The guilty mother

The guilt is bad enough going back to work when your baby is only 5 months old, but to leave her for 8 nights and travel to a different continent for work?  The guilt just pours out of me.   Eughhhh.

It was a tough week leaving Aviana behind.  Especially as the first night I was away she decided to wake up three times in the night rather than sleep through (typically what she has been doing for the past few weeks).  Poor Chris has had to deal with that, and on top of that, she caught her first cold.

I feel guilty that I was not there to cuddle and soothe her when she wakes in the night, I feel guilty I was not there to share the load of care, I feel guilty that my husband doesn’t get a respite, I feel guilty that I get to sleep without being woken by a crying baby (although I did have several dreams where I woke up in a panic that I had lost Aviana somewhere in the hotel room!), I feel guilty that I couldn’t store enough breastmilk for Aviana to have the entire week (I was only able to freeze 70oz and I needed twice that), I feel guilty that I couldn’t nurse her.

It has been a strange first week back to work.  I saw people who last time saw me with a big bump, or people who have only ever known me pregnant!  I reunited with a few people who are obviously sensitive to these things, and gingerly asked if everything went alright with the birth. I was impressed at these people, I won’t forget their sensitivity and made me secretly wonder what sad stories have touched their lives in the past.

The great news is that I can shed some of my constant burden and guilt is that I finally graduated from my 9 month executive development programme!  Whoop whoop!  I presented my team’s project to some of the most senior staff in the organisation and it went down very well.  I’m sad that my team has disbanded, I got to work with some of the best my organisation has, we worked well through a tough problem, through conflict of opinions, and with time always against us, but we got it done, and it was actually fun at times. The past few months of my maternity leave I have always had the weight of our team project on my shoulders, in addition to undertaking all the distance learning modules.  There were times on my maternity leave that I was on a team conference call at 7AM (because they are all in Europe) whilst rocking my crying baby, or writing meeting minutes whilst breastfeeding my baby.  I always felt guilty that I was never giving my all – to both my daughter and to my project team.  But I needn’t have worried because my team never noticed or even had a hint that I was multi-tasking during these calls.  It’s over now and I can finally shed that weight off my shoulder.

I will have to travel for work some more, that is just the nature of my job.  It’s going to be tough on both Aviana and Chris.  I don’t know how Aviana misses me because she can’t exactly communicate it clearly how she feels, but I know it will get harder as she gets a bit older…or may be not, may be she will just be used to it as I travel from an early age.  I don’t know how these things work, we will just have to go with the flow.

So yes, feeling guilty here, I didn’t think I would miss Aviana quite as much as I did.  I missed her so much that when I think about her my tear well fills up to the point of almost over flowing.  I just wanted to run across the airport when I landed home to get back as quickly as possible to see her. Is it hormones?  Is it love?  I’d say probably both.

The greatest thing that happened is when I got home and saw Aviana for the first time in a week…she smiled, giggled coyly and reached her arms up for me. THE BEST feeling ever.  Just wish I didn’t have to feel so guilty when I leave her.

I’m alive!!!

They say that when you become a parent you approach towards risk changes. For example, we love rock climbing, we also have done traditional climbing in the past where you place your own gear, it’s quite dangerous to be frank. I know some people stop doing this type of climbing when they become parents. And to some extent I understand why. Admittedly I poo pooed it and thought that I wouldn’t change my attitude towards doing risky sports just because I have a child. But as my life flashed before my eyes yesterday it got me thinking about this all over again.

For those of you who know about my near death life experience last time I visited Brussels, would you believe me that I had another near death experience in Brussels yesterday?? This time it didn’t involve terrorism or bombs, rather a car and an apple. Ooooh sounds so dangerous!! No, seriously.

We were on a coach traveling down a highway at about 100kph when a car that was overtaking us suddenly lost control, she skidded left into the wall, which then caused it to spin and flip upside down back right in front of the coach, then spin to the other side of the road. I was sat at the front and everything I saw happened in seemingly slow motion, I prepared myself for us to crash straight into the car, but we stopped about with about 5 feet between us and the flipped car. My first thought was the driver surely can’t be alive. It was INSANE. Then I thought, hell, we were lucky to not have crashed ourselves. Our coach driver reacted so well. The driver quickly got out to check the other car. She was alive and talking, a bit beaten up, but amazingly conscious. Everyone on our coach was fine, and those of us at the front, including the driver, were a bit mentally shaken up. We later discovered the crazy driver had been eating an apple when she dropped it, tried to pick it up and that was then that she lost control.

It was like a scene out of the movies in slow mo. I thought about Aviana and Chris in those moments and how mad Chris would be at me to have died in a car accident because I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt (btw no one else on th coach was either, which i know doesn’t make it right, but made it even scarier). It’s incredible how the brain deals with events like this. Very surreal.

So, Brussels…what else have you got for me??? My colleagues now say I’m bad luck because it comes in threes and don’t want to go anywhere with me! 🙄 just got to survive a few more days here before I head home!

4 months

What do the books say about a 4 month old baby??

Growth: baby would likely have doubled her birth weight. Well that was achieved a while ago because she was born 5lbs1oz, but at her wellness visit she was 12lbs2oz putting her up in the 6th percentile! Incredibly her height is 25.5″, which puts her leaping above the 75th percentile where we would expect her to be more or less based on Chris and I’s heights. However this means for her height-weight ratio she is in the 0.1 percentile!!! But doctor doesn’t care because she looked at her physically and said she is just fine ☺️

Motor skills: baby grab and hold things, put them to her mouth.  Aviana can grab and hold onto toys, but her ambition to grab and pick up toys waaaay too big for her is high. So she gets stressed and frustrated when she can’t put a bigger toy all in her mouth. She can put both feet in her mouth!! It’s one of her favourite hobbies – I now know where the yoga pose ‘happy baby’ comes from! (I lovvvvve that pose!)

Motor skills: baby’s head should no longer wobble and hold her head on her own, they can hold their head and chest up when in tummy time. Yes Aviana is doing all this, but her tummy time has only become better in the past week or so.

Motor skills: some babies may have figured out how to roll tummy to back. You’d have thought with Aviana hating tummy time she’d want to roll onto her back! But no, she’s not there yet. No rolling just yet!!! She is able to move around however by kicking the ground and pushing her body up moving it to the side- we wondered how when we woke up in the morning she would be at 90 degrees to how we left her. Then we watched her once on the monitor in the middle of the night. She was kicking like a crazied bucking horse!! 

Sleep: baby should be able to enjoy a full night and can typically sleep 7 to 8 hours. Baby might be sleeping 14-16 hours in 24 hours. Aviana sleeps for 11-14 hours, of which most of that is night time. She can now stay in her crib and go in and out of sleep for 11.5hrs, she started skipping her night feed for about two weeks now. I feel like a normal person again! She may wake up several times a night but gets herself back to sleep, especially now she sucks her thumb!!! We are not entirely sure how much sleep Aviana gets at daycare but they typically put her down to nap theee times a day for 20-60minutes dependent on how she does. I’d say we are exceeding in this area! 

Eating: some babies may start eating solids at 4 months. Our pediatrician said we could start purée solids. But we don’t think Aviana is ready just yet. I’d like her to be a bit more stable when sitting up. Plus it would be better to start her when I get back from my trip to Brussels. She will be 5 months then.

Communication: babies begin to notice that people respond to their cries. I thought Aviana was quite a cry-ey baby early on, but she really isn’t now. She is very chilled. She will let us know when she is wet, when she is tired her cry is very different, when she gets frustrated or bored, that’s a different cry. When she is hungry she will pull a sad face, and when she is scared she will pull a mega scream and sad face as if to say what the hell are you doing??!  (Ie loud bang, knocked herself etc). She loves to smile at people who play with her, she doesn’t giggle regularly, but she does when someone tries really hard.

Other things of note.  I’m still breastfeeding Aviana, she has days when she doesn’t nurse well because she gets distracted easily and I feel like quitting and switching to formula. But then there are the days that I love when I get to nurse and snuggle her. Pumping is also soooo time consuming. I should celebrate making it this far!!

Aviana gets called a boy 75% of the time-mostly because she has a lot of blue clothes!!! But her hair is growing, it will be a while before she really looks like a girl. Her eye lashes are getting longer by the day and if you look just at her eyes you would think they are girl’s eyes! I don’t really mind when people ask ‘how old is he?’.

Story time is becoming more fun and interesting, she currently really likes ‘That’s not my dinosaur!’, she also likes a change in tone of voice when the story is being read to her. She loves dancing with me to the nursery rhymes.

Aviana is very strong on her legs and can hold herself up standing against the sofa! 

Aviana’s height

Aviana’s weight

All in all, life definitely has gotten a bit easier since she hit 4 months, and I feel incredibly lucky to have this little cutie in my life. 

Pump pump pump pump it up!

I promised I would pump n blog. So here I am. Pumping and blogging…in the disabled restroom. 

Yes. The restroom. 

Unfortunately the person I spoke to back in March who was going to arrange for me to have a space to pump in was out of office today. And their #2 didnt know anything about a new lactation/privacy room.  

The room I was using for the one week I went back to work in March is now under renovation for something else. So I’m making do today. Fortunately the disabled toilet is big enough for me to get a chair in it and sit down. And it’s not too smelly because not many people use it. I’d say it’s actually in pretty good clean condition. The cleaners are great. But this is a very short term solution, I hope.  Turns out a colleague of mine did the same, which horrifies me. I know there are several empty rooms in my building, it’s just a matter of assigning one. But may be the person who said he would have one ready for my return does have one ready and it’s just that no one knows where it is because it is so private!!! Ha!

The things we do for our little loved ones…. someday Aviana I will tell you these fun stories!

The end of maternity leave

Today is technically my last day of maternity leave. And here I am writing on this blog! I should be out enjoying the freedom before work! Except I have to pump breast milk for little Miss A. So I think I will be doing this more frequently! Pump n blog. It’s a thing now.

I’m ready to go back to work. Although sometimes I feel like I never left because I have been studying and working on my team project for the executive development programme – which BTW ends next week! I get to graduate! Whoop whoop! Assuming I don’t screw up the final presentation. The report is written, printed and the presentation almost finalised. I am not sure how I managed to do it whilst on maternity leave, but I did. Some weeks were hard when I had to play catch up with my team project because I was busy trying to figure out toys, breastfeeding, naps, crying, doctors, daycares…well motherhood in general! I’m so almost at the end! I can’t wait to not have the burden of study or project work over my shoulder! Kind of like finishing my Masters in someways!!

I’m not looking forward to pumping and figuring that all out. And I’m not looking forward to figuring out a routine. Chris and I tried it today and I managed to get out the house 10 minutes later than I hoped. So we will probably need to wake up at 5.45am to get out he door on time!!! Practice makes perfect. Tomorrow will be the real deal. And a friend colleague has moved nearby us so we could car share but need to figure out logistics of dropping/picking Aviana up for the future.

I tried on all my work clothes yesterday- none of my shirts fit me because of my milk filled boobs! But my trousers and skirts still fit. So I guess it’s time to adjust my work clothing style, especially as I was in maternity work clothes before.  I hate shopping so I’m relying on Le tote to help me out a bit. I’ve ordered my first work clothes style box and it should arrive today just in time! No more casual, comfy, slouchy clothes for me!! I’m already missing my hoodie 😭

But don’t cry for me…I’ve still got a lot of leave to take when I get back from my trip to Belgium next week. Whoop whoop! I think rhis gradual integration back to work is going to be good. I hope! 

I’m going to miss this little one!

Daycare aka nursery aka school

Aviana started daycare 2 weeks ago today. We thought it best to get her settled in a few weeks before I go back to work and fly to Brussels for a week leaving Chris to pick up the pieces. Well, there haven’t been any pieces to pick up so far! 

We thought she would go off schedule. Nurse all night. Not go to sleep. Catch unknown diseases. Cry when we drop her off. Cry when we pick her up. 

But nope…none of that happened. (So far anyway!)

She smiles at the teachers when we drop her off and when we pick her up she reaches out for me and smiles! Oh my heart melted first time she did that! 

That is except for the day she got her vaccinations-but I think we can all be forgiven for being grumpy on the day we get our shots! Speaking of which I experienced mild panic when the school phoned me to say Aviana had a rash the day she got her vaccinations. I was in the middle of a shop when I got the call. I was only a 10 min drive away. I had two thoughts – 1- finish the shop…she’s fine the school didn’t sound so concerned…then…-2- what if she goes into anaphylactic shock? I should drop everything and run to my car!!! After what seemed forever in deliberations (prob actually 30 seconds) I put everything back on the shelves and dashed to my car. 

When I got there she was screaming blue murder. The poor teachers had about 5 other crying kids at the same time, it must be contagious, but Aviana’s was the loudest! When I went over to her she immediately stopped crying when she saw me! Then the teacher showed me her rash…

Earlier she had a bit of eczema on her tummy and the doctor saw it, but what the teacher was showing me was a whole lot worse. That however is another story…for another day.

It then got me thinking about how far away Chris and I are from her daycare when we are at work. It would take me 20 minutes on a clear run at 2am to drive. But then there is whatever I am doing. I’d have to drop it. Pack up, get to my car etc. I reckon it would be 30 minutes the quickest. And it would be the same for Chris too. That actually seems like a long time if she is actually ill or something happens! But we decided to have the daycare closer to home rather than one of ours work seeing as we both would be picking her up/dropping her off depending on our work schedules.  I guess this is just a taster of the future – because she will get ill whilst she is at daycare. It will happen. But it made us think how we will cope in the future and how we decide who has to drop everything and go pick her up. It’s going to be tricky!

Aviana’s first full week was ‘Teacher’s week’ and they gave us a guide to the events ongoing that week – which included theme gift days. We decided we should participate so not to be rude and bought the teachers some spa stuff on the ‘SPA-T-ON’ day. It was hard because we didn’t yet know all the teachers properly or even what was the done thing! 

The great thing about this daycare is that they use an App to update us on her activities including diaper changes, feeds, naps and when she needs more diapers, wet wipes etc. and they also send pictures!!! I got instant relief to see that she was napping and eating well ☺️

So far I am really pleased with our choice in daycare. The teachers are lovely. I just couldn’t have asked for it to have gone any better than it has so far. I’m feeling confident for going back to work. Of course I’m feeling sad about that, but I know she is in good hands.

Strides for hope 5K

Did you know that last week was National Infertility Awareness Week?  To raise money and awareness a local Fertility clinic organized a Resolve DIY walk of hope.

Some of our support group members manned the Resolve information table at the race!

Chris and I entered the 5k ‘race’ and walked with Aviana in the buggy.  Some of my local infertility support group members were there too with their little miracles and others who are in their wait. Honestly, it was a bit strange walking around with our little baby knowing we were amongst friends and many others who longed for a baby still.

Chris and I were near the back of the race pack and so we ended up alone having a deep conversation about child number two, sibling relationships, which country we want to live in, what to do with the our savings, our one frozen embryo, how to get pregnant again, our long infertility journey, risk of a future growth restricted baby, adoption and fostering to adopt. Phew. That was a lot. I won’t go into detail now about all of this, but let’s just say it was all deep given the purpose of the event we were participating in and I crossed the finish line with a few years in my eyes. Chris and I need to work through these conversations some more before we come up with a mutually agreed ‘plan’ for our family’s future. To sum up INFERTILITY SUCKS!

Overall, it was a great event, I caught up with some friends from the support group which was lovely. They managed to raise over $8000 for Resolve. 

And I wore my pineapple top and f*ck infertility socks. 

But as we left the race and headed home I turned to chris and said

 “I wish infertility would just do one”

Although it was a great event, I wish infertility awareness didn’t have to happen and I wouldn’t ever wish infertility upon even my worst enemy.

Chris and I starting the race – Baby’s gotta eat!!!

The baby sleep solution week 2 & 3

THIS girl….she is really quite amazing. I didn’t want to bore you with too much detail as we work towards step 1 of baby sleep solution so I’ve saved it all up for one post. 

We are almost at four feeds during the day of 6oz. Her first few days at daycare we were thinking she would be on 3-3.5hr feeds of 4oz, but she easily transitioned to 4hr feeds of 5oz and the last feed of the night 6oz. As a result of this change she has started to skip her night time feed. BUT this means she is up early!!! Like 5am. So it’s been tough trying to keep her to a schedule of first feed at 6.30am-is 5am her night feed? No, she isn’t interested in food at that time, but 4am she was. 

OK so let’s talk a bit about the 4 month sleep regression!!!! Umm so we think she is currently in it. But we are not certain, though this is why: She started to have 25-30 minute naps…and as I’ve written about before she was like clockwork with her 40-45 min naps! She has also on occasion been waking up at 9pm/10pm after we put her down at 7pm. First time that happened we were so surprised because this girl had never done that before. The couple of times that this has happened over past few weeks we have gone into the room, gave a few reassuring pats in the crib with a couple of shushes, and she has fallen straight back to sleep. Other times we have also noticed on the monitor that she can wake up, kick around, make a few odd noises and fall back to sleep again. We think she knows how to soothe herself which is helping us through this ‘regression’ or ‘progression’. Last night at 4.15am she cried out a bit, so I got up to go to the toilet to prepare myself to go get her from her room and feed her, but by the time I’d come back she put herself back to sleep! 

Whatever is happening with her sleep, she’s doing great!!!

The next stages of the baby are : step 2, eliminate all night feedings for 12 hours and step 3 sleep or resting in crib for 12 hours. 

We have almost completed steps 2 and 3. Last night she did 11 hours in her crib, she slept for 10.5 then kicked around the last 30 mins on her own in her crib. Most of this has been all her.

The final stage, step 4 is getting her to nap/rest quietly twice a day one hour in morning and two in afternoon. We won’t get to do this step because her daycare does on demand napping- for a good reason- they have newborn babies up to 12 mth olds in the ‘class’ so they can’t schedule nap times and it is noisy as a result. so Aviana sleeps when she decides to sleep while at daycare, considering she had quite a routine for naps we wondered how the teachers put her down to sleep. Turns out what they do is let her play on the floor or in bouncer seat and when she falls asleep they put her in the crib. Not exactly how we thought they would do it, but Aviana seems happy and that’s all that matters. She is still good at going down to nap in her own crib at home.

Weeks 2 & 4 summary: Baby sleep solution seems to be working well for both us and Aviana! She is sleeping though the night if you consider 10-11 hours as the criteria. So think We will stick at it and see if we can get her to sleep/and or stay in her crib for 12 hours!

Preparing for daycare

EEEEEEEK Aviana starts daycare next tuesday.  How are we here already?  The past few weeks Aviana has really been starting to enjoy playtime, and I have been enjoying playtime with her too.  She is really quite mellow and happy being independent playing on her own, but I have been having too much fun playing with her. This has meant that the past few weeks I have had little time to myself, but that is what maternity leave is all about?  Spending time nurturing your little one??!

A month ago if you asked me about whether I would miss maternity leave, I’d have said no, I was actually quite looking forward to going back to work. Now if you ask me, I’d probably be a bit hesitant.  I’m actually having a lot of fun with Aviana now and I love seeing her develop.  Just the other day she sat up on her ownfor the first time…it was fascinating to watch her figure it out! And just by coincidence I managed to video record it! I know there are many other firsts to come that I will miss now, but I am glad I have been lucky enough to have at least a few with her.

Having said all of this I’m looking forward to work.  Luckily I am easing myself back into it gently.  Here is the daycare transition plan:

  • Next week, the first week, Tuesday is her first day.  We will head there after her first nap of the day at home.  Arrive at daycare at about 9.30AM, I’ll breastfeed her there, play with her a bit, then I will go on the advice of the daycare staff what is the best way to do this transition!  But the plan is for her to spend just mornings there for the rest of the week.
  • Second week, plan is to arrive 9.30AM and pick her up 3PM-ish.  So shorter days.
  • Third week, plan is to put her in full time 7.30AM/8AM to 5PM-ish.
  • Fourth week I start work and travel to Brussels so Chris is on his own with Aviana!

Aviana has been good at taking the bottle and doesn’t seem to have a problem with it, and she still likes the boob, so no fear of a nursing strike just yet.  But it is a genuine fear I have.  I am also nervous about her overeating.  We still have yet to figure out how we are going to do a routine once I am properly back at work, but hopefully we will get a feel for it in the third week.

Right…now all I have to do now is go and label all her clothes!!!

Do you have any tips for transitioning an infant to daycare?  What was your experience? How did you feel?

The baby sleep solution days 8, 9 & 10

Day 8: So I left you all on tenterhooks after day 7’s schedule all went out of the window.  I just knew it was going to be a bad night when Aviana woke up at 9.30 PM, just 2.5hrs after we put her down for the night.  At first we were confused where the crying was coming from because she has never woken up this early since she was 6 weeks old!  I panicked, not knowing how to handle this, especially as I had literally just finished pumping – the boob soothing option was pretty much out of the window.  Could she really be hungry?  Well she hadn’t eaten much that day, so it was possible.  Or was this the start of the 4 month sleep regression?   For some reason I crazily decided to try and soothe her back to sleep by shushing her and putting my hand on her tummy.  Unbelievably – it worked!!  Phew!  However, knowing that she wasn’t in a deep sleep we decided not to do our usual thing of what we do just before we go to bed: pick her up out of her crib in her room and transfer her to the pack and play in our room.

We decided that we would leave her in her crib for the night for the very first time. YIKES I was nervous about doing this. Why?  Because I was afraid I wouldn’t hear her cry or the monitor would break – her bedroom is upstairs and ours is downstairs so we wouldn’t hear her cry through the walls.  Of course this is also prime time for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) , so I worry about that all the time.

Anyway…needless to say I was right.  She woke up at 2.15AM.  DOH.  Then she woke up for the day at 5AM. Double DOH.

Despite the early start, Aviana nursed to schedule, still every three hours, and napped well, with me putting her down in her crib with little to no crying. WINNER!

Day 9: Aviana woke up again at 2.30AM  for  night feed and then woke up for the day at 4.45AM. UGHHHHH.  OK so there goes the theory that a schedule with few feeds with more milk helps her to sleep through the night!  But remember we are only on step 1 of the baby sleep solution.  Today was nanny day!  I got to take a break and Aviana was on schedule with the nanny.  She even drunk 5oz of milk at bed time!  She is taking the bottle much better now.

Day 10: This time Aviana woke up at 3.15AM, a little better, but not like the few days she slept through.   The schedule went completely out of the window because I went to a baby wearing meeting in the morning and Aviana decided to fall asleep in the car in both directions.  Then I got a call from friends who needed some help with something which meant I had to leave the house, so Aviana missed her afternoon nap completely.  Today was a day that made me realise that Aviana likes a schedule because she got a little grumpy with it all, which made me a little grumpy too.

Days 8, 9 & 10 summary:  No more sleeping through the night, those two days seemed to be a one off.  But Aviana seems to be a much happier baby with a schedule and goes down for naps easily.  I think we may be able to stretch out her feeds a little more next week now that I know she can drink 5oz in one feed.