Friday, February 1, 2013

The Mommy Chronicles: WORKING MOMMA #1

I am SO enthused to have our very first working mom.

This is one of my very best girlfriends. And one of the hardest workers I know. Her family has been through so much in the past year. She had problems with her pregnancy, her husband got laid off, Bayleigh has had TONS of digestive issues since birth, and she is working 2 jobs right now. I cannot even tell you how much I admire her commitment to her family and her hard work. In a world where so many people feel entitled to things, she goes out and works for them. I literally could not respect her more for everything she has put up with. And yet, she still thanks God everyday for her blessings.

I just love her...

Without further ado, here is Jess:

I never wanted to be a stay at home mom, heck I barely wanted to consider kids until I was married and my internal clock started ticking. Even then I wanted to be the working mom who coached soccer, and was a part of the PTA. I wanted to be that mom that everyone else said, “Wow, she works and is involved with her children’s lives?! How does she do it?”. Except, now that I have a baby, I want that stay at home mom life. I want to snuggle with her and read books for hours. I want to feed her breakfast, lunch, dinner and all of the snacks in between…

I have been having an internal debate with myself whether to participate in the Mommy Chronicles or to let it slide by and read about everyone else’s' lives, knowing full well that everyone is happy go lucky and does not want to hear about my crappy working mom life. I don’t think I have much to contribute to the blog, but with Natalie's persistence; I decided that I might be able to reach out to the other working moms reading these weekly blogs.

My husband and I decided to start trying to have a baby around the time we lost a very dear friend in a tragic accident. With his death and thinking that something similar could happen to him left us thinking, what would I have to keep of him if a fate such as this fell upon him? The best way to leave a legacy behind is a child, so we immediately started trying. My family knows that I was never really good with kids, animals were my calling, but my mommy alarms started going off and I had to have a baby. We all had our doubts as to how it was going to work, if I was going to be a natural or have to try really hard, or if I was going to melt under the pressure. I was a VERY lucky person and was pregnant within two weeks of coming off of birth control and beginning to track my ovulation (we both wanted to shoot for a girl)... I found out at 5 weeks that I was pregnant, but we kept it low key until Thanksgiving.

Pregnancy was not easy, we were constantly being told that different things weren't appearing normal, I saw a perinatalogist on top of my regular OB, I was in a car accident at week 26 and spent a whole day in L & D. I was put on bed rest around week 32 and left to keep track of my blood pressure and constantly worrying if my daughter was getting enough fluid and growing properly. I had numerous NS test, but I still worked and tracked my blood pressure every hour, if it was elevated; I had to lie down on the floor until things settled down. It was horrifying and just plain exhausting.

When my water broke 9 days before my due date, I actually didn't know it had broken... I guess I should explain. My dog had been very sick that week, so I was taking her to and from the vet to stay hooked up to IVs during the day and home with me at night. The last morning that I went to take her, I thought I had peed my pants on my way into the shower so I shook it off and finished my morning routine. When I got to work, I did the normal 8 hour shift with slight "leaking," but the OB nurse said that is typical 3rd trimester stuff (peeing your pants). My sister was joking around about getting this baby out before she went out of town and she was bringing Castrol oil over that night. When I finally got home, I was in hysterics because my dog was so sick and I could no longer control my bladder. I just wanted this baby out! I totally lost it when I was standing in the kitchen, portioning out my pup's medication when I peed my pants again. I wobbled up to change my pants while my husband ran out to get Taco Bell, a pregnant women's best friend. I changed AGAIN only to pee my pants one more time before I laid down on the couch. I got up to pee as soon as he left and this time "WOOOSH," yup, I couldn't get to the bathroom with the phone fast enough before I left a nice little trail. I thought my husband was going to wreck his car when I called him, but I insisted on getting my Taco Bell before being starved for the next umpteen hours. I didn't start with actual contractions until the Pitocin was started in the hospital and got the epi shortly thereafter.

We had an emergency C-section the following morning when my daughter's blood pressure was lost and mine plummeted. I'm not going to lie, I cried, sobbed like a baby because I wanted to do this the normal and natural way (with an epidural of course). I am already failing as a mom by not being able to have her the normal way, but once I saw her and that head full of curly dark hair, I was totally smitten and knew that I did what was best. My first mommy decision, SCORE! Maybe the mommy thing is going to be easy.
I was able to squeak 8 weeks out of work because of the C-section, but those 8 weeks were the worst of my life. My daughter wouldn't nurse correctly, she was projectile vomiting, she wouldn't sleep in anything except a $40 rocker next to the bed, my boobs bled and were chapped, my incision hurt, I wasn't producing enough milk so I had to get up every 2 hours to pump, regardless of if she woke up or not, and I had nobody at home with me while my child screamed in pain. The most interaction I had was crying on the phone with a nurse about how I can't handle the pain or enjoy time with my newborn.

I am lucky. My mom stayed the night once or twice a week with the baby in the guest room to give me some solid sleep. My brother stayed one night, which I totally appreciated, but he learned how hard it is to sleep with newborn grunting next to you. My family was very supportive. They all live within 20 minutes of us, so it was helpful to get a little free napping time occasionally.

It took us 4 months to figure out she had a milk protein allergy, gastro paresis, and laryngomalacia. I knew something was not right with her, so I pushed the doctors to look past a "summer cold" and "normal spit up" and I was right... Mommy decision two, SCORE, maybe I could be a good mom. I was pulled off nursing immediately and she was put on a prescription formula, so all of that work trying to build up my supply and stash my milk was wasted. So another meltdown, as I failed as a mom because I couldn’t nurse her for the full year like I wanted to.

My husband worked the midnight shift thinking that would be the best option while I worked during the day, except it sounded better than it worked. He had to sleep, so we still needed a sitter. Luckily my brother's girlfriend was unemployed and came to our house to watch her for a couple more months before we had to make the dreaded daycare or babysitter decision. Being a SAHM was not an option for us. Neither made enough money to maintain our lifestyle with the house and baby to stay at home. Our relationship hit rock bottom during those 8 weeks. I was jealous that my husband could go for a run or work and I was stuck home with a newborn, I couldn't even get to the store. We struggled, fought, yelled, and cried a lot, but somehow we got through it. He began to see my side of things and help out with moving me upstairs and downstairs before he left for work or went to bed. He set up the station so I wouldn't have to go far to get what I may need. Things started to work right, then we threw a wrench into the system, I went back to work.

The day I went back to work was bittersweet, I didn't cry, but I wasn't totally elated either. None of my pre pregnancy clothes fit, my incision still hurt, and I had to carry a pump with me... Joy, but my sitter brought my daughter to see me those first few days to help the transition and occasionally there after.

The last 19 months have been a whirl wind. We sold our house, moved in with my parents until our new house was finished, my husband lost his job and was a SAHD for a little while until something finally worked out, and I changed jobs.

As a working mom of one full time job and a part time job, I am very envious (border lined jealous) of anyone who gets the option to stay at home with their little ones. I would give my right arm if I could stay home and raise my daughter, knowing exactly what she is watching on tv and doing every minute of the day. But because we are not in that position, I have to work two jobs to make ends meet which cuts into my mommy-daughter time greatly. I have to rely on my faith and judgment of a once complete stranger on how they are raising, teaching, and disciplining my daughter. I find out days later that she is singing her ABCs or starting to count. I didn't get to teach these things to her, though if anyone asks, I was fully responsible for it :) My heart breaks every morning when I drop her off at the sitters; there is no way to explain it unless you have had to do it. She just stopped being clingy and trying to convince me to stay every morning and reaches willingly to my sitter which breaks my heart in a different way, but I know it's best for her. Every time my phone rings, my throat tightens with fear and anxiety. But my sitter is phenomenal; we have a great friendship and working relationship. Her daughter is a month younger than mine, so they are going through the same things at the same time. It’s nice to know she has the experience and loves her like her own.

My life is not perfect, I am still working at trying to lose my baby weight even after running a half marathon which doesn't seem fair to me, but life doesn't seem to hand out fair cards to everyone. My husband hates his new job, even though I am just thankful for the income even though it is a large cut. This plays into me not being able to even consider another baby. I would love to start trying for #2, but without a raise on my end or job change on his, we have to postpone that for now.

The only free time I take for myself are two hours a week for two soccer games with some of my girlfriends and a girls night with a friend and my daughter on Thursdays while he is in class. So it's wake up, get myself and baby ready (my husband handles the animal side of the zoo in the AM and packs up her lunch and diaper bag), drop her off, work and work out, then home to take care of the dogs, make dinner, and get her bathed with her teeth brushed and in bed by 8:30. SAHM’s jealous yet?!

On top of all of that, my daughter has been sick since the stomach virus ripped through our house the week of Thanksgiving. She was vomiting off and on every other day without a fever and all the doctors kept telling me she was re-infecting herself, which is not true because I know both places she stays are clean. Finally I called her GI doctor who confirmed that I was right and she actually had a blockage. Mommy decision three just saved my baby's life... Those two months were tough with daily or weekly trips to pediatricians, specialists, x rays or middle of the night runs to Kid Med. I would love for her to make it through this coming year with just her normal visits to the pediatrician. My life is a mess, but I wouldn’t change this mess for the world. My new job has been amazing with me being in and out of the office with a sick child.

Now we are searching for preschools, a new sitter or daycare/preschool after getting the news that my sitter is going to stop watching Bayleigh to start bookkeeping, but she has to line up enough clients to make up for losing the income of babysitting Bayleigh. So how much time do I have? But there is no answer to that. I love my sitter, Bayleigh loves her and her family, there is a routine there and comfort. Now I have to uproot my daughter from a very comfortable place she knows better than her own home and put her into a strange environment with strange people and new routines. How do you explain that to a 19 month old?! How do you learn to trust someone else?! If it's not one thing, it's another... so the saga goes on.

She is a little kid now, no longer a baby, but thank goodness she still needs me a lot. From behind she looks like a “little person” because she was blessed with so much hair and a nice round latina booty. She is my little miracle, and my weekends and nights revolve around her. One of my Christmas presents was a year membership to the local gymnastics place, and a 5 week class with her on Saturday mornings. So all I can do is make the best out of a situation that I cannot control and enjoy the time I do get to spend with her, even if it is not what I really had hoped for.

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