Shoot me now.

So.

I’ve been back at work for a month and things are settling into a routine. Clara is gaining tons of weight and turning into such a funny little girl. I really love this age. She’s close to sitting, she’ll stand holding onto the crib rail if I put her there, and she’s become so aware of the world that it can be a struggle to get her to eat, or to sleep, or to just relax for a few minutes so Mommy can pee!

At the same time, work has gotten pretty busy for me, and I’m finding it hard to get everything done that needs to get done. Between my commute, pumping, dinner-making and baby feeding, and, oh yes, sleep, my free hours for working are just about equal to the hours I need to be billing* and, as any lawyer will tell you, you always work more hours than you actually bill.

On top of all of this, we just put an offer in on a house, right before we’re heading out of town for Clara’s baptism. The seller wants the inspection done before the weekend so that if we decide to pass on the house, she can remarket it this weekend, which means I am now scheduled to spend half of my day tomorrow — a day in which I need to get some serious work done before taking off several days — at the house with the inspector. I have no idea when I’ll manage to pump, because I have to go from the inspection straight to a meeting at another firm, and I can hardly get there and bug out for 20 minutes to pump in a strange location. Oh, and then I need to leave work early anyway to pick up the dress I plan to wear for the baptism, and then take the dog to the kennel before 7, and pack, and get the baby in bed at a reasonable hour so we can leave for the airport early on Thursday morning….

In other words, f**k.

I keep telling myself that if everything works out — if the inspection is clean, if I manage to make my meetings, if I get the dress picked up and the dog dropped off and everything packed — it’ll be really amazing to go home and visit family knowing that we will be closing on this great house in a month or so. And if it doesn’t, I’m going to be really pissed that I’ve given an inspector $450 to look at a house I’m never going to live in.

And how is your week going?

* This is a bit misleading; my firm doesn’t have a strict hours requirement. I’m actually referring here to the actual amount of work I have to do to get stuff done for my clients rather than the amount of work my firm expects me to do.

A day in the life.

2:00 – 2:25 am: Baby wakes up, wanting to eat. I feed her, put her back to bed.

5:30 am: Baby wakes up again, but it’s too early to be up for the day, so I bring her into bed with me and we all go back to sleep.

6:30 – 6:45 am: Baby is still sleeping, but I go ahead and feed her while she’s sleeping. This actually works better than waiting for her to wake up, since she’s less likely to be totally distracted by our surroundings. I put the baby back to bed in her crib after feeding her.

6:45 – 7:00 am: I shower and blow dry my hair.

7:00 – 7:15 am: Baby wakes up, cooing and babbling. I grab her and put her on my bed while I get dressed. I take breaks to blow raspberries and make funny faces at her. I change her diaper and get her dressed for the day.

7:15 – 7:18 am: Baby spits up all over and down my shirt. I change my shirt. I do not have another clean nursing bra, so I clean it up the best I can and hope I don’t smell like spit-up all day.

7:18 – 7:30 am: Baby and I go downstairs and take the dog out and feed him his breakfast. She plays in the bouncy seat while I eat my breakfast (a fast bowl of cereal), gather up her bottles and all of my pumping supplies.

7:30 – 7:40 am: Baby and I play and sing songs.

7:40 – 7:52 am: I feed baby one last time before leaving for daycare.

7:55 am: We leave for daycare.

7:58 am: We arrive at daycare. (This is one of the best things about our daycare.)

8:05 am: I leave daycare, after having a conversation with our daycare provider about her naps (she doesn’t take many), and her eating (she can start having rice cereal a couple of times a day).

8:08 am: I arrive back home, where I drop my car and walk to the bus stop.

9:00 am: After delays on the Red Line, I arrive at work. I immediately pump as I have a meeting at 9:30.

9:30 – noon: Meetings and calls.

11:40 am: I pump again, while on a conference call, with my phone set to mute (I am not required to participate, I’m just an observer) because I have a lunch meeting and have to leave the office by noon.

12:30 – 2:00 pm: Lunch meeting is interesting, and thankfully, they feed us. Free lunch!

2:00 – 3:30 pm: I’m drafting a pleading, revising terms & conditions, and reviewing documents related to a matter that’s being transitioned to me from a departing associate.

3:30 pm: Pump. I take a break to read the internet, check my personal email, and relax a little bit.

3:50 – 4:50 pm: Continue drafting, revising, and reviewing.

4:50 – 5:00 pm: Gather up my stuff, taking care not to leave bottles in the dorm fridge in my office and making sure I have my Metro card, before dashing out for the day.

5:05-5:25 pm: On Metro. Read work materials.

5:25 – 5:45 pm: Arrive at Metro station and wait for bus that is supposed to leave at 5:30 but that never comes. Get on the 5:45 bus instead.

5:57 pm: Arrive at home. Take crying baby from dad. Try to soothe her, try to feed her. Nothing doing.

6:15 -6:35 pm: Prepare baby oatmeal and a little avocado and feed baby, trading off with dad in preparing dinner (pork chops, broccoli, rice).

6:50 pm: Eat dinner with baby on lap. She’s still fussing.

7:00 pm: Bathe baby, taking special care to get all the little bits of oatmeal and avocado out of her neck folds and from between her fingers. Messy baby is messy!

7:15 – 7:20 pm: Get baby in pajamas and ready for bed.

7:20 – 8:00 pm: Feed baby and put her down for bed. This is the only time of day when she’ll relax and nurse without fighting (unless I’ve fed her while she’s still sleeping). I consider (again) breaking the nurse-to-sleep connection and decide (again) that I just can’t do it. She’ll only be this little and snuggly for so long, and I don’t want to give up this time with her, even if takes FOREVER to get her into bed.

8:00 pm: Baby goes down in crib, and I go down to the basement with my computer and the baby monitor, to half-watch TV with dad and continue drafting, revising, and reviewing.

10:00 – 10:20 pm: Wash bottles, refill for tomorrow.

10:20 – 10:38 pm: Pump.

10:50 pm: Finally crawl into bed.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

The days just slipped away.

So today was my last day of maternity leave. (The weekend doesn’t count, since I wouldn’t be going to the office on Saturday or Sunday.)

I am both sad and excited about this. I am so, so sad to leave my little girl; I’m also looking forward to a couple of interesting projects that are lined up for me. I’m actually terrified of daycare drop off on Monday, and glad to have a workplace that I actually like to go to after I leave my baby with her caregiver.

I have a lot of feelings about going back to work — but not many thoughts, at least not ones I can articulate in words. The one thing I know is that I need to go back to work, not just because of finances but also for my own sanity. I’ve loved this time, but I don’t think I’d last long doing it full time. Still, the thought of anyone else taking care of my baby just wrenches my heart. It’s hard to be positive about my job — even a job I really do love — when there’s such a heavy trade off.

Two months down, two to go

Clara turned two months old this week, which I find somewhat hard to believe — she’s only been with us for two months? How can that be? Our lives have adjusted and molded to her presence so much so that I have a hard time remembering what our day-to-day lives were like before she was here.

It helps that things have settled into something of a routine at this point. (I know, I know, that routine will get completely shaken up, probably several times, over the next few weeks/months/years. But for now, we have a routine.) At the risk of having things thrown at me, I’ll admit that she sleeps through the night beautifully, waking up just once to eat between 8 pm and 8 am, so Mr. D. and I are actually pretty well rested. She doesn’t nap well during the day, but that’s OK — it just means she spends a lot of time playing on the activity mat, and in the stroller for walks in the neighborhood with the dog (thank God for a mild winter), and in the swing with its funny little mobile. I manage to eke out small chunks of time to check my email and read the news and (most days) shower.

Never fear, though — things are not all sunshine and roses.  First, she is a fussy eater, so I’m never sure that she’s getting enough to eat, and I can’t even rely on her output to judge her input, as she only poops once a week or so. Her weight gain has slowed down, which I guess is normal, but it stresses me out nonetheless. Her pediatrician isn’t worried — she’s not falling off of her growth curve or anything — but I, the mama, am stressed out about it.

Second, I’m halfway through my maternity leave, and I’m starting to get a little stir crazy. I go to a new mom’s group once or twice a week, and I try to get out of the house on the other days to run errands or go to the grocery store, but we still spend a lot of time at home, and a lot of that time, the baby wants to be held.  The bulk of my adult interactions on a day-to-day basis revolve around baby stuff. We stopped by my office this week for a happy hour, and I realized just how much I miss being around my colleagues, how much I miss talking about stuff that isn’t the baby. Which isn’t to say I didn’t talk about the baby a lot at happy hour but I also got to talk about them and what’s going on their lives and how work is going. It was really, really nice. I am sure that, once I’m back at work, I will long for these lazy, relaxing days at home with my baby. But for right now, I’m longing for a little time for myself — to go for a run, to read a book, to focus on something (anything!) for more than 45 minutes at a stretch.

Anyway, short version: Things are mostly good. Clara sleeps well at night but not during the day, but eats and poops only OK. She’s gaining enough weight, even if I wish she were gaining more. And I’m halfway through maternity leave and feeling guilty because I think I won’t enjoy the next two months as much as I should.

My, how the time flies.

My kid will be 6 weeks old tomorrow. I don’t know where the last 6 weeks went.

Well, that’s not totally true. I actually do know where those 6 weeks went. In a perfect world, they would have been filled with cuddles and hugs, milestones (big and small), and lots of time getting to know each other. And the last 6 weeks have seen some of that. But they’ve also seen feeding problems and weight gain problems brought on by a really bad infection that took a lot of my attention away from watching my little girl grow. I spent the week between Christmas and New Years in quite a bit of pain (though it’s only in retrospect that I realize how much pain I was in), and that week culminated in a trip to the ER for me.  Two weeks later, I am almost fully recovered, though I’m still on antibiotics, and we’ll see what happens when those run out at the end of this week.

I feel like I lost a huge chunk of time, between getting sick and then dealing with trying to get better, and all the while living with huge amounts of anxiety over whether my little girl was getting enough to eat and whether I’d be able to keep feeding her. Luckily, as of today, it seems like everything is resolved — I think we are finally in the place we should have been in three weeks ago, feeding-wise — and that feels really good. But I’m still really sad for the two weeks (really, three weeks, since I was sick for about a week before I even saw anyone) that I lost in the fog of pain and fever and anxiety.

And of course, the 6 weeks that have already gone by mean that I am 6 weeks closer to having to go back to work. Which is difficult to contemplate right now. I am in a new moms’ group and I told them all yesterday that I’m not all that ambivalent about going back to work as a theoretical matter — I love my job, I’m good at my job — but conceptually, I have no idea how I can actually leave my little girl to go to the office. Luckily, I have more than two and a half months to figure that out. I hope I manage to do it in that timeframe.

For now, though, I am going to relish the fact that things — at least some things — seem to have gotten easier around here, and that from here on out, they should continue to get easier. And I have those two and a half months to keep enjoying my little girl 24 hours a day.

Giving thanks.

I’ve been pretty complainy over the last few days, when I should be focusing on the things I’m thankful for. So with no further ado, here’s my thanksgiving:

  • I’m thankful for my wonderful husband. Yes, I get annoyed at some of his habits and sometimes wish he’d pick up more of the slack around the house, but watching him get excited about this baby is one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever seen. And watching him work three weekends in a row to bank up enough paid time off to take a full month of leave has been amazing.
  • I’m thankful for my family. They drive me up the wall, but no one knows me the way they do.
  • I’m thankful for a healthy, easy pregnancy. I feel lucky every day that my body can do this.
  • I’m thankful for a job that I love and that I’m good at, for coworkers who genuinely seem to care about me and each other, and for a workplace culture that is accepting and accommodating of our growing family. It’s not all sweetness and roses, of course — I can’t imagine any workplace in which management would celebrate an employee taking off four months — but they’ve made it as easy as possible for me, and I am incredibly thankful for that.
  • I’m thankful for good health insurance. I’m so grateful that I haven’t had to stress about deductibles or copays or minimum contributions during my pregnancy. I wish everyone had access to such good health insurance.
  • I’m thankful for the excellent Indian restaurant that just happens to be 10 minutes from our house, and for the excellent shahi paneer I had for dinner last night. It did not kick off labor, but it was good enough that I’m almost OK with that.
  • I’m thankful for my smelly, stubborn, sneaky beggar of a dog. He follows me around constantly nowadays, refuses to eat his breakfast if I’m not close by, and has developed a bad habit of pawing at me for attention (mostly over the last few days, and I think it’s related to having houseguests and all the Thanksgiving hubbub), but he loves me unconditionally and protects me as much as a 17-pound terrier can. I couldn’t ask for a better dog.

But mostly, I’m thankful that, in no more than 10 days, we’ll be bringing home a beautiful baby boy or girl. We’re excited and we’re ready.

Let me explain….no, there is too much. Let me sum up.

So it’s been a while. Here’s what’s happening:

  • I am 38 weeks pregnant, which means this baby can come whenever s/he wants to.
  • I have two more weeks of work before I go out on maternity leave, but Thanksgiving falls in there, so I really have even less time in the office than that. Add that I’m working from home today and on Monday (having the house cleaned and having some repairs done before the baby gets here), and I’m only going to be in the office seven (7) more days. Holy carp.  (Note that this does not mean I am only working seven more days. I am working today, and will be working Monday and, if the baby is late, I will probably try and pick up some hours here and there even after I officially start my leave, just so I’m not totally bored sitting at home.)
  • I absolutely do not expect this baby to show up any sooner than three weeks from now, and would not be surprised if s/he holds out even longer. (See above note about picking up hours from home.)
  • Our extra car seat base, changing pad for the dresser/changing table, swaddling blankets, and some newborn diaper covers are still at my office, along with about 20 pairs of shoes, three blazers, three jackets, and two sweaters. I need to figure out when I can drive into the office to pick all that stuff up because I am not carrying any of it home on the Metro.
  • In case you didn’t pick up on the sly reference above, yes, we’re going to try cloth diapering. Our daycare provider seems on board, as long as it’s really simple for her, so I have a bunch of pocket diapers for her to use, since they’re the most like disposables, and I’m hoping to use mostly prefolds and covers at home and at night. We will see how this experiment goes. Luckily, I’ve gotten almost all of my cloth diapering supplies secondhand from Craigslist, and our total investment so far is under $300.  If the experiment is a success, that’s hella cheaper than disposables; if it’s not, I can resell pretty much all of it and recoup at least 75%, if not all, of that investment.
  • We are hosting my in-laws (and maybe my brother) for Thanksgiving, which means I have to go do epic Thanksgiving shopping this weekend. At 38-1/2 weeks pregnant. I hear tell that walking around Costco makes labor start, but I kind of hope that’s not true for me, because I really, really, really want to eat my Thanksgiving turkey. The baby can come any time after Thanksgiving, though. (Again, though, see above about how I don’t expect to be having a baby any time before the second week of December.)

So, that’s a lot of stuff to be dealing with here at the end of the longest nine months of my life. Though, actually, it’s really just been a really long three months — the first and second trimesters of this pregnancy really flew by, but this last third? Crawling along at a snail’s pace. You’d think that would mean I’d’ve gotten a lot more done in the last three months, but no. I’ve always been a bit of a last-minute kind of person, and pregnancy hasn’t really changed that about me. Heck, we just went and got our second car (a necessary purchase when you live in the suburbs and have a kid) last weekend.

I may have more thoughts soon about being career-oriented and maternity leave and my various fears/angst/worries. But for now, I’ll just say that I am looking forward to taking a little break.  My maternity leave will be the first time I’ve taken more than two consecutive weeks off from working or studying since I graduated from college! It’s a little strange for me to contemplate such a long stretch of time without some sort of intellectual pursuit, but I’m eager for the experience.