Saturday, September 26, 2015

We Survived the First Week!

Last Sunday night was pretty rough. I tried making myself into a cyclone of chores-completing to keep from melting into a puddle, and then I did anyway. It didn't help that Ivy was rolling over, and then was being the lovey-est chattiest baby ever. I couldn't bear it.

After I had my several good cries in, my nose kept running. Uh oh.

So Monday morning came, and we made the trek out to daycare. It takes half an hour to get there, as it's on the other side of the next town over. I went over the things in the diaper bag, handed off the frozen milk collected in the NICU, and nursed Ivy since we were early. I handed her off and practically ran outside to the car so I didn't have to cry in front of anyone.

Monday was actually not as hard as I thought it'd be, all things considered. Everyone was welcoming me back, and there was just enough work to keep me busy. I set up my pumping station in Cory's office (I work in a cubicle so I'm glad to be able to use his space). And then it was time to have lunch with Ivy.

I nursed while Cory ate lunch, and he cuddled her while I ate, and we watched the other kids play. I had hoped that Ivy would see me and be excited, but she was a little groggy so it wasn't a special reunion or anything. The lunch hour was over too soon, and we trudged back to work again for a few hours.

In the evening, we picked her up and brought her home, and it felt so good - but then I had to do diaper laundry and eat dinner and restock her diaper bag, and it was frustrating that my only three hours of time with her had to be shared with chores. I had also lost my voice - that runny nose was starting to progress into something worse. It was bedtime almost immediately (or so it seemed).

Monday night was rough too, but in a different way. Yes, I was emotional here and there, but I started getting chilly, and then freezing. I got up to find socks and a sweatshirt, and suffered my way through a fever for the next few hours. When it was finished, I took everything off again as I was all sweaty. Ivy slept through all of it, which is good.

Tuesday morning we rushed around like chickens with our heads cut off. We were trying to go off of mental checklists, and my fever meant I needed to take a shower, which I hadn't allotted any time for. But we made it.

The rest of the week was similar. Ivy napped like a champ there, though she hadn't done so for me. A couple of times I showed up to nurse at lunch and she'd just eaten, which made me super sad. One morning she fell asleep on the way there and didn't wake up when I dropped her off, so I couldn't say goodbye; that prompted some tears in the car. But my cold got better, my voice came back, and the week progressed. I actually even navigated negotiations for a new job (same company) that I interviewed for the previous week - that added a whole other layer of stress to this week. But now it is the weekend, two whole days of baby time!! And I fully intend not to squander them.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Ready as I'll Ever Be

Everything is packed:
* The diaper bag with half a dozen diapers, change of clothes, sweatshirt, socks, hat, wet bag, diaper rash ointment, disposable diapers in case the cloths run out, pacifiers, bibs for drool, several Tommee Tippee bottles.
* My pump, with a Nalgene bottle for milk storage during the day at work and a zip-lock bag for taking pump parts home to wash in the evening.
* A bag with lunches for Cory and me for two days is in the fridge, so we can spend our lunch hours at day care and not have to worry about food.
* An insulated bag with a few dozen ounces of frozen milk is in the freezer, and one bottle of milk is thawing in the fridge so Ivy can drink it tomorrow.
* The contract, a check and other daycare-related paperwork

I've taken a shower so I don't have to do it tomorrow, and Ivy has a bath scheduled for before bed. A swaddle blanket is in our bed ready to be slept on (for the smell) and packed tomorrow morning. Ivy's medicine is measured in a small bottle and in the fridge so we can quickly feed it to her tomorrow morning. I feel like I'm forgetting something.

I wanted to end my maternity leave with a little mini-celebration, to end on a positive note, to take my mind off of this impending separation. We were going to go to Oktoberfest but there were too many people. I started thinking of things to do instead but Cory didn't feel well today, so we laid low at home. I went for a quick grocery shopping trip alone this afternoon (after misplacing my keys for twenty minutes), rushing back after texts from Cory (he hasn't spent much time alone with her and she was fussy).

I feel like I'm being dragged by Time, who is wearing a big black mask, kicking and screaming towards tomorrow. I'm trying so hard to "get my fill" of Ivy today, with frantic kisses and desperate cuddles and blinking back tears as I stare at her as hard as I can. Please don't make me do this.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Three Months

Oh my baby girl, three months sounds like such a long time, though it went by in a flash. I feel like I've known you all my life, and yet you change almost imperceptibly every day. One day last week you woke up and started to experiment with your voice, making all kinds of interesting coos and gurgles that you never made before.. Yesterday you rolled over for the first time! (You haven't done it since, but it has definitely helped me put you on your tummy more often!)

You are getting so good at holding your head up. You get upset when people who don't know you that well try to hold you lying down with your head in the crook of their elbow like a tiny baby. You're a big girl now and want to be treated like it! You're not what I'd call consistent with it; your neck isn't quite strong enough to keep your head from bobbing, and sometimes you let go of it altogether, scaring us if we're not ready. (You lunged forward last week when you were sitting on your daddy's lap at the dinner table, and though he caught you just before you face planted into the wood, it still hurt your neck and you were pretty upset about it.)

You're also learning how to arch your back, planting your feet and pushing your bottom up. You do it in your play gym and get all cattywompus with your toys dangling in your face. You do it on the changing table, and you do it in your car seat. (Usually in that case it's when I'm trying to get you out, which is a nice help!)

Breastfeeding is going fantastically well, except for a sometimes lazy latch, which is more my fault than yours. You gave me two good blisters on one side, which are starting to heal up but are still painful, especially when you fidget at the breast and slurp my nipple between your gums. Ow.

Napping, on the other hand, is going fantastically unwell. Almost nonexistent. You are a great cat-napper: you fall asleep after eating, and will stay asleep anywhere from five to twenty minutes. If I try to transfer you to your Mamaroo or your crib, you are wide awake in a flash. (In fact, you are "napping" right now, which the monitor shows as being wiggly and making small talk. I'm hoping you'll tire yourself out and shut your eyes, but it doesn't really seem to work that way.) Things may change next week when you can't sleep in as long as you want - up at 6 instead of 9 (or later!). In other news, it's amusing to me that I can spend all day watching you play, and then when you take a nap all I want to do is watch you on the monitor. (I wish I could have a monitor on you all day at daycare! But then I'd never get any work done.)

Grabbing is another new skill you're honing. I realized these past few days that I've reached the permanent ponytail portion of mommyhood: you are strong when you get a hold of my hair! You are also starting to pull whatever you grab towards your mouth. And that tongue of yours is always exploring: the mat during tummy time, shoulders, knuckles, other people's chests, hair, toys, and mama's lips when she kisses you!

You still love being naked. I bet when you're a toddler we'll have a hard time keeping clothes on you. You can be in a terrible mood and 99% of the time that I take you up to your changing table and start to unsnap your onesie, you start smiling. It's pretty cute. I usually zerbert your tummy and give you some kisses while we're there. You also like it when I dab the drool off your chin, as long as it's dainty and accompanied by a high-pitched "bee-doot doot doot!" You're starting to like baths more too, splashing around a lot. It's just no fun at the end when you're cold and I'm trying to dress you in your jammies while you're lying on the countertop.

In general, you're such a happy baby. You look serious a lot of the time, I think because you're just drinking in all the world around you. But you almost never cry from ennui, you're almost always trying to tell us something and I'm glad of that.

Happy three months, my darling. I love you so much I can barely stand it.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Final Week

Today marks the beginning of my last week of maternity leave, and I am starting to wallow. I knew before I delivered Ivy that I would have a hard time, and my few episodes of tears already this morning have confirmed it. Every time she smiles at me or makes a cute little noise, I realize she's going to be doing it to someone else next week and it slays me. I am not ready to share her!

I'm spending the day working out the things that she'll need, and starting to label the frozen breast milk (even though she's the only infant) and get pump supplies together and stuff. In a weird way it kind of distracts from the reality of it all. I also need to put together a meal plan for us and get a grocery list going, so that we can get out of the house quickly in the morning and so that I can spend my lunch breaks at the day care with Ivy. And every once in awhile I get distracted with internal rants about feminism and the decline of the one-income family and high rent prices and all the other things that mean that I can't stay at home in babymoon bliss for the rest of my days. :)

The thing that's getting me through is constantly reminding myself that it's going to be so good for Ivy. She's going to have other kids to play with and fight with and share with. She's going to have a teacher that will be way better at coaxing more tummy time out of her. She'll have a whole group of people who dote on her all day long. This is going to be way harder for me than for her.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Lab Champ

Today we woke up before the sun peeked over the horizon (it's getting easier and easier to do that - yay fall!) and hopped in the car (the windows were fogged up and we had to use the squeegee on them - yay fall!) to get some labs done at the hospital in Portland.

We always leave with lots and lots of time to spare so that we can not be worried that the rush hour traffic will make us late, so when we arrived I had time to give Ivy her morning medicine and also to run up to the surgeon's office to ask if we had two labs or just one. I'd had just one lab on my calendar but in my head there were two. The lady at the desk confirmed two labs this morning, and also a doctor appointment in October that I didn't know about. (The hospital makes appointments without consulting us; we have to just take what we can get.)

So downstairs we went, into the imaging department, which was empty when we first got there and was standing-room-only rather quickly. I'm glad we got chairs!

First up was an ultrasound of Ivy's kidneys and bladder, to make sure her renal system was working well. I laid down on the bed and Ivy laid on my chest, and she cuddled right up and was happy. And also gassy. She let out a fart that was at least five seconds long and had all of us cracking up.

After the ultrasound, we went back into the waiting room. I nursed hurriedly, in case we were summoned for the next lab, but needn't have worried because we spent about 45 minutes waiting. Ivy was very quiet, which was great. She slept on Cory's shoulder for a bit, woke up and kicked and punched on my lap for a bit, and cuddled with me for a bit. And then finally we were called back for the X-ray.

This X-ray was part checking up on Ivy's surgery site, and part baseline to see how skinny her esophagus is around the surgery site (so they can decide if she's going to have trouble eating later. We were able to go into the room this time, which was very nice - 7 days after Ivy's repair we sat in the hall outside the X-ray room, crossing our fingers that there were no leaks around the site - it was nerve wracking. Cory and I both got lead vests and collars to cover our thyroid glands, and Ivy was stripped down to her diaper. They laid her down on top of a metal plate, and I had to hold her arms up over her head, and that was the only time she cried. I think it was just because her little head was perched on the edge of the plate, which probably didn't feel so good. After a quick X-ray, the techs went to get the radiologist, so we wrapped Ivy up in a warm blanket and cuddled her to calm her down a bit.

When the radiologist came in, Ivy went back down on the table (without the plate this time) and I fed her an ounce or so of barium while they took several x-rays in quick succession. Cory watched the screen and saw her esophagus, a little skinnier in the middle than at the other ends but not bad. Then it was over, and we dressed her, found another place to nurse again, and off we skipped towards home.

Though the techs all said things looked good, it was still nice to hear from the doctor when she called as we were on our way home. Everything is fine and normal, she said! Whew!