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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Baby is 6 weeks old today!

Baby spent the day with her dad. He had planned to take her to Home Depot and Hot Topic but the tiny dictator decided to lounge at home all day choosing 4pm to scream for a bit and all around refusing to nap enough for him to sneak her into the car seat.

Guess my day out with baby was a small triumph.

And here is a photo of babies first impression of KISS (love the forked tongue and almost making the "corna" hand sign!!!)

This is also a personal milestone, I'm now officially allowed to exercise, have sex and wear tampons - well that's the list I was told not to do for 6 weeks.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I understand why it is so difficult to lose weight post pregancy

Babies create massive stress.

Baby related stress triggers a massive craving for chocolate.

Case in Point -
Prior to baby - I worked a high stress job and thrived on it. I get really bored and unmotivated without work stress. Did not led to chocolate or junk food craving.

During pregnancy - continued working high stress job and somehow found rhythm that kept me mentally relaxed but balanced to handle work stress - did not crave chocolate - in fact avoided it out of lack of interest.

Post pregnancy - long spell with baby of repeated eating, diapering, putting to bed for 15 minutes while making mad dash for lunch or loo typically has me scrambling for chocolate! Today, I worked in office for 3 hours in back to back meetings discussing all manner of stress related work issues, downsizing, price problems, job reviews, etc. Not fun stuff! Never once felt need to eat chocolate. I come home to give husband a break while he runs off to teach a class, 3 hours in and I'm scrambling for chocolate and a glass of milk.

I don't understand it but I blame it all on baby.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Most annoying thing friends w/o children have said so far...

"sometimes you just have to let them cry". I just want to tell them to go get a newborn and try staying in the same house when he/she screams at ear splitting levels until reaching that unearthly decibel where I swear they must be severely hurting their throats because sound is strained and they cry harder because it hurts. I'm sure there is an age when this is correct advice but for now, with a newborn, the most I allow is 10 minutes for those emergencies when all bottles are dirty and formula must be made and only after all attempts to console have been soundly rejected by baby.

Sorry friends, until you spend all day for a vast period of days trying to console a newborn you will not understand the uselessness of this advice. Waking time of a newborn basically consist of diapering, feeding and consoling. Comforting baby is typically due to desperate need for bottle, diaper change, uncomfortable gas and digestion issues, burping and/or hiccuping issue causing more spit up. And so you do every thing in your power to work through the issues, rock to sleep and then carefully transfer them to crib without causing any waking thus crying. You hold your breath and conduct the transfer with every ounce of care so as to not awaken the crying beast. In other words, your goal is to reduce crying as much as possible. Not incense babies wrath by abandoning it.

ps. advice welcome from folks w/children as to when it is okay to let them "cry it out".

pps. have a friend with video monitor who noticed child crying to summon parents and then turn to look at the door, stop crying and wait for it to open, repeat performance until parents arrive. Child was approx. 1 year old. Assuming around this period of "awareness" is possibly time to prove who's boss?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Open letter to stay at home moms

To all stay at home moms

I've been at home with Charlotte for 5 weeks and today is my last day. Turning over the reigns to husband tomorrow. It has been the most amazing 5 weeks of my life. Challenging, stressful but also incredibly enjoyable. At the end of every day I'm completely wiped out and love my daughter more every day.

I'm in awe of stay at home mom's. I read your blogs and marvel at your stories. This is truly the hardest and most rewarding job I've every done. I don't know how you do it for such a long period of time and unfortunately I do not have a chance to find out at this point in my life. But I find myself wondering and planning how to make the switch in a few years. By the time I move onto baby #2 I think it will be time to try it out. Until then, you all have my highest respect and admiration.

Outing with baby a success

Buoyed with self-confidence after reading Grit's tale of outings with triplets (http://gritsday.blogspot.com/2008/07/adrenalin-junkies.html), I determined to take Charlotte out for our 2nd mom and daughter outing. The first had ended badly with lots of screaming.

I waited patiently until 4pm for the right combination of post bottle and sleepy baby. I had the car seat waiting for this moment and spare bottle with room temperature water prepared - just needed formula powder added. She's been eating every hour to 2 hours this week so I definitely needed the bottle. We went straight to Barnes and Noble, browsed the book section and found "Slummy Mummy" and "A Rather Lovely Inheritance" along with a few magazines and settled in the cafe.

Baby settled quietly in my arms while I read. I bought "A Rather Lovely Inheritance", changed babies diaper, fed her a bottle and left without any drama. Stopped at Chick-Fil-A on the way home and got waffle fries and Cookies and Cream milkshake through the drive through. Never understood the value of the drive through till now. Still no drama from baby.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Work is back on - lovely

I finally managed to track down boss at 11:35pm on Thursday night. He had Friday off so it was literally the last chance to figure out what the hell was going on with my proposal to return to work on Monday -- of next week! -- with partial stay at home and going into the office as needed.

Here's the deal - I can work from home for 2 months as long as I come into the office frequently as needed. Then I got the inquisition of - am I going to continue doing my job as before with trips and travel? A question that I'm sure has never been asked of a man who has just had a child. I was told that now I have 2 jobs, as a mom and director and would I be able to do both jobs? It felt like a job interview.

Considering husband and I have decided he will be stay-at-home-dad Monday - Friday (look for his blog to pick up a ton of action soon!!!), working as a dog trainer on Sat & Sun, I will be able to travel M-F. I assured him that my brain hadn't shriveled and died with 5 weeks home with baby and that I could definitely do my job with the same skill and success as before.

Sheesh!!!!!!!!!!! Let this be a lesson to all you young women just getting out of college. 7 years servitude at a company in Florida with less then 50 people, working 60-80 hour work weeks, traveling 3-4 weeks at a time to Asia several times a year, sacrificing personal time on vacations and holidays DO NOT buy you job protection post maternity leave. Employers with less then 50 employees can question your ability to do your job and terminate without cause. Let that be a lesson to all of you. If you want job protection, work for a 50+ person corporation.

If you want paid maternity leave, the following states have the best coverage - New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and California.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Baby is 5 weeks old today!

How long am I going to post about babies weekly birthday's? Probably until I go back to work and get distracted.

Starting next week I'm going back to work. It's Thursday and I'm still in negotiation with boss as to what style I'll be returning to work - work from home for 2 months or return to the office for a few days per week. Sound a bit late for this discussion? I think so! I've been trying for 9 months to finish this conversation with boss and he's just been so busy!!!

I've asked to work from home for 2 months because my job is frankly done entirely on computer through email, Microsoft and adobe software and on the baby front, I'd like to keep breast feeding her and it's easier to do from home with pumping, etc. Yeah there is interaction with other creative members but that can be done with phone calls and visits to the office which is 10 minutes away. I just want 2 more months to be near my baby!!!

Initially boss wanted me back in the office full time but was conflicted with family values of taking me away from baby so soon. Last message was something along the lines of he is leaning towards my proposal but with conditions. Standing by for the conclusion.

On the home front, husband and I have decided that he will be a stay at home dad M-F and work Saturday & Sunday. I've done the budget and this works.

Prior to this I was considering having a friend come up a few days out of the week (that husband was working) to work as a nanny. She called 2 days ago to say she's addicted to pain killers and needs to go to rehab. So that option is gone.

It's been a stressful week trying to figure all this out but today I'm very cheerful. I'm confident that having husband home M-F is the best option for our baby girl. Maybe I can come home for lunches and they can meet me for lunch. I just want babies first year to be comfortable and happy with mom and dad and this is the best compromise we can think of.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Want to watch movies and read books all day long???

Have a newborn.

Invite grandparents to stay for a week.

Grandparents will hold baby all day long!

Baby is one month old so for exactly 1/4 of her life she has been held all day long.

Grandparents leave.

Thus you must stay on the couch all day long holding baby, watching movies, reading books. Breaks from baby will cause enormous drama, note below post.

Oh baby...

I don't mind your new routine of eating small meals more frequently (60ml every 1.5 hours) when I thought you were on a more reasonable schedule of 100ml every 3 hours. I don't mind getting up in the middle of the night repeatedly to take care of you. I cheer on the poopy diapers because it's proof your digestive system is working.

But I'm having a tough time with the shrill, continuous screams you make when everything has been checked off your to do list.

It made me feel terrible but today I put you in bed and let you scream for 20 minutes. It let me eat a snack, get lunch started and prepare your bottle + holding out until it was a full 2 hours since your last meal therefore increasing chances that you would eat more thus relaxing enough to sleep.

It worked - you were happy to see me, I changed your diaper, fed you 80ml and you went to sleep. Thank you baby.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Grandparents have departed...

They say babies change a woman's viewpoint on life. Some of the changes I've documented so far deal with the grandparents. My mom and husbands parents visit once a year. My pre-baby reaction is happy to have them visit but I normally stress majorly over keeping the house clean, taking them out to see the sites, cooking frequently, etc. This past visit - they took care of me. I'm so blessed to have such wonderful grandparents and for the first time, I experienced real regret and sadness at their departure. I cried when I left my mom at the airport. I miss husbands parents. Pre-baby I'd bounce back into all the things I normally do, post baby I really miss the support.

On the other hand, I'm dreading the upcoming week as baby adjusts to not having grandparents to hold her non-stop. They have been gone for only half a day and it's been challenging. I assume this is what grandparents mean when they say "we are coming to spoil our grandchild".

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Baby is one month old today!

Yeah I've managed to get my child to one month old today! We took her to Chick-Fil-A to celebrate. Someday, it will be her choice to go there - they have a great little kids gym.

Happy one month birthday Charlotte - sorry the pic shows you looking kinda groggy! Shortly after this photo was taken you got tired of being in the carrier and demanded release. Your dad held you and gave you a pacifier dipped in Dr. Pepper. If you happen to like this someday, you know who to thank.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Happy 8th Wedding Anniversary to Husband

Today I have been married 8 years to my best friend!

I met my husband the first day of college in 1994 on October 3rd. I sat beside him and the teacher made us take notes on the person sitting next to us. We still have the notes! We didn't date for 3 years but instead became close friends. I've known my husband for almost 14 years. Life pre-husband was high school and that is so long ago it's barely relevant.

We started our married life in Fort Lauderdale the first year, moved to Miami for the 2nd year for my first job out of college, moved to LA for the next two years for my job, moved back to Fort Lauderdale for the next four years until now. At one point we got an offer to move to Hong Kong for a year and he was ready to support me there - but the offer wasn't very financially attractive so we turned it down in favor of starting a family.

I've become an adult with my husband. We went through the college years, post college years of getting an adult job, taking lots of cool vacations on our anniversary, buying vehicles and a house and now having a baby.

Over the years husband has taken impeccable care of me and now he is taking brilliant care of his daughter. I love my husband more every year and I'm so proud to call him husband.
Family in town insisted on a photo, not used to posing, we look like awkward high school students!

Longest sleep record for baby

2:30am - 7:15am Whoot!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

First day with 2nd set of grandparents

Lovely day - 2nd set of grandparents arrived around 3:30pm. In the morning, I prepared Chili while my mom took care of baby. In the afternoon, I put the Chili on the stove to cook and made a Strawberry Rhubarb pie, one load of laundry and put all dishes away while 2nd set of grandparents took care of baby and looked at mine and husbands baby photos with my mom. When husband got home from work, I tasked him with making cornbread while 2nd set of grandparents took care of baby and I went off to breast pump in private for a 1/2 hour with new book ("The Devil You Know", by Louise Bagshawe), a glass of milk, a chocolate and one Percocet - don't laugh, sometimes I need to calm my overactive self down - way down.

By the way, I joined a book club that lets me order 2 books at a time for $9.99 per month. Considering I've gone through 4 bought books in two weeks, it was getting expensive. I got 2 new books in the mail today - what fun!

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Crash

The first full day my mom was here I crashed hard. Something about mom being here put my overactive and overachieving mind at a standstill. My body suddenly ached from head to toe and I slept alot - well as much as one can with regular checks on baby and breast pumping/feeding. Feeling much better today.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Calvary is coming!

Grandparents are in route this week. My mom arrives tomorrow, husbands parents on Saturday. I'm told they are coming to help and I should be expecting a vacation. Somehow "guests" makes me want to assume the duty of host - but I've been told repeatedly to take this time to relax. So friends - what do you propose I do on my vacation with in-laws present?

The first thing on my list is taking a night off to see all the really cool movies that have just come out and I had been planning to see before babies birth - scheduled for July 21st - but since she came early hubs and I can use this as an evening break.

Mind you I'm still chained to the breast pump and/or breast feeding every 3 hours so it's like a mad dash to the closest theater. My how things have changed. Particularly as I type this post and listen to my baby monitor grunt and groan with gas noises. Poor baby - I'm trying Mylicon today in hopes of reliving the discomfort.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Introducing Charlotte Marie!

I'm exactly 2 weeks late writing this post. My daughter was born on June 19th, 4 weeks and 4 days early! As you can imagine, I've been in quite a tailspin. It's one thing to be caught unprepared for a babies arrival considering I'm a new mom and not used to getting up every 3 hours and sleeping in 2 hour intervals - if I'm lucky - but my little daughter decided to come very early!!! So early we had not set up the babies room with her furniture, so early I had not washed her clothes (but had spent the previous weekend unpackaging them - which took hours!!!), so early I had not packed a bag for the hospital, etc etc etc.

For those who love the details, here is what I wrote while in the hospital:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

So this is labor???

I woke up at 5am to use the bathroom, routine stop. The only thing unusual was that I had only woken up twice that night but then again I did go to bed at midnight so maybe I was just really tired and slept well. Most nights I had been getting up every hour.

Went back to bed and felt like I peed a little upon sitting down so went back to bathroom. Someone told me that in the last month it can be hard to hold pee in and that’s why you are supposed to do the kegle exercises - which I had done off-hand once a week maybe 3 times. Thinking this was a fine time to start but first needed to change the liner I returned to the bathroom. This went on 3-4 times until I returned to bed quite irritated with self and asked husband for towel just in case. He reorganized the bed and then snuggled behind me. Brave man. I lasted for about 20 or 30 minutes before feeling a large pressure against my bladder so assumed I needed to pee again. This repeated 3 times and progressively felt like cramps. At one point I went to the kitchen for yogurt because I was starving and felt lightheaded. The last cramp I confused with a bathroom break and while walking to toilet felt weak and lightheaded and almost threw up while on the toilet.

Tried calling doctor’s office at 7:30 because that’s when they open on Thursday’s but no one answered. Stayed in bed until 8 and finally felt slightly better but definitely not good enough to go to work. Ate a bowl of cereal, briefly wondered if I was experiencing something called Braxton Hicks that friend Gina was having recently. By 8:30 Husband was driving me to the doctor’s office and I texted my boss to say that I was not feeling well and going to the doctor’s office. We both left without showering, me wearing glasses. I read somewhere that your not supposed to wear contacts when giving birth so I thought on the rare chance I ended up at the hospital, I'd be prepared, plus it's my first step post shower. Might I just say it's extremely rare I'd leave the house without showering so I really thought I was just going in for a quick check up.

We arrived at 9am and waited for 45 minutes. I started falling asleep on Husbands shoulder while waiting. Once in the patient room, I striped at the waist (much to husbands amusement), midwife came in and asked a few questions about my morning and proceeded to check me for dilation. I swear her face expression did not change as she announced, you’re 3cm dilated and you’re going straight to the hospital. She left me to get dressed and I sat for a moment with jaw hanging, in shock. Husband went into mild shock.

Around 10:15, we left the doctor’s office for the hospital and I asked for a pit stop along the way at Barnes & Nobel for reading material. I figured hey I might need entertainment if they put me on a bunch of machines and monitor me all day. I actually walked into the store with a bad cramp - I tried to convince myself but it was most likely contractions - and went straight to the bathroom. Mike bought water and on the way out I grabbed a book - yeah I already knew it was there, I have my favorite authors book release dates in my phone calendar - I’ve been waiting for Marian Keyes book for quite some time, even considered ordering it straight from Amazon.uk but rationalized against the cost for postage. I actually had another contraction while paying for the book, that’s when I stopped deluding myself of the cramp part and as I’m trying to pay the woman gets really chatting and I’m just like “take my money damn it!”

On the way to the hospital I text my boss “3cm dilated, going to hospital”, the phone rings a second later. I calmly tell him it might be a false alarm or I’m going to have the baby that day. He says that’s fine and I sound great and very calm and to call back when I know what’s going on.

We get to the hospital around 10:30 or 10:45 and park really far from the entrance due to no parking, check in and get settled in a birthing room around 11:15. The nurse is 8 months pregnant like myself, she’s due July 24th, I’m “due” July 21st so it was some measure of comfort to know she had a good understanding of how I felt. I went to the bathroom before laying down.

Got hooked up to machines and she started monitoring my contractions (not cramps) and the first one on the screen I didn’t feel. The next hour they got a minute apart and got progressively stronger. At one point I looked at Mike and said with absolute certainty, this baby is coming in the next hour. He consulted with the nurse and she said she would be surprised if I had the baby before the end of her shift at 7pm.

The Premie doctor came in and consulted with us about the potential issues we could face by having the baby today, he wasn’t majorly concerned and was waiting for the doctor to make a decision on potentially delaying the labor with drugs, but if the benefits of delaying labor did not out weigh the benefits of having the baby, she would come straight over once I was further dilated.

Around noon, the nurse left to call the doctor with my stats and during her absence I used the bedpan twice, I swear no one told me contractions make you feel like peeing! It’s more annoying then anything. Maybe it has something to do with the instinct desire to push something out regardless of what it is or if it’s ready. It’s just this mental need to push and push and push!

By the time she got back the contractions had stayed 1 minute apart and gotten stronger. The IV drip didn’t slow them down as they had hoped. She did a vaginal check and found me to be 6cm dilated. She left to call the doctor again. Upon her return I was in full concentration mode, wait for beginning of contraction, breath through it, if it caught me off-guard I’d start gasping for breath mid-way. She came back after a 1/2 hour and did another vaginal check and I was fully dilated. Things went really fast from here. The clock showed 2pm. The nurse pulled out a bunch of paperwork and had me sign in between contractions. I might as well have drawn a line for the nonsense scribbled out,they wouldn't let my husband sign because it all had to do with emergency plans for removing baby. The room filled up with people. For every contraction, I had a room full of people telling me to not push. I assumed we were waiting for the doctor to show up.

Doctor got there surprisingly quick and suddenly I was allowed to push. Yeah, finally a release instead of clamping down on my vagina while trying to breath with the whoo whoo whoo every 60 seconds. The pushing was harder then I thought it would be. Every time a contraction would start, I would push for 10 seconds while Mike did the count down in my ear 3 times (10, 9, 8, etc). After the contraction I would fall back into bed and he would wipe my face with a damp towel and rub my back. Next contraction would start and I finally learned to take a deep breath, hold it and push until I was blue in the face and reached 10 seconds. At one point, between contractions, the doctor started a lively conversation with one of the nurses about a recent mission trip to the Dominican with her church. I actually enjoyed the distraction and found myself wondering what church she went to. Back on track to baby with die hard mission to get out of my body NOW! Was it something I said or ate, maybe that Philly cheese steak from last night was disagreeable? Back to pushing, Mike counting, wiping my face, feeding me ice chips, telling me I’m doing great, pushing, pushing, not feeling anything coming out but nurse and doctor are cheering great push keep it up. I do 2 more great pushes and liquid and baby rocket out of my body, I didn’t feel a thing at this point. I always thought it would feel shockingly painful when baby came out but not a thing.

I think it took around 20 minutes to push the baby out, she was born at 2:39pm.

Honestly the stitching was more painful then giving birth!

She cried a funny little cry of wah wha wah wah, short cries. It was so cute. For a 35 week baby she’s quite long, 19.25” and 5.6lbs. She has tight curls that are around 1” long and big feet! They finally let me hold her and she calmed down immediately. She has my face, my chin, lips, nose, not sure where Mike is in there but I’m sure we will see more of him in the days to come. Judging from the early arrival, she’s got my impatience.

Since giving birth I’ve been resting, relaxing and carefully going to the bathroom. Not going into details here, you birth mothers know what’s involved.

Friday - I haven’t seen much of baby but reports are she’s doing fine. I’m glad she being taken care of and hope I can take her home tomorrow. Everyone keeps telling me to sleep now, I’ll wish I did when I get her home and can’t sleep but I’m too wired to sleep. I got 5 hours last night and was restless after that. I tried to snooze today but I’ve had 8 or 10 hospital staff visitors.