As I prepare to take my first solo travel adventure in a very long time I am realizing a few things.
Firstly that I’m terrified to be away from my sweet little love for so long. But I also know that this will be so good for both of us. She gets some time to be alone with daddy which will definitely be so good for both of them. And I will get to be, well, myself. I will get to focus on my training (yes it’s a work trip) and not have to constantly be worried about what she’s getting into.
I’ve also learnt that I don’t remember how to pack for just myself. Why is my suitcase so empty? Oh because I’m not packing clothes for 2 people. I’m not packing diapers, bedding, toys, books and everything else. I get to use MY pretty hand luggage bag and not the dirty old backpack because I only have to take stuff for myself. I will have a free hand to carry a cup of coffee because I’ll only be carrying my bag. Not 3 bags and a teddy. I don’t need snacks, water and everything else that’s needed to occupy a toddler on a flight. I am actually taking a book, because I may get to read!
So while I am so sad and dreading the moment I leave my house without my family, I’m so excited to fly by myself. To eat by myself and to worry about only myself.
But there’s lots to do before that moment! To get myself ready and to get my family ready. Make sure the fridge is stocked with all the favorites and make sure I get as many loves and cuddles as possible.
Something that most people have been able to calculate is that I found out I was pregnant right around the same time that I was offered a new job…
I went through some huge internal conversations about whether I should go ahead with the new job or if I should just stay within my comfort zone at my current place of employment.
On one hand, the new job meant better hours and better pay and it would also hopefully open up many doors into a new industry that I was excited about. The old job offered the comfort of working with friends that I’d made over the course of the three years I’d been there. Friends I knew that I’d want around during this whole terrifying pregnancy thing. (Spoiler alert – they were still around even after I didn’t work with them anymore)
But then on the other hand I was thinking about how my new boss would react when I thanked him for the job and told him I would need 3 months off before I’ve even worked there for a year. Of course there’s the whole legal side of things where companies cannot discriminate against pregnant women and they could not retract their job offer. And I technically didn’t have to tell anyone right away, I could start the job and wait the recommended 13 weeks before telling people, at which point they would do the math and realize that I must have known about this at the time of hiring. I knew I couldn’t get fired for not disclosing this information but what kind of impression does this give?
As I mentioned HERE, I was trying to make the climb up the corporate ladder, and reputation is a huge part of that process. Did I want to tarnish that by being “The Pregnant Girl”?
I decided to take the job. I also decided that I was going to be completely honest with my new boss and let him in on my little secret right away. I was really lucky that he was super understanding and offered some great words of encouragement. I was happy, and definitely felt that I had made the right decision and I was excited to jump into this new chapter of my life.
Another side of things that I had to think about was maternity leave. I would not qualify for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as I would not have been in my position for a year by the time the baby was due. I would also not be eligible for company maternity benefits as these followed the same stipulations as FMLA. Husband and I sat down and ultimately decided that I could file for Short Term Disability and get paid a reduced salary for 10 weeks and we would then be able to survive on a mixture of the small amount of PTO I had accrued as well as some unpaid leave.
Of course we didn’t save as much as we were hoping to during the pregnancy and I now have zero vacation time available but I was able to take the time that I needed to look after my Little Love when she arrived.
Bottom line with this is follow your gut (and maybe your heart). Don’t worry about what other people will think. You are making the best decision for yourself and your growing family.
Little Love showing off her new headband
These last couple of weeks have opened my eyes and twisted my heart strings in so many ways.
I’m sorry for getting deep here – prepare for tears…
It started when a family that I know only through an online support community lost their sweet little boy after a very long and brave fight with cancer. Even though I personally did not know their Little Love, his passing affected me in a way that I couldn’t explain. I wished that there was something that I or anyone could do to ease their pain and turn back time. I marveled at their strength during this time of immense grief and how much love this wonderful and happy child had around him through his short life and how even his very young siblings cherished every moment with him.
Then as if the universe knew that we needed a positivity boost, on Wednesday when the Husband, Little Love and I went to Chipotle for dinner (I know… Romantic), we went to pay we were told that the lady in front of us in line had paid for our meal and had said to, “Have a Wonderful Day”. This small gesture by a stranger brought tears to my eyes and I wish that I could personally thank that wonderful woman.
Lastly, on Thursday I spent a couple of hours at Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital with some of the team from work and Jess Ekstrom of Headbands of Hope. We met some wonderful children and parents while handing out headbands that were made by UA teammates. Seeing the strength of these children was something special. Faced with some huge challenges ahead, they are all smiles and muster up the most amazing energy to have conversations with us grown-ups who just stop by for a few minutes in their very long days. It’s not something that most people would consider major but it is heartwarming to see that even something as small as a headband can bring so much joy to a child and in turn to their family.
I look at these children and these families and then I come home and give my Little Love the biggest hug. I am so blessed to have a happy, healthy baby but in the back of my head I live in constant terror that one day the strength of myself and my family may be tested as we face our own scary situation. I know that many parents suffer from the nagging thoughts of impending doom. It’s why we sneak into our baby’s rooms in the middle of the night and listen for those glorious breaths and grunts or lie awake at night staring at the baby monitor watching every little twitch. It’s why we triple check the car seat, baby proof our houses like prison guards and clean, wipe and sterilize everything to the point of no return.
I know that parents are crazy… ok fine… I know that I’m crazy… but as much as I try to control the world, I know that there are many challenges coming our way and as much as I would like to keep Little Love tucked away in a sterile and perfectly safe bubble I know that the big wide world is a terrifying but exciting place that she will love to explore. And I can’t wait to watch her grow and dominate at this thing called life.
** Headbands of Hope – www.headbandsofhope.com – For every headband sold, one is donated to a child with cancer. To date, Headbands of Hope has donated to every hospital in the US.
Little Love showing off her new headband from http://www.headbandsofhope.com
As a mom of a 5 month old baby girl I’m constantly getting asked the question, “Is your baby sleeping through the night?” The short answer is No. So why do I feel the need to explain myself? Well no, BUT, we’re getting a lot better; She only wakes up once to feed; Some nights are better than others… Blah Blah Blah! She’s 5 months old! It’s totally normal for us not to be sleeping through the night.
But I’m also surrounded by stories of babies who are wonderful sleepers which keeps me asking What am I doing wrong? I started obsessing about why my baby wasn’t sleeping and what could I feed her before bed to get her to sleep longer? Formula didn’t do anything, a bed time top off boob didn’t do anything. Oatmeal didn’t really do anything either. Why are none of the recommendations and suggestions working for us?! Am I doomed to never sleep again?
Sensing my imminent breakdown a friend sent me this link. This post is so beautifully written by a mom who was going through the same sleepless nights. This mom’s story really opened my eyes and parts of my brain and my heart that had been clogged with unrealistic expectations and warped perceptions.
My rocking chair in the dark used to be a very lonely place for me. I felt like I was the only person in the world that was awake and that no-one noticed or cared. But after reading this, I have started to try cherish my 2am wake up calls. I’ve started to notice that every time I walk into my Little Love’s room at whatever random time she’s chosen I am greeted with a smile and excitement. I started to become thankful for this time with my daughter. I now know that when one day these night time rendezvous’ suddenly stop I will be sad. While I’m sure I will be thankful for a full nights rest and the relief that my little girl is developing and growing up, I will miss my late night cuddles.
I’m not saying that dragging myself out of my warm and comfy bed is all of a sudden easy, or saying that this has suddenly cured my physical and mental exhaustion. But I am saying that in the darkness of every late night or early morning I have my little shining light. That sweet child that will one day not want to be cuddled all night long and that wont call for me when she needs a midnight snack.
So for now I will enjoy my sleepless nights for soon we will all be sleeping through the night.
** Credit and big thanks to Anna Gannon for sharing.
The newest and biggest change in my life is that I am now a mother. My gorgeous little girl is the light of my life and everything I could want in a child (except for her apparent hatred for sleep…)
I was lucky enough to have had a pretty easy pregnancy. I actually enjoyed the process of growing a human (except for the trouble sleeping… can you tell I’m obsessed with sleep). My cravings limited themselves to grilled cheese sandwiches and apart from some brutal sciatica and back pains I have to say that my pregnancy was relatively trauma free.
Stupid and delusional me, I had all but convinced myself that my perfect pregnancy was going to continue into a perfect birth story and that my pre-natal yoga and gym sessions had given me the tools to be strong yet zen and that I would breeze though this like Superwoman.
I should mention that prior to actually getting pregnant, the whole birth thing terrified me and I was certain that I would need to be knocked over the head with a toaster and driven to the hospital where they would quickly remove the baby and give me a tummy tuck and lipo at the same time.
But hey, I’ve aced this pregnancy thing so let’s push a baby out – no problems!
Continue reading “My Birth Story … You’re Welcome”