Having experienced the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Canberra Hospital first hand, we know what important and truly life changing work happens there every day.
The Newborn Intensive Care Foundation is 100% voluntary. The organisation directs 100% of general tax-deductible donations to:
- Fund medical equipment
- Nurse education
- Research (to primarily support the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Special Care Nursery (SCN) in the ACT, Southern NSW and now Central and Eastern Gippsland)
Money raised in each region stays in that region.
Their aim is to provide clinical staff with medical equipment and nurse education so that sick and premature newborn babies go home sooner and healthier than would otherwise be the case.
The critical work they do helps prevent brain damage, lung damage, cerebral palsy, blindness and a range of other issues. This reduces the need for lifetime reliance on Government welfare and increases the chance of sick babies going on to lead normal healthy lives.
6 months in, and the little man has gone from waking up 2-3 times a night to almost hourly, if not even more often. 4 month sleep regression feels more like a 2020 regression as we have been having issues since Townsville. Welcome sleep training.
I created one for me in January when I was with the two kids away and very sleep deprived. Started feeding to sleep more often than not and on nights where I’d gotten up what felt like 50 times, I put him in my bed.
Now at the end of Feb, I’m struggling to function as a zombie anymore (I don’t do coffee or caffeine fixes). I’ve considered the dummy many times, but figure if we have made it this far, why start now?
The method to end the madness
I visited my good friend Dr Google again. Even though I was meant to just follow my instincts this time round and not stress… yeah right. Read many stories of sleep training, controlled crying, why it’s happening etc.
We decided on putting him down drowsy and then the pick up, put down with a bit of controlled crying as well. I didn’t know how good we would be at the controlled crying as we couldn’t hack it for more than a minute with my daughter. Surprisingly when you want sleep that badly, you can become a lot less emotional about it.
Before we launched into the night training, I got the day sleep sorted which took about 2-3 days. I’d been putting him down a bit early (at the first signs of tiredness around 1.5hrs after a sleep), and this made him more agitated and harder to settle.
The routine (for now):
Wake up: 6:45 to 7am
Power nap: 8am for an hour to an hour and a half. On school drop off days unfortunately I have to cut this one short.
Awake for 2 hours.
Lunch sleep: Somewhere between 11 and 11:30. This one on a good day can last 1h 45 mins if he resettles, otherwise an hour and then assistance from me which is a hit and miss.
Awake for 2 to 2.5hrs.
Afternoon nap: Around 3:15pm on a school day, sometimes earlier if at home. This one has to be timed precisely or he loses his sh*t and I have to end up going for an hour walk to try and get a nap out of him.
Early evening power nap: Depending on what happens with the afternoon nap, there are days we need a 15 min power nap to make it to bed time. We tried moving bed time forward one night (see Day 1) and it was a disaster so we do this instead. It also works better for us as my daughter goes to bed at 8pm too.
Fail, fail, fail. I decided even bed time was going to be 2-2.5hrs after the last nap which made it 6:15pm. I got him to sleep, but he woke 20 mins later. Hubby went in to check and he said he looked quite awake but I thought picking him up again would ruin the night so we started our training.
It took 2.5hrs of taking turns going in, rocking, patting, shushing (no boob), until this gremlin finally passed out. The rest of the night was much the same as before with waking almost every hour.
Not much of a win at all. We’ve gotten a few hours out of him in the first stretch or once we have resettled once. The rest of the night is wake ups every few hours. 4am onwards I take him to my bed or the spare room and can manage to get 1-2 hours after a feed if he is pretty relaxed before wake up.
I’m being very strict on the feeds being at least 3 hours apart and the rest of the wake ups we just settle using the above techniques. The crying and fighting is much worse at night as I’ve created a boob addict.
What week 2… complete strike out!
Note to self, don’t start sleep training the week before immunisations or getting sick (not that you can predict the latter). Long story short, we had the shots and then both got a stomach bug. In saying that, the days are still going brilliantly. The nights marginally better in the first stretch, then up every 2 hours. He has however resettled once or twice.
I’m a bit scared to type it in case I jinx myself but day 2 of week 3 and he slept through the whole night until 5am. Insane, right? My other one took until 10 months and then didn’t do it again for a long time.
So here we are on day 3, it’s been 3 hours and he hasn’t yet woken. Early days but I’m calling this half attempt at sleep training a success. And the best part? It didn’t matter we had a few hiccups along the way and caved in to old habits, as he still learnt the skill anyway.
I never thought I’d have to decide whether to attempt to have my second baby naturally, or to have an elective caesarean (hence the tear or cut). My story is a bit backwards in that sense.
Taking a trip down memory lane, 4 years ago I’d had a very healthy accidental pregnancy. I’d come to terms that my 2 month Europe trip was no longer happening. And I was trading pints at Oktoberfest for nappies.
There was not much to report throughout as I felt relatively normal. I had the first trimester vomiting throughout my extensive traveling for work. However, I was still managing a few workouts at the gym. Towards the end I felt like I was going to have the baby early (I had labour symptoms 3 weeks prior), but ended up being a week overdue. All the checkups were normal, the baby’s head was down, and I was ready to go.
The big event
Having 2 false labours the Sunday’s prior, my contractions started around 3pm. We tried not to get too excited until they became a few minutes apart around 8:30-9pm. We spoke to the midwife who came out to check me, and advised us to go in. Arriving at the birth centre, we had another examination. The midwife said that she thought I’d have the baby pretty quickly once my water broke. And break it did not… I walked up and down the halfway all night.
5am came, with no pain relief and I was buggered. We did another check, and all of a sudden I was being wheeled around the corner and signing forms for an emergency caesarean. Apparently they couldn’t feel my baby anymore as it had turned.
It was a pretty big shock, and quite disappointing given I’d gotten so far, but we had a healthy baby girl. Recovery was slow… so slow. I hated the daily blood thinning injections, and having to stay put and not lift was an absolute killer. I learnt my lesson about rest very quick, when 3 weeks post surgery I thought I was fine and overdid it. Half a day on the couch to recover.
Again, second time round my pregnancy was very normal apart from the pelvic pain (which sucks balls big time unless you get a pair of these Godsent pants). Given the first time caesar, we got booked for an extra ultrasound at 31 weeks to make sure the baby was the right way. I was pretty sure the little bugger wasn’t as couldn’t feel anything near my ribs. As suspected, he was sideways.
I tried not to get too disheartened even though I was set on a natural birth. We still had time! Again I felt a lot of pre-labour symptoms and had a false labour for around 4 hours on the Saturday night before I had him. Monday we had more symptoms, but I was booked in for an appointment about turning him on the Tuesday anyway.
External Cephalic Version (ECV)
Meeting with the doctor and midwife at 36 weeks, we did another ultrasound and he had turned (the wrong way). Feet first, the doc took me through the ECV process (they pretty much push your uterus around – I’m oversimplifying). I accepted the risk of a potential caesarean if there was bleeding or the baby’s heart rate was a concern, and we booked in for the following Wednesday (3 weeks out from the due date). Before leaving I asked whether they wanted to examine me due to the fake labour etc. but got told to just go home and continue as normal.
See you guys tomorrow!
I yelled the above to my co-workers as I left at lunch time for a pre-school interview for my daughter. I’d taken half a day off on the day after my appointment to do this and see the physio for some pelvic pain relief. I’d felt pretty niggly all morning, and had a lot of back pain and pelvic pain… not contractions like my first pregnancy though.
I called my husband while walking the dogs to see if he was at our house renovating (we were housesitting) and told him I’d come see him after my 3pm physio appointment. Driving home from the physio, the back pain got worse. By the time I got to the house I even felt a bit nauseous.
He took one look at me and said, ” Are you alright? No way you’re helping me!”
I replied that I actually thought I needed to sit down or something. As our whole front of the house was a big concrete and dust pit I headed to my daughter’s room. I called the midwife to let her know I’d had some sporadic contractions but nothing consistent 5-10 mins apart and promised to call her back if things changed.
Hung up the phone, baby kicked, felt something and thought I’d better check it out. I got to the tiles at the bathroom and my water broke. Thinking I had heaps of time, I told my husband to call back the midwife. Then I jumped in the bath to rinse myself off and went hunting for some clean clothes. Also worth mentioning my labour bag was at the house we were staying at, so we detoured via there as well.
Remember how I said I thought I had heaps of time? In the 10 minutes it took to get to the other house to get my bag, things had ramped up and I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to the hospital. As we sat at the traffic lights behind multiple cars on Hindmarsh (staring at the hospital straight ahead), my body starting involuntarily pushing. Hubby jumped out of his door thinking we were going to have a movie moment, while I yelled at him to get me to the hospital as our baby was breech. Add in a cop car trailing us when he sped off at 120km, and we made quite an arrival.
I managed to make it up the stairs to birth suite, and was met with my midwife calling, “Someone press the emergency button, the baby is breach!” To which I replied, “Too late, the feet are out!” 8 minutes is all it took for my son to jump into this world feet first. Drama aside, the whole event was under an hour.
So..cut or tear?
For me, having had both experiences, I’d go natural all the way. It’s worth noting that I did go to an information session that outlined the risks and benefits of cesarean vs natural birth after a caesar, so I could make an informed decision.
The recovery time and overall feeling afterwards actually blew my mind given my experience first time round. In saying that, post surgery recovery wasn’t completely horrible. I just felt stuck at home and a bit useless but definitely more time for Netflix down path no 2 :o)