Friday, October 29, 2010

WTF is Fenugreek? And Other Terms Unknown to me Before Giving Birth.

I was ready.  At least I thought I was.  With What to Expect the First Year and Dr. Sears' Ultimate Baby Book by my nightstand,  I was confident spending our first 24 hours with Yuna armed with invaluable knowledge.

Well yeah, that didn't last too long.  A few days after bringing her home, the baby I thought I knew turned out to have only one interest, and that is to throw up more than half of my milk every time she feeds. Inevitably after this, I sprinted to the doctor's office in tears 4 days after bringing her home, hoping that they could fix this baby bestowed upon me by nature.  It's not supposed to be like this!! What's up with all the puking Doc? Fix her! FIX HER!!!!

Does this sound all too familiar? Sure it does.We've all been there.  Just when we thought we could manage, some fatality seems to pop from nowhere, hurling us back to where we came from.   So, here I am, once again offering a piece of unsolicited advice.  To quote my bloggy friend Jillsmo, learn from me and take my hand dear friend, and together, we shall bring new meaning to "the blind leading the blind".

My dear pregnant ladies, no matter how you maneuver your way through the tides of motherhood, be it through volumes of baby books or having your mother by your side,  the reality is that you can never forge experience.  There will be days when your partner will heavily depend upon your knowledge, confident that you probably know the answer to parenting's most probing questions.  You quietly quote Dr. Sears, careful not to give away any sign of vulnerability lurking inside you.  You tell him what appears to be the problem, and he believes you.  He wants to believe you.  With your answer, you reclaim your spot as the more knowledgeable parent, when the truth is, you don't have a fucking idea what to do.

This was how were were, 6 months ago.  We had a spitty, squirmy baby plagued with what seems like little organisms growing and multiplying on her head, spreading down to her temples and the corners of her eyes.  We needed to know why resembled a fungus, and why my breasts refuse to produce the milk this child heavily demanded.  So I scrambled for solutions and sought for new moms experiencing the same troubles through iPhone apps and online forums.  It turns out, the things we were experiencing weren't life threatening at all.  These things are actually pretty common, and I probably wasn't paying enough attention to Dr. Sears.

I knew that motherhood will entail a lot of learning, plenty of trial and error circumstances, and more inevitably, parenting failures every now and then.  What I didn't know was I just signed up for a whole different world that's completely alien to me, and that this new world I'm in used terms unrecognizable to childless human beings.


The first time I browsed through the pregnancy and expectant mothers forums, I was greeted by a barrage of acronyms that didn't make any sense at all, and that's when I realized, I'm moving in a completely different universe parallel to what I'm used to.  I mean, what the fuck does LO, DH, DD, SIL, SAHM and BD mean?  Let's do a quick rundown in case you find yourself a lost in translation:

BD- Baby Daddy
DD- Dear Daughter
DS- Dear Son
DF- Dear Fiance
EBF- Exclusively Breastfeeding
FF- Formula Feeding
LO- Little One
SAHM- Stay at Home Mom
SIL, MIL, FIL, BIL-  In-laws; as in, Sister-in-law, Mother-in-law, you get the drift.
WAHM- Work at Home Mom

When used together, the sentence usually comes out like this:  OMG, DD's still awake and DH is asleep, IDK what to do!  MIL said to EBF, but I FF, because I'm not  a SAHM and it's hard to feed LO when at work.  Help please!!

Got it?  Good.  I'm sure I'm missing a lot of other acronyms in here, but these should be enough to help you navigate through the jargon.  My rule of thumb is, when in doubt, log out.  Simple.

Baby Wearing

Before getting knocked up, I'd see a number of parents walking around with their babies inside infant carriers and I'd think, "Oh how convenient.  That's perfect for quick stops to the grocery.", then leave it at that.  Little did I know that Baby Wearing has transformed into this huge movement with actual advocates and such.  I also wasn't aware that there's an actual art and science to carrying your infant around, because really, how hard is it to stuff that baby in the sling and call it a day?  Well, apparently, it's a lot more complicated than that.  There's a lot of binding and attachment involved in baby wearing which is supposed to aid in a fussy baby's colicky episodes and/or help grow a well nurtured child.  

I didn't wear Yuna for two reasons. First is that she's just too goddam heavy for me to wear around all day. Next is that she hates being worn.  Absolutely hates it.  I think it has something to do with the fact that her fats need some space to breathe or something because the poor baby sweats like a motherfucker when inside my Moby Wrap.  So yeah, I understand the well meaning intentions of wearing your baby, it's just that it's not for us.  We're perfectly happy with our little stroller, thankyouverymuch.

Cradle Cap
Yuna at 3 wks with the species that spread to her forehead
It started around week three when I started noticing nasty, yellowish scales growing on her head, forehead and eyebrows.  Of course I freaked out.  I mean, who wouldn't?  When your newborn starts growing shit that resemble spores, you get a vivid picture of the stuff they talk about in biology class, and you freak yourself out some more when you remember the whole process of asexual reproduction--  that spores breed through spores and form this ginormous living organism.  The organism that's on top of your angel's head.

Upon seeing this, I grabbed my phone and started typing a question directed to fellow moms of  The Bump Baby 411 app.  I guess this unknown species is just another case of cradle cap, a common scalp condition among newborns similar to dandruff.  No biggie.  They told me to slather some olive oil in it, comb the nasty scales out and it should eventually go away.  Well, it didn't.  It took about 2 more weeks of thorough descaling before Yuna became cradle cap free, but at least around that time, I was pretty damn sure those spores aint multiplying no more.


Desperate to produce a bountiful amount of breast milk, I consulted my The Bump BFFs again and sought advice on what to take when everything else fails.  I've tried power pumping (pumping for 5 minutes every hour to bring supply up), exclusively breastfeeding, even reaching out to the breastfeeding gods known as the La Leche League.  They told me to bring our the big guns and take Fenugreek.  

If you're wondering what the hell it is, all I can tell you is that it's a smelly, giant herbal capsule you take several times a day to help increase your milk supply.  By several, I mean, 8-9 capsules daily, or 3 capsules, 3 times a day.  Swallowing 3 capsules once a day is enough to put your throat muscles to the test.  These suckers are HUGE, but if you're adamant about increasing your supply, go ahead.  It probably helped me pump an ounce more than I usually would which is the shits, compared to all these women who miraculously started producing gallons after taking it.  In my opinion, that could have been just a self-fulfilling prophecy and had very little to do with all the capsules they popped, but that's just me.  Go try it.  You can grab some at GNC or Whole Foods, which, I assume, are safe retailers for products oddly named Fenugreek.


Gastroesophageal reflux disease or simply put, acid reflux is another common culprit of why I am traumatized by the sight of Zantac.  For the first 4 months of her life, Yuna spent most night sleeping in her carseat, as this is the only way she can sleep in peace without puking all over herself.  This disease made her squirm in pain during feedings, soak my shirts and our sheets with vomit and drove is to think of innovative ways to elevate her head to avoid choking on her own puke.  I fucking hated it.  All the dirty laundry, clothes and sheets I needed to wash on a regular basis did not compare to the agony I felt seeing Yuna writhing in pain.  Thankfully, she's grown out of this disease, but there are days when I am haunted by the ghost of her reflux past and my only recourse is to pop an Ativan (or two) and keep my toes crossed.

Gripe Water

Yuna was fortunate enough to have escaped colic, but she is a survivor of bad reflux episodes.  And because I was on a mission to find THE CURE (apparently, there's no magiccure for reflux except for growing out of it, only ways to  help make it less painful), I bought everything out there that would provide relief to my squirmy, refluxed baby and that's when I came across Gripe Water.

If you just take it for its literal meaning, Gripe Water is really just that.  Water for gripe.  There's no magic solution involved in this other than an old natural recipe of chamomile, ginger.. and I forget the rest.  It's mostly popular for providing exhausted parents some relief during colicky hours and unexplainable discomforts.  Anyway, I got myself one and it did provide a bit of relief to my inconsolable postpartum crying.  I don't know, must have been gas.


Known to be more potent and stronger than Tylenol, Motrin is the wonder drug for infants 6 months and older.  I heard good stuff about this, and it's a sad thing it was recalled this year.  The press release is that this product fails to meet quality standards, but if you ask me, I think it's to eliminate dependency among mothers. Who wouldn't be dependent on a product that is popular for magically erasing the fussiness brought about by routine vaccinations?  Imagine a doctor's visit that's so zen and peaceful, so much so that you can head straight to the spa with your baby on shots day and trust that she will remain asleep while you get fondled by your masseuse.  That's some good shit right there.

Anyway, I'm stopping this here because my brain just reached its threshold and gone completely blank. Also, I am hungry, therefore, I cannot think clearly.  Fellow moms, do you also know of any terms completely alien to you prior to giving birth? 


jillsmo said...

I was astounded at how quickly the word "fuss" became part of our vocabulary. I had never uttered the term before Child 1 was born and suddenly it was ALL we said. My favorite was always "the fuss is strong in this one."

Karly said...

The picture of your daughter with cradle cap is EXACTLY what my second daughter looked like. The weird thing is that my first had cradle cap too, but it ONLY showed up on her scalp. Poor Delaney, though, it was like her entire face peeled off. Freaking gross, and at almost six months, she STILL has some remnants of cradle cap on her head. It's unrelenting!

kitten said...

It's a whole new world we didn't know about... and we thought we knew it all before becoming moms. haha.
I am totally with Jillsmo with her comment, I've never used that word too before "DD" came along, now it's fuss, Fuss, FUSS!


Lyn said...

Oh I loved the gripe water! It was a real lifesaver for me.

I wish I had found out about Peepee Teepees when my sons were little.

Tina@ said...

Jill and Kitten: True, I'm almost traumatized by the word too. It fulfills itself when mentioned, so I refrain from saying it too much.

Tina@ said...

Karly: Welcome to my blog, fellow mother of a severely cradle capped daughter. And to have remnants at 6 months? Have you tried bug spray?

Tina@ said...

Lyn: I really think they put some funky stuff in gripe water. It just works too well for it to be all natural.

Debi said...

Oh boy this post brought back all of my Vietnam-like flashbacks of when Jack was a newborn. We had it all! The cradle cap became a fun little adventure for me while I watched TV...I would oil up his head and start scraping. Grossed my husband out. Jack also had wicked reflux. His "kick and play" bouncy chair was dubbed the "kick and puke". Jack also slept in his carseat for a very long time. BUT, the benefit of that I think is that he's never had an ear infection. After the carseat, we raised his crib mattress so he wouldn't puke in bed. He was also fussy (the damn FUSS) from 2-6pm EVERY day. Like clockwork. We saw specialists, tried every product under the sun, and eventually he just outgrew it all. When Jack turned one, everything clicked into place. We had to wait 6 months longer than most of y'all, but we're so good now. But, you don't see any little siblings yet, so that first year still causes panic for us. :)

Ashley said...

Thank god no one told me about all this crap before having kids, we would have gone straight to sterlization!

I gave you yet another award over on my blog. xo

Tina@ said...

Debi: I feel ya, especially with the cradle cap thing. I have masochistic tendencies and though the thing grossed me out, I'd carefully scrape that scalp slowly, making sure to keep the piece of cap intact. Then I'd get the biggest one, show it to her dad, then say "Ewww. Look at the size of this motherfucker!"

liz said...

How long did it take Yuna to outgrow the reflux? My son is 6 weeks old and I feel like life is never going to get better! Also, those acronyms drive me crazy too, just say what you mean people!!

Tina@ said...

Ashley: You're seriously making me cry. Really, you are. You see, I wasn't hugged a lot when I was a kid. So this means a lot. THANKS!!

Tina@ said...

Oh why hello there Liz! Welcome to my blog!
Yuna outgrew the reflux as soon as she turned 4 months. I didn't even notice it was gone, it was as if she woke up completely healed. But okay, the cliche thing I'm gonna tell you is that it REALLY gets better everyday. At around 10 weeks, the agony I felt for her turned to simple annoyances. She didn't look like she was in pain anymore, just one happy spitter. Like she was doing it just to annoy (and knowing this kid, she might just be, I dunno). So just keep on elevating that tiny little head in a 30 degree angle.. This too, shall pass :)

Oh and here's another acronym for ya: STTN- Sleeping Through the Night. I didn't even know about that til yesterday.

Karly said...

Ha ha ha, no, no bug spray, I mostly have to remind my husband to actually use his dandruff shampoo and soft brush on her head when he bathes her. He has a tendency to think that water alone fixes everything.

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