My baby has turned 1


It is unbelievable that only a year ago, I gave life to a tiny little baby. He came and changed my life. I have changed as a person because of him. I’m now more patient, I operate on 6 hour sleep, can never afford to be lazy, have a strict daily schedule. I’m tired but I don’t complain, I’m happy.

Now my son is still small in comparison to other babies of his age – he weighs just over 8kg. Yet he isn’t lacking in anything else. He is learning new words every day, he crawls and bum-scoots nicely, cruises along the furniture and is on his way to walking. Almost there. He knows how to have fun and play, but his favourite place in the world is in mummy’s arms. He has 8 teeth, and No. 9 and 10 are halfway out.

Although he is an adorable little angel, when it comes to eating, he can cause me headaches, as he is quite a picky eater, and if I’m not careful about feeding him, he gets anxiety about eating and will refuse to sit in the high chair. There are certain foods that he likes, so at least I know what should work with him. He likes the weirdest foods too, which is probably because of the fact that his taste buds and senses haven’t fully developed yet. For example, green olives is his favourite. Whenever I eat a salad with olives in, he will hover over the salad bowl while I eat and pick them out, and eat them. I also can’t have any sushi without having him whine about wanting some pickled ginger. Raw onions is another favourite. Too bad none of these foods can constitute an actual meal.

He is very good with learning new words and already has quite a broad vocabulary, both in Latvian and English language. That I am very proud of.

Sometimes I think back how small he was as a new born, and I wish I could start over and go back to that little bundle of joy, have a do-over with him to correct the mistakes that I have made within this year. Of course, not possible, and I can only say I’ll ‘ve wiser when I have the next baby, which will be God knows when.

Nevertheless, I’m very happy and proud of myself as a mum, and of my son, and just my family altogether. My heart belongs to them.


Travelling with a baby


It was always a plan to go visit my partner’s parents in the UK, so they can see and experience their grandchild for a month or so. We decided to do that in the offseason when flight tickets would be a bit cheaper and so that he would be relatively older and do better on the plane. Especially considering that I can’t just pop out my boob and feed him because of the breast rejection conundrums.

The journey to UK was a bit of a struggle but not too bad. I was hoping that he would sleep before the flight in the pram, which didn’t happen because the airport environment wasn’t boring enough to sleep. So we had a quite tired baby. Despite that, he was more or less ok during the flight, very patient, we showed him some “In the Night Garden” to distract him, and eventually I even managed to rock him to sleep in my arms.

A family sitting right in front of us was not doing so well – there was a 2 to 3 years old child which was throwing ridiculous tantruns, crying very loudly all the time, fighting his mum, and the mum even slapped him a few times. Hard to watch that was. Also, after visiting the toilet with him once, she refused to take him to toilet again and insisted (loudly) that he pees in his diaper. Several times he shouted at her: “mamma tu kaka!” (Mum you’re shit!). Mother of the year, people! I have no idea how my child was able to sleep through that drama show. A cue what to not turn into with my own child. I really hope my child/me never become like that.

After the flight, the rest of the journey was not too bad, he fell asleep in the pram, waking up only on the train and when we needed to put him into a carseat in a taxi. In the end of the journey I was happy with how patient and good our child is. Through all that he barely had anything to eat either, so bravo, baby, good job!

Now, after six weeks of visiting, the journey back home to Latvia was ahead of us. That meant an hour on the bus, then 15 minutes on a train, then about 20 minutes on another bus to the airport, 2 and a half hours on the plane, and finally, about 15 minute ride in a taxi to out flat building.

This time, not everything went as smoothly. On the first bus ride, it wet all well until 10 minutes before arriving to the train station, as our child threw up all over himself and his clothes, including, his snowsuit. He had eaten right before leaving home. I needed to go to the train station’s toilets to find a changing room and clean him up, put new clean clothes on. As a result, we missed our train. Luckily, we got permission to use our tickets on the next train, which was only half-hour later – not too bad. Train journey went well, it was only a short one. On the bus to the airport he was fussy but the Night Garden helped and we arrived successfully. After checking in our suitcases, I decided to feed him some banana&oats smoothy from a sachet, which he gladly ate.

Going through security was a bit frantic, as the lines there were rediculously long and our plane had started boarding early, but it all ended well, as everybody from our flight were called in to go through first.

As we were handing over our pram to the staff, seconds before getting on the actual plane, guess what – my sweet little child, who was all playful just minutes ago, threw up again. It even went in my hair a bit, even though I had braided it, so it wouldn’t be in the way while travelling. This time the child was wearing a warm hoody jacket, which we took off, shoved it in the little storage bag under the pram, and the kind people of airport took the pram away.

With our baby snuggled in a blanket, mildly smelling of puke, we got on the plane. Beginning – not too bad, baby was still in relatively good spirits, but got more and more restless and cranky because now he was both hungry and tired. After sipping some water, he threw up – again. Only this time it was just a bit of water that came up, and we were prepared, with a small towel handy to clean up any mess. We had some of my breastmilk with us in thermal bags, hoping it would still be relatively warm, but no, it had gone cold, baby didn’t want it. Good thing we also had a bottle of ready made formula, so we asked the staff for help, got a cup of hot water to warm it up, poured it into a bottle and – praise Jesus – the baby drank it and slipped into a relieved sleep. A sigh of relief from us too.

He woke up a couple times, crying because of being uncomfortable, but after this point, the rest of the journey was fine.

On the taxi journey he was awake and in a good mood, so we finally arrived home, which we missed so very much! It was about 4am Latvian time when baby finally could go to sleep in his own bed.

Each of the filghts were a bit crazy, each in its own way, stressful for both the baby and parents. Going places, near or far, are not easy for us, so I envy the parents who do it all the time like it’s a no big deal. However, things could be much worse. Me and my partner listened to a podcast by Yoga Girl called Flight From Hell – that sounded pretty hilarious and aweful. I think we could be classified as easy travellers after hearing that podcast.

My son is 10 months old


The last few posts have been rants and whining about how everything is bad and how I’m struggling. Today, nope, no complaining. 😋 Sure, life is hard with no spare time and insufficient sleep but it’s normal for me now.

I’ve been keeping a small diary of my son’s accomplishments and milestones. I write in there from time to time, whenever he has learned something new, such as rolling over or uttering new sounds. Usually it’s about two, three paragraphs. Two days ago I started writing and ended up filling in about six pages! He has had such a development leap in the last month, from small things to big. He is sliding on his tummy, and partly crawling properly on his hands and knees, he can stand up by holding on to furniture, he has learned to wave to people, he is saying “doggie” whenever he sees the dog, and so on, and so on. His eating has changed from eating blended foods to pretty much wanting to feed himself by hands and having chewable pieces of food, despite not having any molars. He is very picky about the food though, and we have to figure out every time what to give him so that he would actually eat – more than a few bites. It’s especially challenging when he’s teething. But it is what it is and I also have to remember not to give him feeding anxiety and not to force anything on him. If he only wants three teaspoons of food and then is done, then he’s done. 🙄 relax and take it easy!

We have been potty training him for about two months now and luckily he is very good with the potty and knows what to do with it and does it. I was a bit worried initially about him not liking it so I was careful, again, not to give him any anxiety about the process, but everything went really well. I expect that in about 6 months time we will either be out of nappies or transitioning to wearing pants at least.

Overall I’m very proud of my baby, he is my sunshine, always happy and smiley. I’ve managed to go to mummy exercise classes with him and he is basically just an angel there. Every single person who has seen him there has admired how peaceful, happy and independent he is during the class, just chilling on his own, not crying or fussing. I’m so grateful to have such a chill and patient child.

A tired mummy


I don’t want to get up today. That’s what I admitted to myself this morning and instantly teared up – a lot of emotion has been piling up that I haven’t even had the time and luxury to feel lately.

Because of a back injury reminding of itself, my partner hasn’t been able to do pretty much anything around the house or with the baby. He’s been on bed rest on and off for around three weeks now. On and off – because he has tried doing things before he’s recovered out of wanting to help and being stubborn. And that’s set everything back every time.

So, I basically have had to do 99% everything. Plus the little one has been teething – the 4 top front teeth all coming out at once. That means extra fussiness, no appetite whatsoever and consequently being even fussier because of not eating well. Every day has been a race and a fight, which doesn’t even stop when the baby has gone to bed at 8pm. No, I still have to prepare everything for the next day, pump and tidy up. By the time I’m finished, the baby’s first night feed is up, and only after that I can go to sleep too. And even at night – I wake up several times to calm the baby when he starts to cry because of a bad dream, have to find and give him the dummy that he lost (most often it’s under the bed), put him in a normal sleeping position when he has tossed and turned himself into something nearly impossible, as well as feed him.

Up to now, I’ve tried to suck it up, be strong, think about how it will be ok once my partner recovers and how I will rest once that happens and he can do everything for a day or two. In reality, that probably won’t happen! I’m tired and exhausted. I feel guilty for not spending time with my son, playing with him and using TV as a nanny a lot when he definitely shouldn’t even be watching TV at this age. But thank God for “In the Nigut Garden” show!

I wish I could just for a day sleep as long as I want, wake up and not do anything all day, and have warm, healthy meals appearing out of nowhere throughout the day!

Ugh, enough now, time to get my sh** together and get on with the day. I can do it!

Baby turns 8 months today!


It has been a while since I spared some time to write. I thought before that having a child gets easier with time. The truth is – it doesn’t! You just get used to the fact that you wake up in the morning, the day is filled with you serving the child – feed, entertain, change, clean, etc., and then the day is over. I’m tired all the time, and at the moments when I am able to rest, I just blank out and don’t want to do anything, including writing. So no blog posts for a while.

Today I look at my child and think to myself – I can’t believe it’s been 8 months already. It feels like 4 months maybe, to me. Time flies, three seasons have been experienced – he came into this world in winter and summer is almost gone now. This is the first year that I haven’t even been to the beach – not to have a walk, not to sunbathe, nothing. The scarce tan that I’ve gotten this year is “pram tan” – mostly my arms and feet, from the daily hour spent on a walk, pushing my son in the pram. I do enjoy these walks as much as laying in the sand on a beach – it is time when I don’t have to do anything, think about anything, it’s a pause where I just walk. Through these months we have walked through ups and downs. The ups are the happiness my son brings me, teaching me to be in the present, be happy, wake up with a smile and love. I love him more than anything and want to give him the best of everything that I can. And the downs – the constant sleep deprivation and tiredness, the routine (good in some ways but sometimes makes me long for the old days when I wasn’t restricted), and the worst – the breastfeeding struggles.

Currently I’m feeding my child mostly solids, a little bit of my pumped breast milk during the day, and two meals of milk at night. A couple of months ago, he refused to breastfeed completely. He wanted the milk, but not from me. No matter how I tried and worked on getting him back on the breast, nothing brought success. The resistance to breastfeed had been building up gradually for a while. Initially he just got distracted easily during feeds and wouldn’t be interested to continue feeding, so I started feeding him in the bedroom, in the quiet. Soon he wouldn’t breastfeed and would prefer bottle if it had been a while since he woke from a nap, so I scheduled the feeds for when he wakes up. Next, he would be OK with feeding only a minute or two after waking up while he was still sleepy. Next – only immediately after waking up, so every feed during the day was me sprinting to the bedroom as soon as I heard the tiniest sound from the bedroom. God forbid he woke up during the daily walk before we had reached home – he no longer would feed from me, only bottle worked. Finally, the most stressful time was when I would only be able to breastfeed him while he sleeps. I made him fall asleep by bouncing on fitness ball to sneak in a feed. As soon as his eyes were open – hysterics about being on the boob, as if I was hurting him. For a while, at least night feeds were stressless, but even that ended. When he refused to breastfeed even at night, I just gave up, admitted defeat and from there on I have been pumping the milk and feeding it to him via bottles. That means working three times more – pumping, washing and sterilising everything, warming up the milk and then feeding – but there is less stress about it. Initially I pumped 4 times a day, one of them being at night but at least now I have reduced it to 2 times – in the morning and in the evening.

I try not to think about it too much, and life goes on, I am happy that at least my child is getting my milk and not formula, at least he is a generally happy little angel, learning new things all the time. But sometimes the pain about this surfaces. For example tonight, when putting him to sleep, he was upset and restless, so I had to warm up some milk for him and bottle-feed him for him to fall asleep. All the while, my engorged breasts were leaking milk. I would be so happy to just offer him my breast, hold him in my arms until he blissfully falls asleep whilst feeding. How I long for the times when he was very little, tiny baby! I remember how he used to stop in the middle of a feed to look up and smile at me, the little flirt! I’m heartbroken that it’s not so anymore.

Oh well, it is what it is now and all I have is these blissful memories, saved as screenshots in my mind. And the thought that I’m wiser now, and won’t make the same mistakes with the next child. Maybe I will still get a good and long breastfeeding experience. 🙂

As to how the baby is doing – he is quite mobile, as he rolls and rotates easily. He hasn’t figured out crawling yet, but it’s a work in progress. He has three meals of solids every day – porridge in the morning, fruit smoothies or yoghurt for lunch and blended veggies for dinner. He also has snacks that he handles himself – some donut cookies (or barankas), peaches and melon pieces (from a mesh feeder), cucumber sticks, and the latest favourite – blueberries. He is a bit awkward with picking the berries up and putting them in his mouth, but he manages and successfully chews and eats them. I do monitor all that, just in case he chokes on bits of food.

He is learning to pronounce new sounds and repeats them like a parrot. For example, for a few days, the first sounds upon waking up were “taco-taco-taco-taco…”, and that was all he was saying all day long. 😀 A new discovery for him recently is that if he “speaks” into a cup that we use to pour water on him during bathing, the sound echoes. So during the baths, there is a lot of singing into the cup. He is good at drinking from a sippy-cup, and when he has satisfied his thirst – he sips and gurgles the water instead of swallowing, entertaining himself and getting himself all wet. A clever little baby, isn’t he!? Another thing he does for entertainment recently is bob his head – again like a parrot. 😀 Fun times!

As for myself, despite lack of sleep and time for myself, I have managed to find the time to go to a fitness class twice a week – an exercise group for mummies, so I can take the baby with me. That makes me feel good about myself, as I can do more every time and feel stronger overall, and my posture has improved a bit. Exercise is such a good thing, and I hope I can keep it up.

That’s all for this time! 🙂


Dealing with breast rejection


Right now I’m sitting on the side of my bed, holding my sleeping baby, hoping that when he wakes up soon he will feed. 90% possibility  that he wont.(note from my future self – he didn’t).

For the last two weaks I have been working hard on getting him to like feeding from me again and I just feel physically and emotionally drained. I’ve searched the internet with fire to understand why this is happening and how to solve it. I’ve cried my eyes out for a few days. Spent some time blaming myself for my mistakes and the world for the negative experiences we have gone through. I wish I never gave my son a pacifier,  I wish I never fed him by schedule rather than on demand. I wish he had been fed by bottle as little as possible. I wish that my son felt safety and bliss when feeding instead of stress and anxiety.

I wish we never had that ultrasound that made us go through such a stressful and painful experience at the hospital and after that. I wish I never had milk supply problems.

I would never wish this all to anyone.

Lately, to get over this all,  I’ve been spending pretty much all of my time with my baby, topless like an African woman to make him used to my breasts and to make them always available. I have taken away the pacifier with the exception of sleeping times.  Trying to also do skin to skin with him but that’s only been nice while taking a bath with him. Will have another bath together today as well. I bottle feed him only about 60ml while he’s awake to take the edge off the hunger and then bounce on the ball when it’s sleep time,  wait for him to fall asleep and then feed him. I never show any pressure for him to latch on and feed. So far we have tiny progress – he’s ok with my breasts being present and even in his face, he enjoys being carried around a lot.

One of the big progresses – I was bouncing him to sleep like always, singing to him,  and decided to try taking the pacifier away for a bit to see how he reacts . He didn’t show any reaction whatsoever so I just carried on singing Brahms lullaby to him,  and then he just turned and latched on and fed!  I felt like peeing my pants from joy,  and regretted pumping an hour before – my breasts we’re pretty empty. There were two more times when he shortly latched on and sucked for a few second’s only at bedtime in the evening when we both just lie in the big bed until he falls asleep. That also felt awesome,  like I’ve been kissed by a prince from fairy tales. At those moments of progress I see hope,  light at the end of the tunnel,  and could do a happy dance. But the rest of the time I’m just tired of it all.

I have had no time for myself to the extent that I don’t brush my hair or shower for three days straight. We have been skipping walks lately too,  so I also feel trapped at home. Right now I just want to return to a somewhat normal life, and stop this all,  it’s hard not only for myself but also for my partner. Thank him for his patience,  help and understanding about all this.

Maybe  I just should relax and let whatever happen and try to be ok with it. I’ve been so attached to the idea of breastfeeding my child until he weans off himself,  but he and karma seem to have other plans I guess. Maybe I will try to relax and let go and see where that takes us.








Breastfeeding is hard work


I cherish so much the moments when I have successful breastfeeding experiences. If my baby eats out both breasts and then falls asleep, milkdrunk – that’s just bliss for me.

Unfortunately, that is now not happening so often. Just after I dealt with low milk supply and got around solving it, and making sure it doesn’t go down, now I’m also dealing with my son rejecting my breast. The only way I can breastfeed him, is right after he has woken up, while he’s still sleepy. Or I have to make him fall asleep and then feed him. On rare occasions he has also fed while he’s awake if we are bouncing on the fitness ball. All other times it’s pumped milk in a bottle, or in the worst cases milk in a syringe.

I don’t know what has caused all this. A couple of times it has been because of him having teething pains – then he literally looks at the breast or bottle and cries because he wants the food but it just hurts, and the syringe then is the savior. But in general, the only idea of the reason that I have is that he might have formed negative associations with the breast when the milk supply was low and that made him upset. I don’t know why exactly, but it sucks.

This morning, for example, he woke up after a four hour sleep. Not upset or anything, but wont even look at the breast, just chilling in my arms and making fart-pushing faces. OK, I still had a hope he would eat a few moments later, bouncing on the fitness ball, so we moved on to changing his nappy, giving it a go on the ball, with no success, so I put him on the floor for playtime. Nope – upset because of being hungry. Back to the ball, and yesss – he actually started eating. But then that lasted only 2 minutes instead of at least 4. He was still grumpy when I put him on the floor. Oh, what to do, I pumped 2 ounces of milk and tried to feed him with bottle – no, not gonna happen. A few sucks and then he started doing the wiggly worm. Last resort – the syringe. No resistance there, except half of the milk ended up on his clothes because he just spat it out mostly.

This is so stressful and upsetting for me. If he at least was a chubbier baby, I would be OK, one or two skipped meals won’t do any harm. But he has barely gained any weight within a month – only around 300 grams. And that’s while having a bit of solids every day. I’m literally fearing every doctor’s visit when he is getting weighed.

Another more of an annoyance with this is that we can’t really go anywhere with the child without stress. Going to visit my parents is a headache because I know that will be a day of feeding problems. Everything has to be planned and timed precisely – he always has to go on a nap just in time so he would wake up for meal time, and so that the meal time wouldn’t come while he’s fully awake. Even going on a walk with a pram is often stressful – god forbid that he wakes up before we have returned home!

I did discover a very good YouTube channel that talks about all the breastfeeding problems, including milk supply and breast rejection – Lyndsey Hookway – Feed Sleep Bond. I wish I had come across it when I was still pregnant, or at least in the early days after my son was born. Such good insight and important details are given by the lactation consultant there that no one tells anyone here. No prenatal classes talk about it to so much detail. All I have is a handed out book called Breastfeeding ABC, which does touch upon my issues but barely. After reading it while being pregnant, the only problem I feared with regard to breastfeeding was mastitis and clogged milk ducts.

Turns out that breastfeeding is so simple yet very complicated at the same time. Let’s hope things get better and I don’t end up having a nervous breakdown. Just kidding. Or am I? :p

My baby is 4 months old!


My son has reached four months and it seems to me like time is running a bit too fast. I want him to grow but then I know I will miss this time when he is just a small baby.

He hasn’t grown much lately, as he weighs about 5.9 kg. I would be happy if he was slightly heavier but as our GP said, he is within weight norm for his age, nothing to worry about. I don’t know any more what is to blame – the milk crisis situation, his appetite, or maybe that’s just what he is supposed to be, regardless of what and how much he eats. What he is growing though is hair, forming a cute ginger mohawk!

He might not be very chubby, but he is learning new things quickly. He now operates his hands very well – he holds toys and grabs things, mostly with the goal to put whatever it is in his mouth. There is almost always something in his mouth – either the pacifier, or his bib, a toy, his sleeve, or if nothing else is available – his own fingers. A few times he has also put just the thumb in the mouth, sucking it. He can take out the pacifier and put it back into his mouth. He has learned to lift his legs in the air and grab his feet in his hands, rolling to the side. The first thing he does when he wakes up is lift his legs, lets a bit of gas out, and then sometimes roll to the sides, propping them against bars of the crib. Quite often he wakes up and quietly hangs out by himself. Once, I had put him to sleep in the crib and thought I would sneak into the room to get something there, and to my surprise there was him, looking all innocent as he had rotated 90 degrees and had his legs against the bed side. 😀 Getting very good at tummy time, often trying to grab things with his hands while on the tummy. Not rolling yet in any direction, but he has all the time in the world to learn that. But the best ability of all of them is that he laughs when we play with him. It can happen when I exercise his arms, or when I’m showering him with kisses on the belly and neck, and it is the most adorable thing. He is such a good baby!

In attempt to help the weight gain I decided to try to offer him some solids and bought two jars of baby food for infants starting from 4 months. It says it’s applesauce, but it really tastes like cardboard to me. However, when offered to my little nugget, looked like he loves it. He was more and more excited about each next spoon and ate like a champ. We started with just a few spoons the first day, the next day he ate a third of the jar, and half of the jar yesterday. So, looks like we are going to continue having some solids in his diet and I hope he benefits from that.

Good news about his liver condition – it has been confirmed that it is a liver haemangioma, and no treatment is required presently, only monitoring from time to time. Hopefully nothing will progress and now signs of worsening will show.

One thing that I didn’t look forward to – he has started teething, which is very annoying to him, his gums are all itchy, making him cranky. I am using some soothing gel for teething and got him a teething ring. The teething ring might be more useful later, but for now, nothing works better than me massaging his gums with a finger. Even though the teething process has started, the first teeth might take up to three months to come out, which I hope will not happen. Ideally it won’t take too long, otherwise three months seems like a torture both for him and us as parents.


Never-ending streams of milk


Recently I experienced a milk crisis. I don’t know if maybe it was just a coincidence, but it was right after (or maybe already during) our hospital visit, which stressed us out and starved me. So I blame that whole experience.

I didn’t even realise that my milk supply had decreased until I brought my son in for a GP visit where he gets weighed and measured. In three weeks he had gained only about 200 grams. Very disappointing for me to see, yet I right away defended my boobs and blamed the hospital and the large amounts of spitting up, and said that now that I have a dairy free diet, it should normalise soon because I already see improvements – he’s spitting up less, and his bowel movements are not as liquid. A couple of days later, at home I realised that the reason he’s not spitting up much is because he doesn’t have much in him. He’s been starving for a while. The GP was right this time – I didn’t have enough milk.

When I realised that my milk sacks have barely any milk in them, I tried mending my diet, still keeping it dairy-free, but cooked nourishing meals to help it all. That did fuck all. Once, after he had emptied one breast, I offered the other one, which he also emptied. However, that left me with barely anything for his next meal, as it doesn’t produce that quickly. When that next feeding time came, of course, he was hysterical – why are you giving me empty boobies??? I cried with him, and quickly got out one of the frozen milk bags from the back-up supplies in my freezer. I put it in hot water to defrost, which luckily took only about ten minutes, and then bottle-fed him that. Holy silence of satisfaction!

That’s when I had had enough of this dairy free diet, I entrusted the baby to my partner, got myself a nice Napoleon cake all for myself and ran a bath. Spent about 4 hours there destressing, binging on the cake, drinking a lot of water, and most importantly – making good use of my breast pump, almost non-stop. Praying for the milk gods to hear me out. Also, thanking myself that I have frozen breast milk supplies for times like this. If I didn’t start producing enough, it would last a few days before I would reluctantly have to resort to feeding him formula. That is my one principle I don’t want to give up – I don’t want to feed him formula.

Luckily, the milk gods heard me. After power-pumping all day, I managed to get out decent amounts of lactation fluid. 😀 I still mostly pumped the next day as well, to stimulate my milk factories more, and now everything is back to normal and I have a happy, well-fed baby. I eat everything I want, all the dairy that I care for.

I experienced what it means that breasts work by the demand-supply principle. I was pumping for periods of at least 10 minutes, even when nothing was coming out, just to stimulate it. And after a while I would literally feel the milk being “injected” into the breast and the flow would renew, and I would get an extra ounce from each breast. It’s amazing how it works.

Also, I have two manual breast pumps. One is by Nuk, and cost around 30 euros, and the other one is a cheap thing I ordered on E-bay, which came from ping-pong land and cost me 6 euros. The cheap one was what rescued me, it’s better than the expensive one, at least I now prefer it.

Another thing I’ve done, just in case, is taking a lactation supplement, which has herbs stimulating breast milk production, such as cumin, fenugreek, fennel, dandelion root, etc. Don’t know if it actually does anything, or if it’s just a placebo effect, but the fact is – I got milk! 😀

Praise the milk gods!

My child has a liver issue


This is going to be a very loooong post about my son being diagnosed and our experience at the children’s hospital. Sorry, but I want to share and rant about all the badness in detail. 🙂

At the age of one month, during a health check-up we complained to our baby’s GP about the amount of spit-up he had in addition to tummy aches, bloating and him pushing all the time. She referred us to an ultrasound scan for his abdomen, which we then booked for almost a month later at a close-by health centre. When we eventually had the scan, the ultrasound technician pointed out that there is a formation in the baby’s liver that he doesn’t know what is, he has never seen anything like that before and that it is necessary to investigate it further, most likely with a CT scan. No word about tummy troubles. We went looking for a wolf and ran into a bear.

Next we notified the GP of this, she gave the necessary referral to perform a CT scan. After ringing several places, conclusion was that only one place does them for such a small infant – the Children’s Clinical University Hospital. When I rang them, they asked several times, is it really a CT scan that we need, or an ultrasound. Obviously, not an often practice to perform them on such a small baby. They couldn’t even say right away about how it would go. Someone more competent called me back a moment later and told that in our situation, firstly, the child needs to have his blood tested to make sure that kidney is functioning well in order to be able to use contrast matter and obtain a better image and result. Secondly, the scan would be performed under a general anaesthetic. That is because he mustn’t move during the scan. That was not a good news for me, I started crying, I didn’t want my baby to go through such stress and suffering. I told them I’ll consult with my GP and call back about this. With the GP we agreed that we would first consult with a gastroenterologist about this situation and then see what would be the best plan of action. Even if the gastroenterologist says a scan needs to be done, at least I’ll have gained some time and my child wouldn’t be a 2 months old infant.

Of course, the queue for a state-paid gastroenterologist was a bit long – all booked up until the end of May, which is 3 months wait. We found a paid appointment option for 2 or 3 weeks later. And so we went. The result of that appointment was that the doctor offered us hospitalisation at the children’s hospital in order to be able to investigate the liver problem further, starting with another ultrasound and some blood testing and see if additional examinations are necessary. She told that most likely an MRI scan would be necessary instead of a CT scan, but that would still mean sedation for the baby.

We followed her advice and accepted the offer, got the necessary referral and 4 days later got admitted to the Children’s Hospital for in-patient examinations. For some reason, I had imagined that it will be an old frightening place but was pleasantly surprised to find a fairly recently built, good-looking building, nothing old there. We even got a separate room and WC without paying for that as an extra because they want such small babies to be separate from other children for the sake of guarding the little one’s health. Only I could stay over at nights though, the dad had to leave in the evenings but that was understandable and we expected that.

Day 1 at hospital

The plan for day 1 was testing baby’s blood and pee, and an ultrasound for the abdomen and head too. For drawing the blood, only one parent can be present in the procedure room to avoid clusterfuck, so the dad stayed. Firstly, because I didn’t really want to see my child suffer, and secondly because he used to be a paramedic and knows these things. Well, all the crying that I heard behind the doors was awful, not good. When it was over and we were back at our room, my partner was furious about how that went. He said he could do a ten times better job at night in the dark, in an upside-down car in a ditch. Don’t know what exactly was wrong but I understand that it was chaotic and dragged out too long, the needle was not put in well and basically our child was unnecessarily tortured to the point where he held his breath for about half-minute and was close to passing out. Well, the way he cried after was not nice to see, that was “I’ve been hurt and mistreated” cry, not just simple “I’m annoyed” cry.  Heart-breaking. Anyway, later it turned out that the results from that blood test were abnormal, were the lab person was calling to our department, panicking and freaking out about the state that our child is in. Apparently, that was because the baby’s arm was too tense or something. The result of this fuck-up was that at 8PM a nurse came and told they have to draw blood for testing again, but because they have to do it without a tourniquet, it has to be drawn from the head, as there are many nice blood vessels there. I had never heard of anything like that and was a bit shocked, and my facial expression was probably showing that, and they told they want to do it without me so that I wouldn’t get too emotional. I told them that if not me, the dad will be present. They still tried to not let that happen either, saying that men aren’t usually that tough either when it comes to their children being poked with a needle in the head, but the fact that he used to be a paramedic convinced them. So on they went with the second torture of the day. My partner still returned with a hysterically crying baby, but said that this time it was done relatively well. He also joked that probably that was because they knew he was watching them like a hawk, as he knows how everything is supposed to go.

The ultrasound for tummy and head that day was done around 6 PM. The head was ok, but as to the liver, it was confirmed that there is something there. The doctor said that most likely it could be non-malignant formation of blood vessels called haemangioma. If the formation does not grow it is supposed to be harmless and does not manifest itself. Nevertheless, an MRI scan is necessary to know precisely what it is.

Day 2 at hospital

In the morning, we were called in to the procedure room by a nurse, saying they need to draw blood. Again. Really? As I walked in, the gastroenterologist who arranged us being in the hospital and was our main doctor there was walking past, saw us, came and luckily stopped the nurse from taking blood. Turns out, it showed up on the system that it needs to be done, but in reality, it didn’t have to be. It was all a misunderstanding caused by miscommunication between staff members. Thank god, the doctor was there and made it in time.

At some point, don’t remember when exactly, we were called in for another ultrasound, this time for the heart, to make sure that there’s no defects with valves and blood vessels or whatever in there. That went fine, his heart is nice and strong.

Our doctor also came to talk through blood results and plans in the morning, said that bloodwork looks ok, except some liver function results, which are a bit high. That means that whatever is that formation, it is either pushing on the liver or otherwise bothering it. She said that an MRI could be done some time and she was told a specific date (unknown to me) but she arranged that it’s done sometime within the week but no later than Friday. Only it wouldn’t be predictable, they could tell any day that the next day would be the scan day. Until then we just have to stay there and wait. Of course, it ended up being Friday.

Day 3 at hospital

Nothing much happened, apart from daily weighing, taking temperature and measuring blood oxygen saturation via a machine with a clip-on light thing. No blood drawing. Because the day was not busy, we managed to go out on a walk with the baby wrapped in a scarf sling. That was the first time we went out in the wrap, it was nice.

Day 4 at hospital

Blood needed to be drawn for repeated testing again and we were called in to do it before the dad had arrived so I went instead. The nurses tried again to tell me to just leave the child with them but I reassured them I was fine and apparently was convincing enough. It was done from the head again, which was what me and my partner preferred now, considering the bloodbath and abuse to the arm on the first day. Of course, the baby cried and it wasn’t pleasant, but it went well, not too bad. He cried more because of discomfort and being annoyed than from the actual procedure. The pinch of the needle only hurts a little and only for a couple of seconds anyway. Also, it’s kind of better to have a crying baby because that makes the blood vessels pop out better and the blood flows better too. They kind of had to nudge the baby in the process because he calmed down after the needle pinch and the blood didn’t flow fast enough. My conclusion from this was that taking blood is best from the head if it is ever necessary, even though it seems freaky. In reality, it is less painful because there’s less muscles in the head for the baby to tense up, it is much quicker and simpler. The head is protected by the scull, the needle can’t go into the brain or anything.

Doctor later informed us that MRI scan is the next day. Not only that, but a CT scan also needs to be performed on baby’s lungs to make sure there are no bad formations there too. Initially I was told that it would have to be done separately, possibly next Monday, which would unfortunately mean sedating our baby twice. However, she came back in a moment and said she arranged it to be done under one sedation, on one day, one after the other, as the MRI room and CT scan room are next to each other. I don’t know what would we do without her, she is a genius when it comes to arranging things like this.

We had to wait for a consultation with an anaesthetist which is standard procedure a day before any sedation takes place. Unless I had made him stay and answer the list of my questions, I believe he would have just told us when we can eat for the last time and left. Oh no, I made him work! LOL. What I learned is that the sedation will take place via an IV, which means needles and poking my son again. I was hoping for it to be done with gas, but nope, needles it is. Before the procedure with sedation, the baby’s stomach must be empty to prevent him throwing up and choking on it, and that in turn means no feeding for four hours beforehand. Well, isn’t that great! Not! Considering that I feed him every two hours, and he normally can’t wait to eat when those two hours are up, not exactly the best situation for us. The procedure would be taking place around 9 or 10 AM so he has to finish eating until 6AM. You got to do what you got to do.

My partner wanted to make sure that a numbing cream is used next day when an IV is put in to slightly ease the baby’s suffering. So I went to talk to the nurses in the evening to make sure that they have the numbing cream and that it can be used. One of them started talking me out of that, saying that for some reason it is much more difficult to cannulate when the numbing cream is on. Also, to make sure that the cream takes effect, they have to tape a plaster over each spot that it’s used on, and that the baby will cry anyway when the plaster is torn off. According to her, it’s a stick with too ends. All of that was nonsense, I don’t know why she wanted so adamantly to talk me out of using a numbing cream for cannulating a 3-month-old baby. Nothing of what she said was true, as it turned out the next day, so why would she say all that, I don’t understand. I basically then said that my partner insists on it being used, playing out the paramedic card again, and that’s that.

Around 10 PM, a nurse came in, asked if an IV has been put in for the baby, which it wasn’t. When I asked what time can I count on it being done tomorrow, she said it will be from 6 to 7 AM. The day ended on that note.

Day 5 at the hospital – the doomsday

In the morning my baby was starting to wake a bit past 5 AM but I managed to keep him asleep until 5:40AM, by using his pacifier, then fed him, so he finished eating before 6AM. Started waiting for someone to come call us for the IV, yet no one came. He started to get sleepy so around 6:45 so I went to the nurse post where they were all sitting with tea/coffee chatting with each other. I said that maybe it could be done now, before he goes to sleep. The same nurse from the night before came up to me and said that someone will come to us in a moment. Went back to our room, waited – nothing.

07:50AM – he had slept AND woken up when a different nurse popped in our room, asked how we are doing. When I told we are waiting for the IV being put in, she optimistically said: “OK, I’ll let make that known, a new shift just started”. Awesome, so that means that that nurse from before just wanted to get rid of me because her shift was ending. WTF?!?!? First of all, can’t you at least try and work your schedule around my child’s schedule? Just a little bit of effort to make things slightly easier for us, it’s stressful as it is for us. And if you can’t or don’t want to, just tell me no, it’s not gonna happen now, and at least I wouldn’t be trying to keep the baby, waiting for someone to come call as for the procedure. So, this already pissed me off. Also, we still didn’t know for sure what time exactly the MRI and CT scan will happen, as all we had been told was that it will be around 9 or 10 AM. I knew inside that most likely that time will be an issue too and was getting wound up about that too.

08:30 AM – we went to put the IV in. The young nurse said yes to the numbing cream without hesitation and rubbed it on several potential areas. No plasters, none of the crap that the old crab had told me the day before, trying to brainwash me for no reason. After inspecting his extremities for blood vessels, which had him crying already because of using a tourniquet, the right hand was chosen for the IV. Cannulating him made him cry more, of course. However, they also needed a blood sample for testing, so the nurse tried to draw that from the IV in the hand, yet nothing would come out, just a few tiny splashes. She flushed it with liquids a few times, which didn’t work, and still no blood came. The reason according to the nurse was because he hasn’t eaten for a while and the blood is thicker. My partner afterwards said that IVs are not meant to be used for drawing blood and that was the actual reason why nothing came out. Anyway, seeing his hand getting tortured and him getting hysterical with crying, I said maybe it’s wiser to just quickly draw the blood from the head, and stop torturing his hand. To that they instantly agreed, said that I’m right, and it was done. I don’t know why me, as a nonmedical person can think of it and they couldn’t. Anyway, my child was screeching helplessly at an unheard frequency by the time it was over. At least the most painful and feared thing of the day was done and over with.

10:00 AM – no one had come to take us to the scans.

10:25 AM – a nurse pops in and asks when I last fed him. I told that before 6. She disappears and is back in a few minutes, saying I can feed him now because the procedure is postponed until 2 or 3 PM. Seeing my shocked face, she just gestured with her hands up, as if to say, “it is what it is” and left. No sorry, no apologising, nothing. So the baby was fed and we waited, again. Around noon, after we raised our concerns to our doctor about this situation and that he has gone from eating once every two hours to eating once every five hours, our son was put on a fluid drip to at least keep him hydrated.

Around 2 PM – the nurse came and took the drip off, saying that in 10 minutes we need to go. We changed him into clothes with no metal snap buttons, which is a requirement for MRI, he was asleep we and thought we’d go wait at the nurse post to go, as that would be any minute now. When they saw us, confused looks were exchanged and we were awkwardly told to go back to our room and wait, it will be another half-hour. At least this time the same nurse who did the gesturing earlier apologised and said it is not their fault, they do not organise it. Well, what else to do than just go back and wait again. Luckily, baby was sleeping and through the entire day of starvation we managed to keep him in a decent mood with no loud crying. That was not just our luck but also the staffs’ luck because I would not be very nice to them if it wasn’t so. The IV nurse came back and put the drip back on.

15:00 – we were finally called in for the procedure a bit before three, I walked into the CT scan room, holding my baby wrapped in his blanket, where he had sleep meds put in the IV while in my arms. That’s when he was just taken from my arms and I was told that I now have half-an-hour to go to a café or something. I repeatedly said I want to be present, want to see the procedure. They told me I don’t need that radiation on me, I still insisted because I knew they could have let me stay at the adjacent room which has a window in it. The doctor just told me I have to trust them and sent me out of the room. I did not expect that, I was certain I could stay with my child and just be there for him. The way he was taken from me, instead of asking to hand him over, and how I was sent out, it was just unacceptable and I don’t understand how that can happen. I am his mother and I had all the rights in the world to be there with him. It’s not like it was surgery or something, I wouldn’t have disturbed anyone. If I can be ok while my 3 months old baby is cannulated and has needles poked in his head, I can easily handle a CT scan and an MRI. That all really got to me, like icing and a cherry on a cake, that sent me to tears. The nurse soon came down, as she was called by the scan person, saw that I had been crying, I explained why. She was sympathetic and sort of agreed, and told me it will be ok. She was finally nice to me. Then the scan doctor brought my son out, he was already waking up slightly and crying. And, surprise, surprise, instead of giving him to me, he gave him to the nurse. How are mother’s arms any worse than a nurses arms when it comes to taking and holding him? What an asshole! After we had walked around the corner, the nurse stopped and gave him to me, saying that no one is looking now.

Around 16:00 we were back at the room, he was still crying through the sleep with eyes shut. The drip was put back on again until late evening. He was not to be fed until he is fully awake but I still gave him a few sips of my breastmilk from the bottle, just to soothe him slightly and he could sleep better. Later he got fed properly when he woke up. He was quite grumpy all evening, as expected. At night, he woke up for a feeding every two hours.

On Saturday, all the badness was finally done with and we could pack our bags and go home. The CT scan for lungs had not shown anything bad. We still are waiting for the MRI scan results, although it has been over a week since. This all was not a good experience, quite stressful, especially the last day of torture.

Apart from all the badness that took place there, it was all worsened by the food there, which was not nice, to put it mildly. I was put on a non-dairy diet to see if that helps with spit-up and digestion for the baby. So I was served barely warm or cold foods that would be bad as it is, but were even worse because of being stripped of any milk. Imagine rice pudding without milk – it’s just mushy boiled rice. Any porridge was yucky. One of the meals was buckwheat with some weird sauce on top. I hate buckwheat so I didn’t even touch it. My partner said – not only is it buckwheat, but it also looks like a cat has thrown up on it! LOL! So I was mildly starved throughout the week. I did try to eat most of the foods, I can’t afford to not eat, I’m a breastfeeding mother after all. I only wonder – does the cook eats the food that she has cooked there too?

To top it all off, I got my period at the hospital. How very inconvenient and uncomfortable.

So, that’s my looooong rant about the delight that is a Latvian hospital. Will I ever learn to be concise and just tell the most important things, in bullet points, so to say. I will try to change, I promise. 🙂