Back to work. Ish.

October 25, 2012

Soooooo I’ve started a part-time job! We’ve been struggling a bit financially after the huge moving expense, and an ideal situation simply fell in my lap. 🙂 I started working at a doctors’ office a few weeks ago, doing admin. I work from 7am to 12pm four days per week. It’s been going quite well so far.

God childcare is expensive. Despite this being the perfect opportunity (pick my own hours, ability to be home during nap every day for the little who needs her mama in order to sleep), I almost had to pass it up. I couldn’t find part-time childcare that would even allow me to break even. Luckily, a friend (who works at the same office and who got me the job) wanted to work the same hours. We’re now doing a nanny-share. It has been so wonderful. The girls love our nanny, and they get to spend all day with each other. It honestly could not have worked out better.

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I leave for work before Chris, so he gets some extra Dada time in the morning before our nanny, B, gets here. He’s also been the one dealing with the separation anxiety. It hasn’t been too terrible; I think being in our house has helped. I know it hasn’t been fun, though. Luckily Cora seems to have turned a corner and is waving to B and hugging her when she arrives. Warms my heart!

I am actually really really enjoying myself. The practice is a wonderful place to work, and I love love talking to adult humans again. I honestly feels like I have the best of both worlds at the moment. Feeling very lucky that it has worked out so well!

I think it has really benefitted Cora, too. Her new bestie is around six months older, so communicates more. Cora had a ridiculous amount of words before, but her actual communication has shot through the roof since they started hanging out. She’s saying sentences and repeating phrases we say. It’s amazing. The other day she went on and on, “Sorry, Piper, sorry. Good girl, Piper. Ohhh Piper.” (Piper is our pup.) So freaking cute!!

So things are good here. Prepping for Halloween. Fun times.

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Things are definitely getting easier. I know I referred, in passing, to the fact that we’ve had a difficult year. Our problems were mostly feeding problems. I will detail the whole breastfeeding saga later, but let’s just say that breastfeeding was the most important thing in the world to me, as a new mother, and that we were unable to exclusively breastfeed after the first three weeks.

I spent most of the first six months of Cora’s life trying to get back to exclusive breastfeeding, to no avail. Add to that reflux, meds, and a (poor, sweet, darling) baby who wouldn’t take more than a couple of ounces of a bottle at a time (after nursing) – and basically we’ve spent our entire 10 months feeding.

I know that doesn’t sound too terrible, but for someone so heartbroken about being unable to breastfeed, yet not able to leave the house because of the delicate balance of urging a baby to continue to nurse when she has nipple preference, yet having to give a tiny amount of bottle every two hours… it was an isolating place to be.

I’ve kept track of her feeding on an iPhone app since birth. Here’s an example of a day when she was 6.5-months old:

5:30am – breastfeed 11min
8:30am -bf 6min
9am-10am – bf 9min, 1.5oz formula
12pm-1pm – bf 22min, 3oz breastmilk
1pm – bf 11min
4pm-5pm – bf 24min, 2.5oz formula
5:45pm – 2oz formula
7pm-7:45pm – bf 10min, 5oz formula
8:45pm – bf 6min
9:45- 10:30 – bf14min, 3.5oz formula
11pm-11:30pm – bf 5min, 3oz formula
1:45am – bf7min, 3oz formula
4:45am – bf 5 min
5:30am – 3oz formula

So not ideal.

Things have recently started to get easier. She’s still not sleeping, but she has begun to cut down her bottles since she’s eating more solids. And (since we started side-lying nursing in bed at around 7.5-months), she now loves to breastfeed again. Just writing that makes me tear up. 🙂

Having so much family support since we’ve moved home has definitely helped make it easier, but Cora is also just slowly becoming much happier. She’s such a sweetheart, she breaks my heart! Being freed from the tyranny of non-stop feeding seems to have improved her mood. I think maybe her reflux is finally starting to improve (though she’s been off her meds for a few months, and she still won’t have more than 4oz from a bottle. But I don’t know how much she gets from me beforehand.), which in turn has meant she’s feeling a bit better? It’s such a guessing game.

She’s turned into such a joyful little thing!

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I almost hate to even write about how it was. As if, by writing it, I’m implying that there was something wrong with her or that I’d have her any other way. She’s my darling girl, and of course I wouldn’t. But it was difficult to get my head above water for a while.

I’ve also been trying to roll with the punches a bit more lately. Cora has pretty severe separation anxiety for her Mama. Especially during this huge upheaval in her life, I feel it’s really important to just be there for her any time she needs me. It’s just a phase, she’ll grow out of it (aaaaaand repeat). But it’s partially manifested in the fact that she won’t sleep alone. We’ve been co-sleeping since she started waking at night again at around 7 months (she was sleeping 8-9 hours/night in her own bed before that *sniff sniff*). I actually think the waking and not willing to go down in her own bed was the beginning of her separation anxiety.

At any rate, I used to try to eek out a moment for myself when she went to sleep. So I would slip out of bed to have an hour to myself to watch tv (haha and to pump. Always to pump), clean something, spend some time online – anything that felt like a moment of ‘me time.’ Of course, after 45 minutes, she would wake screaming cause Mama was gone forever. This meant that her naps were short and unreliable, and I had to go to bed at 9pm.

Since moving home, I’ve embraced the bed as a place I simply spend a lot of time. We’ve moved from house to house a lot, and the beds in America are very high off the ground! So I’ve just been going to bed when she does and staying in bed during her two naps. I just bring my computer or my Kindle, or, recently, have set up a tv to watch if I feel like it. A huge burden has lifted. She’s napping so much better, and I get some ‘alone time’ without the stressor of worrying about when she’ll wake screaming.

Perhaps this is yet another rod for my back, but at the moment, it’s working for us.