Just Us Girls

Just Us Girls

...one SMC's adventures in single motherhood.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Eight weeks!!

Incredible!! She's gotten so BIG! She's grown from 6 lbs 12 oz. at birth to eleven pounds now, and from 19 3/4 inches to 23 inches! A part of me is sad that she's no longer itty bitty, but I really can't wait to see what the next stage holds...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Many Faces of Baby K

The last one's my favorite!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

We made it!

Day number one, at least! Yesterday was my first day back at work, and you know, it wasn't half bad. Much to my surprise! I seriously didn't sleep at all the night before, what with worrying how the school day would go--a lot has changed schedule-wise from the time I left--and how K would do with her babysitter. So I was functioning on pure adrenaline alone throughout the day...but we still made it through! I didn't cry when (or after) I left her with M, her babysitter, and I didn't even cry after I had picked her up at the end of the day, which I fully expected I'd do. I was just so relieved to have her back in my arms, and to have her to myself for a lovely long weekend. One thing I've come to experience for myself is the incredible, overwhelming bond I feel with my daughter...people talk about it, but you really can't understand it till you feel it in real life. I've never loved anyone like I love K...and I feel so blessed to be able to experience it! I know it's cliched, but I would do anything for her, I would take a bullet for her without thinking twice, and she is truly the light of my life.

K did pretty well overall. I wasn't sure how much milk to leave with M, and I did bring a little extra, thinking it would be better to have a little too much than not enough. She didn't drink that much at a time, only about two ounces or so, which surprised me, but of course it's hard to figure out how much a baby is taking in when you're nursing full-time. But as time goes by I'll have a better idea of how much milk to send with K. I did bring an extra outfit, but it turns out it wasn't enough since she ended up having TWO blowouts! I was so embarrassed! But that's how it goes sometimes with a six-week-old, I guess. M didn't seem to mind, and we both agreed that I will need to include at least two outfits in her diaper bag. Hopefully she won't need those every day with M. But as they say, it's better to be safe than sorry. M's two kiddos, Griffin, who is three, and Gwyneth, who is 14 months, had a great time with K...especially Griffin, who is old enough to appreciate the presence of another baby. I'm starting to relax a little about the whole idea of leaving K with someone else...I'm not gonna lie, it was hard yesterday. I thought about her all day, which I know is completely normal. And I have a full work week this week, so we'll see how that goes. Mom flies in this Thursday afternoon...she'll be with K from Friday the 23rd through Friday the 30th while M and her hubby are on a cruise. I am seriously counting down the weeks until May 28th, when school ends and summer vacation begins!

The school day yesterday went well, too...the kids were glad to see me, and I got quite a few hugs throughout the school day. My colleagues were also glad to see me, which was heartwarming! I've always said I work with the greatest people ever, and yesterday was no exception. The biggest change was that this last quarter of the school year, I have to travel among four different classrooms with all my supplies on a cart. NOT fun, but completely do-able. I feel for my friend L, who is *hugely* pregnant with twin boys...she had to travel last quarter, and I'm glad she can stay put in one classroom for the rest of the year. Next year we will all have our own classrooms again, so no more traveling with carts and no more big offices for each content area (picture ten teacher desks along with bookshelves and filing cabinets crammed into one classroom!). We've enjoyed the camaraderie and discussions for sure, but when it comes right down to it, no one wants to travel on a cart. I've been switched from teaching sixth grade to teaching seventh grade next year...disappointing, but I've taught seventh for quite a few years in the past, and I'll get to work with a great team of folks next year. Honestly, I'm just glad I have a job.

So...now I'm off to enjoy my weekend with my sweet girl and gear up for the busy week ahead!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mama test #1

We had a rough night last night. I mean, rough. Let's just put it this way: tears were not just shed by the little one. I am quite sure that K is battling some gassy issues, which surprises me since she is exclusively breastfed. But I know it happens. She cried for hours, and nothing I tried to soothe her worked. It's one of the most helpless feelings there is--knowing your child is in pain and not being able to fix it and make it better. It was also the quality of the cry...it wasn't a cry I'd ever heard from her before, and it scared the daylights out of me. Her whole little body went rigid, and she nearly screamed when I unknowingly held her in certain (uncomfortable) positions. I was five minutes away from a) calling my aunt to help at 3 am, b) taking her to urgent care, or c) taking her straight to the emergency room. In the end I did none of the above, since I was pretty sure of what it was, and she finally fell asleep on my shoulder at 3:30 am. Mylicon definitely seemed to help, and today I'm planning on buying some gripe water as well. We spent most of today snuggling and catching up on sleep...in all honesty, a great way to spend my last day of maternity leave! I'm gonna miss this little one tomorrow while I'm at work!

The worst part, aside from no sleep for Mom, was the fact that today was supposed to be her first day with her caregiver. I had been asked to attend a district-level meeting to help with curriculum development (basically optional, when it comes right down to it), and everything was in place for her first day with M, a good friend of mine who will be her caregiver for the next six weeks followed by the next school year. But I wasn't sure if we'd see a repeat performance with her next feeding, and I didn't feel comfortable with someone else possibly encountering the same scenario as last night. So since I didn't exactly *have* to be there today, I called M and explained, so we'll try again tomorrow when I have to go back to school for real. K seems fine today, but we'll see tonight, which is when she seems to have most of her gas bubble issues. I'm hoping that perhaps using the Mylicon or gripe water in advance will help. Our next pediatrician appointment is on May 5th, and I'm not sure whether I should wait that long to talk with Dr. D. about it. We'll see how tonight goes.

On a different note, K's baptism took place the night before Easter Sunday, and it was sooo special! A ton of family was there, including my parents who were more than happy to fly in again, and it was such a whirlwind of a weekend, backed up to Easter such as it was. It was an emotional ceremony for me, and suffice it to say that my faith has been greatly strengthened by the arrival of this little one in my life, not to mention her chaotic delivery. We sang a wonderful hymn towards the end of the service, "Borning Cry", and it's a tough one to get through without tears. My uncle sang it to both of his daughters at their respective weddings, and he was definitely teary, as was my dad. It was just...very special, and lots of memories I won't ever forget. Here are a few pictures...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hi ho, hi ho...

...it's back to work I go...

and I'm NOT happy about it.

It's been so idyllic, all this time off for my maternity leave: the luxury of sleeping in, and focusing on not much more than taking care of my baby and maintaining things around the house. But now it's time to go back. My first official day back is Friday, April 16th, and it's coming up soon. Why Friday, you ask? Because I am entitled to a maximum of 20 days of maternity leave (4 weeks) plus whatever personal leave I had accrued before the birth of my baby, which totaled two weeks or so. We get 12 days per school year, and I tend to pretty much use them up each year because I believe in the importance of mental health days, not to mention things like doctor's appointments, extra travel days before scheduled school breaks, etc. So I didn't have very many stockpiled away before I gave birth, which worked out just fine in the end. So it works out that I have to go back on a Friday, which is NOT a bad thing because I get to regroup over the weekend before I have to get through a full work week. I only have about six more weeks until summer vacation, so it won't be that hard to get through it. The main reason I'm not looking forward to going back is because it's a tough time of year for middle school students, and every day can feel like an uphill battle. They are so ready to be done for the year, and it's hard to rein them back in and help them realize that there is still work to be done. *sigh* But according to my sub, the kids are looking forward to having me back. So that's a good thing.

I'm not looking forward to the whole pumping-at-work thing, either. I bought a fantastic new breast pump several days ago, and though I've pumped several times since then, I really need to pump much more often in order to keep up my supply and stockpile milk for my caregiver to feed to K. I'm trying not to panic about how much milk I haven't stockpiled yet, but I found several fantastic websites tonight that put my mind at ease. Turns out that I'm pumping more than the average at each sitting, which was a surprise. I didn't realize that it can take at least two or three pumping sessions to produce enough milk for just one feeding! Babies are much more efficient at getting milk than a pump is, and there is NO question that K is getting enough milk at each feeding. She gained close to three pounds in the three weeks since we were discharged from the hospital, and she had dropped ten percent of her birthweight at discharge time, so she made up for it in spades. She's a healthy little girl now, complete with chubby little cheeks and a round baby tummy, which is fantastic. I was concerned that she was overeating, but apparently an exclusively breastfed infant can't overeat, so I guess we're okay. We'll see at her next pediatrician appointment. The biggest thing on my agenda before I head back to work is to pump, pump, and pump some more.

But the up side is that I absolutely love spring, and I'm so excited that it's about to make it's appearance! I love seeing the buds on the trees, and the various green things poking their heads up in the garden, not to mention the sunshine and warmer weather. I tried out the new stroller a few days ago, and it absolutely rocks! It's got this amazing suspension system, and it's tall enough for me, so life is good. Tomorrow is supposed to be warmer (after a few days of very strong winds and cold temperatures) so a walk around the neighborhood is definitely on the agenda.

(K's baptism was absolutely beautiful, and I'm looking forward to a post about it in the near future as soon as I get the CD of pictures from my cousin. Stay tuned.)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy birthday!

Happy one-month birthday, little one! Hard to believe it's been one full month since I met her for the first time in the hospital...we both have learned so much and grown so much since then!

Savor the cuteness... (I always do)

PS -- Talents we're working on: smiling at Mommy (I swear that today her smiles were *intentional*...SO awesome!), lifting her head during tummy time, pushing up from her legs and feet (not quite to the point of *trying* to stand or anything), and lifting/supporting her head all on her own when Mommy holds her up to her shoulder. Does life get any better than this?!