Monday, September 29, 2014

A fool and his money are soon parted

Finally start on that cap-sleeve tattoo fund

Buy a house again someday

Another IVF round + trip abroad for a meetup with that frozen embryo across the ocean

Say fuck it to owning a house and purchase an Airstream instead -- glamping forever!

Start a fund to eliminate the word "glamping" from all vocabularies everywhere, including my own

Cosmetic dentistry to fix these fluoride stains that cause me unceasing angst

Pay off debt and save save save <------- the name of the game outside of my fantasy list.  At least in my head, I'm covered in tattoos and have a prettier smile.  Someday, someday!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Spinning plates and leveling

Behold, my cute baby!  

She's changing so rapidly -- at 9 pounds (probably 10+ by now, since that 9lbs is from a pediatrician appointment two weeks ago!) she's outgrown her newborn swaddle wrap.  Next stop college or trade school or the Peace Corps or astronaut academy or welding class or Google University (I'm assuming this will be a Thing by then...).  I just hope she doesn't want to -- shudder -- attend Bing College (GU's rival).

There are some big changes going on at work too, and everyone knows that change is hard, so for the past week that's been weighing heavily on my mind.  And then there was the time a few weeks ago when I goofed up (minor mistake, but still) at 4:59 on a Friday, thus sending me into paroxysms of fretting all weekend, because I take pride in my work and lately I've been struggling to function at what I consider to be a decent level at times.  While I feel pretty confident parenting (as in, hey, I know nothing [Jon Snow] but I've kept her alive and well this long, so....hey, we're ok!) I feel way more plagued by self-doubt at my job.  What if I've forgotten something, what if there are program supplies I neglected to pick up, what if I forget x or y or z.  I'm spinning plates.  I suspect this heightened career-worry is a survival technique conjured up by my brain, because otherwise I'd be plagued with more worry about getting in the car with her (other drivers are scary!) or staying awake watching her sleep to make sure she's breathing.  I guess I'm going to worry about one thing or another at any given moment, but it's heavily tilted towards work, so I hope that levels out soon.

Life is good, but...heavy, weighty, muffled in the fog of new parenthood, and the rest of life just spins about me/us.  The angst is amped up when it occurs, but the joy is amped too (her smile, her smile).  I feel more balanced than I did a month ago when I felt like I was a star collapsing in on myself at times, so I think things are leveling.  But the self-doubt persists.  I hope that levels off soon too.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Letter to Self

Thursday, September 18, 2014

2 months in

I hear some moms look at pictures of their kids or something while they pump but this is the reading material I go for.  Getting anything that isn't an audiobook finished is a challenge these days.  There are just so many things I want to be doing daily.  Freddie and I are all the way up to page 25 in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which I think is impressive.  But that's 25 pages over 2 months (my baby is 2 months old...and a whopping 9 pounds!).  Somehow the "bath, book, breast, bed" routine has been mostly truncated to "breast, bed."  

So often, I feel like I'm just barely scraping by in terms of being active and present with her.  So often, I find myself just sitting with her in my lap, zoning out, because by the time my day is done and we're there sitting together at the end of the day, despite the fact that it's the longest amount of time I even get with her, I'm so tired that I can't bring myself to do much with it.  Then I beat myself up about it -- 'You only have about two hours of time with her when she's awake per day, and you're wasting it!' I might say to myself reproachfully as I hold her and Internet at the same time (keeping the screen away from her visual range).  My mom plays with her a ton during the day and she gets lots of mental stimulation that way -- by the time my day is done, I'm barely there.  On Tuesdays I don't get out of work until 9:15PM, and then it's still a 45 minute drive home.  I barely see her on Tuesdays at all.  Even my normal days are as follows:

5:45-6AM: wake up

6-7AM: feed/pump/shower/get out the door

7-8AM: drive to my mom's house, drop Freddie off

8-9AM: drive to work

9-5:30: work

5:30-6:15: drive to pick up Freddie (I do this part for 2 weeks while I'm at one library branch, then Patrick does for 2 weeks while I work the farther-away branch, so this at least is ok, although what I wouldn't give to flip-flop the morning shift instead...but doing that makes less sense, alas)

6:15-7:15: pick her up, go home

By the time I get home, I'm dead to the world.  I have a generally easy baby, but still.

Someday, we will spend our time together doing things other than zoning out.  But these are not those days.  At least not during the week.

At least there are weekends.  Of course, she zones out a lot then too...but at least I feel like I make up for my lack of weekday presence on Saturdays and Sundays (at least, when I don't work Saturdays, which I do off and on in rotation).

I am trying, sweet little baby.  I am trying so hard to be there.  It's just hard.  The hours slip away.  

I'm writing this during a lunch break.  It's not the best I could pull together, but the best will have to wait.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Weekly typed-over-several-days-one-handed-while-nursing post

It is possible to feel so many things at once.  Sobby rage at pain that won't go away (fuck thrush), exhaustion, and simultaneous overwhelming fullness.  I feel like that fullness, more than anything, is what's keeping me afloat, even when at night I'm in tears (again: fuck thrush).  I'm beginning to balance all of these emotions a bit better.  Two weeks ago I felt like I was falling. apart.  Pain = huge factor there...still is, but the last two days have been better so even while I wait to get an appointment with my midwife *again* it's at least maybe improving?

I digress.  Anyway --

So so much about motherhood has not quite been how I'd hoped (mostly thrush, who the fuck invented this torture??!!) but this feeling of complete-ness has over-delivered on all of my expectations.  I feel like a missing board was nailed into place with the arrival of my daughter.  I feel whole.  And in feeling whole, I feel like the number of fucks I give about other things has decreased and increased.  That is, the stupid shit feels more stupid and 'whatever', and the important shit feels way more important.  I feel freer.  I feel like I want to be better.

Countless times I've read and heard about the overwhelming wave of parental love people feel.  I don't know if this is that feeling.  I think this is separate.  Feeling whole feels less like an emotion and more like a lighter state of being, a different way of breathing and moving.  It's as though a rock was lifted from my chest, or a pebbly choking hazard removed from my throat.  Love is some other thing, something apart.  Not better or worse, it is stitched to this feeling but still is a different patch of cloth.  This wholeness is more about who I am than what I feel, more about me than about us.  I don't mean that in a narcissist way.  Just in a 'I didn't know how broken that Hayley was until she got patched up with that board' way.

I hate to put that kind of 'you complete me' pressure on such a little person.  It's not quite like that.  It's not quite like, well, anything.  This wholeness simply is.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Struggling, grateful, etc.

Welp, things are things around here.  THINGS.  I've been dealing with increasing pain for the last 5 or 6 weeks, which I *finally* got to see my midwife about, and for which I got a prescription.  That was on Friday afternoon.  Friday evening, I came down with a terrible fever, on-top of not having eaten enough that day because I took my lunch-hour time to go to my midwife appointment (I am not smart!) so I was a total shaking basket case, and thus began my mastitis experience (which is ongoing, though no more fever at this moment).  Just as I got some initial relief for Ailment A, Ailment B showed up.  Cue the tears.

After talking to my midwife, I do think my feelings of woe, exhaustion and fatigue are due in part to my Ailment A making me so, so miserable while trying to balance work and everything that comes with new motherhood, plus a low supply.  I'm hoping that if this prescription heals it, my mental health will also improve.  I also need to make sure I'm eating and drinking enough.  I really suck at that.  It's like I'm trying to function on the terms of my pre-baby experience (skip lunch to go to a doctor's appointment, it'll be ok as long as you eat shortly thereafter! NOOOOPE BODY IS NOT OK) and that is just not working for me.  No truer "duh" statement was ever probably written, but there you have it.

Then there's breastfeeding.  I want so badly to make exclusive breastfeeding work, but...

I want to at least make it to 6 months.  The low supply I have is a downer (god forbid I forget to take those Fenugreek pills) and the fact that my daughter still can't latch without extra help is frustrating (it's not her fault, I just wasn't made to breastfeed...same as I wasn't made to have kids or something, apparently...great!) and it's attaching a feeling of anxiety and, frankly, bodily-failure to breastfeeding for me, which sucks.  And I know that things would be okay if I didn't exclusively breastfeed.  Logically, I know this.  Formula (whether fulltime or supplemental) would not kill her.  In addition to my friends (sincerely, thank you) even my crunchy MIDWIFE was even like, 'hey, do what you can, and don't feel bad if you can't continue' which was flat-out shocking considering the pressure I felt from their office + all the pro-breastfeeding signage everywhere there.  But I don't want to have this be another instance of my body massively failing me.  Different battle, same war.  I just want to win this one.

It's hard right now.  But I feel like if I didn't push through, I'd beat myself up about not trying hard enough forever (regardless of the merit of that self-accusation*).  Whatever "hard enough" even is.  It's hard but I am still feeding her and getting enough to freeze bit by bit, so I know it could be worse.  The latch difficulty is disheartening and frustrating, but not a brick wall.  The mastitis won't last forever and I don't think it's supposed to impact my already-low supply forever either.  It's a bunch of difficult things that aren't individually horrible, but taken together are stressing me out (and who knows, maybe that's impacting my supply too -- a Ouroboros of a problem) .  But I feel like on some level, I signed up for this willingly, and therefore just have to roll with the punches (which admittedly may not be the most self-kind/self-forgiving outlook).

But, onwards and upwards, as they say.  If I allow myself to wallow in melancholy for too long, it's just going to get harder to tighten my laces and keep hiking on.  The important thing to remember (and this is totally a pep-talk to myself here) is that my ailments will not last forever.  Breastfeeding will not last forever.  Maybe it will even get better!  This is the longest shortest time.  I am so grateful for this little one.  It's hard.  I expected it to be hard -- just not in these ways.  But still, so grateful.  Struggling, but grateful.

And just to even the tone out here, I was able to wrap Freddie up in the Moby yesterday evening and Patrick and I got some basil ice cream with rainbow sprinkles at Bev's, exchanged pleasantries with another family of a ginger baby (it's like a cult, you guys -- a secret club), and then strolled lazily around the VMFA sculpture/fountain garden as the shadows grew long.

And hey, my dog hasn't led another poop-puke fest, so it could be worse.

*There really is no way to talk about this without it seeming like a judgement on formula feeding, is there?  Ugh.  The dialogue about it all is so fraught.  It seems like there's this concept that you should have to show a punchcard of all the ways you tried "hard enough" to make breastfeeding work before turning to formula.  Ugh.  Fraught, I tell you.  Fraught.  In more ways than I can even attempt to articulate.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

When life gives you lemons, make nachos

I have the cutest baby, and also my house is a wreck.  That pile used to be my desk!  What am I doing about it?  Lounging on the bed with my laptop and baby instead.  Sometimes you just have to lean into the mess, right?  It'll get clean again someday.

I started back to work on Thursday which was okay.  On Thursdays my library system is closed at the branch level so librarians have an admin day at our big main branch where we can have our all-day meetings with everyone present.  So as far as transition days go, it was the best choice for a day to go back.  The big main branch is also significantly closer to my parents' house, which made dropping off/picking up Freddie a fairly ok piece of cake (box mix cake if you will).  Friday, however, was a more accurate picture of what the majority of my workdays are going to be like: 5:45 alarm clock (though really I was up at 4 to nurse and never got back to sleep), yet STILL found myself rushing to get out the door at 7 so I could get Freddie to my mom at 7:45 so I could then drive from there to get to work at 9.  It's a driving triangle, with every point 45 minutes away from the other two points.  

I'm driving 90-100 miles a day if I don't make any other stops.  Of course I knew this all in theory before when planning this out, but the functioning-on-4-or-5-hours-of-sleep factor wasn't quite as.....real then.  That commute when you're exhausted and already massively anxious about driving with the baby = perfect storm for a truly beaten-down Hayley by sundown Friday.  

It's tough because right now, most stuff falls to me by default, whether by nature (nursing), geography (commute), or bad luck (I'm having some supply issues, which means Patrick giving the baby a bottle at night isn't a good solution right now). Patrick could take Freddie to my parents in the morning, but somehow I keep thinking this is less than ideal because he has to get to work at 8:30, whereas my job starts at 9, and he'd have to drive with the worst traffic in the morning headed back towards the city after dropping her off, whereas I drive against traffic for all of my morning.  Would him taking the morning drop-off some days wear me out less? theory.  But if I'm already waking up that early, then I come back around to "is it really worth it having two people up this early instead of one?" argument.  So, once again I fall back on me driving being the best option.  He's going to pick her up whenever I'm at the branch that's less close to my parents' house, so that'll be helpful on a two-weeks-on/two-weeks-off schedule based on what branch I'm working at certain weeks.  And he'll pick her up every Tuesday when I work late.  And Thursdays are easier because I'm at the branch that's close to my parents.  

So I just have to keep reminding myself that not every day will be as grueling as Friday was.  I just have to keep remembering that this will get easier.  I will try to trade my car in this winter for something that is a little less scary to drive a baby around in (I have a tiny Chevy Aveo hatchback right now...think Geo Metro and it's pretty close to that; I desperately miss my Volvo station wagon from my college years and want to go back to something like that).  And eventually Freddie's happy/sad mood schedule will shift (I hope).  Right now, she's usually happy during the day, and then epically sad around 7 or right when I get her back from my mom.  I miss having some time with a happy baby!  So I hope this shifts and I don't just get a sad baby for all the time slots I have her during the workweek :'(  

This too shall pass.  I am so lucky to live reasonably close to family so that my mom can take her during the day.  I know it's quite a shift for her too to suddenly be taking care of a baby all day!  And everyone has been so kind in helping us out and bringing us meals and understanding when I leave a library program craft item in my car by accident because I'm a bit loony right now (see: commute + lack of sleep!).  I know this is a transitional phase right now.  It has to get better.  It will get better.  The problem is that it's very, very hard to see this rationally at 6AM when I've been up for 2 hours already.  

This will pass.  

Until then, nachos in bed with SNL are a great balm.  That's the problem with giving up on regular TV watching.  When I fall off the wagon I fall hard.  Full-on nachos-in-bed hard.  Oh well.  Again...leaning into the mess here!

*snuggles babe*  Worth it.