Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Year (and a little extra) In Review

December 25, 2008- I spend the day doing what my husband calls "waffling" at our family events. I had a pregnancy loss that I found out about in early October, and I just couldn't believe we had conceived again so quickly and I did not want to believe the three positive pregnancy tests I had taken. (Well, I did want to believe them, I just couldn't quite let myself get excited.) Finally, at dinner with my family, I blurt out "you know, we need to talk about vacation this year."

Blank stares. "Because John and I are probably not going to be able to do a whole lot in August.

My grandmother, who is suffering from a lot (and would pass away the following July), has trouble hearing, and seems to be out of the loop on most conversations, smirks to herself.

I try again, "because I'm either going to have a baby or be about to have a baby."

Finally, my sister does the math in her head and screams, "you're pregnant?!" I nod, and then explain that I haven't seen a doctor yet so I'm not "officially" pregnant until then. Everyone is very excited regardless, with the exception of my stone cold dad, who says, "I'll get excited after your doctor's appointment." In a way, I ruined Christmas, because all focus after that was one the future member of our family.

December 26, 2008- Even though my appointment is not until the 9th of January, I can't keep it in any longer and have to tell my husband's family. We walk in to my mother in law's house and go back to the bedroom where she is changing my niece's diaper. I look at my niece, who is 13 months, and say, "Do you want a cousin?" She giggles. "Do you want a cousin in August?" She laughs really loudly. My husband's brother and mom also take a second to do the math, and then get very excited.

New Year's 2009- We go to a very close friend's house. I am fairly sure that they can tell I am with child considering the fact that I down heartburn meds, drink half of their gallon of milk, and fall asleep on their couch at 8:30. Luckily, they don't mention it, as good friends should.

January 9, 2009- I see my baby's heartbeat on ultrasound for the first time. I had been so nervous because I had spotted all through the first 7 weeks of the pregnancy, and the last time I had been to this office was October when we received the devastating news that we were not, in fact, going to have a baby. To ease my fears they break the usual first appointment protocol and do an ultrasound. I don't think I would have made it through the next month without that reassurance!

Feb-July 2009- I'm pregnant. We'll skip over a lot of this because the people who read my blog have either heard it all or experienced it all. Some high points: getting to wear flip-flops all summer, getting out of yardwork all summer, floating in the cool ocean at Sandbridge Beach in Virginia in late June (absolute bliss), finding out that I was having a son (for those that didn't know, I was terrified of having a girl and had a "feeling" it was a boy all along), and our 'babymoon' to the beach in May. We really spent that time relaxing, enjoying each other's company, and talking about our future.

Some lowlights: having to wear flip-flops the last 2 months because my feet were so swollen, completely neglecting the yard and never getting around to planting a garden, the last two weeks of work at 39 and 40 weeks pregnant, not being able to go to Cape Lookout in July because the boat ride would have been too hard on my 35-week-pregnant body, not being able to sleep the last 12 or so weeks, and the fact that my body didn't naturally go into spontaneous labor and allow me to have the natural, med-free birth experience I had prepared for. Overall, I feel that I had a really easy pregnancy, especially considering my obesity putting me at risk for any pregnancy complication you can think of.

August 24, 2009- I am 41 weeks and 1 day pregnant. I have spent the last week relaxing at home and trying not-too-hard to get the baby to come, mostly by walking miles around my neighborhood and downtown. We visit the doctor and while Jacob passes his test with flying colors, I do not have enough fluid in my uterus to let him hang out any longer, and we plan an induction that night. I cry the whole way home to pack, as I am certain this means I am headed towards a c-section.

August 25, 2009- After 22 hours of labor (about 9 of those involving increasingly intense but surprisingly manageable contractions) and barely dilating, we decide to go ahead and have a c-section. I will spare the details of my entire birth story, but suffice it to say that things move very quickly, and although we made the decision at 5:40, my son arrives within the hour at 6:36. My husband and I sprout tears as soon as we hear that tiny little cry, and the proudest moment of my life is when John arrives from the nursery 10 minutes later beaming as he carries our healthy baby boy.

September 2009- A month of tears, both happy and sad. Happy because my hormones were so out of control that I cried almost every time I held, fed, or watched someone else interact with my son. Sad because my hormones were so out of control that every time he whimpered, I burst into tears myself. My major accomplishments were being able to exclusively breast feed, and take a shower every day.

October 2009- Arguably, the best month of my life so far. Jacob started smiling, sleeping through the night, and interacting. We took daily walks, I took a ton of pictures, and I lost the rest of my pregnancy weight. We went to a moms in motion class twice a week and I got to interact with other new moms, and Jacob got to see other babies for the first time. We took our first trip at the end of the month to Philadelphia and we were so proud of him! I kept the kitchen clean and the laundry done, and overall we were all healthy and happy.

November 2009- I became a working mom! Getting into the swing of things was easier than I thought it would be, although the end of the month was frustrating as my milk supply wavered and I wasn't sure that I would be able to keep breastfeeding. Thanksgiving started out wonderful and ended up with Jacob spending the hour and a half we were at my family's celebration screaming and refusing to eat. The booger smiled as soon as I put him on the changing table in his room, just happy to be home.

December 2009- More ups and downs. The beginning was so stressful as I worried how I was ever going to prepare for the holidays with a 3 month old in the house. We took a weekend trip to D.C., which he excelled at, and I came back ready to enjoy his first Christmas even if it meant neglecting the housework for a few weeks. Christmas was definitely better than Thanksgiving...he turned 4 months old and everyone in our families thought he was the most alert, adorable, advanced 4 month old they had ever seen.

As I look back over the year behind me, I cannot believe how lucky I am. So many people are in distress, and I have a job, a wonderful husband, a home, a supportive extended family, a sweet dog, and a happy, healthy, loving little boy. My life could not be any better right now, and I am so excited to experience all the things to come in the next decade as I watch over it all.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Let me whine about having a job.

So. There's a large argument about whether it's harder to be a working mom or a stay at home mom. I know that each comes with it's own challenges, and that if I stayed home all day every day I would eventually go crazy and revert to speaking only baby talk and saying things like "poopy diapey" and listening to the KidSongs channel on digital cable.

However, this holiday season has been the hardest two weeks of my life. Before December happened, I felt pretty comfortable in my "working mom" role. I think we had a decent routine down. Jacob was sleeping pretty well at night and going down between 8-9PM, which gave me time to get his bottles ready for the next day, clean the kitchen, do a load of laundry, and still spend an hour or so relaxing with my husband. On weekends we enjoyed family time and caught up on housework.

On Black Friday, I spent the slow workday getting about 60% of my Christmas shopping done online. I was feeling pretty good about things. Then all of a sudden, everything happened at once. I realized that we had plans every weekend day of the next 6 weeks, my supply of breastmilk took a nosedive, and the outlet our chest freezer was plugged into tripped and we lost about $600 worth of meat, heat and eat meals, and my precious extra breastmilk. All of a sudden I was spending extra time "power pumping" and baking lactation cookies to try to get my milk back up, and Jacob started going to bed later and getting up earlier, causing my 6AM-11PM days to feel like they were nonstop.

I freaked out. Completely. I spent two weeks so stressed out about how I was ever going to decorate, clean the house, and get all these presents wrapped that I had no time left over to actually do those things. I was a mess...snapping at my husband, crying at the drop of a hat, sleepwalking through work. I felt like I had some kind of late-onset Post Partum Depression.

I don't know how, but one way or another I made it through and just as quickly as it started, I relaxed. I did some more online retail therapy, preventing me from having to make shopping trips for Christmas. I got really excited about my ebates account and the fat check I'm going to receive in February as a result of all this time spent online. My boobs miraculously started producing more milk. And I went to Target, bought a bunch of gift bags, and said "screw wrapping"!

Now, my tree is up, my kitchen is (somewhat) clean, my living room carpet is vacuumed, I actually got cards in the mail for the first time ever, gifts are DONE (except my brother in law's 6 pack of beer. Yes, that's really what he asked for), and I'm going shopping with a friend tonight. Just for fun.

I'm finally able to do what I wanted all along: enjoy my son's first Christmas.