Lost

Writing and running have long been my outlets.  I am writing this not for pity, sympathy or attention, I am writing for myself and also in the off chance that someone going through a similar situation who is as lost as I am feeling, may find something helpful in this post.  And I’m writing it now because I’ve had a lot of time to think in the past 51 hours.

Pregnancy is all about statistics.  Numbers are thrown around all the time.  80% of all couples get pregnant within six months of trying.  40% of all pregnancies end in a miscarriage.  Once you hear the heartbeat, the percentage of miscarrying goes down to 5%.  There is 50% viability at 24 weeks.  And a 0.59% chance of having a stillborn baby.  We were the 0.59%.

Everything this time was perfect.  My out of control white coat hypertension was minimal (meaning my blood pressure in the doctor’s office was closer to normal than ever).  At 15 weeks my favorite ultrasound tech snuck me back and told me that we were having a girl.  It was easy to pick out a name, Charlotte Kathryn.  Charlotte because I have always like that name and Kathryn was the name of my grandmother.  She was due in the spring, right smack in between Chase’s third and fourth birthday.  I pretended that I was nervous about having a girl.  I am a tom boy, I love sports, hate hair, and have loved being a mother to a son.  Secretly I was ecstatic about the prospect of having a mini me.  A blonde haired, blue eyed little person to follow me around the kitchen baking cookies and cupcakes.  Someone who would have the same relationship with me as I had with my mom.  A little girl born with a protector, her big brother ready to look out for her and at the age where he would be a huge help to me.

Despite everything seeming fine, at the same time, I had a feeling of dread about the entire pregnancy.  I had three or four dreams about miscarrying and I never had a single dream that I was pregnant.  No milestone was enough to ease my mind.  Time DRAGGED by.  At 11 weeks, 4 days, I thought I was having contractions, so I went to the doctor.  I wasn’t.  At 19 weeks, my ultrasound was fantastic, but they wanted me to get another ultrasound to monitor some fluid back up in her kidneys.  But other than that, things pointed to everything being ok.  I started feeling her move at 14 weeks and felt her every single day from that point on. At 18 weeks, she was moving so powerfully, that you could see my tummy bump multiple times during the day, but that feeling never subsided.

I acted weird the entire pregnancy.  I had written my usual Christmas letter to go with our Christmas cards and had stuffed, stamped and addressed the envelopes a week ago, and had left them sitting on the island in our kitchen.  Although I was thrilled at the prospect of having a girl, I had hardly purchased anything.  At this stage in my pregnancy with Chase, I had already registered two places, purchased a crib, mattress and a changing table.  This time, I had bought one single pair of pajamas.  It was almost impossible for me to admit that I was pregnant.  I am not sure I said the words, “I’m pregnant” more than a handful of times.  I still tried to hide my quickly becoming visible bump from everyone.  I almost begged my husband to not go to his company holiday party last weekend.  No milestone was enough and most of my google searches were related to fetal viability, miscarriages and even stillbirths.

I was obsessed with advancing through the pregnancy.  I had four different countdowns in spreadsheets to march closer and closer to my due date.  I had little reminders of everyday passing by everywhere.  I had enough cotton balls for removing makeup set out to take me until late February (I counted them), I rationed body wash so that it would last for months.  Chase was born at 34 weeks, and I kept thinking, “if I just make it to 34 weeks…”  I didn’t mind being pregnant (my only complaint was heartburn), I just couldn’t get to March or April fast enough.  I was obsessed with getting to six months or 23 weeks because I felt like it would be harder for things to go wrong after that.

At twenty-two weeks, three days, I noticed that this crazy child (who I could feel move every hour day and night), hadn’t really done much moving.  I had been on my feet most of the morning, which makes it harder for me to feel, so I took a shower and laid down and she started doing her crazy kicking and punching again. Unfortunately that was the last time I truly, honestly felt her. Two days later I asked a friend if I could borrow her Doppler because everything I perceived as movement could have been digestive.  I was stuck back in the, “was that a kick?” constant questioning of the early second trimester.  After thirty minutes of searching for a heartbeat we couldn’t find it and decided to go to the hospital.  At 22 weeks, 5 days, our girl was gone.  A reminder that sometimes statistics don’t work in your favor.

I am a very optimistic person.  I am always looking for the silver lining.  I’ve thought of a couple.  First, I’m having a huge glass of wine at every meal over the holidays.  Maybe even breakfast.  Brad and I can go on our annual anniversary vacation in April.  We can take Chase to Disney World for his fourth birthday.  We could be at the viable stage.  Or even full term when this happened.  But the truth is, I am completely heartbroken.  I try to be strong for myself and Brad and my family, but here I am days later and still struggling to hold it together all the time.  Which I totally realize is normal.  Although I hate to get emotional in front of people, I am allowing myself to grieve, which is probably the toughest part of all.

I’m not only mourning this baby, I am devastated for so much more.  All I wanted was a normal pregnancy.  One that went full term, with a healthy baby that can stay in our room as soon as it was born.  Maybe I could see what labor was like.  When we checked into the hospital on Tuesday, and I caught whiffs of all of the familiar smells of Labor and Delivery, I was suddenly hopeful.  This was just some fluky thing, she was facing the wrong direction, kicking my internal organs, and everything was fine.

Even though deep down I knew something was wrong.  We went to a Christmas themed park the night I started worrying and I was irritated at all of the kids running around.  And all of the babies, in all of their adorable snowsuits.  There was even a little girl in front of us named Charlotte.  Then Monday, I cried all the way home because I was so worried that there was something wrong after not feeling any movement.  On Tuesday, I called the doctor and despite a reassuring fetal kick test (so I thought), I was second guessing myself and still was worried that something was wrong.  Sometimes a mother’s instinct knows best.

The Labor and Delivery wing is not made for parents of stillborn babies.  The bulletin board in my room says “We are having a BOY/GIRL/ It’s a SURPRISE!”  It talks about labor progress, and asks for “Name Chosen.”  There is a cart filled with diapers and wipes.  A warmer for when the baby is born.  The entire room mocked me.  Happy families in the hallway. Carolers singing because of the holidays. A lullaby over the intercom comes every time a new baby is delivered. There are baby pictures down the hall and babies crying in the room next door.

Worst of all, there is a scarlet letter placed on our door as a bereaving family.  A small postcard with a leaf and a single raindrop in the middle to signify “Death Within”.  We are outsiders there and it warns the nurses, “Careful with this room, they don’t have anything to celebrate.”  I feel like I am going to be branded with that for the rest of my life.

And here is the cruel irony. No labor for first child (he arrived via c-section before I could go into labor), full labor for the second stillborn child. It’s the dirty little secret that they don’t tell you about. If your child dies inside of you, there are very few safe ways to get it out. The main way is the way that you would deliver any baby. Induce labor. Pain and pushing. Delivery. The only difference is that normally you reach with open arms for a bundle of joy that is crying for your comfort. Meanwhile, we asked them to take Charlotte away so that we could do the crying. She lay on an inactive warming machine less than five feet from us for over an hour. She looked like she was sleeping with nothing wrong with her. We kept waiting for her to cry out for us.   In the end we left the hospital with a small box of keepsakes including feet/hand imprints, hair snippets, photos and a death certificate.

I still can’t wrap my head around it.  We had less than a 1% chance of this happening and of all of my friends, family and even acquaintances, there is only one other person that I know who has had a stillborn baby.  Of course I wonder if it was something I did.  Did I take too many Tums?  Is it because I didn’t stop drinking coffee?  Was it because I slept on my right hand side and not my left? Were my showers too hot?  What about the glue they were using on the roof at work when I was four weeks along?  Did I want it so badly that I caused this to happen?  How could it be that just two days earlier I felt her and even saw her moving around?  What on earth happened in those two days?

At the same time, I am so grateful that this happened at this time of year.  We always have a strong family support system, but it’s even stronger around the holidays. It is a time filled with family and love and that is exactly what we will need.  Any earlier or later in the year and it wouldn’t be quite the same.  Until the holidays, which will be tougher than I could have ever imagined, we have so many amazing friends and co-workers who are going out of their way to express their concerns and condolences.

It is going to be tough.  Really tough.  I didn’t know I was capable of producing so many tears for a complete stranger.  Or for anyone for that matter.  But again, I am trying to look on the bright side.  We have a beautiful, wonderful little boy who owns my heart.  There are so many others who don’t have that much to show for it.  I am reminded of the quote, “Is it better to have love and lost than have never loved at all?”  Worst things could have happened and happen to countless others every single day.  Maybe I will decide that this is it and we won’t try again for another baby.  I’m not sure I can take the stress and worry all over again.  That it could all still end in heartbreak.  It would be easy to say I’m done, but I don’t know if I am ready to throw in the towel.  I really wanted another baby.  I really wanted a little girl.  I was so happy that we were heading in that direction.  I do know this, I am going to hug my husband a little closer (he has been amazing through all of this), snuggle a little more with my little guy and enjoy some time at home with friends and family for the holidays.

As hard as this has been for us, I have still been blessed with an amazing, active, sweet son and my life doesn’t stop just because someone else’s has.  There will still be tears, sadness and grieving, but life goes on.  Chase is very much alive and depends on me to be there for him.  Despite the time of year when this happened, it is a season of joy and love.  Thank you for all of the thoughts, prayers, love and overwhelming support we have received from everyone.  Enjoy the holidays and be sure to hold your loved ones extra tight : ).

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30, really?

There are parts of my life that have dragged on and when I really think about it, it seems like I’ve been here an awful long time.  Then I realize that soon I will be thirty years old.  How did that happen so fast?  Not a teen.  Not a young adult.  Or a twentysomething.  Thirty.  It is still tough for me to swallow.  Most days I have to remind myself that I actually do have a real job and that this is my real house and I have a husband, and I did go through eight(ish) months of pregnancy and that really is my child.  I still feel like it is just me and my sister playing “house” and that one day I’m going to wake up and realize that I am still 13, not THIRTY!!!

If I were to think back to when I was 13 or even 18 or 20 when I thought about these types of things and wondered where I would be when I turned 30 or where I wanted to be when I turned thirty, then I would be pretty pleased with myself.  I’ve been happily married to my high school sweetheart for almost seven years.  We still enjoy each other’s company, make each other laugh and I can’t imagine being with anyone else.  We have a home that we both really like and we’re in the process of moving into our dream home (or as close to a dream home as you can get when you’re thirty).  We have a child that we couldn’t live without and a dog that makes us happy.  We both have jobs that we really love (95% of the time, which isn’t bad at all).  We both even work for great companies in the area.  We have been to a bunch of really cool places.  We both still have our health and there really isn’t anything I would change.  So I don’t know why I am having such a tough time turning 30.

Everyone keeps telling me that their 30s are the best.  Eventually I will come to accept it.  I keep reminding myself that any day on this side of the dirt is an accomplishment whether I’m 10 or 100.  Until then, I’ll enjoy the last couple days of my 20s (and they really are numbered).

Ugh, not again!

“Can you make yellow cake with chocolate icing?” If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times.  For some reason this is the most requested cake/icing combo that I get.  I guess I should be happy for multiple reasons:

1. Apparently people like the icing recipe I use

2. It is my least favorite cake/icing combo, so with my very lofty (and often ignored) weight loss goals, I should be thrilled to make it because I can resist it if/when I have the opportunity to partake in whatever I’m baking.

3. It is really, REALLY easy to make!

Everyone I know is having babies, just NOT ME!!!  I had yet another baby shower to attend last weekend, so I made this obscenely popular cupcake combo and didn’t have any to bring home.  You can use just about any cake recipe and the icing recipe is on the back of a Hershey Cocoa can, but you can also get it here.  This is a double recipe which is enough to ice two dozen cupcakes or a two layer cake.

1 1/3 c baking cocoa

1/2 c butter

1/2 c shortening

2/3 c milk

2 t vanilla

6 c powdered sugar

I mix all of the ingredients together and mix it for about 5 minutes.  The original recipe only calls for butter, but the shortening helps it spread a lot better and not melt in your hands when you’re piping it.

Enjoy!

Oh Dear (oh dear, oh dear, oh dear)…

I wouldn’t call myself someone that dwells on the past, but I am very nostalgic person and I like to be able to remember things.  I have always been like this, which is why I try to write everything down.  So I knew once it started cooling down and the smells of fall arrived, I would start to reminisce about Chase’s birth, how the whole thing all went down, him actually being born, experiences that I had in the hospital and tons of things that I have forgotten about.  My husband asked me if this was a type of post partum depression and that’s not it at all.  I’m not sad.  It is more about embracing everything that happened and knowing without a doubt that it is going to trigger a flood of memories.  I’m not sad about Chase getting older, but I know as every day passes, I will eventually get to the point where I won’t remember everything (or much) or we will have another child and everything will be different or it won’t be so fresh in my memory because it was just like this day (or that day or this week) last year.

It is the tiny things that are making me get all wonky.  This weekend I put on a perfume that I must have worn around the time Chase was born, I was throwing a baby shower (so I was already in a baby state of mind), it was chilly outside and one of the biggest songs of my pregnancy came on the radio.  It was a perfect storm.  But I didn’t break down, I just remembered.  Lying in the hospital bed before Chase was born, looking at the lights in the ceiling and thinking that NOTHING was going the way it was supposed to go.  The wet, chilly leaves in the parking lot after a rainy day on my way to the NICU to visit Chase.  The aching in my heart at not being able to hold my own child for the first couple of days of his life.  A physical pain that I did not ever imagine would exist.  My phone alarm going off in the middle of the night to wake me up to pump (which was the song I heard this weekend) and my husband climbing out of his bed in the hospital room to clean the pump parts and me painfully pulling myself up.  The pajama pants that I wore with my flip flops the five nights I stayed in the hospital because I WAS NOT going to wear those awful socks with the rubber on the bottom.  Feeling extreme hatred and jealousy towards all of the babies who were in the nursery.  How long it took for the hallway shower water to warm up while I was waiting to take a shower (and my room didn’t have one since it had two beds).  The LONG walk from the parking lot to the elevator to the Labor & Delivery floor to the NICU that I made five or six times a day that I insisted was the route that I would take because it was the same way I walked from my doctor’s office the day Chase was born. Looking on my “On Call” board or the hospital’s entrance and knowing that one day, I wouldn’t even remember what that board or my room looked like.  The first night in my bed hoping and praying that every “Code Blue” and “Code Silver” and “Code Anything” that they were announcing over the hospital PA was not related to my child.  Crying uncontrollably after talking to one of my friends and her hoping out loud that Chase would be home by Thanksgiving, which was about a month away because I knew that I couldn’t keep it up the fight or the appearance for that long, I was barely holding it together after a couple of days.  The multiple trips to the hospital every single day, the smiley, chipper me, and coping with a baby that couldn’t stand to be touched, much less stroked or held.  That same friend hesitating when two days after his birth (and one day after her son’s birth) I choked back the sobs as I told her, “I just want to hold him” because it was something she had taken for granted.  Running back to my room to tell Brad that Chase was going to be taken off of the ventilator.  The constant stream of visitors and endless phone calls from friends, coworkers and family.  Being greeted as “Mom” for the first time.  Rocking Chase in the NICU by myself and thinking that every love song on the radio was written for how I felt about him.

Then yesterday I went to Babies R Us with a friend of mine who is pregnant (the same friend who called me on the first cold morning of the fall to make sure I was ok, because she knew I was going to be like this) and again, it sent me into memory overload.  I remembered going to the same store the week Chase was born because I was having anxiety about not having a box of Newborn diapers in my house.  Going to Target and daring someone to ask if I had a baby so I could vomit my story on them and wearing my hospital bracelet like a badge of courage everywhere I went.  To me becoming a parent was something that only a select few people had gone through or would be going through and no one could duplicate my story.  Going hunting for preemie clothes because I only had 3 newborn onesies to my name.  The wild frenzy of getting everything together for Chase to come home.  Having him sleep in the same room as us for the first night and that every sigh, rustle or cry would wake us up.

I get it.  My whole story is not nearly as traumatic or tragic as some.  But it is my story and my memories and it was not what I expected would happen or anything that I was prepared for, so it still took me by surprise and there are things that I want to remember from the whole thing.  Not for me, but for Chase.  I want to tell him every detail if he wants to hear it when he gets older and I know the more time that passes, the more I will forget, so I revel in the memories and let everything come flood over me.  I hope that for the next child (or children) that we are blessed with will have less of a story, will be more “normal” birth and first several weeks.  It was ten days of my life and he will have no memory of those first days and then weeks and now months of his life, so I have to be the one to preserve those for him.  Although not all of them are pleasant or good memories, I am enjoying every second.

A Shower with No Rain

A few days ago I threw a shower for one of my BFAWs (Best Friends at Work).  She is expecting a baby girl on Thanksgiving Day, but we are depending on the “Curse of Work Showers” to send her into early labor as it has the last three pregnant employees/wives of employees in the end of October.  With the exception of a very last minute venue change, the shower was a success with a lot of fun, laughs, games, gifts and baked treats!

The weather was questionable most of the day, but cleared up just in time for the shower and was sunny with a little chill in the air.  It was a perfect day for a shower.

I made cake pops and strawberry cupcakes for the occasion.  I also had two cake orders for Saturday, so it was a baking filled few days in our house.  I loved every second!

Can’t wait until baby Chloe’s big debut!

Preggo Brain

I had always heard things about becoming a mom.  Nothing else matters.  Your husband will cease to exist.  You will never love as much as you love your child.  I sat at dinner in a restaurant one night with my mom and beside us was a table of 6 or 8 pregnant woman.  All they talked about the ENTIRE meal was being pregnant.  I resolved that I would never be one of those women.  How could it be that important or that time consuming?  I mean millions, billions of woman have had children over thousands and thousands of years.  Good grief.

As with just about everything involving pregnancy and parenthood, I fell right into every stereotype that I had used the n word about before these things actually happened (you know, “never”).  By some twist of incredible fate I was pregnant at the same exact time as two of my closest friends from high school and the three of us were due within 6 weeks of each other.  When we got together, all we talked about was our impending new additions.

The worst pregnancy/motherhood cliché was the labor story.  We have all met those women that can parrot in very excruciating detail every nuance of their 47 hour labor.  And these chicks had babies 20, 30, 40 years ago.  I knew, knew that I would not do that.  Nope.  I didn’t care if I went natural or had three epidurals or delivered in a Target, I was not going to recount my story to friends, let alone complete strangers.

These days I find myself telling anyone and everyone my “labor” (there’s a reason it is in quotes, and don’t worry, you will all hear it one day) story.  My poor mother has had to endure it at least a dozen times.  There are seldom conversations that I have with anyone that don’t involve my pregnancy or Chase being born.  How did this happen?  Why am I this way?  What is so special about my child or my experience with him?  Again, scores of women have babies every single day, what makes my story any more impressive or interesting?  Because he’s mine.  And I haven’t been so happy in my life.  I love relishing every single second of him being here and him being in utero .  I love thinking about what I was doing last year at this exact time.  Remembering the exact day that I felt him move for the first time, or the three day stretch where he literally sat on top of my bladder, knowing he was awake in the morning when he had hiccups, or collecting all of my urine for 24 hours because doctors were concerned about my blood pressure.  I love hearing a song on the radio and it making me feel nauseous because I was so early in my pregnancy when it was all over the airwaves or the songs that I heard on the way to the doctor on the day he was born.

In fact if I could have my way I would be able to relive that day.  I wish I could remember every single detail.  From the smell of that fall day to the every detail about the hospital and my room and the doctors and the nurses and the timeline of the entire day to the calls that I got to how I felt to the weather.  I had no idea that the things that happened that day were going to happen the way that they did so I didn’t give much thought to anything until it was too late.  I wrote it all down in a 10 page word document, but that still isn’t enough. I want to live through it all over again.

So I go over that day in my head as much as I can.  Some days I can’t get it out of my head and others I can’t remember small aspects of it that used to be crystal clear.  Which may have a lot to do with a lot of other women.  You have to hear yourself say it so you can admit that the day actually happened and better yet, you have a very clear memory of the best day of your life.

Autumn Autumn Autumn Time

You see, it just does not have the same ring as “summer”.  There is nothing to get excited about when it comes to fall.  Let’s be honest, who is so stoked about it getting cold and the sun setting super early.  You know all of those fall bbqs and cookouts, laying out at the beach in long sleeves and drinking cold beverages in the chilly temperatures.  Sign me up!

I love summer.  Love it.  Can’t wait for it.  Spend most of the year wishing it was summer. Despite that, and against my better judgment, I don’t hate fall.  In fact, I kind of enjoy it (but don’t tell anybody).  I like the smells of fall.  I get excited about pumpkin flavors (which clearly don’t have a place in the summer, trust me, I tried to do it the other day),  the crispness in the air, breaking out some of the cooler clothes, the foliage (I’m getting old, I know), the lack of tourists at the beach and the fact that I can bring my dog down there, Virginia Tech football, Thanksgiving, and now the best part of fall is my son’s birthday.

I don’t know if it is a mental thing or literally happens the Tuesday after Labor Day.  The humidity starts to drop, the mornings are chillier and darker, the brilliant green of the leaves starts to fade and the Pumpkin Spice Latte makes its debut (and of course, I’ve already had one).  People start to break out the jeans, sweaters and blankets, tans fade immediately and just like that, it’s fall.

So although you may mourn the end of summer, embrace the fall.  It took me close to 25 years to finally come to grips with it, but I enjoy the vineyard trips, changing leaves, pig skin and giving birth in October.

Here’s to hoping you have a great fall…

Large

That is my size these days and it depresses me.  I’ve still got five to ten pounds more to lose worth of baby weight and damn if it isn’t near impossible.  I have gotten down to about 7 pounds away, but that’s as close as I’ve been.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, I had gained about 20 pounds before I even got pregnant and I’m not quite sure who or what to blame for that.  I do know that I need to lose that weight too.  Could it be laziness?  A new job that requires I have to be at work half an hour earlier and stay half an hour later?  Or work where eating out is encouraged?  Or age?  Could it be that I think my metabolism has slowed down tremendously and my crappy eating habits have not?  Can I blame my motivation lasting approximately 2 hours?  I don’t know, but I’ve got to do something.  I’m not supposed to be a large and I’m getting dangerously close to wearing out the excuse of “I just had a baby…” especially since he will be 10 months old on Monday.  So, let’s get down to it.

I am running a half marathon next weekend (pending the weather and “devastation” from Hurricane Irene), then I’m hoping to run another half in the middle of November, I’ve already signed up for a half in March and I would really, really like to do a full marathon next November.  I am hoping that I may actually lose some of the weight with all of the training and running I plan on doing.  The key word here is plan.  Considering I signed up for the half way back in April, I haven’t really done such a great job at training.  Part of that has to do with the fact that I do have a 10 month old.  He does not make for a very predictable lifestyle.

I’m a big fan of running in the morning, so is Brad.  So we have to schedule things.  My running days are Monday and Friday, his are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  We do our long runs on Saturday or Sunday depending on my trusty running companion, Ashley.  But some Mondays and Fridays Chase is up at 6:45, and some Sundays and Thursdays Chase is up in the middle of the night, and some mornings I have a stomach ache or a headache.  And some weekends it is raining.  Or Brad doesn’t want to run.  Or we have a huge wildfire near by that creates an awful, smoky atmosphere.  Or there is a HURRICANE!!!  Or Brad is out of town or has a 4am flight.  Or, I use any and every excuse to avoid running.

There has only been one point in my life where running and I tolerated each other.  It was while I ran cross country in high school  and I literally weighed 45-50 pounds less than I weigh right now.  Which is disgusting.  I was 18.  And hadn’t just had a baby J.  Since then I am just not a fan.  From the first stride until the last I dread it and can’t wait for it to be over.  I got close to that tolerance back in 2007 when I was training for my first half and I would love to get there again.  I am hoping that I can’t escape it with all of the races coming up.  I can’t even us the excuse that Chase is too young for the jogging stroller (because he really isn’t).

I’m not 18 or 20 or 25 even more.  I am getting older, my metabolism is slowing down, I am busier and have more going on with my job and my personal life, I do love to bake, but I do know how to lose weight.  I need to stay motivated.  I need to eat better.  I need to be consistent  with my exercise.  I need to honest to goodness train.  I need to use others to help me.  I am not getting any younger or any skinnier.

Enough with the excuses.  Let’s do this!

The SAHM Project, Take 2

So we are at the end of the 48 hour experiment known as The Stay At Home Mom Project and truly, I am sad. Really. I was not expecting that at all. A couple of weeks after I went back to work after being on maternity leave for 12 weeks, Chase came down with a cold, so I stayed home with him. He was 15 or 16 weeks old and I nearly died. He was sleeping a lot anyway, so with a cold he was sleeping even more, and I spent the entire morning on the computer working and wondering what on earth I was going to do with him when he woke up. Mere days earlier I had relished in every minute we were together and would check one or two things off of my “To Do” list in an entire day. At 3 I called my mom begging her to come and relieve me. I didn’t expect this, I thought I would be a better SAHM than this was turning out to be.

A couple of weeks ago I had to come home during the day to watch him for a couple of hours because our babysitter had to go to a funeral. Again, a near death experience for me. We “walked” around the house a little bit. We read a couple of books. We played. And it had been 10 minutes. Finally, he took a nap. Rhonda picked him up. I went back to work. The end. I told my boss that she would not have to worry about me ever quitting my job to stay at home because I wasn’t cut out for it.

These two days are the longest time that it has just been the two of us since I went back to work. I found my swagger. Yesterday afternoon we went to the pool with some friends. Then I baked cookies. This morning we brought those cookies to the NICU where Chase spent the first 10 days of his life. I worked out (again!), we played around the house, I made dinner for our family and a friend’s family. We had another playdate with a 2 ½ year old and an 11 month old. And I still had time to play on Facebook. I almost became domestic. But tomorrow, it’s back to reality.

I wonder if I were to not work would I really stick with the expectations I set out for myself. Would I eventually end up in the rut I sometimes find myself in at my job? Would I resent having to sit at home and have the same things happen every day? Or better yet would I resent my husband having somewhere to go everyday while I sat at home with my grouchy/teething/sick/sleep deprived/or even perfect kid? Would I turn into one of those women on Facebook that gripes about their kids all day? Am I a better mom by working? Or have I already turning into one of those nightmare parents that breaks all of the rules on the weekends and expects the babysitter to get their out of control child back into a routine? And then justify it because “that’s what we pay her for”?

When I was still undecided about having children I always fought with the notion of whether or not I would work once/if I had them. I still have that internal debate often. I don’t think that there is a right or a wrong answer. It seems to me that those who work wish they hadn’t and those that don’t wish they had. I read something just recently that (finally) made me feel better about my current situation. This woman said that although it was a big sacrifice for her to work while she had small children, she did it so they could afford the life that she wanted for her family. They were able to go on vacations, she could put healthy food on the table and live in a nice, safe neighborhood. The unfortunate (?) part is that right this second, I can’t afford to not work. Maybe in a couple of years when we have a house in a part of town where we want to live and our car is paid off, then I’ll really consider it.

There is also something to be said about my job. 90% of the time I LOVE it. I love what I do for a living, I love the company that I work for, and I love the people I work with. I love interacting with adults every single day. I love getting “dressed up” for work. I love putting on makeup and having somewhere to go. I enjoy not having to rely on someone else for income. I like having a 401k and contributing to it. I love going on nice vacations. I like spending money at Target on something stupid and not really thinking twice about it. Dare I say, I enjoy working? So given the opportunity, I am still not sure I would take it.

Whatever side I am wavering towards today or tonight or five years from now, tomorrow I will be at the office bright and shiny and regale everyone with my story of once upon a time being a stay at home mom.

The SAHM Project

That’s Stay At Home Mom for all you youngsters out there. So our daycare provider (also known as my Aunt Rhonda) had the nerve to go on a vacation. In the summer. During the work week. And has stranded me with my own child. I know, how dare she. So now for two days, I am a stay at home mom. My mom was a stay at home mom and it was always my dream to be a stay at home mom too. The economy/housing market/life got a little bit in the way, so instead I am a career woman, and I’m ok with that. I know if/when they throw me out of the company where I currently work, then I will re-evaluate this decision, but as for now I will continue to do what I do.

I have a lot of pipedreams when it comes to being a SAHM. For example, I would be skinny (duh) because I would have time to workout! My husband would come home to a delicious, nutritious dinner every night! We would go to the zoo, the aquarium, the beach, parks, pools, museums! I would become an extreme couponer and spend $5 a week on groceries! We would go on hour long walks every day! I would devote my free time to baking/blogging/writing! We would have playdates all of the time and my son would be most popular kid in town! I would raise a child who would already be walking and talking at 9 months and reading by a year! I would be supermom and a domestic goddess.

In reality I know what would really happen. I would spend the majority of my day obsessively checking Facebook and e-mail and spent every other waking moment watching television. I know this because I did it for 12 weeks. I realize that half of that time I wasn’t allowed to exercise or go out in public and I was only getting sleep in three hour increments, but still. When I was awake and Chase was asleep, I did nothing productive.

So I have been quite surprised that the first seven hours of the “new” (and temporary) me, I’ve done well. I ran 3 miles during his morning nap (my treadmill is in the garage, don’t turn me in for child abandonment). We ran an errand to BJ’s and we’ve kind of stayed on a schedule. He’s had one good nap and is working on another one AND we have a playdate in less than an hour. I emptied the dishwasher and have cleaned up after myself all day. And I plan on baking some cookies tonight to, wait for it, drop off with a friend whose husband just had surgery. And, I’m (obviously) working on my blog too.

Tomorrow should be just as busy. Chase has a doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning and then we have another playdate scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. So there is hope after all.

Ok, I get that this is just a day so far, but, this is progress people!

Now, on to tomorrow : )