Tis the season…

Family came first over the last few weeks so my blog has taken a back seat, but the advantage of that is there’s much to tell you about. But that will have to wait until next time, for now here’s a little update of our last few days…

Tis the season to be unwell, fa-la-la-la-la la-la la la…

Don’t get me wrong I’m not being bah humbug, we’ve had a really nice Christmas surrounded by family for Quinn’s first but in the last few days all three of us have suffered from bugs. To be fair Sian hasn’t been well since before Christmas and after getting over what seemed to me, in my non-expert opinion, to be the flu, she now has another cold in her head and chest. Quinn and I had managed to escape without catching anything until a couple of days ago and now we’re all ill. Admittedly the two girls much worse than me.

On the one hand Quinn’s second illness is easier for all of us than her first because we’ve been through it before. This time she knows what to do and is coughing much better, and having been through it once before I feel a little less panicked than first time round.

On the other hand she’s much more full of cold than she was last time. Her nose is constantly running, and must be uncomfortable because she rubbing her face all the time wiping the snot everywhere. Her eyes are all red and puffy and her chest sounds awful, shes constantly trying to cough up whatever’s there and when she’s not she’s a wheezy, slobbery mess.

Quinn's Cold

On Tuesday night she felt so bad, I wasn’t able to lay her down to go to sleep. She’d not slept well all day, waking herself up by coughing after short naps so I imagine she was shattered come the end of the day. As I had work the next day I suggested that Sian got an early night and I looked after Quinn so that she felt rested before having to look after her on her own, having a poorly baby is hard enough without feeling poorly yourself. Quinn was reasonably happy before bed playing and smiling in her normal way, and she fell asleep quite quickly in my arms as I rocked her. Normally we’d try not to rock her to sleep and when we can put her down awake which she’s been very good with, but given her cold she needed that extra bit of soothing.

I let her sleep on me for about fifteen, twenty minutes to make sure she was sound asleep and then around ten o’clock I walked her to her bedroom. Living in a flat there’s the benefit of not having to navigate any stairs but I still do my best to make as little noise as possible on the journey to keep her in her slumber, this normally means walking in an exaggeratedly comical manner – like a cartoon burglar.

Once there I paused to make sure she was still settled and then laid her down gently in her cot. She stirred a little as she normally does, but I managed to zip and clip her into her grow bag without waking her up. Knowing she was unwell I wanted to make sure she was sleeping properly so I sat down in the chair in her room and listened to her wheezy breathing. But rather than settling, she became more and more fidgety over the next few minutes, pulling her legs up and rocking onto her side. After a minute or two there was a quiet whimper, which was quickly followed by a piercing cry… the type of cry that she rarely makes, only when she’s in pain.

I tried to settle her by stroking her hair and holding her hand but it was obvious that even with the help of Monty her singing elephant, it wasn’t going to work. I took her out of her grow bag and picked her up and rocked her and she was asleep within seconds, a few minutes later I laid her down again but the outcome was the same.

Half ten and we were back in the living room. Her fast asleep in my arms, me wondering how I was going to get her to go to sleep in her bed… I wasn’t. 1.30am and five attempts later Quinn and I walked back into the lounge resigned to defeat. Except it wasn’t really defeat… Quinn had been struggling to sleep all day and battling the cold symptoms, but in the three hours I’d been trying to get her down she hadn’t coughed once when she’d been on me. Except for the crying when she’s been laid down in her bed she’d actually slept pretty well which was what I had been hoping for. The difficulty was she was only sleeping on me.

Accepting that, I could only see two options; stay awake by standing up and holding her as she slept or try catch a few hours’ sleep myself whilst she slept on me. Neither options were ideal and to be honest the first was going to be impossible, but I’ve read advice saying never to sleep with your baby on you. Having heard Quinn crying Sian came in to check we were OK and we talked about what to do. I didn’t want to lay down in bed with Quinn on me, I felt it would be safer to sit/lay on the sofa and use the cushions to keep us both in place, some people may criticize this and I wouldn’t normally but I couldn’t see any other option. I stayed awake as much as possible watching Luther and Silent Witness, and when I did sleep it wasn’t for long or that deeply. I probably managed 2-3 hours of broken sleep with Sian coming through and checking on us regularly but most importantly Quinn slept through to 7.30 in the morning.

Last night was just as difficult. Although we did manage to get Quinn to settle in her bed she woke crying at least once an hour until I moved into the lounge with her at five this morning. Which night was better? Well I’d always feel happier if Quinn was sleeping in her cot, that’s where it’s safest, and Sian and I were able to get broken sleep in between getting up to sooth her cries. But the night before Quinn slept much better on me, not once waking up in tears. Yes it’s not as safe but there’s also something really nice about comforting your baby when they are ill, especially when you know it’s what they’d prefer.

The lack of sleep on both nights is obviously hard. We’ve been really lucky that Quinn normally sleeps so well, so it’s hard to adjust to getting just a couple of hours sleep but it’s impossible to be mad or frustrated about it. She looks so poorly we just want to do anything we can to make her feel better.

And that’s easy to do because through all the coughing, sneezing and crying she still remains such a funny, smiley little girl especially when in her jumperoo.

As Sian keeps saying… she’s a happy soul.

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Finally, it’s been a sad end to today… someone who was playing a huge role in helping us to comfort Quinn has met an unfortunate end when Sian put him in for a quick wash and dry… RIP Mr Monkey

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