November 5th

I realize that this is a little late as I would have liked to have posted this on the actual date, but today will have to be the day…

1998:  At the regional cross country meet in Newport News park, I have the whole thing planned out in my head.  I am going to walk up to the starting line and tell the boy that I have been fawning over for nearly a year that “yes” I will be his girlfriend (after he had asked me in a note two days earlier) then kiss him on the cheek.  Instead I shyly walk up to him and say “yes” and he kisses me on the cheek.  It is official, I am dating Brad Sorgen.

1999:  We celebrate our anniversary by going out to dinner at one of the nicest restaurants in town where Brad presents me with a gorgeous yellow gold dolphin ring.  We then go to see a movie and hold hands the entire time.  Although college is looming, it isn’t something that we are thinking about much, yet.

2000:  Brad is on a cross country scholarship at Radford and I am figuring things out at Virginia Tech.  We aren’t really long distance, but aren’t really in the same town.  He gets us a hotel room for the occasion and we went to a nice Italian restaurant in Radford which had such heavily garliced food that if we weren’t 18, we wouldn’t have been able to be in the same room together.  We have a very rare night together with no roommates and it is nice to hang out just the two of us.  College has had its challenges, but we’re coping for the most part.

2001:  Brad and I go out to dinner at the fine dining restaurant on campus.  It is a Monday night, so we can only do so much, but we still get dressed up and have a nice meal together.  He’s at Tech now, we even have a class together, and it is so nice to be able to walk to his dorm to see him.  We still don’t spend every waking minute together, but now if we want to have dinner together, he’s just a ten minute walk away and in my carless existence, that’s something to be thankful for.

2002:  Tuesdays are our busiest day of the week.  I have classes from 12pm until 10pm with only a 45 minute break to get dinner.  I try to get through the day as quickly as possible, being so excited with giving Brad his gifts and being able to breathe after I was done with our last class of the day which we had together.  I have been getting weird comments all day.  One girl told me that my room looked so cool.  Another person asked Brad some strange question on our way up to his dorm room after class.  Five minutes after we got up to his room, he gives me something he has written and when I look up at him, he has gotten down on one knee.  Back at my room, my door is decorated by one of my residents, the entire room is full of streamers, confetti, bridal magazines, flowers and balloons.  We are going to get married!

2003:  I have Wednesdays off, so I spend most of my morning working on a scrapbook and getting all of the pieces and pages bound.  We celebrate by going to a Japanese restaurant and the bartender comps our drinks because we tell him it is our anniversary.  I wear my engagement ring with pride and can’t believe that we’ve already been engaged for a year.  Graduation is ahead of us, neither of us have any job prospects or have a clue where we are going to live.  We are enjoying our last couple of months of college and lack of responsibility.

2004:  Brad is gone Monday thru Thursday every week for his job.  We are living together and have adapted to his crazy work schedule.  I am working for my dad’s advertising agency and spending evenings and nights to myself, so we really look forward to the weekends.  We go out to dinner to celebrate our last anniversary before we get married in April.  We choose The Melting Pot and when the waiter brings our tray of dessert, there is a wrapped present on it.  It is a beautiful diamond pendant.

2005:  We are in Blacksburg for the game against Miami.  It is one of the biggest games of the year and we are trying to recreate the same exact game experience we had two years earlier when we crushed them.  We meet my sister there and crash in one of our friends’ rooms.  We spend the weekend visiting our favorite Blacksburg haunts and enjoying the unseasonably warm weather.  We lost badly, but we still have a fantastic time.  We are newlyweds with a new house and limited time together, but we’re doing ok.  I enjoy my free time and Brad enjoys his job.

2006:  I sleep in, wake up and read the paper and enjoy a cup of coffee, then we run errands to the bank, Costco and Best Buy because Brad has saved up enough gift cards to purchase an Xbox 360 and he spends the entire day playing on it and figuring it out.  He makes us enchiladas for dinner and we have a relaxing Sunday.

2007:  Brad leaves early in the morning to head to Philly, which is where he has been working for months and will probably continue to work for years due to so many contracts in the area.  I’m working at a new place.  Our agency closed over the summer and now I’m on the selling side of what I used to do.  I spend the day attending our sales meeting, going out to lunch with one of my new coworker friends, coming home, fixing dinner and finishing reading a book.  We’ve been discussing getting a dog to keep me company while Brad is on the road and to see if I can keep something with a heartbeat alive.  We’ve settled on a Westie, and we are slowly starting our search for one.

2008:  I sleep in, opting not to work out because I was up late the night before.  As usual I’m running late and Brad is out of the door a whole ten minutes before me (typical).  He’s working down the street from our house and is only gone two months out of the year, rather than every week.  We have a dog named Foster who we completely dote over.  After work we have leftovers for dinner, take Foster for a walk and enjoy a glass of wine.

2009:  Brad is out of town and will probably be out of town this time of year for as long as he works at his current company because there is a huge trade show going on at the end of October through the beginning of November.  I don’t mind it though, I spend the night picking up mac and cheese and wine from Target for dinner and watch a movie I’ve been wanting to watch and thoroughly enjoy watching with Foster curled up next to me.  We’re starting to talk about trying to have a baby.  The baby bug has bitten me hard, and although I want it to be a stress free process, it’s just about all I can think about all day, every day.  Maybe one day I’ll be more excited and not so worried.

2010:  Brad’s parents pick me up from my parents’ house and bring me to the hospital in time for me to feed our week old baby.  He was early, so he’s still in the hospital, so I spend every waking moment up there with him.  It is the first time they will be able to hold him and they are both ecstatic.  I’m extremely frustrated because Chase keeps having bradycardia episodes, which is when he forgets to breathe when he’s eating.  I feel like I’m suffocating my own baby.  This is not a good day, but the nurses keep threatening me that he’s going to be discharged soon.  I don’t know what I’ll do with myself when I can hold him whenever I want to with no tubes, no wires and no monitors.

2011:  We’re spending the weekend in North Carolina with my grandparents.  Nana is not doing well.  She was diagnosed with leukemia this time last year and she’s been having less good days.  I don’t want to think about this being the last time that we see her, but that day is coming sooner rather than later.  Today Chase decides to start walking.  Not going one or two steps, going more like 10 or 12.  It is quite a sight to see, and he is proud of himself.  I am so happy that Nana gets to see him walk for the first time.  When I talk to Brad later that day I wish him a Happy Anniversary.

Brad, thank you for 13 glorious years.  Thank you for always being the one thing I can depend on.  For being my rock.  For loving me despite all of my flaws.  For being my shoulder to cry on.  For always keeping me smiling and laughing.  For being a fantastic father and blessing me with an equally fantastic child.  For these things and so much more.  I look forward to the next lucky 13 and beyond.

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A Day That Will Live in Infamy

That was supposed to be day my child was born.  My due date was December 7th, “Pearl Harbor Day” as every man over the age of 35 reminded me of.  So when I headed to a pretty routine doctor’s appointment for a nonstress test due to some high blood pressure issues while I was pregnant, I had nothing to worry (or stress) about.  It was a gorgeous, crisp October day, and I had nothing going on at work except my baby shower and my end of the year review.  My boss was out of the office, my husband was out of town, it was Friday and I had a weekend of baby themed things to do.  I dressed super comfy because my feet were starting to swell and I was 34 weeks and 3 days pregnant, and being as cheap (and practical?) as possible, I was wearing as few maternity clothes as possible, but we were about to hit another season and I still had six weeks to go, so I knew I would have to make some pointless investments soon.  For the time being, I settled on some leggings, a long sweater and some wide gold flats.

Unfortunately, my appointment was at the furthest of the two locations of my OB, and I had made the appointment early, so I couldn’t sleep in and had to drive 20 minutes (as opposed to 5) in traffic.  So I drove there slightly annoyed at yet another inconvenience in my squished bladder, indigestion filled, swollen foot life.  I got there as on time as I usually was, and didn’t have to wait all that long for the nurse to call me back, get my belly set for the non stress test and leave me with my copy of Happiest Baby on the Block and nothing but time.  The first time she came back, she looked a little concerned, the second time, she brought the doctor with her.  He explained to me that when I indicated that the baby was moving (by pressing a button), the baby’s heart rate should go up 10 or 15 beats above the baseline and stay there for 10 to 15 seconds.  Instead it would go up 5 to 10 beats and stay there for a second.  They told me that they were going to send me next door to the hospital to do a contraction stress to see if that would get his heart rate moving.  Then things happened pretty quickly.

I called my mom and told her they were sending me to the hospital.  I called work and told them that I might be late for my own shower.  I got a text from one of my best friends telling me that she was going to be induced (she was 2 days past her due date).  The doctor told me that they were going to get an ultrasound to make sure everything was still okay in there.  I had the ultrasound done in 2 minutes (it usually takes 30 to find everything).  The tech gave me a dozen new 4D shots of my baby, but I couldn’t focus enough to really take them in.  My doctor sent me to get another meal and told me to be back in an hour in case I just hadn’t eaten enough.  My mom arrived at the office and she and I drove around and around trying to think of something that sounded remotely appetizing to me.  It was 10:30 in the morning, I had already had breakfast and my stomach was in knots.

An hour (and two cinnamon raisin biscuits and a large orange juice later), we arrived back at the doctor’s office, I was plugged in again and waited.  My mom was so sweet, trying to be as optimistic as possible, but I saw the writing on the wall, they were going to send me to the hospital.  And that’s exactly what they did.  We walked over there which was a long haul.  We hadn’t gone on our tour yet, so I had no idea where I was going, I was just walking.  When they got me all strapped in there and things started sounding better, I wondered if maybe it was a fluke and there was older, less technically advanced equipment at the doctor’s office because things were already sounding better.  Again, I waited.

An hour and a half later, still no pitocin (to start contractions), just me in the bed, Mom trying not to pace and the two of us talking.  Apparently they were down a person, which is why it was taking so long for the pitocin, so when my nurse returned, I asked if I could please use the bathroom.  Got up, did my business, back to the bed, got plugged up again and that is when it got scary.  The nurse yelled at me to lay down on my left side, put oxygen over my nose and mouth and paged the doctor to come to the room immediately.  Apparently my baby’s heartrate had been in the 70s for several seconds (it should have been close to double that).  Apparently my placenta was tired of supporting a baby.  Apparently, I was going to have this baby sooner than any of us thought.  Maybe, I should call my husband and let him know what was going on.

Six hours later, Brad was at the hospital (a miracle considering modern air travel and he was coming from Louisville), my sister had turned around 30 miles from home after taking 90 minutes to get there with no end in sight, Brad parents were at the hospital, my dad had gone and picked up our dog and brought him to their house, he was sitting in the parking lot because he had a hunch that something wasn’t right, dozens of phone calls had been made and received, there weren’t any more scary moments or seconds, they had recanted about the whole “you may not be pregnant much longer” and then they came in at 8:35pm, exactly 12 hours after my appointment that morning and said, “We’ve decided he is healthier outside of your womb rather than in,” and informed me that anesthesia would be in to administer my spinal block in 30-45 minutes.

I peppered her with as many questions as I could think of.  Am I going to puke?  Maybe.  Is he going to the NICU?  Yes.  It could be a “drive by” (a week or so) but probably until he was full term (three weeks) or even up until his due date.  Would I hear him cry?  Maybe.  Could I hold him after he was born?  No.  Well, that was that.  There was nothing I could do to change what was happening, so I stayed calm and so did everyone else.

Five minutes later, anesthesia showed up.  My first question to them?  Am I going to puke?

The c-section is a bit of a blur.  When they wheeled me in I was taken by how bright white it was in there.  I felt like I was in a movie studio rather than an operating room.  I had no problems with my spinal block.  And after I asked the third (or was it tenth?) person if I was going to get sick, I decided that I would not.  I was so tired of seeing all of those women on TV/reality shows complaining about how they felt, or wimping out and freaking out about c-sections when they need to be the strongest that they have ever been. So I made up my mind that I was going to be the strongest chick that they had ever seen.  No tears, no puke, no whining.  And that’s what I did.

It seemed like forever, but at 9:11pm (36 minutes after they told me they were going to get him), little Chase William Sorgen, weighing 5 pounds, 2 ounces and measuring 18 inches long arrived.  A new chapter of my life unfolded.  My life would never be the same.  I was a mom and the happiest woman on earth.

Happy 1st Birthday to my love, my heart, my life.  You make my life worth living and I can’t imagine a day without you.  I love you more than you will ever know.

Love,

Mom

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.

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!

A Funny Thing Happened in North Carolina

One of the biggest worries that I’ve had for the past three months is that Chase wasn’t babbling. Trust me, when you become a mom not only do you become competitive about everything from teething to eating and sleeping habits to fingernail growth, but you also become an obsessive worrier. Thank about it, your parents still probably worry about you today, don’t they? But I am not the most “on top of it” mom. I don’t read the books like I should and I feel to some extent that ignorance is bliss, so I try to avoid knowing all of the milestones and just playing it by ear. When I was told that babbling was one of THE THINGS a 7 or 8 or 9 month old should be doing, I still kind of brushed it off. Then when a friend with a baby a day younger than Chase said, “whatever you do, don’t google ‘a baby that doesn’t babble at 8 months,’” I started to worry.

That’s the other thing about becoming a mom. There is a lot of information on the internet. An infinite amount actually. The majority of that information has no source, no bibliography, no sense and no basis. A lot of it is written by ordinary people, like you and me. What most of us fail to realize (or remember) when we are looking to the internet for information is that people are stupid. Yet, we fall for it time and time again. So I googled it. That led to articles about autism, developmental delays and ultra super moms who claimed their children were babbling in the womb. Awesome.

I reassured myself about it all. Chase is way too interested in moving around. He army crawls around the house, wants to always be “walking,” has started cruising recently, and active babies don’t necessarily communicate when they should. His father didn’t say a word until he was one. He was six weeks early, so if he isn’t babbling by x amount of months, then I will really worry. And so on and so on.

I tried to forget everything that I read and knew that the pediatrician would have the solution. We were about to visit her for Chase’s 9 month checkup. When the same friend who told me not to google anything gave me a promising update from her pediatrician, I felt even more confident going to my doctor. After all Chase makes a ton of noises and coos and oohs and aahs and his pediatrician is super laid back and is always happy with the progress he has made thus far. When we went into his appointment all smiley and happy and she went through her list of questions and we answered “yes” to all of them, I started feeling really cocky. When she got to “And does he babble? You know, ‘mama,’ ‘dada,’ anything like that?” and we said “no, not yet,” and she said, “Really? Nothing?” I really started to feel like we were actually in trouble. Then she did the whole, “well you know, he’s really like a 7 ½ month old baby” routine and I got really disheartened. She had previously told us that he was all caught up, and I wasn’t used to going in the opposite direction. I just knew she would brush it off, so I started to get depressed when she went that route.

That was on Tuesday. Yesterday we were in North Carolina visiting my grandparents and Chase was crawling over to me on the floor when I moved away and he got frustrated and started to cry. At the end of the wail, I swore I heard a “ma.” Nah. But I tested him and put him down to crawl and then moved away a little bit. He started to cry and this time I heard him clearly, “MAMAMAMAMA!!!!!!” inside of his cry. Hallelujah! By the time he woke up from his nap he was “mamamama” a lot. Then by the end of the day there was even some “bababababa” and “gagagaga,” even “rararara.” The funny part? All of the stupid books that I started reading when the babbling wasn’t happening basically say, “don’t expect them to say mama first, they all say dada.” Aunts and well meaning strangers have told me, “well you know, he’ll say dada first.” So I didn’t even practice “mama” with him, I tried everything else. And that adorable, wonderful, perfect child said “mama” first. As if I couldn’t love him even more.

Hold tight. I’ll have something new to worry about tomorrow, don’t you worry!

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 : )