Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Working Mom's Guilt Complex...

As a new mom I now know why my mom always worked tirelessly and could never rest...I think it is GUILT!!

Guilt that I'm working too much at work and not giving enough time to Claire. Guilt that there's always stuff to be done at work when I'm playing with Claire. It's a never ending cycle!!

I recently (about a month ago) changed to a 4 day workweek at work and it has been GREAT!! However, I have found that I now work more than I was before, because even though I am "off" on Fridays, I find myself checking my e-mail more from home and spending time on work related items because I feel guilty about not being there at work (even though I have already worked a full, 4-10, workweek on Monday - Thursday). ALL of this stems from GUILT and my innate people pleasing personality. I don't want any of my co-workers / managers to think less of me as a colleague, so I make sure there are no unanswered e-mails on a Friday that they have to wait for until Monday - even though I know they probably won't look at them that closely on a Friday afternoon anyway.

Despite all of this - having Friday's out of the office has been great for me and Claire even if I am working during her naptimes. I feel much more rested and look forward to the work week on Monday mornings much more than I did before. I am able to run some of the errands that would take all day Sat-Sun to do on Friday, which also gives me more quality family time with Grant and Claire together on Sunday, since he works every Friday and Saturday. It has also definitely helped satisfy my desire to spend more time with her and helps assuage some of my guilt about working too much and not spending enough quality time with her.

Am I the only working mom that has this kind of guilt complex going on?? Please tell me I'm not just going crazy!! I now know what my mom meant when she said, "Life will always be a balancing act." It truly is - especially with a baby - but it is a role that I would gladly take on all over again! Being a mom is truly the greatest job in the world, and slowly I'm figuring out how to balance it with work! I just hope that I can learn to enjoy my time with Claire and my time at work without feeling guilty in either place. That is something that will take ongoing practice...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Claire's First Snow Day

Here are some pictures of Claire from her first snow day! Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Vacation with a Baby - Is that possible?

So lately at work people have been talking about their Spring Break plans and that has got me thinking about a vacation. The only problem is - a vacation doesn't seem like a vacation anymore, but more work. I love spending time with Claire and that is not the problem at all - but the idea of packing up all of her stuff, getting her to sleep in a pack and play in a hotel room somewhere, etc. does not sound like vacation to me. Am I the only new mom to feel this way?

I'd love to think about a family vacation - but I think she's just too young or maybe I'm too lazy to want to disrupt the routine we have going that seems to be working so well. I will have to use some vacation days before the year is over due to my company's rollover policy, but I have a feeling they will be staycation days centered around holidays.

My brother mentioned doing a camping trip this spring sometime, but given the fact that Claire can't walk, I don't really want to have to worry about her crawling around in dirt (as well as eating dirt). I also don't know how well Claire will sleep in a pack and play in a tent since she'll be able to hear everything going on around her. While Claire is a great sleeper, she is also a light sleeper used to white noise. We have a fan going in her room all the time to help block out noise from the street so I'm a little afraid she wouldn't sleep well.

For you moms out there that have successfuly vacationed with a baby - tell me how you do it - because right now it just seems overwhelming. For someone who used to love to vacation and travel, this is a new reality, but for some reason it doesn't seem to bother me too much. I guess priorities change when a little one comes into your world.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Claire's Birth

As promised in the last blog - here is the story of Claire's birth!

I was due June 20, 2010 - however Claire had other plans. I spent a lot of time trying to do stuff to induce labor (I was mowing the lawn the night before I was induced!), but nothing seemed to work! At my appointment on June 16, we scheduled an induction for Monday, June 28, with a pre-induction ultrasound planned for the Friday before, on June 25. The point of the ultrasound was to check amniotic fluid levels in order to make sure that everything still looked good in the womb since we were going over 1 week past my due date. On that Friday I had every intention of going to work after the ultrasound, so Grant and I drove in separate cars to the appointment. Every night of the preceding 2 weeks before leaving work, I made sure that my desk was clean and that everything would be in order in case my water broke that night. So at least I didn't have anything to worry about work wise when I went on maternity leave!

Back to the appointment - at the ultrasound appointment, Dr. Mills (who ultimately delivered Claire) determined that my amniotic fluid levels were too low to wait until Monday to be induced. So she sent me downstairs to my primary OB and she agreed to send me over for the induction on Friday. Because we had driven 2 cars and wanted to get everything in order at home (feeding the cat / cleaning up the master bedroom for Grant's parents), we decided to take our time getting the the hospital. They said we needed to be there by 11am after we left the Dr. at 9:30 - and we pushed it to the minute. We stopped and got lunch (I knew they wouldn't let me eat once I got hooked up to an IV) and slowly made our way to the hospital. Not that I'm complaining - but I will say that I was somewhat disappointed that I didn't have that, "Oh my gosh - my water just broke moment!" Either way - we made it to the hospital by 11:00 and I was hooked up with pitocin right away. Around 1pm, my water was broken and the show was on the road. Immediately after my water broke, my contractions went from mildly uncomfortable to intense pain. I don't know if that was because of the Pitocin, but it was intense.

All along, I had really wanted to have Claire naturally. I had read books, taken a birthing class, etc. The intensity of contractions definitely makes time fly by. Before I knew it, it was after 7:30pm. At that point, the Dr. came in and checked to see how far I had dilated (bear in mind that I walked into the hospital already 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced). After 8 + hours on Pitocin I had only dilated 1 1/2 more cm to 4 1/2 cm! I was SO discouraged and wasn't sure how much longer I could manage the contractions on my own. Grant was supportive the entire time and was going to let me go as long as possible and didn't even bring up the idea of an epidural until I did.

Around 8pm I told him that I didn't think I would be able to make it all the way to 10cm on my own and that I thought I wanted an epidural - He was OUT THE DOOR in seconds telling the nurse that I needed her! Right around that time was the shift change so I had a new nurse come in and start me on fluids that I needed prior to getting the epidural and she was SO happy and chipper just starting her shift. I think I literally told Grant that if she was that happy the entire time I may kill her! ;-) After the pain was gone, she was awesome and I don't know how I could have thought that about her!

By the time I got all of the fluids required it was close to 9pm when the anesthesiologist came to the room to give me the epidural. I thought I would be so scared of the needle going in my back, but by that point I was so ready for it, I didn't care. I was told by the nurse (and it was caught on video) that I was coping very well for someone waiting for an epidural. The relief was instantaneous at first. Then after about 15 minutes the pain came back on my right side. I tried flipping to get the meds to spread out, but it didn't work so we had to call the Dr. back in. He adjusted the epidural and by 10:30pm I finally was out of pain. I could still feel the contractions and the tightening of my abdomen (which I'm glad for, I wanted to know when I was contracting) and I was still able to move my legs on my own, the pain was the only thing gone. For all I knew, I could get up and walk (although I'm sure I would have fallen over!). After 11 hours of pain, I told Grant that I thought I would try to sleep a little bit. Right before I went to sleep they checked me and I was only at 5 cm and still only 80% effaced. I put my Ipod in and listened to some Jim Brickman and slept for about an hour and fifteen minutes.

When I woke up at 11:45pm something felt different. I was like she had moved and the contractions felt much lower in my abdomen. I looked at the clock and because it was so close to midnight I decided to wait to call the nurse since I knew that if I had Claire after midnight I would get an extra night in the hospital (I know - that's terrible!). I woke Grant up (who had been napping as well) and told him that I thought it was almost time to push. At midnight I called the nurse and she came in to check me. In only an hour and fifteen minutes, I had dilated another 5 cm to a complete 10 and was 100% effaced. For someone that wanted to do it naturally, it was like the epidural allowed my body to fully relax and Claire was able to move down and into position without my body fighting her.

At 12:20am I started pushing. The first few pushes with having an epidural were hard to do because I couldn't tell how I hard I was pushing. I asked them to bring in a mirror so I could see progress and that made all the difference. Around 12:45am the mirror came in the room and my pushes really started to work. I did have to use some oxygen since Claire's levels were getting lower when I was contracting, but I was told that was somewhat normal. I could see Claire crowning and at one point the nurse had to tell me to stop pushing because the Dr. wasn't in the room! How do you expect a laboring mom to not push?! That was the hardest 10 minutes of waiting until the Dr. came in the room. Dr. Mills was on call that night and was there by 12:55am. After she was there, it took about 5 minutes for another contraction to come (of course when you want it to come, they wait!). Then, it only took 10 minutes of pushing with her in the room for Claire to come out at 1:10am. Overall it was seamless. I think the time that they made me wait before Dr. Mills came to the room allowed me (sorry for you guys) to stretch out and not have any significant tears. Immediately after she was born she was put on my chest. Her cry was very "croaky" as I'm sure she had some fluids in her lungs, but she was absolutely perfect. I was able to hold her for about 5-10 minutes before the nurses took her from me to fully clean her up, which was amazing. Then they brought her back to me and she nursed for the first time. She weighed 7lbs 10oz and was 20 inches long.

They pulled the epidural almost immediately and I was up walking within an hour! I don't know why I didn't want an epidural to begin with! :-) However, I can't say I wouldn't do it the same way the next time around. I'd like to see if I could do it naturally and maybe if my water breaks on its own next time, the labor will be more gradual and not zero to 100 in 2.5 seconds because of the pitocin. But that's still a couple years away at least!

Because Claire was born in the middle of the night we stayed in the delivery room until around 7am when we were transferred to our room. After that - the fun really began. Claire nursed well the first couple of times, but after that she struggled with getting a good latch. The nurse I had the first day was very kind but she wasn't very hands on - my second nurse was exactly what I needed! She grabbed me, was very vocal in teaching, and helped get Claire latched on. I did have to use a shield for the first 2 weeks or so until Claire got a hang of it, but she did and eventually realized she could milk faster without the shield. I mentioned earlier that I wanted to have Claire after midnight so it would give me an extra night in the hospital. I am SO glad that happened because Claire's second night was by far the hardest! My milk hadn't come in fully and she wasn't latching well so we struggled with each other for hours! I finally gave in and gave her a small bottle of formula. So for you moms that want to breastfeed - if you have to give a couple feedings of formula to start out with, don't worry about all the nipple confusion worries, etc. Your baby will prefer your milk once it comes in. I can say that logically now, but at the time I was emotional and hormonal and shed many tears thinking there was something wrong with me.

We went home from the hospital on Monday afternoon and when I got home, I took a nap while Grant took care of Claire. During that 2 hour nap - the miracle of all miracles happened once I was home and relaxed and in my own environment - my milk came in! So much so that I had to pump to relieve myself - especially since Claire has always been (and still is) a baby that refuses to eat if she is not hungry. I couldn't count on her to take care of the pressure for me. My parents brought us dinner that night and it was so good to be home.

The first few nights at home went well. She slept 4 hours the first night home from the hospital and her weight was great at her 2 day after leaving the hospital well check. At 2 weeks she had gained more than 1 pound from her birth weight and was almost 9 pounds!

The toughest times of taking care of Claire were from about 4 weeks to 12 weeks old. She went through a definite colic phase and would cry for hours at night! She would eventually wear herself out and always slept well, which definitely helped me cope with her crying. Around 8 weeks, we were told by our pediatrician that if we wanted to, we could wean Claire of her evening feeding since she was already over 12 lbs (90th percentile) at her 2 month appointment! I thought that I would for sure have a tubster on my hands, but her feeding eventually tapered out and she is now in the 50th percentile for both height and weight. I handled the weaning and sleep training for the most part (although Grant helped support me when hearing her cry became difficult for me) but it was totally worth it! We now have a great sleeper and all the reading of methods and opinions online was worth it. I think that I wound up employing a modified version of the "Ferber Method" in the end. I probably read too much about what babies due during the first few months, but I figured the more educated I could be, the better mom I would be.

Claire is now almost 7 months old and she is crawling everywhere. She entered the fun phase around 5 months and so much fun to be around. Her laugh is contagious and although she is strongwilled and stubborn, I'm convinced she is equally smart! It is crazy that she is already so old and I'm sure the next 18 years will fly by!

Friday, January 21, 2011

New Year Update!

So once again I have failed at being a good blogger! here is my attempt to get started again and give an update of the happenings in our life for the past 7 months!

FIRST and foremost - the biggest happening in our life has been the birth of our little girl - Claire Marie Ledyard! She is absolutely perfect and I love her more everyday. She was born June 26, 2010 at 1:10 am after 14 hours of labor. I'll share more of my labor story in a different post.

She has had some rough times - i.e. the first 3 months of crying for at least 3-4 hours every night. I suppose that is the definition of colic and I was reminded often by my mom that I just don't have a "happy baby" but she's all I know and I love her all the same. The incessant crying never seemed to bother me that much and I managed to cope with it pretty well. Around 3 months of age, it slowly started getting better and she rarely has evening meltdowns anymore. She has been a good baby when it comes to sleeping from the start. The first night home from the hospital she slept 4 hours! By 6 weeks old and through following the sage advice of our pedatrician, Courtney Dudley, she has been sleeping through the night (8+ hours). I know every baby is different but we were told by friends who had a baby before us that also see Courtney, to "just follow the steps" and she'll sleep through the night. So follow the steps we did and they have paid off! From 10 weeks on, she has slept over 10 hours a night!

Another HUGE blessing for us has been the re-employment of Grant. About 4 weeks after Claire was born, Grant got a call from Samsung asking whether he would ever want to come back to work there after being laid off. After many discussions and a very nervous phone call by Grant saying he would only come back if they could guarantee days, he accepted a position. Immediately after accepting, I made a call to a woman that I was referred to that has an in home child care and she had an opening for a part time baby. She even worked with us since our schedule is so strange. Claire goes to Ms. Julie's house 2 days one week and 3 days the next since Grant works 3 day and 4 day work weeks. Finding Julie has been SUCH a blessing. She has been taking care of babies for 17 years and Claire loves her. Every morning when she sees her, she has such a BIG smile which makes dropping her off so much easier than if she cried every day. Grant keeps her on his days off and I know he enjoys having his daddy time with her. I'm not going to lie - I'm a little jealous of it.

It was definitely an adjustment going back to work. I continue to have a "guilt-complex" to a certain extent - feeling like I should be spending more time with her/that I'm not being enough of a mom. That being said - I find it hard to want to take time for myself since I'm away from her all day everyday. Just going to the grocery store after work makes me feel guilty - what is wrong with me?! My days are long (they start at 5:15 before she wakes) starting with my morning pump and ending late after she goes down with my night time pumping. My mom has reminded me that I've already given her 7 months of breastmilk so if I want to stop, it's okay - but I truly don't mind. I strictly pump and bottle feed now and it has been pretty easy. I pump once a day at work and I've never had a problem with proudction - in fact I overproduce! I'm glad I'm able to do it for Claire - but I do have to admit that I'm looking forward to 5 months from now when she is 1 year old and I have 3 hours of my day back!

At 3 days shy of 5 months old, Claire got her first tooth and now has her bottom two middle ones. It's so cute seeing her smile with those little teeth! At 2 days shy of 6 months, right before Christmas, after a bad week of being sick with 104+ temperatures - she started crawling!! Yes crawling!! She goes everywhere now and loves to terrorize our cat, Lacy. :-)

Claire spent her first Christmas still recovering from being sick and I know she wasn't feeling 100%, but she did well with the trip up to Fort Worth to see Grant's family. She did have a bit of an adjustment to sleeping in the pack and play, but by the last night she figured it out - just in time to go home! :-)

Claire is now 5 days away from being 7 months old and it is amazing how fast the time has gone by. She has been such a blessing to our lives and it's hard to imagine life any other way now. I will try to keep this blog updated, but to be honest, there's no guarantee. I will do a birth blog next so I manage to get everything written down before I forget it all.

Here is a group of pictures showing her stages over the past 7 months -

5 1/2 months old - Christmas pictures!

16 weeks old

8 weeks old with Daddy

At home newborn pictures with Daddy

Newborn pictures with Mommy

Newborn pictures

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Midyear Update

So, I figure it's time for a midyear update...

I am 12 days away from my due date and am SO ready to be done being pregnant! These past few months have been full of getting everything ready for Claire...from finishing the nursery, to pretty much "nesting" every room in our house. There are a few updates to include on top of preparing for baby Claire...

Our application for the program that Grant wanted to do for school was denied by the state agency as they will not pay for him to complete a Bachelor's degree, only for him to get another Associate's. Which I suppose makes some sense, but to us, it seems like it would be a waste of time to get another AAS, only to know that eventually he will need to finish his Bachelor's. SO...we've made the BIG decision to simply have Grant go back to school whether they help with it monetarily at all. He has two semesters worth of classes at ACC that he needs to take, which is pretty cheap, then he'll be able to transfer. Our hope is that he'll be able to finish either Summer 2012 or Fall 2012. It's kind of crazy when I think about the fact that that is 2 1/2 years away...but I think it will be worth it in the end. So - along with him being back in school, that also means that he will be the one primarily taking care of Claire during the day. In the fall, we only have a couple of afternoons a week that we have to figure out babysitting for, which will also help financially and will be great because then Claire won't have to be in daycare full-time for quite a while.

Work is still going well for me and I am very blessed to have a flexible set of managers. Right now, the plan for maternity leave is that I will be out for 6 weeks full-time and then work from home part-time for 6 weeks. This will give me 3 months at home with Claire before returning to work full-time, which I am VERY grateful for!

Other big news, extended family wise, is that my brother and his wife welcomed their second little boy - named William Joel on May 12, and Grant's sister and her husband welcomed their second little boy - Joseph Glenn on May 7. Needless to say, Claire is going to be surrounded by boys to protect her!!

Anyway - this is a rather boring blog - but hopefully in a few days we'll be able to post all sorts of fun stuff about Claire and some beautiful pictures!!

Until she arrives...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Number 2 of the Year - better than only 1 per year!

So in an effort to stay on top of this blogging, I feel like if I make it a habit, maybe it will stick. Since it's only been a week since my last post, there hasn't been too much that has happened in our lives. We are continually working to get the house ready for the baby. Last weekend we finished up the guest bedroom. We painted, steam cleaned, set up the new furniture, etc. The only thing missing is a bedside lamp. The room doubles as Grant's room with the XBox - meaning if you come to visit, you have a nice flat panel to look forward to! Those were the perks of working at Samsung back in the day! :-)

Right now everything that we have for the nursery is in the hallway/dining room at our house as I am planning on starting to paint this weekend while Grant stays busy studying. We are doing a vanilla cream on the upper part of the wall and ceiling, putting up a chair rail and then painting a green color that matches the bedding on the bottom half of the wall. We don't have black furniture and won't do a black chair rail, but this is the bedding and kind of the look we are going for (sans the border at the top). We got a great deal on the bedding online as it came with everything pictured (15 pieces - valances, mobile, lamp shade, everything!) for $130 including tax and shipping. For baby bedding that is a steal for something that is nice and quilted and has detailed embroidery versus appliqued images. Most of the other sets I saw were over $150 for just the comforter, sheet, dust ruffle, and bumper. Then all of the accessories were sold separately! It's amazing how crazy the markup is on baby stuff. I feel really lucky that we have gotten the baby furniture and other items so cheap on Craigslist.

We are still trying to figure out Grant's schooling - he has a call in to the TAA coordinator for our area, but everything is so slow moving due to the bureaucratic nightmare. We are planning on going to talk to an advisor at one of the schools he is looking into next week after his next Anatomy and Physiology test in order to figure out how many hours exactly from his Associates Degree at TSTC will be able to transfer. We've been told that if we have everything in order degree plan wise when we finally meet with the TAA coordinator, it will go much more smoothly. If you think about it - please keep this in your prayers - both figuring out the degree plan and for them to accept the maximum number of credits AND for everything to go smoothly with the TAA Coordinator.

I got back to swimming this week (I had taken about a 4 week hiatus during year end busyness at work) and it felt so good to be back in the pool. I did find it a little strange doing flip turns being pregnant and I'm sure Claire was wondering what the heck I was doing, but I felt so refreshed after I worked out. Hopefully I won't have to wait too long after having her to be able to be back in the pool.

I'm not sure who all reads this - but thanks to those of you who do keep up with it. It's nice to know that someone may be interested.