The sickiness

It just HAD to happen the two weeks I was away on work travels.  Before I left Chris got really ill with some kind of respiratory infection…and of course it had to happen when snowmageddon happened.  Chris was due to travel, but he was too ill and then we had 9” of snow!  This meant I had to look after Aviana whilst daycare was shut and Chris was a poorly bunny tucked up in bed.  We have some wonderful friends who came to our rescue who walked through the snow to our house and helped clear our driveway so I could get out and drive Chris to Urgent Care.  The day after Chris’s trip to urgent care I was due to fly to California.  With all the snow I was mostly expecting for my flight to be cancelled/delayed.  But in the end my flights went smoothly, despite the snow, and so off I went to California leaving sick Chris to look after Aviana.  Chris had some extra help from our sitter on a couple of evenings.  They survived, but Chris was exhausted, still recovering from his respiratory infection.

I came home for 24 hours at the weekend and then I was off again,  but this time to Paris.  After I made it to my hotel I received a sitrep that Aviana was not acting her usual self.  Either she was acting strange because I had left or she was getting ill.  It turned out she was getting ill.  Chris was sending me pictures and videos of Aviana looking incredibly sorry for herself.  She couldn’t sleep lying down or on her own and just cried and cried.  Poor Chris stayed up most of the night with her sleeping upright on him.  Worried about her labored breathing he took her to urgent care.  She had Bronchiolitis and sores in her mouth, it was viral so there was very little that could be done to help her recover quicker except for rest, cuddles and fluids.  The sores in her mouth meant she wouldn’t eat any food except for yoghurt, blueberries and chocolate ice cream.  Haha, yes we resorted to the ice cream (my idea ice cream, chocolate was Chris’s idea!!!).   Poor love, she was in so much pain.

Chris was due to travel for a couple of days for work, but the doctor said Aviana couldn’t come in contact with other children until 48hrs after her fever had gone….which wouldn’t have been a problem except our sitter works with other children so that meant she couldn’t have Aviana.  I offered to come home, but that would have been too late for Chris to travel, so he cancelled his work trip and stayed home with her for the rest of the week.  Of course, it was impossible for him to work at home with a sick baby and he doesn’t get much leave as it is.  It was just so typical – I have 8 days of leave I carried over from last year…I’m the one with all the leave and I wasn’t there to help!

By the time I got back from Paris Aviana was feeling better and almost back to her normal self; she still has a bit of a chesty wheeze and a runny nose, but she’s a million times better than she was.  Then of course I woke up with some weird chesty cough, I haven’t had a cold so it came out of nowhere.

I think we are done with January and the sickiness.  Can we just start the new year again please?!

That smile

Whilst I was away traveling with work Chris sent me regular photos of Aviana.  In the photos I noticed little new things she was doing.  Notably, walking with more confidence.  One photo in particular, she had a beaming smile.  The smile seemed so genuine.  She was smiling at our cat Diesel, saying hello to him first thing in the morning.  My heart melted.  I felt massively home sick.

I drove home with bleary eyes after my red eye flight back from San Francisco, trying not to speed or shout at slow people because all I wanted to do was get a big hug from my family as soon as possible.  I wondered whether Aviana would be mad at me for leaving her all week, or if she would ignore me or worse, not remember who I am. When I got home Aviana was in bed napping.  Typical.  And so when I heard her talking away to herself in her crib I excitedly went into her room and surprised her.  I leaned over her crib and smiled and she gave me that huge big beaming smile I had seen in the photo.  I smiled even harder.  I just wanted to cry with happiness.

Something had definitely changed with her in the last week, this smile was meaningful and conveyed something.  I felt like she was communicating with her smile, I think she has learned that she can make other people smile with her smile.  How cool is that?

On the go again

I am on work travels again, this time without Aviana or Chris, in Bavaria, Germany.  And so far my week has not been the greatest, although in terms of work it has been a successful trip.

Firstly, no one was at the airport to pick me up when I arrived in Germany and I didn’t have a number to call.  So I waited for 45 minutes and decided that no one was coming, and decided to drag my huge ass bag for 3 hours on the train.  Changing twice in the early morning after a red eye flight from the US was killer.  And it was on a Sunday.  I had to stay awake because I needed to make sure I changed at the right stops!  I was PISSED by the end of my journey.  Then, where there was supposed to be a bus at the train station, there was none, so I had to walk 15 minutes dragging my suitcase across cobble stones to my hotel.  I was desperate for some sleep, but I needed to pump and shower.  So I was pretty grumpy at this fact.

When I opened up my bag to unpack I discovered that the lovely TSA had searched my bag – and of course, what was of interest to them was my cooling unit box that I had packed to use on my return journey to carry my week’s pumped breast milk.  With great ineptitude, they repacked it the wrong way up which resulted in the ‘on button’ for the cooling unit to depress.  It is a one time use only packaging so it was now useless.  I had cut down on my packing just to fit this cooling box in my suitcase so I could carry my milk home.  But the STUPID TSA can’t replace something the way it was – there were even TWO sets of instructions in case they were really confused.

I cried.  I ugly cried.  I was exhausted.  I was fed up of pumping.  I just cried for 15 minutes hard..  I cried in the shower, I cried whilst I pumped.  By the time I was done crying over my ‘not possible to have a spilt milk problem’ it was time to meet my colleagues to do some work in the afternoon.

The day prior to flying I had to take a day off work because I had a horrible cold and wanted to rest and get better for my work trip.  However, no one ever told me that flying with a stuffed up nose was stupid.  So here is my advice to you…DON’T EVER FLY WITH A BAD COLD! My right ear and my sinuses were in a huge amount of pain after landing in Germany.  I later ended up with a sinus infection for the rest of the week and it was bloody gross.  I mean, I have never seen such vast amounts of thick green and yellow snot before. I guess I have been lucky enough in my life to never had sinus problems before, but geeeeeees that hurts!  I wasn’t taking any cold meds because most meds have menthol in which kill breast milk supply.  Considering I am barely pumping 6 oz a day right now I thought it would be stupid to kill off what I have left.  So I suffered with just paracetamol/Tylenol to help.

At least I wasn’t at home being sick on my family!  However, being ill in a hotel SUCKS!  And then the added pressure to work after travelling so far for a specific event.

On top of all that, jet lag was kicking me in the butt and I wasn’t able to fall asleep until 1 am every night, and then being up at 6 am for work.  There were several mornings when I thought I just couldn’t face getting out of bed.  One night I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like death was at my door and I thought I had a terrible fever and that I might need to go to hospital.  So I actually grabbed my clothes just in case I needed to urgently get to the emergency room!  I may have been a little delusional at that point, but it was a rough night.

I survived the week, I turned up to work every day and made it through some how.  If it hadn’t been for my awesome colleagues I probably wouldn’t have made it through!

And so the end of the week came…I thought it was all over.  But no.  About 1.5hrs into my return trip to the hotel airport on the mini bus I realised I had left my passport in the hotel safe.  Luckily I wasn’t flying until the next day, so I planned how I could get my passport back.  It involved a favour from a colleague to pick it up for me and meet me at the train station. I dumped my bag at the airport hotel and then spent more than 6 hours on the train to and from the hotel where I had left my passport at…. this was time when I should have been sight seeing, shopping and catching up with a friend in Munich.  But at least I got the passport back in time!  Stupid idiot.  I blame my sinus infection really.

On top of all that I was missing Aviana a lot.  Chris was also doing some work travels this week, so my mum has come out to help out for a couple of weeks.  Thankfully!!!  But with the travel to the UK and us being away I feel kind of bad for Aviana.  I know she is just fine and happy with granny and still going to daycare.  I just need to figure out how I reconcile the whole traveling for work thing.

It’s going to take some practice I think!

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.