Wednesday, March 17, 2010

First trip

Well, today I had my first business trip since Aysia was born. In and out of Detroit for a 2 hour meeting.

I had to leave at 4am to catch a 6am flight. Which meant getting up at 3. Yikes! Now, we've had 7 days in a row of Aysia sleeping 7-8.5 hours straight, usually 8pm to 4am, and then a quick feeding, followed by another 2 hour sleep. However, last night?? Not so. I did the bedtime routine, and put her down at 8. Slept for a few mins, then cried. DH's turn. Few minutes, then cried. My turn - I nursed again. Slept a few minute, cried. DH - same. Now it's almost 10. So I settled in bed, put on the TV, and planted her on my boob. We alternated between nursing, watching TV, and sleeping in my arms until around 1am, and then I put her down. She slept til about 3:30. I didn't have time to nurse her and finish getting ready before my ride at 4, so DH fed her while I pumped (I hate that - much rather nurse, but it takes longer!).

So needless to say, it was a tiring night and busy morning! But my biggest stress was pumping and storing the milk while I traveled.

I am happy to say, that I have been able to pump twice, and I have a total of 14.5 oz! I have had to pump in the restroom at the Detroit airport, standing up in a stall. Not the best situation at all. Luckily the restrooms in Detroit are a lot nicer and cleaner than Newark! In fact, I got my biggest pump to date - 8 oz during the first pump. And I have to say, I'm proud. Quite an accomplishment, considering when I first started pumping I would be lucky to get 2 oz! And I even had the nerve to ask my client if they had a fridge I could use, so I could store the milk/icepack while we met. And I had to tell all the airport security I had breast milk and an ice pack to take through security. Newark gave me a little bit of a hard time - they pointed out there was no milk, just the gel pack, and I pointed out that I needed the frozen gel pack to keep the milk cold once I pumped it. We went back and forth a bit, but I won! So hopefully it will stay chilled until I get home around 7pm.

So the good thing is that I will hopefully not lose as much ground as far as milk as I thought, but the bad news is that by only pumping twice, I'm not helping my milk supply at all.

One thing that has really surprised me - pumping is much harder to do and limits you MUCH more than breastfeeding. I can feed Aysia in public with a nursing cover, pretty much anywhere. Nothing to lug around, nothing to wash. Very easy. But you can't pump in public, you need to be somewhere private, like a smelly restroom (I have a pumping bra that allows you to be hands-free, and it looks crazy, with these two big flanges sticking out of your chest!). You have to lug the pump with you. You have to be able to store the milk and keep it cold, and you have to wash the pump parts if you need to use it again before you return home. So much more complicated than breastfeeding. Luckily, at work I have an office, so I keep a second pump there, along with a small fridge, and all the supplies. But when traveling - what a pain!

I can easily see how it becomes too hard to keep up breastfeeding once back to work. My goal is 6 months, but I'll just do the best I can. I do have about 30 oz stored up in the freezer, plus another 40 or so in the fridge, but she's drinking more and more - probably around 24-30 oz a day. But as difficult as it is, I like feeling like I'm doing something good for her while I'm away at work. Helps with the guilt of being at work. A little.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

This is what Aysia has to say...

We had a photo shoot this morning... isn't this picture just adorable!?!?
The photographer I use comes to our house with all the lighting, backgrounds and props, and stays for as long as we want (he did pre-wedding pictures, maternity pictures, and now this). He takes tons of pictures, then just loads the jpegs onto my laptop. I want the images, not the prints, as I love to edit picture and make photo books and all kinds of things using Shutterfly. We even have a website there for all of her pictures. So I can't stand the photographers that won't give you the digital images, or that charge a fortune for them.
Here's another one I really like. I haven't edited it yet, but I'll likely crop the edges to come in a little closer, and maybe turn it to black and white...

Monday, March 8, 2010

First Day of Work.... Sighhhh

Well, I'm here at work today.

Feels very strange, yet very familiar... One of the reasons it is strange is because we moved office buildings while I was out. Just around the corner from the old building, so still close to home and daycare, but much, much nicer than the old building. Feels almost like a "fresh start" - my working life as a mother, with none of the reminders of my infertility that I had in the old building (like being able to see the clinic outside of my office window...).

Truth be told, last week was my emotional week. I pretended I started work last week and had the grandmothers and the daycare "dry run". I setup a few appointments for myself (dentist, hair, waxing, etc.), but was around for most of the days just staying upstairs for the most part. Well, here's what happened:

Days Aysia was with my mom: My mom is so great with Aysia. She's really in tune with her signals, and is able to get her to take the bottle, go down for naps, and has a lot of fun playing with her. She talks and sings to her a lot, and it's just so great to see them together. I learn things from how my mom cares for her - Aysia will thrive with my mom. Plus, my mom is completely open to how I want to do things, and she asks me questions whenever she's not sure what I want, without being "needy" - she's able to make decisions and figure things out, but will check with me if she's not sure. She also offers advice, but in a very non-threatening way, and is completely fine if I decide otherwise (although mostly I've found it to be very, very helpful). Really the perfect caregiver relationship.

Days Aysia is in daycare: I brought her to daycare on Thursday and Friday. I woke up on Thursday at 5 to feed her, and could not stop crying until around noon. I was crying in the car, crying at daycare, and crying some more after that. After I dropped her off, I rushed home to watch her on the live-feed cameras (thank goodness for that!). I wasn't scared for her safety, or even her emotional well-being, I was just so sad to be dropping her off with strangers. They said a lot of new moms cry the first day. It was really emotional for me. But as I watched her online, I felt more and more comfortable. She seemed calm, and well cared for. They don't have a ton of time to spend with each child to cuddle and play, but they feed her, change her, put her down for naps, pay attention when she cries and helps her get comfortable. They use swings, bouncy seats, tummy time, boppys, and various toys, so she's not left in the crib when she's awake, and there are a variety of things she experiences each day. There are seat positioners and activity stations for when she is a little older, too. I feel she's safe, cared for, and will do fine in daycare. And when she can benefit from the interaction with other children, I think she will thrive there, too.

Day Aysia was with MIL. Nope. Not working. Not at all. First of all, she was crying and fussy for most of the day. And Aysia is not a cryer, not at all. Only if she needs something (food, diaper, gassy, etc.). So while I was upstairs, listening to her cry, my heart was breaking. I went downstairs a few times to help soothe her, but I tried to let MIL do this on her own as much as I could stand. Meanwhile, I was watching on the baby monitor, unknown to her.

Well, she did it again - she left Aysia on the changing table. Just for about 5 seconds while she got a toy off the shelf on the adjoining wall, but still. Anything can happen in 5 seconds. Then she put the toy back, while Aysia was still on the table!! At that point I went downstairs and took Aysia to nurse her. I couldn't stand it. And I told MIL that she can't leave her on there for even a second, that she has to put her in the bassinet part of the pack n play which is RIGHT NEXT to the changing table part. I continued to watch her on the monitor, and the next time she did it right, but my confidence was completely down at that point. I had told her the week before that she can't leave her alone up there. Why would she then leave her alone, even only for a second??? I think she just doesn't have the right instincts about what is safe and what isn't.

In the early afternoon, DH txted me that he was on his way home. Aysia was fussing, and then crying, but I stayed upstairs as I wanted him to see for himself. Sure enough, he walked into the house, Aysia was crying hard and MIL was not able to soothe her. After he saw that, then the next time she was crying, I just went down and took her back from MIL. I really think she means well, but she is just overwhelmed, or tired, or not interested in putting in the effort - I don't know what it is, but I was done.

I had a frank conversation with her and said I was very concerned that this was too much for her. I asked if she was tired, she said no. I asked if this was too much for her, she said no. I asked why she thinks Aysia was crying so much, she said she was fussy. I told her (and have told her many times in the past ) that Aysia is not fussy, especially in the morning, that she just needs to be walked and bounced and she falls asleep, and she said she really can't hold her for a long time (she is in her mid-60's, but obviously not nearly as fit/healthy as my mom who is 62). I said that concerns me, because then she doesn't calm down or sleep, and then that leads to more crankiness, etc. I asked why she would have sat on the couch last week and left Aysia on the table if she was not tired, she said it was a mistake and now she realizes she shouldn't have. (But I still just don't get it - safety issue aside - if you are here to watch a baby, that you love, and you are not tired, why would you be sitting 5 feet away and not interacting with her?? It just makes no sense. She also doesn't really talk, sing of play with her, just tries holding her while sitting down. Maybe she's just not good / comfortable with babies??). I told her that we could put Aysia in daycare, or ask my mom to come over and she said no, she'll be fine, I'm probably just nervous being a first time mom. Heck yeah, especially when my baby is crying all day and left on a changing table!!!!

So I told DH that I was not comfortable with having MIL watch her all day. He was supportive, but he also wanted the chance to spend the day with his mom to give her suggestions and try to help her be better. I said fine, as long as he was there all day. That was going to be today. Well, as it turned out, he had jury duty, so I had my mom come over for the day with MIL. I told DH that after this week, I wanted to put Aysia in daycare Mon, Thurs, Fri, and have my mom watch her Tue, Wed. And MIL was welcome to come over and watch her with my mom whenever she wanted (MIL and Mom get along well), and in fact, that would be nice for my mom to have a second person there, especially when she wanted to eat lunch, use the bathroom, etc.

Well, DH told MIL yesterday that Mom would be there today, but he didn't elaborate on how the conversation went. I'm guessing that she was hurt or insulted, or that DH didn't 100% agree with my solution, but I just let it go. Usually I want to talk everything out, but I really didn't want to get into it about this topic as I was not willing to compromise. My only concern is whether I'm going to feel that Aysia is safe and thriving. MIL seemed fine when I went home to nurse at lunch today, and Mom said she seemed fine in the morning, but MIL decided to leave around 12:30. She just said that she needed to go home. I didn't ask.

So, I've probably caused some hurt feelings and friction with the in-laws, and maybe even a little with DH, but I feel 100% better that the situation is solved and that I feel good about Aysia's care. And I really hope that MIL does decide to come over every week to help my mom with Aysia so she will have some time with her granddaughter. Otherwise, she is just missing out, I think...