Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Letting go of guilt and anxiety

Before I became a mom, I was often a very frantic and anxious person.  During my pregnancy, this became even worse (as I have outlined here and here) and I decided that medication was the best route for me.  Upon the urging of my midwife, I have stayed on the Lexapro after my pregnancy to help prevent postpartum depression which I am pleased to say has worked well.

I've been back at work now for three weeks and the transition has not been easy.  I spent a solid two months at home on maternity leave so the transition back to being a working mom was hard.  Spending all that time with my baby was amazing and I'm thankful to have a job with paid maternity leave and enough vacation and sick time racked up that none of my time off was unpaid.  Despite all of this, I have cried on my way to work everyday but today (woohoo) and I have felt the most overwhelming sense of guilt come over me when I pull into the parking garage.  How can I leave my baby in the care of someone else?  How can I miss out on her being this tiny baby?  What if I would have done things differently, not gone to college, not gotten into debt then I could have been home with her.  All of these things have run through my mind almost daily over the past few weeks.

While all of these things were going on I was battling other issues.  Jeanette didn't get back to her birth weight fast enough so I started supplementing with formula when she was one month old.  Though I enjoyed breastfeeding, I knew it would be hard to keep up with when I went back to work so I wasn't too devastated about having to give her formula.  I started pumping and giving her the breast milk and formula together and it was going well, for a while.  My supply started to dwindle and I emailed my midwife.  She called in a prescription for Reglan to help with my supply.  Unfortunately I couldn't finish the taper of medicine because it caused me to have several emotional breakdowns, it was really helping my supply increase but it was not worth the emotional toll.

Once that was cleared out of my system and we got into a routine with Jeanette, I started to feel a lot better.  Andrew and I had several long talks about my mood and anxiety about being a working mom and they really helped me to see the light.  There is nothing I can do right now to change my life as a working mom.  I have to work to help support my family.  Jeanette only goes to a sitter two days a week and we love her!  She gets to interact with other kids, including a 9 month old, and I'm grateful that my mom and Andrew are able to help out with her care during the week as well.  Andrew and I both had moms who stayed home but had jobs, my mom babysat other kids and his mom worked on their Christmas tree farm almost year round.  The time I do have with Jeanette is precious and I try to soak up every moment.

I didn't want to be the mom with the house all a mess, but if all I get around to is doing the dishes and vacuuming up the dog hair, that's fine with me.  Sure there is a little more clutter now, but I'm learning to deal.  Maybe I can't get the laundry done as fast as I used to, maybe I don't cook elaborate dinners every night of the week, but it's okay!  What's most important is that our little family is happy and healthy.  We are learning a routine with one another and for now I can't ask for much more.

I am learning to let go of my guilt about being a working mom, I'm learning to let go of my anxiety about leaving my daughter and I'm learning to embrace this new change in my life.  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Jeanette - 2 months old

Again, I'm a little behind, Jeanette was 2 months old on March 23rd but now I'm caught up and can do a 3 month post in a more timely fashion!

Height: 24 1/2 inches long - you are a very long baby!

Weight: 10lbs, 7oz - you really took off and started to grow this month since mommy started supplementing with formula!  

Sleep:  You are an amazing sleeper at night!  You go to bed between 9 and 10 and don't wake up till 6:30-7am in the morning!  You tend to take cat naps during the day now, but that's fine with me if you continue to sleep through the night.

Feedings: You still eat every 3 hours like clockwork and usually take about 4-5oz.  The only time you really get crabby is before you eat.   

Best Moment(s):  The first time you smiled a real smile for me and daddy.  It was so sweet and just about melted our hearts!  You also started cooing this month, which next to smiling is about the cutest thing on the planet!  You are also getting really strong and getting a lot better at holding up your head. 

Worst Moment(s):  Seeing you spit up a whole bottle for the first time.  Either you ate too fast or ate too much, but that was such a scary moment.  I knew you were okay but it was really hard to watch you get that upset.  You also got shots at your 2 month appointment but you did so great!  Hearing you cry was really difficult for mommy but you were a trooper!  You were pretty tired that day, but didn't spike a fever and weren't overly fussy. 

Development:  As I had mentioned earlier, you are smiling and cooing which is super adorable and a great milestone!  You are developing those neck muscles and getting really good at holding up your head.  You follow our movements and love to watch the mobile in your crib.  You love to have books read to you and love your Sassy "First book of baby see's" book with the bright colors and patterns.  Grandma calls it your "smart book."  You can see yourself in the mirror now too and love the mirror on your play mat. 

Jeanette Loves:  Rock and play sleeper, laying in your crib with the mobile on, snuggling after a feeding, being rocked in your glider, laying on your play mat and watching yourself in the mirror.  You are starting to like bath time a lot more too! 

Jeanette Dislikes:  Tummy time isn't exactly your most favorite thing on earth.

Anything else?: Mommy went back to work this month and it was really difficult.  You however seem to be adjusting just fine and are very well behaved for the babysitter.  Daddy stays home with you one day a week and seems to get along fine as well and you have a day with your Grandma M too!  Mommy still cries on her way to work but knows that this is just how life has to be for now and that you are in good hands. 

After your 2 month doctor appointment where you got
your first shots.  You seemed to do just fine!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Jeanette - 1 month old

I'm obviously a little behind here but Jeanette was one month old as of February 23rd.

Height: 22 1/2 inches long - grew one inch since you were born!

Weight: 8lbs, 3oz.  This obviously was an issue because you were three ounces less than your birth weight.  After some discussion with the pediatrician, we decided you needed more than just my breast milk and started supplementing with formula.  This was by far one of the hardest parenting moments for me so far.   

Sleep:  By the end of your first month, you were sleeping through the night occasionally and only getting up between 2 and 3am for a feeding.  You nap well during the day and started to become more alert towards the end of the month as well.

Feedings:  We went from exclusive breast feeding to bottle feeding and mixing the formula and breast milk.  Thankfully you did not experience nipple confusion and took to bottle feeding quite well.  You aren't even picky about the kind of bottle that you take!

Best Moment(s):  Watching everyone's reactions when they met you for the first time.  Your newborn photo shoot was a good day as well, other than your belly button scab falling off and getting blood on your cute onesie!

Worst Moment(s):  Finding out that you would need to start taking formula.  But now that you are gaining weight well, you are far less crabby, much more alert and really starting to grow!

Development:  As the month wore on, you started to become more alert and started to control your neck and head a little better.  You can sleep for longer periods at night (4-5 hours) and you seem to recognize mommy and daddy's voices when we are in the room.

Jeanette Loves:  Rock and play sleeper, laying in your crib with the mobile on, snuggling after a feeding, being rocked in your glider. 

Jeanette Dislikes:  Bath time, having your diaper and clothes changed, having lotion put on.

Who Jeanette has met:  Mommy's parents & their kitties Rusty and Steel, daddy's parents, all of your aunts and uncles as well as some cousins, mommy's friends from college, neighbors, Bessie the dog and Bradley the kitty (your pets at home) and mommy's best friend Jessica.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

On being a mother

I decided to take a little unplanned hiatus from this blog while I was on maternity leave.  I've been back at work for a few days and the little one is now 2 months old.  My 9 weeks of leave went by so fast and I made every effort to be present for my daughter during that time and spend as much time with her as I could.  So many things have been happening and I plan to back up and do a one month old and two month old post this week as well.  But for now I just wanted to write a little update on motherhood and what it has meant to me over these last few months. 

Since I had to have a c-section I was in the hospital from Thursday till Sunday.  Having all of that extra help sure was wonderful considering I couldn't really get out of bed for the first 24 hours.  Andrew pretty much never left my side, other than his runs to the gift shop or hospital cafeteria for some food.  We had visitors come and go, thankfully all of my wishes for family only and no children were granted and we had a rather relaxing stay.  The breastfeeding didn't go too well at first, but eventually with the help of the lactation consultant, things got going.  When it was time to leave on Sunday, we were both a nervous wreck and it didn't help that the weather was awful too.

That was the freeway, hardly plowed and very slick.
Sunday night was crazy, as can be expected your first day home with a baby.  I don't think anyone in the house slept much, except for the cat.  As the days went on though in those first few weeks, things got easier.  Jeanette had her first appointment with the pediatrician, I got my staples removed and Andrew was able to take an extra week off work to help out since I was on restrictions. 

He is such an amazing dad, burping Jeanette after her 3am
feeding at the hospital.
With each day, I got more into my "groove" with Jeanette.  We had our feeding times pretty well set and I worked really hard to keep her on a schedule.  From day one, she slept in her crib (our room is right next to the nursery so we didn't even need the monitor to hear her) and now at 2 months old, she's sleeping through the night!  I was so glad I read the Baby Wise book because it really helped me out with the scheduling and getting her to sleep through the night.

Watching my baby girl grow and change each day has been so amazing!  You'll be able to see the change for sure from her one month to two month posts when I get those up later this week.  There have been struggles, the biggest one being her weight gain.  At her 1 month appointment she hadn't gotten back to her birth weight and although she had her fair share of messy diapers and wasn't starving, I was told my milk wasn't enough for her and began supplementing with formula.  It was a hard pill to swallow, but I knew I needed to do what was best for my baby.  She has been doing a lot better now that she gets the formula and breastmilk and for this I am happy.

There have been good days and bad days, I've cried and laughed more times than I can count over the last few months.  We are a family now and being a mom is nothing like I ever could have dreamed it would be!  The love I feel for Jeanette is overwhelming and so pure.  She is such a good baby.  She rarely cries, eats well, is super alert and loves to follow our faces.  Leaving her to go back to work was so incredibly hard, but I know I am doing what is best for my family.

Meeting her sister Bessie for the first time when she was a week old.

Snuggles after a rough day.

Newborn photos

Our little family.
Those big dark eyes get me every time.

And now she's smiling, which is pretty much the cutest thing ever!
 Now a new adjustment has begun since I'm back to work and I'm sure that things will continue to change, but I know the love I have for that adorable, sweet little lovebug Jeanette will just grow stronger with each passing day!

If you want to see more photos, find me on Instagram (postle0922). 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Jeanette's Birth Story - Part 2

When the on call resident came in to break my water, she said that I was dilating from a 4 to a 5 pretty much before her eyes.  I assumed this was good news and meant that things would move along quickly.  I was feeling pretty relaxed, we turned on the TV in the room and watched our Wednesday night TV shows.  I continued to have contractions that were around 2 minutes apart and I couldn't really feel much of anything.  As the evening continued, I felt like the epidural was wearing off and my tailbone started to hurt really bad.  Anesthesia was called back in to give me some more drugs to help with the lower back pain and to refill the pain medicine in the IV.
My dad left to head home and get some sleep since he had jury duty in the morning and my mom stayed to help me through the rest of the labor.  I had some fantastic nurses during my time in labor and delivery and I was so thankful for the amazing care that I received.  All of my questions were answered in a timely manner and when I needed extra help, they were there advocating for me.  Andrew and my mom continued to be a great support for me and I was so thankful to have them both by my side.  

Around 10:45pm the nurse wanted to check me again to see if I had progressed and I was at 7cm!  Things were really starting to move along and we all wondered if I would deliver by midnight.  While the nurse was checking on things, she touched the babies head to see how she was positioned.  At that moment, the heart rate dropped and before I could even figure out what was going on people were rushing into the room and Andrew was off in the distance watching everything happen.  An oxygen mask was strapped on my face, I was told to lie in several different positions and then finally get up on my hands and knees (this was not easy to do since I had the epidural) and I swear about five different people were poking and proding down there and trying to get babies heart rate to increase.  

I heard the words "emergency c section" a few times, but finally after a few attempts and the insertion of a scalp monitor on the baby to measure her heart rate and an internal contraction monitor, all was well again.

Around midnight I was checked again and I was at 10cm and totally effaced.  I couldn't believe that it was really time to start to push.  The midwife was on her way so the nurse, my mom and Andrew all helped me get into the position to start to push.  By this point the epidural had worn off again a little.  I was pretty much on my own and bearing down through the pain was not easy.  When the midwife arrived she continued to help me to push.  I would push through one contraction and then rest at the next.  The baby's heart rate would drop sometimes after I would push and this went on for several hours.  I also had to put on the oxygen mask between pushing, which was so annoying and made me feel like I couldn't catch my breath.  I hated having that thing on my face and it was by far the most annoying part of the pushing. 

The on call OB from my midwife's office was then called in to assess me because of the baby's heart rate dropping and the slow progress of my pushing.  She wanted to watch me push at least once to see how things were going. When the next contraction started she had me push and I could tell she was not pleased with my progress.  "This just isn't going to work, we need to do a c-section" she said and I could just feel the disappointment come over me.  I looked at my mom and Andrew and they didn't really have much to say, but looked just as disappointed as I was.

More people came into the room to help me get ready to move to the OR.  I watched Andrew struggle into the lovely white suit he had to wear along with his mask and hair net.  Everything was happening so quickly that I felt like I didn't have time to process what was about to happen.  I was wheeled out of the room with Andrew following behind me, my mom was taken to a special waiting area as only one person was able to come into the OR.

The prep for the c-section started as soon as they got me on the operating table.  It seemed like there were so many people in the room and they made Andrew wait in the hallway until they had me fully prepped.  The anesthesiologist started putting the stronger drugs into my epidural catheter and suddenly I was completely numb from the chest down, which I might add is a very strange sensation.  When Andrew came back into the room and sat down behind me, he looked like he was going to pass out and I got even more worried but thankfully he got it together just in time for them to get the baby out.  I don't really remember her crying, it was more like a little noise that a mouse would make.  One of the nurses commented that she was a "big girl" and that she had hair, dark hair at that!  They walked her past me on the way to the warming table and all I could think about was how bad I wanted to hold her.

As they were stitching me up, they were working on our little girl.  Apparently one of her lungs was not working and they had to stick a tube in her lung to suck out whatever was blocking the airway.  Finally I heard her let out a big cry and she was given to Andrew to hold.  I wanted to cry so bad but it was as if I couldn't make the tears come out.  There was just too much going on in the room.  At 4:24am on January 23, 2014 I became a mom and I know my life will never be the same.

Coming soon.....the story of our 4 day hospital stay!  

I finally got to hold her around 8am when I was moved to my room

Such a beautiful little girl!!!

Waking up for a feeding