Sort of settling in

Almost everyone I see asks me how I feel being back to work and I’m finding it hard to answer.  I’m so so proud I’m making this work and it seems do-able.   And if I’m being honest, Arya being such a chill and easy baby is probably 95% of why this feels so manageable.  She still mostly sleeps through the night so I’m getting about 7 hours of sleep a night, she goes to bed around 7-7:30 so I have a few hours at night to myself, she is perfectly content hanging out with most people, and she is able to entertain herself for decent stretches of time.  And yes, I am fully aware of how lucky I am and I tell Arya every day how grateful I am for her.

But I have a constant fear of money hanging over me.  We are just barely squeaking by.  We are completely living check to check and we would be completely screwed if I were to ever lose my job (or our rent controlled apartment).  Not only is this terrifying but it also makes me so angry.  I’m an attorney and I make almost six figures.  And while this pales in comparison to what many of my classmates (who chose much more lucrative legal careers) it shouldn’t be this hard..right?  So fuck capitalism and can we please get universal free childcare, healthcare, and education already?

On a very unrelated note, I had the weirdest interaction with Arya’s daycare yesterday.  When I dropped her off she was wearing a onesie and baby leg warmers.  The outfit looked a lot like this:

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One of the teachers was like: “look at you today!”  I assumed she thought the outfit was cute.  Later, when I picked Arya up the same teacher was like: “today we called her sexy girl!.”  Um what?  I didn’t ask her to elaborate and just responded “oh haha.”  I’m thinking she thought the legwarmers looked like women’s thigh high stockings or something.  It was so weird and a bit gross and I know this wouldn’t have happened if she was a boy.  Can you please not sexualize my six month old?

Despite the weirdness, I decided not to say anything.  I have been super, duper happy with how they are taking care of Arya and she is so happy when I drop her off and pick her up.  I  have to pick and choose my battles and this just isn’t worth it.  But WTF?

transitions

This is the start of my fourth week of work.  It’s been surprisingly nice being back and having a routine with Arya.  I know it sounds awful but I thought I would miss her more than I do.  Not to say I don’t miss her, but its been great to have some balance.  I also love how I’m actually excited when I pick her up from daycare when her smile seriously melts me.

But this post isn’t about Arya, its about work.  On one hand, its so refreshing to use my brain for more abstract things and to be working on issues related to social justice (especially during this dumpster fire period in my county’s history).  But, I’m also feeling like I need to “prove myself” and my “worth” to my organization.  To be clear, no one has said anything to me to to suggest this is the case (actually they have all been super sweet and welcoming).  But, I was pretty checked out when I went on maternity leave.  As I’ve discussed on this blog, I had an absolutely awful pregnancy.  I was sick the entire time.  This made it really hard to work and keep on top of everything.  I’ll be the first to admit that my work suffered.  I had a review with our executive director before I left on leave.  While it was mainly positive he did mention that I need to pay better attention to detail and be more meticulous about what I put out.  I completely owned it because it was true.  I vowed to up my game when I came back and I was serious.

I’ve made a huge effort to be really efficient and on top of things since i’ve returned.  I’ve taken a lot of initiative to jump right back in and I feel good where things are at.  At my first meeting back with my boss she asked how things were going. I mentioned how much “more on my game” I feel now and I admitted that I was having a hard time with the pregnancy sickness and lack of energy.  She seemed happy I mentioned the elephant in the room and we continued our conversation.  I think she has a hard time having difficult conversations with me because we were friends before she became my supervisor and we hang out socially outside of work,  But I just wanted her to know that I’m committed to doing a good job.

Also, they are letting me work a modified schedule because Arya’s daycare is only open 8:30 to 5:30 so i can only be physically in the office 9:30-4:30.  I’ve been super focused while in the office and have worked straight through (not taking a lunch) so I can be as productive as possible.  I’ve also been putting in (some) hours on nights/weekends to make up for the time i’m out of the office.  I’m honestly feeling like I’m pulling my weight and it feels great.

So on Friday I asked my boss if she would be amenable to me working from home once a week.  This isn’t unheard of-many people in my office do this.  Almost all of our work can be done remotely.  I explained that with the additional time I would gain not commuting (because daycare is like 2 blocks away) I could work more (i would gain about an additional 1.5 hours).  I expected her to be cool with my request but she wasn’t as enthusiastic as I expected.  She basically said she wanted to think on it and ask our executive director.  She expressed concern about me being out of the office more (which was definitely valid).  And then she asked me how I was making up my missing hours.  I told her I was doing nights and weekends here and there.  Then the conversation ended and I left feeling very uneasy.

Now that I’m writing this, I’m thinking maybe I asked for too much.  Maybe I should have waited a few months into this transition back to ask for this?  I can seriously see both sides of this issue so i’m on so pins and needles until I get a final decision.  In the meantime I’m trying to not get too spun out on this.  I did a bunch of hours this weekend (thank god Arya is amazing at entertaining herself).  But I can’t help but feel a bit judged.

I have a secret…

Well I guess it’s not a huge secret now that I’m writing about it on the internet ( but who knows how many people actually read this). The reason it’s a secret is that I’ve been told that this is a taboo topic amongst parents,  So here it is….

…..Arya has been sleeping through the night for the past month!

Yes, she is only 10 weeks old.

No, haven’t been doing some sort of torturous sleep training- or any type of sleep training.

No, this didn’t result from my amazing parenting skills-she just naturally sleeps for long stretches.

Yes, I have been loosely following the advice from ” the Happiest Baby on the Block” and I swear by this swaddle but generally I think I just got lucky.

I’m thinking maybe the people in my family are just good sleepers. My mom was insistent that both my sister and I slept through the night as infants. I thought she was exaggerating because this couldn’t possibly be true. Also, when I told my sister about it she told me that my nephew also slept through the night as a newborn.

I get why I shouldn’t be rubbing this in the face of all of my other parent-friends.  Sleep deprivation sucks and is arguably the hardest part of parenting.  But, I still want to shout it from the rooftops.  So, I’ve been confiding in my non-parent friends to get it out of my system.  But even when I tell them I find myself qualifying it with “well she is doing this for now but who knows what will happen in the future..”  I do this because I feel a bit ashamed for talking about it-which is ridiculous.

I think this “shame” comes from a conversation I had with the doctor who did Arya’s two month check-up (he was filling in for our regular pediatrician).  I told him about her sleep because I was happy but also because I wanted to gauge how normal this was and the chances that this would continue.  After giving me his opinion (you never know) he said twice “don’t brag about it.” I thought maybe he was joking but he didn’t say this with a smile-just very matter of fact.  So thanks for raining on our parade Mr. buzzkill pediatrician!

And, here are a few baby pictures because why not?

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Arya’s Birth Story

My sister got here two days before my scheduled c section and we spent the day before getting last minute things done. I also had an amazing massage. It felt important to eat some ” last” meals out so we went out to brunch and dinner.  Then we took some last bump photos:

 

When I went to bed it dawned on me that I was having a baby by having an awake surgery. So I would be conscious while they were cutting me open and pulling my organs aside. Oh and the whole meeting my daughter thing. I didn’t sleep much and jumped out of bed when my alarm went off at 5:30 AM and took a shower.

The hospital in Oakland had told me to call before coming in because they may need to delay my c section in case there was an emergency.  At 6 I sleepily called labor and delivery and told them I was scheduled to be in at 7AM for a scheduled c-section.  The woman responded “ummm yeah you can’t come in yet-i’m pretty sure this isn’t happening today.  We are really busy..maybe Monday..?”  (it was Friday)  She said it like I was re-scheduling an oil change with absolutely no acknowledgment about how this may be upsetting to me.  When I replied that this date was pushed up significantly due to being at risk for uterine rupture due to a surgery and preeclampsia she replied..” you have preeclampsia?.. let me call you back..”

About 30 minutes later she called back and just said “yeah.. we can’t do it today-sorry.”  She didn’t mention consulting with anyone about all of my risk factors and she seemed very annoyed when I asked to speak to someone else.  A few minutes later I spoke to the nurse manager who was equally (if not more) annoyed by my questions and concerns.  She just said: ” don’t you have some fibroids?” and I explained that they had been removed during a surgery on my uterus which is why I was having an early c-section.  She also seemed unconcerned about the preeclampsia and again never mentioned looking at my chart or doing any type of evaluation of whether this delay would be ok.  I told her I was surprised they were casually rescheduling given the preinatalogist’s insistence I have the baby today.  I also asked if I should eat.  She said she would ask someone.  A few minutes later she told me to eat but I decided not to because it was unclear what was going on and I didn’t want to ruin my chances of having a c-section today.

My sister was equally livid and insisted I call them back but I decided to wait because talking to the nurses was making me really anxious.  Then I checked my blood pressure and it was crazy high at 200/110. Previously I had been told to call immediately if it ever went over 160/90.  This had resulted in me spending a few hours on monitors at labor and delivery several times the previous week.  I called them back and they told me to come in.  It seemed I had finally forced them to care about me and the baby’s well-being.

When we showed up the unit was packed and crazy busy. As if on cue, a screaming woman was wheeled past us and it all felt very Grey’s Anatomy. The triage nurse ( who I had spoken to on the phone) looked unimpressed. She informed us they had nowhere to put me. She also mentioned that ” this is why I told you not to come in” and snarkily asked if my blood pressure had increased after they told me my c section was postponed. She didn’t take my blood pressure and sent us to the visitors waiting room.

We were in the waiting room for a long time. I was starving and nervous and my sister did her best to distract me. My friend also stopped by with her one year old. At one point a man who had been watching his friend’s two year old just walked away leaving the little girl behind. The girl started crying and we told security who went looking for the man. When he came back he was surprised that everyone was so upset. This was ridiculous but at least it provided some good distraction. After a few hours my sister went and yelled at the nurse manager. A few minutes later I was taken to a room for monitoring.

The triage nurse apologized through gritted teeth. My blood pressure was finally taken and it was within normal range. The baby’s heartbeat was perfect. Although this was good news, my heart sunk a bit because I knew this meant they would be sending me home. The surgeon who was supposed to be doing my c section came to see me and I was finally reassured that the baby would be ok if we waited a few days to take her out. This was seven hours after I was told the c section was postponed. She rolled her eyes when I told her the nurse on the phone didn’t know I had preeclampsia and I felt vindicated. Then she asked if I wanted to have the baby today. When I said I really did, she assured me they would find another hospital for me to go to. ( my HMO has a large network of hospitals). About 30 minutes later I was told I could have my c section at the hospital in San Francisco and I happily agreed.

The vibe at the hospital in San Francisco was a huge contrast to the one in Oakland.  Things were calm, they were actually ready for me, and I was put in a room right away to prep me for the surgery.  I started to get really nervous so my sister pulled out her I-Pad and put on the Great British Bake Off.  This helped a lot but my heart was beating out of my chest when they came to bring me to the operating room.

They had me sit on the operating table for the epidural.  One of nurses held my shoulders and looked into my eyes while making small talk to ensure I didn’t move while they were putting a needle into my spine.  When they were done, they laid me down on the table and realized I couldn’t feel my legs.  The anesthesiologist started poking me to make sure it worked and kept asking me if I was feeling something sharp or just pressure.  I started to panic because I was petrified of giving the wrong answer.  When I started to really freak out, I told them I thought I was having a panic attack and I think they gave me a sedative because I was much calmer by the time my sister came in.

She held my hand and tried to distract me from the fact that my body was being cut open on the other side of the blue sheet draped across my middle.  All of a sudden I heard loud cries and I was completely overwhelmed and started crying.  A few minutes later they handed Arya to me and she was amazing.  I was really overwhelmed and welcomed her to the world through tears.  I couldn’t (can’t) believe I was finally a mom to this tiny person.  I didn’t know what to say so I just told her “hello you!” and examined her tiny nose and her hair.

Then I started to feel a lot of pressure and pain so I handed her to my sister.  When I complained out loud someone stupidly said ” it’s because we have your uterus out and we are stitching it up.”  Umm WTF?  So now I think of my uterus on a metal table every time I think of Arya’s birth.

I feel like I didn’t really get a chance to really take her in until I held her in the recovery room. We immediately did skin to skin and my friend helped her get latched on.  I was amazed that she knew what to do and it felt  amazing to be producing something that would make her healthy and strong.

The next few days at the hospital were a blur.  I could barely move without extreme pain so it was great to have the nurses hand her to me for feedings and to change her diapers.  The best part was just holding her skin to skin and snuggling.  I will also never forget introducing her to my parents for the first time.  On the way out my sister and my parents were bickering about something silly.  My dad told Arya: ” You don’t get to choose us but these crazy people are your family.”  This made us all laugh.

What I honestly remember most about this time was being scared that I didn’t feel the completely intense love for Arya that everyone talks about.  Not to say I didn’t love her (and wow would this love develop by leaps and bounds) but this was clouded by the terrifying worry of being responsible to take care of a tiny person…and I would be doing it solo. This caused me to be petrified to bring her home because this would mark the true start of this long journey.  I remember looking at her and thinking “I’m all this beautiful girl has so I have to get it together.”  Luckily I had enormous support from friends and family to lean on so I put her in her adorable monster pjs and off we went.

Happy Birthday-you have diabetes!

A few days ago my doctor ordered me to take a bunch of blood glucose tests because I have PCOS which can cause insulim intolerance.  I had to drink this nasty sugary drink and have my blood drawn a few times in the two hours afterwards.

My HMO automatically emails me test results-usually with no explanation but the result and what a “normal range” would be.  Well I got the results via email and they didn’t look good. Just in the beginning of the “not normal” range.  I was at work so I shot a quick email to the doctor on the way to another Federal Court mediation.

During a lull in the mediation (which is pretty much the entire time) I got a response back from one of the NP’s.  She said they had diagnosed me with diabetes.  Who the hell gives someone a diagnosis of a disease via email???  I had to pretend not to be totally freaking out while frantically googling everything about diabetes on my phone.

I responded asking for more information and she replied quickly  saying she had misread my results and that I’m at risk for developing diabetes but that I don’t actually have it.  What?? I was very relived but also super pissed at this little oversight.

She did put me on a medication and suggested that I cut down on carbs which are my only joy these days..  arghhh