back in the saddle

I started working again this week. I’m three days in and feel like we’re going to survive.

Back in April, I was in the middle of some projects when I was suddenly summoned to the hospital to have my second miracle baby. I somehow had the foresight to get those projects as close to completion, or at least to a stopping point, before EMM arrived.

My daughter was born on a Saturday, and on the preceding Tuesday, I sent everything I had on one of the projects, including a draft decision memo for signature, to my supervisor and her supervisor. At the time, I had some expectation that I would be asked to revise some things, but I also felt like I had put together enough information for the decision makers to be able to make their decision.

Well, guess what.

I found out today that while I was away taking care of the wee one, my boss and her boss put the results of my work on said project in front of the decision makers, and the decision makers made a decision based on my recommendation. And man, I just feel so good knowing that something I worked on got over the goal line and made a difference.

Put another — more succinct — way, I found out today that I saved taxpayers $9 million. And because of my research, someone else had enough information to be able to save another $4 million.

I know it’s pennies compared to the billions and trillions that get talked about re government spending and deficits and debts. But you guys, I played a part in saving $13 million. That’s super cool to be able to say and is a highlight of my 14 years as a federal employee.

Happy hump day.

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Three Months – 7/22

Little EMM is 9 lbs 13 oz now. She has climbed her way up to the 5th percentile in weight for her age. She is no longer on the preemie charts at all. She is getting rolls and chub, and it’s divine. 

She has some sort of issue that causes frightening choking/gagging fits in the night every so often. I must do my best to get good burps after her overnight feeding and hold her upright for a while before I put her down again. Easier said than done at 2 am. Apparently, it’s silent reflux. 

The overnight fits are new for me. Nothing like it ever happened with our son. She also doesn’t have other classic symptoms of reflux so it has been hard to diagnose with certainty. After an unsettling episode this week we ended up in the pediatric ward to make sure the night fits weren’t a sign of something more serious. 

She passed all the tests. 

She also passed out from exhaustion. 

And finally, for those of you who are reading all the way through to the end, here’s a side-by-side comparison to show how far we’ve come in three months. (I should also do a side-by-side of her preemie pjs and her current pjs.) The left photo was taken at 2:56 am on 4/22 (an hour after she was born and the second photo ever taken of her). The right was taken at 2:44 am on 7/19. 

Verdict after the ekg and X-rays and blood work and umpteen rectal temperature readings is that she is healthy as a horse. A horse now on Zantac. 

She was very excited to be going home. 

P.S. I start work on Monday. {sad face}

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Here and there

I go back to work in two weeks. Can’t even wrap my mind around what that will be like. I will be able to work exclusively from home for at least the next little while so that is a huge blessing. But I will be on the clock for the better part of all my weekdays. Sigh. 

Potty training our son is what it is. As they say. He knows how to pee pee on the toilet and knows how to get to the toilet before he pees. All good things. 

But poop is a different story. Nothing we’ve tried so far has worked. And believe me, we’ve received all kinds of suggestions. Someday, it will happen. Someday, this will all be a distant memory. Maybe I’ll even forget the smushes of poop I wiped off my son’s foot with my bare hand after he stepped on it when I was trying to get his pooped underwear off of him. I suppose it’s a rite of passage. I can now count myself in the vast sisterhood of mothers who have handled toddler poop. 

Our daughter – so far – is a much better sleeper than our son ever was. Especially at naptime. I am alternating between gratitude and elation and fear of when the other shoe will drop and she won’t sleep anymore. 

We now nurse on both breasts. Have been for almost a week. My lactation consultant friend came over and helped me get her on and watched and pronounced everything beautiful, and the rest is history. Like her vote of confidence was all we needed. And we’re off to the races. 

I think she knows something. She must. Look at that face. 

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Two Months

I have so much I wish I had time to write. 

I will try to be satisfied with only saying what I can before I need to pump. 

My baby girl can nurse now. (I wish I could express what a miraculous triumph it is to be able to say that.) She only nurses on the right so far. (Go figure that the left breast is different enough from the right that we haven’t figured out how to get it to work for her.) But she’s getting enough from the one side to be happy and healthy. 

EMM is also growing and growing. Here are her 2-month stats. 

She’s more than twice her birth weight now. Twice as big. Let that sink in. And pay no attention to her percentiles. They don’t matter. EMM is more than twice her birth weight. 

Go team!

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I eat carbs

EMM has a weight check tomorrow. Fingers crossed that she weighs at least 6 lbs 2 oz. Tomorrow marks 4 weeks home from the NICU, and she has already gained 2 lbs. Just like a normal baby. Getting fat cheeks and a double chin. 

She is officially growing out of her preemie clothes. Newborn sizes are still way big. So the pjs that fit EMM best right now are the one pair of Old Navy sleepers that fits up to 7-lb babies. Thank you for the surprise package in the mail, Jocelyn. 

Nursing has begun progressing well. Finally. Of course, most of her food is still delivered via pumping into a bottle. But I’ve ditched the breast shield and figured out how to consistently get her latched on. Things are looking up. We just need her to get a little bigger so that nursing doesn’t wear her out so much. And so that her mouth is big enough to navigate the unique shape and size of her mommy’s left nipple. 

She still doesn’t do full feedings on the breast. At least not often. So I offer the breast if she is alert enough. Then she gets a bottle. Then she gets burped and held for a bit to make sure it stays down and doesn’t end up coming out her nostrils or mouth as foam. Then I pump. Then the bottles and pumping gear gets washed. Then the whole thing repeats. Day and night. Sometimes I do all the steps in the process. Sometimes I only do the nursing and pumping part. It all depends on how occupied my husband is with our son. 

I have six more weeks before I go back to work. I’m really hoping and praying that EMM is a full-time nurser by then with the occasional bottle as events warrant. Prayers toward that goal welcome. 

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Due Date

My due date is tomorrow. Today EMM is six weeks old and weighs almost six pounds. 

As I left my six-week post-partum appointment yesterday, I passed the room where they do NSTs. I heard the loud thud-thudding of some woman’s baby’s heartbeat on the monitor. And I cried. A little bit sad I won’t hear that sound for one of my babies ever again. An even littler bit sad that I didn’t have six weeks of hearing that sound for this baby. 

It was a moment of recognition for what was and is and will and won’t be. And the emotion of it overcame me briefly. 

At the very same time I am happy and so grateful for numberless things about EMM and how and when she arrived. 

It’s okay to be sad and grateful at the same time. 

We’re a bunch of goof balls.  

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Me Again

My job right now is hard. Period. So many people are helping us and are willing to help. But the fact is that so much of what must be done right now can only be done by me. 

Writing about it would be helpful to me. Writing is therapeutic. Writing helps me understand. Writing brings clarity. 

But I don’t have time for writing. At this moment I’m supposed to be sleeping. So I’d better stop. 

A few things first. 

I miss my son. We don’t get to spend time together like we used to do. I’m sure it’s hard for him – notwithstanding all the wonderful other people with whom he’s getting to spend time, including his daddy. I am confident enough in my connection with him to say that it’s hard for him that I’m mostly absent from his daily routines now. 

So yes, it’s hard for him. But it is also hard for me. Really hard today. 

I wish I could have done a daily blog about post-partum recovery. All the ugly and gory details. Not that anyone would want to read it. But it’s a story that I think should be told. There’s somehow more acceptance – in my exhausted mind anyway – for stories about pregnancy and not so much acceptance or interest in stories about recovering from being pregnant. 

Anyway. Enough said. I must sleep. 

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