2.20.2010

Childcare Conundrum

One of the major concerns I had before ever getting pregnant was about child care. Having worked at a day care center before starting college, I already knew that was not the ideal setting for us. Ideally, our baby would be in an in-home group care setting with a low infant to caregiver ratio, or, better yet, with someone who could provide one on one attention.

I asked for referrals from friends and associates, I researched care providers online, I even scoured Craigslist for providers with training in early childhood development. I called around to a few and wasn't feeling it. I even researched day care centers just in case, but was still freaked out about the potential of having him in a room with 9 other babies and only 2 care providers.

Then, I had a baby.

And immediately felt it impossible to leave him with anyone.

Fortunately for us, his grandparents agreed. They are in their 70s - albeit very healthy 70s -so when their offer to care for him was uttered, we were hesitant. We thought about it for weeks. Once we knew what M's part-time schedule would look like, we discussed our concerns with all of our options, and decided to have a sit down with M's folks and see if their offer still stood.

Of course it did.

Now we have 3 strollers, 2 pack in plays, 2 bouncers, 1 gym, double the books, double the toys, double the bottles. . .

We've just passed the 3 week mark and so far, so good. They talk to him, they walk with him, they dance with him, watch football with him, play with him, love him. Better than one on one, that boy gets two on one attention.

We think we're the lucky ones to have such loving care for our boy. They insist they are the lucky ones to have him in their home.

All I know is you have never seen 4 adults more anxious over the bowel habits of one little baby (who hasn't had a soiled diaper since Tuesday). . . tonight we called them to report that he did, indeed, "finally go". We all rejoiced together.

I've decided he's the lucky one.

~Nichole

2.17.2010

All the Difference

It’s been just over two weeks ago that I returned to work. I have to say that working is easier than taking care of a baby. Easier, but not better. It’s the missing him part that’s so incredibly hard. . . (that and not being able to sleep during the day when he’s napping). I’ve had fits of tear-blurred eyes at work, in the grocery store, but have come to find that the only safe place to cry is in the shower. I miss that little face so much some days that it hurts.

Yesterday I returned to work from a 4-day weekend of uninterrupted baby and daddy time. I held up better than I imagined I would. Only one episode of blurry, tear-filled vision all day. You can’t blame me, really. The boy’s grandparents took pictures of him and e-mailed them to me. It was a given that I should get verklempt.

This past weekend, when I was less emotional, I worked on his room. (I almost typed “nursery” but M said this past weekend how much he hates that reference, so I deleted it and said “room”.) It’s finally done. (It only took 3 months!) Last week, as I was going through the clothes he’s outgrown, I kept running in and interrupting M’s studies with a hurried whisper (so as not to wake the sleeping baby),“Look at how tiny this is! He fit into this! Can you believe it?”

There’s a comfort and a strange concoction of contentment, pride and anticipation in saying “I’ll put it away for the next baby!” followed by the underlying, nagging thought of “what happens when there’s no ‘next baby’?”

When I think of places we’ve been and things we’ve done and picture them in my head, I have a hard time realizing that it was “BC” – Before C. It feels like he’s always been here, and yet, there was a whole life before him. (Whole, certainly, but incomplete, no?)

On my first day back to work, people asked “how do you feel being back?” and my honest response came as both a shock and a revelation to me: “I feel like a different person.” How true that is: I am a different person.

Before C, I would look at pregnant women and think “ugh! That just doesn’t look like fun!” and then I got (and stayed) pregnant, had a baby and am now a card-carrying member of the mommy brigade. Recently, I gushingly congratulated someone on being pregnant for the second time and was a little surprised about how excited I really was for her. How excited I am for all those in my ward who are in the same poopy-pantsed-just-starting-our-childrearing-years boat as me. How I l-o-v-e LOVE to watch all these new moms with their babies, how touched I was to watch a mom with her 2-week old newborn and see how her face positively lit up as his dad handed him to her, and to know that I light up the same way when I’m with my boy.

It’s quite amazing how much one little person can change you. (There I go getting all verklempt again! )

(Give me moment while my eyes clear. .. .)

This past Saturday, C was blessed by his Tata in our home. I forgot that Tata gets all verklempt too, and when he does, he whispers. I had to ask M later what was said in the blessing. I was surprised to find that I already knew almost all of it, though it was tough to hear at the time. As his Tata pronounced the blessing, mostly in whispers, the Spirit whispered it to me. That boy is an incredibly special little spirit and it’s just mind boggling that I’m his mom.

On so many occasions lately, I find myself grateful.

~Nichole

2.09.2010

Postpartum Head to Toe

Here’s a review of what pregnancy did to me – for better (↑), for worse (↓), or whatever (↔)

HAIR

(↓) They weren’t lying when they said “your hair will fall out in clumps”! My hair murals in the shower are much more interesting. I get about as much falling out in one day as I used to get in a week. No joke. . .
(↑) I chopped my lighter ends off and have been complimented on the color several times.

HEAD

(↓) I got a wicked migraine right after childbirth for about a week. I’ve also had a headache now for 4 days. Then again, I did stop taking my mag every day like I was during pregnancy. . .

FACE

(↑) I’ve also been complimented on my complexion. Not only have I not had as many bouts with adult acne, but apparently my pigmentation, which is blotchy from the dastardly combination of sunburns and birth control, got much darker while I was pregnant. No “glow” for me during, but after? Apparently the answer is yes.

BREASTS

(↔) On one hand, it’s nice to have cleavage; on the other, it’s strange that I’m one of those “women who are breastfeeding” that commercials are always saying should “talk to your doctor”. Also strange? That they fill up and let down. Who knew?! Also? Not so thrilled with the fact that my “areolas are interesting” (as my OB would say).

HANDS

(↔) I can wear a silver band again, but will not force my wedding ring until I’ve lost a few more pounds.

BELLY

(↓) One word: pudge. I’m convinced it won’t be there forever. Even so. . .never had it like this before, so who’s to say?
(↔) My skin is stretched, but is slowly regaining its tone (and is much better than it was immediately postpartum). Also, I did, to my surprise, get a linea negra. Still there. . .
(↑) I did not get a single stretch mark on my belly. I don’t know whether to credit good water intake or good genes for this blessing of the gods.

BUTT

(↑) Hooray that I escaped exploding-pregnant-ass syndrome!

BACK

(↓) My tailbone has been sore since immediately after childbirth. In fact, a sore tailbone and an explosive migraine were the reasons I gave for requesting pain meds in the hospital. It flares up every now and then and has taken to “popping” now that I’m back at work.

THIGHS

(↔) Didn’t get huge, so yea! But stretch marks that were there from my mission weight gain turned red and are finally starting to lighten again.

LEGS

(↑) Are no longer restless!!

FEET

(↓) I think I may have gained a half a size. At least that’s what my most recent purchase of high heels tells me.
(↑) Not a week goes by that I don’t admire (and feel grateful for the return) of my small, unswollen feet.

WEIGHT

(↔) I gained 40-ish pounds. I have lost 27. Technically, I have 13 more to go to get to my pre-pregnant weight. That said, before I got pregnant, I had gained back 5 pounds from my lowest-weight-in-years weight, which was about 10 -12 pounds more than my goal weight. The solution to this wacky math problem? I’ve got about 25-30 more pounds to lose. . .

~Nichole

"May you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world." -Ray Bradbury