Sunday 15 November 2015

Four Months

So, do you remember how last month I was noting that time didn't seem to be slipping by that fast? Well a weekend long swim meet, three days at a conference, two weeks on the east coast, and the countdown to the end of my leave, all have a way of making time fly rather quickly! I know it's going to go by even quicker as I go back to work and the holidays approach. Yet, this month the biggest measure of how time is passing is the size of Jate herself. Before I left, I had been noticing that she was starting to outgrow her bassinet and we were planning to move to the Pack and Play when we returned as a way to transition to her crib. It wasn't really an option, in just two weeks she became too big for her bassinet. Sigh. My baby is not a little peanut anymore.

Nicknames: (new ones!) Muffin, BeefKate

Stats: 15 lbs 3 oz. 24.5 inches

Eating: Breastfeeding story of the month: I had to bring Jate to my swim meet and I wanted to have some expressed milk on hand in case she needed to be fed while I was swimming. The 95 degree temperature was too much for the ice block in my Med.ela cooler, so I went to procure some ice. I approached the middle aged ladies who run the snack table and asked if I could take some ice from the coolers where they were selling water and juice. "No." the first woman replied. "You don't want this ice, everyone's hands have been in the cooler..." I tried to explain that I wasn't going to be using the ice for drinking. "No." the other woman backed up the first. "You don't want this ice. Go to the first aid stand." I held up my Med.ela cooler and demonstrated that I was needed the ice to help keep her milk chilled. I was planning to double bag the ice, mostly because I didn't want it to leak, not that I was concerned about everyone's hands being in the ice cooler, given that this was a swim meet where everyone's hands are sterilized by the chlorine and chemicals in the pool. I was starting to feel as if I were in the "I can't spare a square" episode of Seinfeld, so I decided I would buy a bottle of water and just grab a handful of ice. As I approached the cooler, I was shot down. "NO ICE FOR YOU!" " Go to the first-aid stand!"

I walked into the life guard's office and was greeted by a 18 or 19 year old guy, who was playing on his phone. I asked for a bag of ice. "No problem." he replied as he jumped out of his seat. "Are you injured?" At this point, I was thinking it would be easier just to claim a fake injury, but I wasn't prepared with a back story. I offered that I just needed to chill my daughter's milk. "Oh." he replied, "Do you want to keep it in our fridge?" as he pointed to the small dorm sized fridge that was marked 'Staff Only'. Lesson learned. Sometimes the people you think will be helpful are not, and sometimes you may be surprised by who is helpful.

Sleeping: She started sleeping through the night just before she was two months, and not the five hours uninterrupted definition of sleeping through the night. Actually sleeping from 9 PM to 6 AM. So I've been terrified that it will all come crashing down with the four month sleep regression. She slept rather well while we were visiting my parents, although she had some nights when she would wake up after we put her down and would need to be settled again.  As she was showing signs of rolling, we recognised that it was time to stop her swaddle and put her in a sleep sac, and we figured this was a good time to institute this change. We were planning to have her sleep in the Pack and Play for the next two months until we are ready to move her to her room at six months. However, we don't like having to bend all the way down to place her in the PNP and it seems to make her startle easily, which may be why she was waking as soon as we'd try to put her down. I was able to purchase a barely used Arms Reach Co-sleeper for only $45 and we're using it as a free standing bassinet. It's been working really well, the only trouble is that Tyler is fond of it too. I woke up to pump one night and found him sleeping by her feet.  We've also started having her sleep in her crib for naps. The first attempt lasted five minutes. Her current PB is 45 minutes. Since we returned, she started waking up around 3 AM, which we wondered if she was still on east coast time. She had one episode where she would fall asleep quickly in our arms, but woke up as soon as we put her down. After repeating this cycle for nearly an hour, and as this was the morning of her professional photo shoot, and I didn't want a cranky baby on set, I took her back to bed with me and let her sleep on the We also wonder if we are in denial that she may be showing signs of a sleep regression. Stay tuned.

Likes: She's still enjoying the playmat, especially as we've added some new items. She recently tolerated two hours in the Bj.orn while I was cleaning, so I'm adding it to the likes column. Her favourite toy seems to be an activity bunny, which saved us on the airplane. She's really into her feet, as she thinks she can eat them. She also enjoys spitting up on me, and for some reason, just me. So much so, that she practices several times a day, just to get it right. At press time, we just introduced her Sophie toy. It appears to be a hit!

Dislikes: She does protest quite a bit when we're tyring to dress her.  Otherwise, she's a pretty easy going baby.

Diapers: We moved up to size 3 Pamp.ers. We still cloth diapering during the day, but no longer need to use the twist method.

Clothes: While we were in Connecticut she wore little Myrtle's old clothes (Mrs Myrtle has them stored in her attic as she's holding out for grandbaby #2) so I had fewer items to pack. When we returned, she no longer fit in her 3 month sized clothes and needed to move into the 3-6 month section of her wardrobe. 6 month size onesies are still a little big on her, but 6 month size footie jammies seem to fit almost perfectly. Yikes! how is she wearing 6 month clothes already?

Attended Mummy's swim meet
First Daddy-daughter day while Mummy was at her conference
First airplane ride and trip to Connecticut
Met her other set of grandparents
Met Myrtle and little Myrtle
First Playdate
Started Day Care

Health Issues: She came home from her third day at day care with a stuffy nose, but it didn't develop into a cold. We're two weeks in and so far, still no major illnesses.

Milestones: Just days after her three month birthday, she started turning on her side from lying on her back. We thought rolling from back to tummy was imminent, but hasn't officially happened yet. She came really close one time at my parents' house. We were using my mother's dresser as a makeshift changing table, and she had an epic blowout. While Husband was drawing up a stat bath, she got three-quarters of the way over before I had to stop her. I didn't want her to get shit on my mother's curtains and I didn't want my memory of this milestone to be that my daughter was rolling around in shit.

Looking forward to: Going back to work -because, if I write it, it must be true! In that case, I'm looking forward Thanksgiving break. I'll have four days alone with Jate as Husband will be away. I have all of season three of the Gilmore Girls on my DVR so I can re-enact my maternity leave. Next week we meet with the photographer to review the proofs from her three month photo shoot, and I'm a bit afraid to see how much we'll spend. Finally, and this is a vain one, I'm looking forward to seeing what she'll look like with hair!

Blond or ginger? We shall see! 

Tuesday 10 November 2015

All Good Things Must Come to an End... and a Begining...

Today was my last day of maternity leave. I feel as if I'm in the scene of The Shawshank Redemption where Red is being asked if he's ready to rejoin society. Are you ready to join the wage earning work force again? Are you ready to get dressed each morning into actual clothes? Changing from your pajamas into your yoga pants no longer counts as 'getting dressed'. Are you ready to wear make-up again and do something with your hair besides tying your wet hair up with a clip? Are you ready to wake up to an alarm clock and not your baby? Although I set the alarm on my phone to get up and pump, my main alarm clock has not rung since it woke me on the morning of my C/section. Are you ready to do your job again? Do you remember anything? Are you going to feel like a fish out of water? How many new policies and procedures are you going to have to learn?

However, there is no panel who will determine if I am ready and will decide when I go back. It's been decided for me. Ready or not, this is happening. I am going to be the client who needs an after hours or Saturday appointments. I keep trying to remember the mixed emotions I had when I left for my leave. I was going to miss my long standing patients. I was going to miss the sense of identity provided by my occupation. Turns out, I didn't miss working anywhere near as much as I thought I would. Now I'm going to miss staying in my bed clothes until 10 or 11 AM. I'm going to miss watching Gilmore Girls as I wash bottles. I'm going to miss swimming under the sun at noon. Most of all, I'm going to miss watching my Jate grow and develop right before my eyes.

Except, and I hate to admit this, I have been growing a bit bored. Especially as Husband had a lot of long nights due to his hockey assignments, I felt restless. It's hard maintaining a one sided conversation all day long. I would feel frustrated when she would spit-up on me for the umpteenth time, or when she would pee on the changing table, again. A break from my routine is actually welcome.

I keep telling myself that this transition is going to be good for both of us. Jate needs to be around professionals who know what she should be doing to develop at this point in time, rather than me checking the baby centre app from time to time. She needs to be around other babies and kids. When we made the decision to have an only child, we made a promise to the hypothetical child that we would provide opportunities for social interaction with his or her peers. We've spent a week transitioning to day care, where she's attended from 9-2 as a way to ease into her new routine and so far she's done rather well. I managed to hold it together on her first day, mainly because I had so many things to do. A long overdue dentist appointment and a trip to the grocery store, where I spent over two hundred dollars. What did I buy for all that money? Husband inquired. Honestly, I don't really know. I was just shopping without a baby and I don't know when that opportunity will come again.

It's also going to be good for our cats. I took Tyler to the vet as I noticed that he was losing weight (fun being stuck in traffic with a screaming baby and screaming kitty). Two hundred dollars later, we received a diagnosis of stress. Apparently, it's a hard knock life for a cat. Actually, I do feel badly for him when she really shrieks, as he does look distressed. Seventy five dollars later, I got some more Feli.way diffusers to help ease his stress and he's been maintaining his weight. Hopefully, having the baby out of the house for most of the day will ease it some more.

I am also very fortunate that I have a job that I love and provides a lot of professional satisfaction. I have colleagues and staff members who are supportive and I truly enjoy working along side. I've really missed those social interactions that help the work day pass. I'm also looking forward to being on a more equal footing with Husband. While he does his share of diaper duty in the middle of the night and pitches in with many other child care chores; there were times when he would pull the "I have a busy day tomorrow" card. I've been warned by a few mothers, that I'll probably still be the default parent, but at least I'll have that card in my back pocket as well.

We're very lucky that our day care is so close and isn't going to increase my commute time, which is only 15-20 minutes. Although we're planning that I'll drop her off and Husband will pick her up, I needed to adjust my scheduling template so that I could pick her up if needed. I was able to shorten my lunch break to half an hour, so my day should be able to end at 5 PM. I talked to my Lead Physician and Centre Manager about working one 12 hour day and reducing my weekly hours to 36, so I would only work four days a week. While cutting down to 32 hours a week would reduce my salary by 20%, when we crunched the numbers of just dropping four hours against the day care savings, it was less than $5K (after taxes). The approximate cost of a transfer. I made that case to Husband, and reminded him once again of how much we're saving because I am breastfeeding. However, in order to put this into place, we need one other provider who is willing to work evening hours and need to find staff who can do evening hours, so it's just a hypothetical at the moment. This is fine by me, as I can just focus on working regular hours, let alone shock my system with a 12 hour day. The logistics of working four days a week and being a mom for the remaining three just feels much more balanced than doing five and two. However, on that long day, my hours would be from 7 AM - 8 PM, which means I just might see her when she wakes and might catch her before she falls asleep. I'd be giving up seeing her for part of a day in order to gain an entire day with her. Plus it would require Husband to be the lone parent before and after day care for her on those days. We'll see if this goes to fruition.

A few months ago, I started fretting that I was never going to be able to swim or work out again, but I soon realised that the more I used the word never, the more I would guarantee that never would become a reality. I had to stop saying never and think about solutions. The shorter lunch break, which would end my work day at 5 PM, will also allow me to attend the 5:30 gym class and still make it back home for dinner and putting Kate to bed. I know I'm not going to be able to swim or work out every day as I used to, but I am going to aim for two times per week. I wasn't going to try to fit in any exercising at all during my first weeks back, then I complained how I didn't do any activity while we were in Connecticut and I could be going almost a month without working out, so Husband challenged me to fit it in during those first weeks. If it's going to be part of our routine, might as well incorporate it right away.

I'm approaching the return in baby steps, a bit like What About Bob? I'm going back on a Wednesday, so I'll have a short week. Then a full week and another short week due to Thanksgiving. Then it's three full weeks before another partial week leading up to Christmas. We're usually not as busy during the holiday season. Do you ever wonder who goes in for their yearly GYN exam on Christmas Eve? Jehovah Witnesses. I have 3 or 4 JWs who come to see me on that day, as they feel it's the only place to avoid the holiday madness. I'll take a few days off while my parents visit for the holidays. Then we're in the new year and three weeks away from the MLK long weekend. I keep reminding myself that it's not like I'm never going to have another day off, in fact we may have a staycation week in April as her Day Care has a spring break... Sigh. It won't be the same.

Thursday 5 November 2015


As I had missed the general warm up session of a recent swim meet, I also missed out on getting a parking spot. Fortunately, I managed to find street parking rather close. I had a nice view of the entire facility as I walked toward the Aquatic Centre entrance. The first heats of the 400 Individual Medley were getting started. The warm-up lanes were still pretty busy. Masters swimmers who were not competing were going through some drills. A water aerobic class was taking place in the shallow teaching pool. Despite all this activity, the one object that caught my attention was the diving block for lane one of the long course. Almost two years ago, I sat on that diving block as my RE reviewed the fertilization report from my first IVF cycle.

Two days prior, on Halloween, my RE performed my final follicle count. My estrogen level had plateaued and he felt it was time to trigger. I had been keeping count during my monitoring appointments and I was anticipating having nearly 14 or 15. My RE warned me not to focus [get too excited] on this number, as it would only matter how many were mature. The detail that he failed to explain to me, was that my estrogen level would correspond to the projected number of mature eggs. As I peaked at 1500, he figured 6-8 mature eggs. I felt that number was very insufficient. We would maybe get 4-5 to fertilise, and possibly have 1-2 to transfer, which wouldn't make it worth doing pre-implantation genetic screening. I could sense this cycle was going to be a failure. Instead of asking important questions about my prospects for this retrieval, I distracted myself with trivial details; could I swim the day after my retrieval?

As I left his office, Myrtle texted me a photo of little Myrtle in the most adorable lamb costume. I had managed to hold it together while I sat across from my RE, but this picture prompted my breakdown. Tears, sobs, it was a full on ugly cry. Adding insult to injury; Myrtle had included me in a group text. Like hitting 'reply all', the other mothers included in the group texted pictures of their kids in Halloween costumes. I had plans to attend a costume party at a local bar later that night. As I prepared to bring my trigger shot in my purse, I thought about whether or not it was appropriate to be administering my all important trigger shot in the bathroom at a bar? I was filled with so much doubt that I knew it really wouldn't matter. Husband and I went out to dinner, as we wanted to avoid being home and needing to attend to trick-or-treaters. Moments after we walked out of the restaurant, I burst into tears again. More uncontrollable sobs. Husband knew there was no way I could hold it together, and he called our friends to inform them that would would not make it to the party. All this was triggered by the sight of a diving block.

As I unpacked my car and snapped my daughter's infant seat into her stroller, I felt validated and finally fulfilled. All the doubts and fears I felt as I was sitting on that diving block were confirmed. It would take the second transfer from my second stim cycle to finally produce our baby. A year later, on another Halloween, I received the beta results that indicated that Jate was on her way. Here we are, another year later. She wouldn't cooperate for a Halloween photo.