Archive for motherhood

you can’t go back again

So I’m going to take a stab at writing about going back to work, an event which is now scheduled to occur in less than two weeks. At that point it will have been five and a half months since I’ve set foot in my office, nine days before T was born. It was always going to feel weird going back after so much time away, but from what I understand a lot of “changes” have occurred during these months, people have been let go, moved groups, moved seats, and rumor has it that morale is not just low but nonexistent.

I’ll still be working in the same sales group but with two new (to me) senior team members. I’m hoping that months of being self-sufficient has primed them to continue to be somewhat self-reliant, and not, like a certain team member who sometimes made me feel sorry for his mother who was surely doing his laundry well into his college years.

My plan is to leave the office as early as possible so I can get home before 3pm and take T’s afternoon nap with him. We shall see.

Anyway, a lot of people comment that going back to work must feel “bittersweet” because as sad as I am about leaving T, it must be nice to be around adults and have adult conversation again right?

Erm, no, not particularly. I’m kind of totally fine discussing T’s poop patterns or feeding woes all day long with my other mom friends via text. I find myself with absolutely zero desire to go back to talking about yields, the basis, convexity, and the like all day long again. I know that many women appreciate the opportunity to use the “non-mommy” part of the brain but, personally, I think I’d be quite happy to leave it on the shelf for the next five years collecting dust.

I wanted to be a mom. And now, I am a mom and that is all I really have the desire to be. I love that I know T better than anyone else by far and I love that he wants me when he needs comfort (or bo.ob). This is everything I’ve ever wanted. Being a mom is hands-down the most meaningful thing I’ve ever done with my life.

It kills me that I have to now go back to work and pretend that it matters when I know it doesn’t.

Okay, okay, I know I need a few disclaimers and caveats here now, because yes, I am so lucky to have my job. And it is a good job. I work with good people and I have an amazing boss. On many levels I do really enjoy what I do, it is constantly pushing me to learn more and expand my knowledge base. It’s never boring.

But it isn’t raising my baby. And I feel like if I were doing something like, raising money for orphans in Rwanda or something, I could at least justify that I was doing something good for the world in lieu of raising my baby, but I’m not. There really is no feel good aspect of what I do from a “bettering the world” perspective. I work in an industry that’s about making money.

So I know you’re probably thinking right about now, “Why don’t you stop whining and just quit then?”

Sadly, it’s not really an option. I mean, it kind of is, but mostly it’s not.

Strictly speaking, yes, I could quit. We could make massive changes in our life, rent out the condo, move to the ‘burbs, drastically scale back the luxuries we allow ourselves. Paul makes enough money on his own that, yes, it is technically feasible.

But it really kind of isn’t. At least not right now. You see, I didn’t mention this, but the reason we were suddenly able to afford a night nanny back in February, was because I got a large raise and promotion, yes, while I was on maternity leave of all times. My boss made it pretty clear that it was meant to make the point that I was valued and they wanted me back (see what I mean about great boss?). Anyway, the result of all this is that I guess I’m sort of the primary breadwinner for the household now if we define “primary breadwinner” as the one who brings home 50% more than the other.

But that isn’t even the real reason I can’t leave, because even with that, it still sort of feels worth it to me to give it all up and spend all my time with my son.

The real reason is that I do want more babies. Which for me means inevitably expensive, specialist-packed, monitoring-filled pregnancies. Oh and possibly astronomically expensive NICU stays.

At least for now my company offers crazy good insurance whereby all my many (many) ultrasounds and labs were free (for me). My entire hospital stay for delivery cost me three figures out of pocket. Low three figures. Same for T’s 21-day NICU stay which involved doctors from every pediatric specialty (and a couple radiologists from UCSF). MRI’s, EEGs, ultrasounds, so much labwork they made him anemic (sad face)…you get the picture.

I cannot imagine how much my pregnancy through the end of T’s NICU stay would have put us into debt if not for the generous healthcare insurance provided by my company.

I know it’s not the most inspiring reason to keep working, but it just is what it is.

So I’m going back. And we’ll make the best of it. Like so many other mother’s before have, who didn’t really want to go back to work but had to and it wasn’t so bad after all.

odds and ends, return of the bullet points

  • T will be four months old tomorrow. He is starting to outgrow his 3mo clothes and grow into his 6mo. *sob* My baby!! I missed a three month post for him but I do plan on writing one for four months because dangit, he has been growing by leaps and bounds and I need to document it!

  • My cousin-in-law B had a chemical pregnancy last month. It was their first month trying so it’s probably just one of those things, but I still always get sad/worried when I hear about things like that. I hope it was just a fluke and they get their sticky baby soon. T needs a cousin to play with! It will be weird when my baby cuz is a daddy though…

  • The cat has been pooping in inappropriate places. I’m not sure if this is just older sibling syndrome kicking in or if she needs to take a trip to the vet. If it’s the latter, I have no idea how I’m going to lug a 12.5lb baby and a 22lb cat to the vet by myself.

  • WARRIORS!! T was our lucky charm tonight. ‘Nuff said!


  • T has his first home visit with this development program our NICU referred us to. Another reason I love our NICU, I don’t think he qualified for the program, strictly speaking, because it’s meant for micro-preemies who are at higher risk but because of some of the issues he had in the NICU the head of the NICU referred him anyway, and as our social worker said, they do whatever Dr. S tells them to, so he is getting a visit tomorrow. I think if we weren’t having regular visits with my cousin-in-law B I’d be a little more worried but since she’s been hanging out with us weekly and seems to think he’s fine, I’m hoping for no surprises tomorrow. (B is a pediatric physical therapist).

  • I finally set an official return date for my leave. June 17th. I can write an entire post about how this is making me feel.
  • panic attacks

    I’ve started so many posts and finished none of them. I guess I’m feeling a bit stuck lately. Anxious, actually.

    My leave is technically over. I requested an extension but the insurance company has yet to approve it and it’s been over two weeks. I spoke with my contact there today and he said it’s under final review with his supervisor which for some reason is making me nervous that it will be rejected. I’m not really sure what happens if I get rejected since I’ve been out this whole time?

    I was hoping that once (if) it got approved I could talk to my HR about taking the two weeks of California’s Paid Family Leave that I have left over. Since our office in CA is tiny and they’re more used to dealing with NY state rules, I’m sure they’re not familiar with it and will have to look into it but I’m pretty sure I do still have those two weeks, it might just look bad at how long I’m attempting to extend my leave. Especially since I still want to use the four weeks of vacation at the end of it.

    Is it obvious that I’m having a hard time thinking about going back to work?

    Adding to my anxiety is that my state disability claim is still pending processing. I should probably call to follow up because the website says it takes 7-9 days processing (and I submitted it over a month and a half ago) but the social worker at the hospital did mention it can take up to 10 weeks or more. Plus the one time I tried to call a recorded message informed me that there were already too many people holding and hung up on me.


    I just wish I could stay home with my baby.

    T is smiling real smiles now and working on his laugh. He definitely wants to and has the first “HA” down but can’t quite figure out how to finish it off.

    Honestly before he started with the smiling I wondered if he was a happy baby, I couldn’t tell because it felt like all he did was cry, fuss or quietly stare. Now he smiles all the time and it just melts my heart to know that he really is a happy boy. I love that I’ve gotten to see him change bit by bit, day by day and I really can’t imagine having to leave him for so many hours every day and missing all that.

    falling short

    I think we all have ideals for ourselves of what we will and will not do when we become parents.

    I consider myself to be a fairly nonjudgemental person when it comes to how others want to parent but, as I’m sure everyone does, I have seen techniques employed by friends and family and said to myself, “I’d never do that” or “I hope I can imitate that!”

    One thing I’m sure every parent can agree on, is that parenthood? Boy is it humbling.

    And the reality is that while it’s great to have an idea of the things you do and don’t want to do, I’ve learned that 99% of the time it’s just not that simple.

    For example, we registered for and received an Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper (thanks lil sis!). I had visions of the ease of being able to reach over, grab the baby in the middle of the night, nurse and pop him back into his co-sleeper. I mean really, what could be simpler right?

    Of course, it hasn’t worked out this way for a number of reasons, one of which being that my letdown is too strong so I can’t nurse T without burping him, which means the whole production of sitting up and rocking and patting and usually ends with T being fully awake and needing to be soothed back to sleep and then promptly waking up again the moment he’s placed back into his co-sleeper.


    There are actually a whole host of other reasons that feeding him inevitably turns into a minimum 30-45 minute debacle at night which pretty much destroyed my dream of how amazingly easy and awesome the co-sleeper would make life.

    But that’s not the point. My point was supposed to be (although I completely failed to make it) that I always said I would never co-sleep with a baby in my bed. There would be no reason right? We were getting a co-sleeper!

    Yeah, about that…

    T does not seem to love his co-sleeper. He can be passed out in our arms or in his new bouncer (which he looves but unfortunately I have stood firm on not letting him sleep overnight in it since he seems to slide down the chair into dangerous positions) but once we put him in his co-sleeper it takes about two minutes for him to start fussing and another three for the crying to begin. At 3am it’s hard to be firm about leaving him where he is and trying to soothe him with patting or continually replacing the pacifier into his mouth.

    So, in the quest for sleep, there has been a baby in our bed the past few nights despite all the AAP warnings against it and my own firm belief that I would never do something so dangerous as sleep with my baby. All things equal, I came to the conclusion that it is safer for my baby to have a semi-rested mama caring for him than a sleep-deprived, frustrated, arthritic one that has stayed up all night trying to get him to sleep in his co-sleeper.

    There’s also the added bonus that he actually seems to sleep 100x better snuggled up next to me and has been a much happier baby as a result.

    I don’t let him sleep next to Paul because that man rolls like crazy and has been known to squash me once in awhile.

    I’ve also been rebelling against the AAP recommendation to only put babies to sleep on their back. The kiddo hates tummy time with every fiber of his tiny body. He also doesn’t nap well during the day because he generally does not like to be swaddled when the sun is out and then proceeds to startle himself every thirty minutes or so. So Paul and I finally decided to try to kill two birds with one stone and let him nap on his tummy during the day, as long as I’m awake and watching him. We’re hoping he’ll sleep deeper and also create a positive association with being on his tummy because Paul is terrified that he will fall behind developmentally and there goes his Stanford basketball scholarship =P

    Also, funny enough, he will sleep on his tummy in his co-sleeper. So maybe at some point we will just have him do that at night. I figure once he can roll on his own that would make it the safest of the options that lead to sleep for us and him.

    I guess in the years to come I’ll have plenty of opportunities to give up my own expectations of myself in pursuit of sanity so I better just get used to it now. Like I said, parenting is humbling!