Sunday, July 24, 2016

Working Mom Chronicles- Surviving the first week


I am about to enter my second week back at work post baby Asher.  I am happy to report that I did indeed survive the first week despite many months of anxiousness over whether or not I would be able to do it!

To help me cope with all that comes with being a working mom, I decided I would start an installment series to document the high's, low's and everything in between of my experience juggling it all.  My experiences going through this journey may help another new mom out there who finds herself back in the corporate world post baby and needs support to help her cope :)

Here are my top tips to help you survive the first week back at work as a new mom....

1. Ditch the guilt

If you find yourself going back to work and your heart really would prefer to stay home like myself, you are going to feel guilt with the decision to work outside the home.  Working outside the home does not make you a bad mom no more than choosing to stay home automatically makes someone a good mom.  Being a mother is a challenging, full-time job regardless which end of the spectrum you find yourself.  I had to remind myself multiple times throughout this first week back working that I am being a good mom by helping our family financially.  The faster you can ditch the mommy guilt the better off you will cope with juggling your many responsibilities.  I feel there are going to be many more posts in the future on the guilt subject because I struggle with mommy guilt more than anything else about being a working mom.

2. Get organized

As a working mom, you have 2 full-time jobs and that is not including your role as a wife if you are married.  Having an organized schedule will help you stay sane.  I use an Eric Condren calendar to help me keep up with the schedule.  I also made a schedule to help our nanny and other caretakers while I am away.  The more organized you are going into your first week back at work, the less stressed you will feel.  
 
3. Recruit dad for the first week

This is huge.  If you have support whether it be your spouse or someone else, recruit them to care for your little one the first week.  My hubby took a week off of work during my first week back at work because he knew I was going to have a tough time.  Having someone you trust stay with the baby the first week is going to relieve so much stress for you as you return back to your work routine knowing that your baby is in the hands of someone you trust wholeheartedly.  I believe if I would have had to leave Asher at daycare or with a nanny during this first week back, I would have had a much tougher time.  I cried twice leaving the house on the first day and I was leaving him with his father!
 
4. Focus on quality time and not the quantity of time

Now that you have less time with the little one, it is very important to focus on quality now that the quantity is not there.  Make every second count during those moments you are not working.  Read to them, do lots of skin to skin, get in lots of cuddle time, nurse when you are with the baby if you are breastfeeding, and just focus on them when you are home.  Be present mentally during those moments.  Your baby will remember the quality more than the quantity.

5. Establish a work pumping routine

If you are breastfeeding and plan to continue to after you return to work, make sure you stay on a pumping routine so that your supply does not drop.  Try not to go more than 3 hours during the workday without pumping.  Invest in a quality double electric breast pump (most insurance companies will provide one for free!)  The book Work, Pump, Repeat is a great resource if you need tips on how to effectively pump while working.

6.  Do what works for YOUR family 

 I have learned that everyone has an opinion when it comes to parenting so try not to let what may work for another mom and her family make you feel guilty for what may not work for your family right now.  We have to do what is best for our families and for some moms that means going back to work.  Trust your gut that the decision you made to return to work was what was best for your family.  As a moms, we have to do what we have to do!

Working moms- what tips do you have to help new moms survive the first week back at work that I may have left out?  Feel free to add your feedback to the comments!  

Until next time....


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Asher is...Two Months Old!




Details....

You turned two months a few days ago on July 2nd so I am late to post.  Your current nicknames are Bubba, Buddy, Simba, Ash, Ashtag, and Baby Boy.   You still love your boppy lounger (starting to outgrow it now), swing, rocking motion, going on stroller rides (although it has been a bit too hot lately), and now likes looking at the ceiling fan.  You are the BEST travel companion and behave really well while we are out and about.  Right now, you are not a fan of swaddling anymore and go bananas when we try to.  You have outgrown you newborn clothes and diapers and are now wearing 0-3 month size clothes and size 1 diapers. 

Milestones....

Your temperament is pretty cheerful now and you have been smiling and laughing for about two weeks!  You still throw temper tantrums when you want something but other than that, you are the perfect little guy.   You are right on track developmentally- you can grab things with you hands, you smile back when we smile at you, and you make lots of noises!  Keep up the good work!

Growing Pains....

At your two month checkup, you weighed in at 11lbs 10oz and measured 23 inches.  You are still growing like a weed!  Your head is still the largest thing on your little body measuring at 15.8 inches.  Your skin is still extremely sensitive but the baby acne has subsided- yay!  However, you have been diagnosed with eczema so we are working through that.  You still LOVE to eat but now you have started spitting up a lot.  And I mean A LOT :)  You are what the pediatrician classifies as a "happy spitter" though so as long as you continue to gain weight and do not look to be in pain, you will not have to take reflux medicine.  You are still exclusively breastfed on demand and now receive a bottle only a few times a week since you started to sleep longer stretches overnight now! 

You are such a joy and I don't know what life would be like without you.  I literally get depressed thinking about having to leave you in a few weeks to return to work :(  Don't worry though- Daddy and I have a plan just in case being back at work just doesn't make sense for us.  I pray on this everyday that the perfect situation for our family pans out!  God is always good to us so I know things will work out the way they are supposed to. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Asher is....One Month Old!

I cannot believe it has been a month already little peanut!  I am actually a little late to post this since you turned a month old on Thursday!  You gave me a hard time getting a shot of you where you weren't screaming so forgive me in advance for your one lonely photo during this update :)


Details....

Your current nicknames are Bubba, Buddy, Simba, Ash, and Baby Boy.   You love your boppy lounger, swing, solly wrap, taking day naps, rocking motion, and going on stroller walks.  You also seem to enjoy being out to lunch with mommy.  Right now, you are not a fan of diaper changes, tummy time, or sleeping at night!

Milestones....

You are so advanced!  You have been able to hold your head up since the day you were born.  You can even roll over to your side now.  Your temperament is still fairly grumpy but every now and then you slip smile to mommy :)  You are able to give us direct eye contact and can follow objects with your eyes as well.  You are holding your head and neck very well at tummy time and doing very well so far developmentally.   You received your second Hep B vaccine during your one month checkup, and while I hated it you did such a great job!  You also passed your newborn screenings with flying colors.

Growing Pains....

At your one month checkup, you weighed in at 8lbs 14oz and measured 21.25inches.  You are growing like a weed!  Your head is still the largest thing on your little body measuring at 15 inches but we know you will grow into it one of these days.  It just means you are suupper smart and will be our little Harvard graduate one day.  You took your first real bath after losing your umbilical cord stump and you did not like it at all but you are slowly liking bath time a little more now.  You have an umbilical hernia but your pediatrician expects it will go away by the time you are two or three years old.  All that means in a nutshell is you have an outie :)  Right now, you are having major skin issues that we are trying to figure out so you look like a miniature teenager with all the red bumps everywhere.  Everyone thinks it's baby acne including your pediatrician but your worried mommy still isn't ruling out that it is something more and is watching your skin closely.  Hopefully you aren't suffering from allergies or eczema.  You LOVE to eat and have been cluster feeding lately which explains your growth over the past 2 weeks.  You are currently exclusively breastfed every 2-3 hours (every hour during your clusters) and receive one bottle overnight by daddy that mommy pumps out for you during the day.  When we first brought you home, you stopped latching so I had to exclusively pump for you for about at week until we went back to see the lactation consultant.  Following that visit, you have been latching like a champ every since and doing great!

Life with you this past month has been such a blessing.  Despite the lack of sleep, the new soundtrack of your cries, and mommy looking and smelling like a milk maid, I would not change one single thing.  I love you to pieces little man!


Friday, June 3, 2016

Asher's Birth Story


I have literally had write birth story on my list of things to do since the week after he was born.  Here we are 4 1/2 weeks into life as a family of three and I am finally getting a moment to sit down and collect my thoughts and document this miraculous day. 

Here we go.....

Asher was scheduled for a c-section delivery Monday, May 2nd and Noon.  Asher, however, had plans to arrive on his own terms regardless of what was scheduled on the calendar.  He was determined for his birthday to be May 2nd no matter what!

Let's start with the weekend before he arrived.  My mom and paternal grandmother both arrived two days before his birth.  So Saturday morning I jumped my very pregnant self into my car and drove to pick them up from the airport.  Most people spend the weekends leading up to birth relaxing but not this mama.  I was out with my mom and grandmother enjoying the weekend shopping and cooking fish- for some reason I just couldn't relax!

Sunday night I proceeded to wash and straighten my hair and plant an herb garden.  That's right- an herb garden!  Completely nuts.  I should've taken everyone's advice and kicked my feet up or slept more the weeks before he arrived because I certainly have not got more than 3 hours of sleep since! 

Around 11ish that evening, I began to feel strong menstrual like pains off and on.  I ignored it and proceeded to paint my nails, which turned out awful so I removed the polish- what a waste of time! I could not get to sleep.  Between the pains and the pure anxiousness of giving birth the following morning, I could not settle down.  Meanwhile, hubby and the rest of the family are fast asleep.  The pains started to get worse and more frequent (which I now know were contractions) but I thought, you can just wait until morning.  You aren't in labor.  You are already scheduled for the c-section- no need to panic and run to the hospital so I continued another hour fighting through the pain.  So I joined hubby in bed and tried to go to sleep. 

Hubby has now taken notice to the moaning noises from the pain and asks me "are you in labor?"  I  reply "No.  Well- I don't know, it's not like I've been in labor before."  He asks me if I called the Dr and I thought no again, no need to panic.  Baby is coming tomorrow at noon as planned! 

By this time I have started to time the pains aka contractions.  They were about 10 minutes apart.  Hubby is now growing restless with listening to me fight through the pain and tells me to call the Dr.  I give in and make the call.  Another Dr in the practice was on-call and she advised me to go ahead to the hospital as it sounds like I am in early labor and with my previous surgery (the reason my Dr scheduled a c-section in the first place) we needed to play it safe.  It is now around 1:00am, May 2nd. 

We get out of bed and get the car packed up.  My mom is now awake and brother in law and see us off to the hospital.  We get checked in to the hospital shortly before 2am and they strap on all the monitoring equipment and check my cervix.  At this point I was dilated 1cm and having contractions about 9 minutes apart.  The nurse said if the labor continued to progress that the on call Dr would have to do my c-section early.  I freaked!  I wanted my doctor.  I wanted everything to go according to the plan.  I was determined to hold off as long as possible.  The nurse offered me pain medication and I refused knowing in a few short hours I would have to receive an epidural and spinal block for the c-section and did not want myself or my baby hopped up on an unnecessary drugs.  So I fought through the contractions while hubby tried to get a few zzz's before showtime in a few hours. 

By dawn, I had not dilated much more and my doctor had now arrived to the hospital and made aware that I was there early.  He came by and checked what was going on with my contractions and said our delivery time would be moved up for sure.  It was almost showtime!

Around 9:00am, the nurse comes and begins to prep us on what is about to happen.  She gives my husband his Dr McDreamy scrubs and he gets dressed.  Now we wait......

Right before getting wheeled into the operating room to meet our boy
Once I was wheeled into the operating room where the c-section would be performed, I was so nervous.  The environment really intimidated me and I was very nervous about the epidural and what was about to happen.  I was also extremely anxious to meet my baby and the contractions were getting more and more painful.  My hubby, anesthesiologist, and labor and delivery nurse put me at ease as the anesthesiologist administered the epidural and spinal block.  Not much long after,  Asher Michael Scott arrived and as I heard the sound of his sweet cry, tears of joy ran down my face.  The moment I waited on for so long was finally here.  I was a mom.

Our first moment together
My birth plan was fairly simple since I knew my entire pregnancy that I would deliver via c-section.  All I wanted was immediate skin to skin contact while still in the operating room and our hosptial was very accommodating of this request.  I knew this would encourage breastfeeding which I was adamant about doing and I know can be more difficult with c-section deliveries.  I was never thrilled with the idea that I had to deliver via c-section as I really wanted to experience a natural childbirth, but with the fibroid struggles I was satisfied with whatever delivery method would get my child here healthy and keep me safe in the process.  Asher was ready to be here however and I ended up experiencing part of a natural childbirth anyway- crazy how things work! 

Mother and Son :)
The past month has been a complete whirlwind of sleepless nights and breastfeeding struggles but I would not change one thing about it.  My life feels complete now that our son is here and I thank god for blessing us with this miracle.  Asher- thank you for choosing me to be your mom.

Love you baby boy always and forever.

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