The Best Child Care Decision

There is an everyday struggle as a parent to wonder if you are doing things right.  You question the decisions and choices you make for your little one.  You will even go to bed at night and wonder if it was all enough or even close to right.

This morning I dropped Cora off at daycare and walked away wondering if we are making the best child care decision.  We have been with our provider for over a month and while it started out fine I feel like things are going a bit downhill.  We like her but I’m not entirely in love with her.

Cora never cries when we drop her off and seems happy to be there but we have had some issues.  She will have long crying spells during the day and will take crappy naps.  I feel like I receive more bad texts from the provider than  good ones throughout the day.  Then there are the times I feel like I have “that baby.”  The crying baby.  I don’t have “that baby” at home.

This morning I was exhausted, frustrated, woke up on the wrong side of the bed and everything that came out of my providers mouth pissed me off.  I didn’t care to hear, for the 40th time, about her child’s cough and I didn’t need her questioning me, for the 40th time, about my child’s cold.   She calls the pediatrician at least three times a week and doesn’t understand why I make a call to my chiropractor instead.  My baby has a runny nose and probably some allergy issues like I do but is otherwise happy and I’m not just sticking her on meds.  Basically the provider is a bit of a hypochondriac and it wears me down.

I discovered last week, she wasn’t getting Cora down for enough naps which means she is over-tired a lot. (Hence crying)  I know part of the other problem is the noise level, and she agrees.  The TV is blaring, kids are playing, and we just don’t have that noise level in our home.  Cora can’t eat with commotion around, let alone sleep.  Although yes, I want Cora around other kids, other people to care for her and with that comes noise and change.  That part is fine.

I don’t know if Cora’s crying issues are connected to the provider or just being away from mamma in general.  I don’t know if I’m just being a worry Mom because no matter what, no one else can be me.  I also think my previous experience of being in the child care world means that I have certain expectations.

Overall, I know my baby is fine, safe and being cared for during the day.  75% of me is fine with her current provider.  It is that nagging 25% that is starting to bother me each day.  The thought of finding another provider is overwhelming.  I don’t know if I keep waiting it out and see what changes or do something.  I feel like I have had talk after talk with my provider as well about ideas, changes, thoughts and so on.  So dear internet, help.  Am I losing my mind? What were you experiences with child care in the beginning?

 

 

Why We Will Never Co-Sleep

Whenever I mentioned to people that I would never co-sleep, with my baby, in our bed, some would shake their heads at me.  The “just you wait” comment would flow out of their mouth and I would just change the subject.  My mind would glimpse to images that I know will never leave my head.

In High School I worked at a day care center in the infant room.  I walked in one day to red eyes and sad faces, no one wanting to give me the news.  One of my favorite little ones, Brianna, had died the night before.  She suffocated while sleeping in bed with her parents.  I went to the funeral a few days later and saw that tiny coffin, with her tiny body lying in it.  Her face looking peaceful, as if she was just sleeping.  Not at all like a simple accident had happened that took her away from this world.  I followed everyone to the cemetery where I watched little Brianna’s mother throw her body atop the coffin before it was put into the cold ground, the screams and cries filling the air.  That, that right there is what will never leave my mind.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t even the last funeral of that nature that I had to attend.

From that day forward I swore I would never let my child sleep in bed with me.  And I kept that promise to myself.  Rebecca never did and Cora never has.

Trust me, it’s not like it hasn’t crossed my mind.  We all get to that point of exhaustion in the middle of the night.  Then the next set of problems enters my bedroom.  Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t put a baby in bed with my Husband.  He has been trained to sleep under Humvees, in the middle of the desert with missiles flying over his head.  He wakes for nothing.  There have been numerous nights when he has accidentally rolled on top of me in his sleep, not having a clue.  Some nights he will fling around in his sleep, looking for his gun, yelling at his men, having a PTSD moment in which a baby should not be stuck in the middle of.

So instead I have found myself and my newborn heading to the couch when the times have called for it.  I tuck the boppy around my waist, baby tucked in close on top of it, me barely sleeping a wink, just knowing that some nights she needs to be closer to my warmth and heart beat.  Wishing for a world where we could curl up with a little one without the fear of hell in the back of our minds.  For all those mom’s that rolled their eyes to me, no, I just can’t do it.  Sure there are plenty of nights that I get a lot less sleep but co-sleeping just can’t happen in this house.

Baby’s First Christmas

It looks like the holiday’s are officially over here and the dead of winter is setting in.  Last Sunday, I reluctantly took down the Christmas tree, the lights, the garland, and the nativity scene.  I tucked away all five of baby’s first Christmas ornaments along with baby’s first Christmas stocking.  As I carried it all back down to storage, I found it so sad.  The past couple of weeks and even the past month have been full of wonderful memories that complete what has been baby’s first Christmas, a time that only happens once.

Let me back up.  My sister had the past two weeks off of work.  Which I took full advantage of.  Not only did she want extra cuddle time with the baby, I needed to get out of the house and fight the crowds without the baby.  I finished my Christmas shopping, got an overdue pedicure, wandered through Target clearance, got my hair done, my eyebrows waxed and my Husband and I went to the comedy club with some friends.  The whole time I knew my daughter was safely at home, with someone who knew her schedule just as well as her father and I do.  That right there, priceless.

We traveled from family Christmas to family Christmas where Cora met all of her extended family.  This included her first trip to Grandma’s house, through a horrible snowstorm, that we counted 67 people in the ditch on the way.  We went out to eat way too much to celebrate every damn birthday we have in December.  We took Cora to see Santa and binged watched Hawaii 5-0 on Netflix.  Somedays didn’t require getting out of our pajamas.

In the middle of it all Cora decided to go from waking up twice a night to just once a night.  Her schedule slowly becoming more defined.  And then suddenly she found us hilarious.  The kind of hilarious where she has the biggest, gummy smile and laughs, coos and tells us stories.  She also decided to throw us for a loop and instead of increasing how much she eats at once, she would just like to eat the same amount more often.  Meaning she wants to eat every two hours instead of three, which makes traveling or going anywhere quite difficult.

On Christmas Eve I kept trying to convince myself that I wasn’t getting sick but my body had other ideas.  By Christmas night, I was going to bed early with Cora and fighting a cold, while wondering how to not pass it along to her.  Turns out, it happened anyways.  A trip to the doctor to tell me there wasn’t much we could do for her and we found ourselves on the couch every night sleeping.  Her right next to me in the inclined bassinet, humidifier running.  Baby’s first cold on baby’s first Christmas.  Which in turn meant we had to cancel our New Years Eve party and settle for a family dinner out only to head home to go to bed early.  I saw 2015 leave us and 2016 arrive as I was trying to keep the dog from barking at the fireworks, making sure the baby didn’t wake up from the barking and yelling at my Husband to quit snoring.

I slowed down.  I let things go.  I only took on what I could manage.  I was lazy when it felt right, worked out when it felt right, drank too much wine and sat every night thanking God that I could lay under the Christmas tree and stare at the lights with my daughter.  Cora won’t remember any of the memories her Dad and I have of this Christmas.  She will see the pictures and we will tell her the stories one day.  We will tell her that it was magical and just what it should have been.

I hope a little bit of Christmas magic found its way to each of your homes and I hope 2016 holds even more for you all.

8 Weeks Post Partum

I believe everyone will have a different experience with a newborn in their home.  Some things will come easier to some than others, some moments will be better for some than others and some will have more hurdles than others.   It doesn’t make you a better parent than the next, it just makes it your journey.

Sleep isn’t too major of an issue for us.  I don’t feel like a walking zombie.  I shower each day.  It may not be at an ideal time but it happens.  I work out twice a day.  It may take me longer than normal but it eventually gets done.  My laundry gets done.  My house is not turned upside down because I am not a person who can live in chaos.  I need balance and normalcy.  Does all this happen each day with out hiccups?  Nope.  I promise, some days we both end up crying, smelling funny, stuck on the couch and throwing in a pizza for dinner with possible wine poured by 3pm.  It happens.

What I’m saying is we all have our thing, that when people ask how it is going, as new parents we grumble about sleep, diapers, crying or colic.  For me, it is my Husband.  I hate saying that but truth is, he is the hardest part about this newborn time.

We came home that first week from the hospital and he was great.  He pitched in with everything and had all the confidence to be in the thick of it.  Then after 8 days I was on my own and he was back to work.  Working his insane hours while I sat at home figuring out our baby all on my own.  While he gets up 50% of the time for her 1am bottle the other 50% I can’t even attempt to wake him.  That is, if he is even home for it.  Days have gone by where he hasn’t seen her awake or even changed a diaper or given a bottle.

Not that he doesn’t want to do these things but he either isn’t here or is a zombie when he is here.  A zombie that can’t keep his eyes open, falls asleep often and is at his wit’s end due to stress.  So when the baby does fuss he doesn’t have the patience to figure out what makes her quit crying that week.

What does this do to me?  Makes me crazy.  Literally, everything in this household rests on my shoulders and his one and only responsibility is going to work.  I refuse to be the mother doing all the work.  I didn’t sign up to parent on my own while the Husband comes in and plays peek-a-boo once a day because this isn’t the 50’s.  This isn’t what my Husband signed up for either, to be fair.  And I know he is just as frustrated.  But this is the rut we find ourselves in.

Once a week, normally Sunday’s, we find the time to go out just the two of us and grab a bite to eat.  The baby staying at home with my sister who, thank God, lives with us and helps out in the evenings. But all of this doesn’t help my brain that goes to, this is what I had already.  A marriage where the Husband worked insane hours and I got lost in the dust.  And that marriage sure as fuck didn’t work out.  Okay, I’m being a bit dramatic as this marriage is completely different but those old issues creep up and panic can set in in the middle of the night when I’m frustrated.  Frustrated that this is not how I pictured our first few months with our baby and it sure as hell can’t continue this way.

Some people have told me that a baby is just plain hard on a marriage.  But it isn’t the baby but his job that is creating all the problems.  A problem that we knew was going to exist but not to this extent due to great weather and too many contracts to keep up with.  Eventually winter will come but it will also go and we will be back in the same rut.  So where do we go from here?  That is what we are unsure of.  A decision that I can’t make for him but something needs to change.  He knows it, I know it.  Until then, I feel like I’m 90% single parent.

 

 

6 weeks postpartum

Six weeks postpartum and it blows my mind how quickly my body is going back to normal.  If I knew while I was pregnant that this was how it would be I could have saved myself a lot of headaches and worrying.  According to my doctor today, my vag is back to what it should be, which is what I suspected. My feet went back to their rightful size and my shoes fit once again.  I only have 6lbs left to lose of the 28lbs that I gained.  Which is a relief considering when I left the hospital I was only down 6lbs total after having a 7lb 4oz baby, that made no sense to me! Also, my abs, praise Jesus, are still there and I don’t think my sister or husband will let me live that down.  And I say that they are “there” in the since that I don’t feel like it will take me years to tighten things back to where they were prior.  Which I was also cleared to go back to working out again today!

I also owe a lot to the Belly Bandit that I purchased when I was still pregnant.  I went back and forth on the idea of purchasing it but so many people praised it like the second coming of Christ, I figured it couldn’t hurt.  It has given me a ton of back support and has helped pull things back to where I left them before Cora moved them.

All that being said, I am still very uncomfortable in 90% of my clothes.  The few extra pounds are enough to make me feel self conscious and make me realize that my clothes don’t fit just like they did before yet.  Being in sweats and yoga clothes for so long now makes it even harder to pull on a pair of jeans.

Mentally things have been a bit different.  The first two weeks, everything made me cry.  And I mean everything.  Happy tears, sad tears, and dear God every commercial deserved tears.  Hello, hormones.  While I have still had my moments, more out of exhaustion, the tears have subsided substantially and I feel like I have a better grip on the hormones.

Then there are the mental “mommy”hurdles.  The mommy guilt, lack of sleep, need to do it all.  And I know I take out my frustration on my husband.  My Husband who is once again, working his ass off and may only be able to give Cora one bottle in a 24 hour period or may not even be around to help even in the middle of the night.  That leaves me to do it all and man, can I take it out on him.  I provide him with a plate of daddy guilt basically.

The good news is, every week and even day, it all gets better. Both mentally and physically.  As each day goes by I feel like we are finding our groove.  Last night I had 5 girls over for my normal wine night, some brought their baby.  Appetizers set out, wine poured, my house clean and babies passed around for being held.  We laughed, we gossiped, we drank, we stopped to feed a baby and change diapers but my life wasn’t over.  As my tipsy ass went to bed I told my husband he had to take the 1am feeding because I sure as hell wasn’t and he owed me.  So he did.

I can tell you one thing, when the going does get tough, I remind myself that at least I’m not still pregnant because that shit was tough:)

 

4 Weeks Postpartum – Feedings

As I mentioned before, I made the decision to bottle feed Cora and not breastfeed.  I have not had any moments of regretting this decision, even after my milk came in and dried up.  I have to say, I even had worry about how the nurses and others in the hospital would treat me for my choice but no one said a word.  Even when the lactation consultant stopped in, she was happy to answer any bottle feeding questions I had.

From the word go, Cora has been an eating champ.  We have been quick to get her on a 2-3 hour feeding schedule during the day and anywhere from 3-4 hours at night.  Once the third week hit, however, I noticed a lot more runny diapers and she started spitting up a lot more than normal.  I gave in and called the nurse who had us come in right away.  Cora checked out fine and had still gained weight since the prior week that we were in there.  The decision was made to change her formula.  We had started her out on Enfamil Newborn and switched to Enfamil Gentlease.  We also added some probiotic drops.  At a week later it seems to be helping.

We also made the decision that only my Husband or I would feed her for the first month or two.  Most importantly this gives us both the chance to have that special bonding time with her.  Obviously I’m with her all day so when my husband comes home, he feeds her in the evening.  She pretty much has two night feedings so we each take one.  I won’t lie, it really helps my frame of mind to be able to share the responsibility of feedings with him so not everything is falling on my shoulders to take care of.

I have to say, out of everything, this has been the easiest to tackle with her.  I can say, at the end of the day, I know my child is fed, full, growing and happy for it.  Isn’t that the most important thing?

Bringing Home Baby Cora

It was about 36 hours after I had Cora and I stood there in the hospital lobby with two other nurses, waiting for my Husband to pull the truck around.  It was exactly 13 months to the day from when I sat in that same lobby, after my D&C and wondered if I would ever be able to leave that hospital with my own baby.  It was such a surreal feeling to be able to put her in the truck and bring her home.

It was just as shocking to be leaving the hospital.  It felt like I spent most of my pregnancy waiting for that hospital stay.  Perhaps it was the unknown of what was going to happen once we walked through those hospital doors.  There is constant talk about how and what labor will be like.  You pack and re-pack for the stay.  Preparing like I did for my wedding day and worry about the chance of rain.

As my OB came in to say goodbye and take a picture with Cora, I was overcome with emotion.  We were at the end of this journey.  The journey of getting a baby here safely.  We had spent years going to doctors appointments in this very hospital.  Months waiting for this baby and here we were being set free.  It actually feels strange to know I’m not going back until my own 6 week follow-up.

When we got home that day, we settled right in.  We had a few visitors and I rode the adrenaline high.  The first night, I didn’t sleep at all.  I fretted over her while she slept in her bassinet next to our bed, perfectly content.  Fenway stood watch all night as well, peering over at her every time she made a noise.

My Husband stayed home for a week and then my Mom came the following two days after that.  Then it was just Cora and I, on our own during the day.  I will say my Husband going back to work was much tougher than what I anticipated because, hormones.  Here we were, snuggled in our own world with our new little one, and suddenly he was leaving us. It wasn’t so much that I was worried about being on my own as I was worried about him missing out.  The precious first week together was already coming to an end.  So every day after that when he came home from work I would burst into tears.  They were happy tears but tears none the less.  I’ve managed to pull my shit together this week though as we continue to work into our new normal and my hormones seem to be a bit more in check.