Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Back at Work

I can’t believe my maternity leave is over. It went by so quickly. We had the first seven weeks, when I was just trying to figure life out with a newborn. Then three weeks in Colorado staying with the in-laws, completely out of sorts, trying to make it through each day without melting down. Then two weeks at home, working part-time during naps, frantically trying to get my poor baby on some sort of schedule, just so she would sleep a little better at night, and not require someone to hold her all day every day, knowing I was going back to work. Each of these periods of time had their good moments, and their bad, and I wish I could redo this time. Because now I am at work, missing my baby girl, pumping every three hours, exhausted and trying to figure out how I’m going to sustain this life. Why does it have to be so hard?

I have good moments. Last night when I was bathing little Alex, she was happy. She stares at me during the whole bathtime, and I talk to her about my day and how I missed her, and I tell her how much I love her. I play with her, and I watch her as she moves around and splashes water. But the rest of the evening, she was not happy. She’s starting to get real fussy, particularly in the evenings, and I hate it. I miss her good mornings, when she’s full of smiles and happy to play. Now that I’m at work, someone else gets to enjoy those special times in her day. I wake her up in the morning, feed her a bottle, and then hand her off to my MIL, at least this week. Next week I’m hiring a friend’s sister to watch Alex for two weeks, then the hubs is off for three weeks, and then daycare. But I’m happy that I don’t have to drop Alex off for daycare until she’s four months old. It will be on her four month birthday in fact.

But back to Alex’s fussiness. I wonder if it could be because I’m no longer there. I got home last night, and she wouldn’t take a bottle from me. We stopped nursing at every feeding about two weeks ago, and I discovered that she wasn’t eating much at a time. With the hope that my milk supply was increasing, I would nurse her, and then wait for her to show hungry signs before giving her a bottle. And so what I got is a child who wouldn’t eat more that 2-3 ounces at a time, and just snacked all day and night long. Now that we’re on a feeding schedule, I’ve discovered that Alex wants about 5 ounces each feeding, about every 3 hours. With this kind of schedule, she now sleeps during most of the night, only waking up for a dream feed at 10:30 at night, and then around 3 am. Before implementing a schedule, she was waking up on average about 4 times per night. I knew I couldn’t maintain that kind of schedule when I went back to work!

And so we stopped nursing, almost exclusively, about two weeks ago. I pump, and then feed her expressed breast milk or formula for all but one feeding. My plan was to nurse her at 6 pm when I got home from work, and then give her a bottle. Well the last two nights she absolutely refuses to take a bottle from me! I nursed her, she acted like she was done, and so I tried to give her a bottle, and she screamed. Inconsolable crying, which is very unusual for her. Last night I was able to trick her a little before bedtime by nursing her, waiting until she dozed a little, then without her opening her eyes, I stuck a bottle in her mouth and she would drink some. Then she would open her eyes and scream! So miserable. I feel so bad, I really do think this is because she’s out of sorts from me leaving her. I hope it gets better, very soon, because it breaks my heart to see her crying like this.

I know this is a phase, but boy this is hard right now. I’m completely exhausted, and I don’t feel like I’m functioning very well at work, and I feel like an awful mother with my screaming baby at night. I stare at her pictures at work all day long, hoping to get home soon. Oh, and my milk production still sucks so I spend all this time with this stupid pump hooked to me, and I go home after a full work day with about 6 ounces in my cooler – enough for one bottle plus an ounce! Luckily I make more at night, as I can pump about 4 ounces at 3 am, and another 3 ounces at 6 am. In total, I pump about 15 ounces each day, plus nurse her once, so I’m providing around half her total consumption of 30-32 ounces daily. I wish I could do more, but I’m running out of ideas on how to increase production. This part alone has been so incredibly frustrating. Some days I’m at peace with it, knowing I’m doing what I can. But other days, I’m just exhausted and tired of it all, wondering if all this pumping madness is worth it. I want to be able to continue, but this is so hard.

I feel bad, posting out here, knowing that I haven’t even logged onto my blog reader in weeks. But I’m back at work now, and as stupid as it sounds, I know once I catch up and we’re past this super busy phase at work in a couple weeks, I’ll have more time to read blogs. I’ve never been so busy in my life as I have the last few months, and I’ve had to cut some things out. I’m sorry. All I want to do is hold my baby girl. Speaking of, I need to get back to work so I can bolt out of here as soon as possible! Hope you all are doing well!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Going Home

I always wondered if this was a good idea - leaving home for three weeks with my husband, my newborn and my two dogs and staying with my in-laws. Three weeks later, finally leaving tomorrow to go home, I can definitely say this was a very very bad idea. 

The drive from Houston to Denver wasn't bad. Amazingly, our little Alex was great in the car. She slept for most of the way. I was able to pump and feed her bottles, and so we only stopped for diaper changes. We were planning on stopping overnight in Amarillo, but we made such good time and was able to get to the in-laws by midnight. On the way back, we're planning on stopping for the night, which is probably a good idea. But I'm incredibly anxious to get home!

Being at the in-laws was fine. My MIL is great. Every morning I would get up to feed Alex and then my MIL would have "Grammy time" when she would hold Alex and I would get a leisurely shower and get ready. I really didn't even need anything like a swing because MIL wouldn't allow Alex to be on her own. I'm a little worried about transitioning to be a little independent, especially considering I'm about to start working. So like I said, my in-laws were great, and never once complained about our stuff being all over the place or anything. But it's hard being in someone else's home. I miss my space and my privacy. I miss my alone time. I miss not having to be pleasant to everyone, which if I'm completely honest, I wasn't exactly pleasant the whole three weeks. Being out of our element can make anyone go a little or a lot nuts...

I feel like I need to address the big white elephant in the room. For those of you that follow me in your reader, I posted an entry, and then deleted it. I wrote it in the middle of the night and at a very low moment, and after a little sleep I decided that maybe it was best if I didn't have that stuff on my blog. But I forgot about the reader, and the fact that it still got pushed out even if I later deleted it. I'm so embarrassed that you all know about that night. I've always tried to be incredibly open and honest on this blog, but some things feel too raw and exposed. But I have to say thank you to some really lovely ladies who gave me such support and love over the Internet. Both on comments on my blog as well as via email, I have never felt support like I have in the last week. I haven't had the nerve to tell anyone in real life what actually happened that night, but you ladies know and still show me love, and for that I thank you. Yes, my hubs and I talked the next day and agreed that this kind of thing can never happen again. Yes, I believe him. Yes, we still have a lot to work out. And yes, I will be setting up a meeting with my therapist to discuss it. No, he will not go to therapy, I've asked him to go in the past to no avail. 

I'm worried about my relationship with my husband. Like so many other women, I'm very disappointed with his lack of involvement when it comes to parenting our child. He has lots of opinions, but when it comes to actually assisting, he's unwilling. But I'm working on being specific in my requests for assistance, and I've actually been able to have a productive conversation about him doing more. I just hate that he's the one "helping". Why is he helping? Shouldn't he just be "doing" like I am???

Ok, rant over. I just wanted to let you guys know that I'm OK, Alex is OK, and I can't thank you enough for the love and support you have shown me. I've been part of this blogging world for almost two years, and I continue to be amazed at how fulfilling friendships can be, even if I've never met any of you.