh gooo and you'll respond in spades. The last few days you've been making a lot of new sounds, but they sound kind of angry. Probably just because you seem to have to make a frown to spit some of them out. But then again, you can smile at me and cry at the same time. Multi-talented and multi-emotioned. My favourite time when you talk is bedtime. I'll lay there nursing you, one arm around Lily, the other holding you. Everytime I close my eyes, you say "Gwwwahh," with a mouthful of boob until I open them again. Then you smile. Then I smile. And oh, how we love that smile.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

Weighing in

More woes and more pain, but that's another story... In happier news, at the breastfeeding support clinic this afternoon, Finn weighed in at a whopping 15 lbs., 1/2 oz. Yum, I love those delicious cheeks!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

In related news

More extended family-centric time. We got together with Warren, Jean and the Lindholms. I was giddy with all that crazy cuteness when these two sat together.

I love this photo of Finn and Keira as they are positioned almost exactly the same. The same tight little right fists, straight left arms, same head tilts, same slack-jawed expressions, same chubby frog legs. Lily loved making observations about how they're the same and how they're different. She couldn't get over the fact that "Keira has such big eyes!" And such distinct eyebrows – someday Finn will have eyebrows you can see...

Zander is going to be so unimpressed with us someday as all the photos of him and Lily has him dressed up in some lovely way.

And I forgot to post these of the Anderson and Pereira cousins. Of course, we never got around to getting them all together until minutes before we were about to leave Winnipeg that morning. Kim and I usually are in the picture, but like I said, it was first thing in the morning so it was probably best that we opted out.

Friday, July 09, 2010


Last night was the worst pain, next to natural childbirth, I've ever experienced. From 8 to 11 p.m., I couldn't escape the blinding pain. So today I finally went to the walk-in clinic with Finn first thing this morning while Chris stayed home with Lily. I was in and out within 45 minutes (which is good compared to how long I've waited in the past). Unfortunately, the doctor I saw was useless, recommending that my family doctor refer me to a specialist. Uh, thanks. 'Cause I've got time to kill.

When I got home, I called the HealthLine for yet another opinion. After chronicling the last five weeks of problems I've had (starting with a blocked duct) and all the help I've tried to access, the nurse on the phone consulted with the charge nurse and recommended I go straight to emergency as it was obvious I'd exhausted my options.

I think we set a record in the ER. We left the house at about 10:30 and from triage to the time we got a bed/room, it was 12 minutes. After the nurse took our info, the doctor was in within five minutes. After she examined me and we talked about all possible courses of action, it took another twenty minutes to get a pricey prescription for this infection and we were out the door – and home before noon.

While it isn't over yet, it feels like a good start.

Thursday, July 08, 2010


Canada Day is a big deal for our Winnipeg relatives. Auntie Brenda and Uncle Terry have always had a big bash with many decorations and tonnes of excitement to celebrate Uncle Terry's birthday, their wedding anniversary and Canada Day all at the same time, but since moving into a smaller home they've had to borrow Brenda's brother/mother's yard for the festivities. It was lots of fun and what better way to tell a long story but through pictures. Here we go!

Because it was Uncle Terry's 60th birthday, a bunch of relatives from Saskatoon (and us) came to surprise him.
Back row: Dean, Trevor, Brenda, RCMP dummy, Andy, Tyler, Connie, Norma, Jean, Terry, Chris
Front row: Amber, Brian, Amanda, Kelsey, Pat, Warren, Jen (holding Finn), Kim (holding Aiden), Mario and Isabella and Lily in the very front.

Lily and Isabella, who are nine months apart and both four right now, are so alike it's a little freaky. They love all the same things: princesses, being pretty, jewelry, Scooby Doo, iCarly and their Miranda Cosgrove CDs. It was all fun, all the time.

Here are Warren and Jean. Warren is my cousin Heather's dad and my mom's brother.

Awww, Finn and Chris under the apple tree. It was so freaking hot and humid that Finn spent very little time outside. Chris and I traded off being in the house with him so that we could take turns visiting with everyone outside.

Here is cousin Aiden. He is seven months older than Finn. One day I hope they get along as well as Lily and Isabella.

Sweet Auntie Norma posing under the apple tree.

Trevor's turn in the game of lawn darts. This is a serious game and is played every year with prizes for the top winners. Chris and I worked on Trev's latest CD artwork in the blurry nights after Finn's birth. Trevor and his girlfriend, Amber, are also expecting a baby in January.

Here is cousin Kelsey (13), playing dolls with the girls. Lily thinks Kelsey is so awesome.

Here is Uncle Terry and Nana. Can you tell they're siblings???

Silly girls. Okay, mostly just silly Lily.

This is super, awesome, totally fun bath time.

The girls had made a plan to tie up Uncle Trevor when he came to Kim and Mario's (where we were staying) for a big family lunch the next day. Lily was so excited to play with him because he plays rough like Uncle Nigel does. And when Trev was done playing, they tied themselves up (below).

Cool cousin Kelsey and Isabella.

Chris and little Finn man, when Finn was actually awake. I was a little worried as we'd taken the kid's for their immunizations the day before we left, but it didn't seem to have any ill effects on either of them. Well, Finn was a little grouchy and made it known with his high-pitched squealing cries, but he's still easy to please.

The girls spent a good chunk of the afternoon having a blast in the water – and blasting the dog with water.

Cousin Kim is holding Aiden while Lily feeds him his first bites of chocolate cupcake. Lily had lots of fun with Aiden so she has lots to look forward to when Finn gets bigger and mobile.

Isabella and her nana, Auntie Brenda.

Lily strikes a pose with her nana in the foreground. Nana ended up having to go to the emergency room on Canada Day to deal with an infection. Luckily, Jean offered to take her and keep her company. They were there all night, arriving "home" around 5 a.m.

Finn was a super little traveller, but he still likes to sleep away the earlier parts of every day still. He slept almost the whole way there with one stop for him to eat. Then on the way home, he was awake but happy to play from Winnipeg to Brandon, then slept the entire rest of the way. Lily even slept in the afternoon both ways.

So yeah, it was a highly successful trip. When asked what her favourite part was, Lily said, "All of it! Let's go back next year!"

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


It's been a string of sleepless nights for more than a week now – and Finn isn't even the problem. (He even slept from 9 until 3:30 the other night; I woke him to feed him because I feared my chest might explode. Ah, the world is balancing itself out after we had Lily.)

Anyway, last, last Monday, I was overly tired and I had a sore throat. I fed Finn around midnight and then it all went to hell. Two hours of intense chills, so much so that my teeth chattered and my whole body vibrated while I cried because everything hurt and all I wanted to do was sleep. I gave in and shook my way towards the bathroom. A scalding hot tub only worked for the parts of my body in the water; even after I got out I was still absolutely freezing. I had Chris take Finn downstairs because I was disturbing him, yet I couldn't take care of him at all. The following two hours (and many Advil later), I was burning up with a fever. I slept in fifteen minute intervals because I had to check on Chris on Finn to make sure they were still alive. (Okay, so I can't sleep without Finn. It was the same way with Lily. Should only take a couple years to get over that motherly protective thing...)

Anyway, at 4:45 I was feeling "well enough" (read: guilty that Chris wasn't sleeping) to take Finn downstairs to sleep with him on the couch so Chris could get a couple hours sleep before he had to go off to work. Of course, within 15 minutes, I could hear the pitter patter of little feet coming down the stairs. Lily, who noticed I was missing, came down, got a blanket and fell asleep beside us until 7 a.m. I kept asking her to run upstairs to wake up her dad, but she was stubborn and I was too weak. Finally at 7:45, I dragged my butt upstairs and got him up fifteen minutes before he was supposed to be there.

Luckily, Nana came over at 9 and took Lily out all morning so Finn and I could sleep, which we did until 11:45. By this point, I'd figured out I had mastitis in my right boob because it was sore and visibly red and hot. Didn't you want to hear about my breastfeeding woes? ('Cause I kinda want to talk about them...)

And all I could think about was how was I ever going to be ready to leave for Winnipeg the next morning...and how disappointed we all would be if we didn't go. Oh, and did I mention Chris was supposed to go to Saskatoon that evening for the Iron Maiden concert? Well, that didn't happen as Chris decided to cancel on his buddies; and thankfully, too, because I really needed help with the kids, to rest and to pack.

So, feeling heavy-headed and sore all over, I persevered and we left the house the next morning at 8 a.m. And for the four days in Winnipeg, I felt fine for the most part. Tired, more than usual, but fine. Until we got home and the last three nights I've been awake for two to three hours in the middle of each night with deep, throbbing chest pain. Nice, I know. It happens during the day, too, when I feed on the right side but it's easier to deal with during the day because I'm not laying there trying to sleep. We're busy. From what I've read, it sounds like thrush and with my doctor out of town for two weeks, I'll have to try and squeeze in time to hit the walk-in clinic. Not that there are any quick fixes and this pain seems to be unaffected by ridiculous amounts of Advil and Tylenol at the same time. I have great sympathy for those poor chronic pain sufferers...

Anyway, just glad I got that off my chest.