Saturday, May 29, 2010

Four Airplanes and Two States

Back when I was first pregnant (like that was oh so long ago), I received an invitation to a good friend's wedding. This is a friend I have kept in touch with for many years, over many moves. Even though she was currently three thousand miles away, I was excited to make plans to attend the wedding.

I talked with Husband about it, and we agreed that I could afford to go. He would stay home with Baby since she would be almost four months old at the time and it should be no problem to be away from her. I booked a flight with a layover each way (I was planning on pumping between flights so my milk supply wouldn't diminish), and made it so that I flew in Friday night, went to the wedding on Saturday, and flew home Sunday morning. I thought it would be a quick and easy weekend away. What was I thinking?

As the wedding drew closer, I realized that leaving Baby home with Husband was probably not something that I could do. Remember the whole not-taking-a-bottle fiasco? Stubborn child of mine was still refusing a bottle. Even if I did leave for the weekend, she might wean herself, and then refuse me upon my return. Not to mention the fact that pumping is a total hassle and I really haven't done it since Baby has been refusing to drink from a bottle. I now had two choices: not go, or take Baby with me.

After agonizing over my decision, I decided to take Baby with me. That way she wouldn't starve, wouldn't wean herself, and my milk supply would remain. Plus, I didn't want to miss my good friend's wedding. This is not an event that repeats itself every year, like birthdays. This is a once in a lifetime thing.

Due to financial constraints, Husband was unable to accompany me, so my sister volunteered to come along to act as a mother's helper. I was very grateful to her for doing so. In my head I had a hard time picturing myself juggling baby and luggage at the same time. I mean, what if I had to go to the bathroom? I didn't really want to hand Baby off to any random stranger. She might not be there when I came out.

The day of departure approached and I confirmed all my reservations: flights, hotel, and rental car. I made sure to request an infant car seat in the rental car for Baby. I did not want to have to check any luggage because the airline we used charges. Therefore, I packed as light as I could and only the basic necessities I thought I would need so I could fit it all into carry on.

I was really surprised at how well Baby did. I had read previously that it is best to nurse during takeoff and landing so that the air pressure change doesn't hurt Baby's ears. Therefore, I held off on feeding Baby so I could time it just right. Unfortunately she didn't like my timing and ended up crying all the way down the ramp to load onto the plane. I hoped this wasn't foreshadowing things to come.

After we found our seats, Baby became very interested in the people around her. She had her big blue eyes wide open taking everything in. I think she forgot she was hungry for a few minutes. Another couple came in after us juggling their baby and lots of gear, such as bottles, bags, and who knows what else. Plus, their baby was also fussing. A gentleman sitting in between us, after watching this couple for a few seconds, asked me where all my gear was, since Baby was just sitting there and I only had one bag. I told him I was a minimalist, and we joked about not needing the tricycle just yet.

Baby remembered she was hungry and ended up nursing before the plane took off. I did not want to be the person with the crying baby that everyone gets annoyed with. When her ears started to bother her during the flight, she nursed again. Then she fell asleep. We had a layover a couple hours later, so when the plane landed we grabbed our things and found the next flight. I carried Baby in the Baby Bjorn (I love this thing!), and Sister grabbed our bags (we had one on wheels and one backpack).

When we arrived at our destination all the way across the country, it was almost twelve hours later than when we had first left for the airport. Baby had done so well on the flights, but now she was having a hard time holding it together.

I checked in at the rental car company and reminded them I needed a car seat. They only had two door cars available for the price I had reserved, and tried to upsell me for a four door. I declined because I didn't want to spend any more money. It wasn't a big deal to me since I only needed the car for the weekend.

I met one of the car people at the two door Chevy Cobalt, and he started to install the carseat for me. Unfortunately, it wasn't a small infant car seat like I had requested. Even though I had called in advance and told them how big she was and what I needed, when I was there they said all they had were booster seats. Great. (Note to self: Check my own car seat next time, no matter the cost.)

I should also mention that at this point we noticed the humidity. It was hot, and it was sticky, and Baby did not like this one bit. While I was helping the rental car guy install the seat in the car, Baby decided to start screaming her little head off. Sister held her and tried to calm her, but she wanted to let everyone know she was tired and cranky and did not like the humidity. Rental car guy had a hard time getting the seat in the car in the first place, then could not get the straps to work for him. He had sweat poring down his face and I could tell he did not like Baby's screaming. I didn't either, but there was no way I was going to drive off in a seat that wasn't strapped down correctly.

After at least half an hour of screaming (on Baby's part), sweating (on the rental car guy's part), texting (that would be my sister), and attempting to tighten straps (me), I jokingly suggested to rental car guy that perhaps he could attempt a free upgrade for us into a four door car. It would be much simpler that way. Sister seconded my suggestion, so rental car guy disappeared back into the airport to negotiate for us.

A few minutes later he came out successful, and we were upgraded (for free), into a four door Elantra. Rental car guy successfully installed the car seat, and after placing a screaming Baby in and out of it three, yes three, times, to properly adjust the straps, we were ready to go. Baby fell asleep on our way to the hotel (yes, I did get lost, but I eventually found it!), although since the booster seat was too big her head was set at an uncomfortable level. After that I told Sister she had to ride in the back with her so that did not happen again. We found the hotel, and after about an hour of fussing, Baby finally fell asleep.

The next day was the wedding. We spent a leisurely morning getting ready, then drove across the state line (see, two states), to the wedding which was an hour and a half away. We made it just in time to run in before the beautiful bride came down the aisle. Unfortunately I didn't get to hear the vows because Baby started fussing, so I took her away from the ceremony. She ate, then she was fine.

Baby was quite wonderful during the wedding. She didn't have any screaming episodes like the night before, thank goodness. Instead, she was passed around, then lulled to sleep a few times in my arms by the music at the reception. Thankfully the reception was indoors so the humidity didn't get to her. I must say, she was a big hit and I loved it. She was so charming that one of the guys at our table who was newly married told his wife that he wanted one. I told him she was just putting on a show. In private she is never that well behaved.

After spending as long as we possibly could at the wedding (hey, it's the reason I flew out in the first place), we drove back to the hotel and Baby decided to cry most of the way there. We were able to get about three hours of sleep, then off the airport we went. We returned the rental car and checked in to our flight. At the counter Baby flirted with a little boy whose mom was checking in next to us. Silly girl. She already has an eye out for the boys.

Baby did great on the two flights home. She nursed and slept for most of it. On the first flight we were next two three couples who had just gotten married that weekend and were headed to their honeymoons. It was quite random that three newlyweds would all be seated so close on the same plane. They were smiling at Baby and she was smiling right back. I told them that was what would come next.

On the last flight home, I had chosen seats at the very back of the plane, right next to the lavatories. Each time someone came back to use the restroom they would smile and talk to Baby. She soon discovered that if she smiled, she got attention. After that, whenever she saw anyone coming she would break into her wide toothless grin at the person, waiting to get a reaction. She's a smart cookie, she is.

When we landed, Husband met us at the airport and sat with Baby in the back while I drove us home.

Overall, it was a great trip. The rental car fiasco was not fun, but I think screaming Baby got us the free upgrade, so it worked out. I packed the perfect amount of items and was glad I didn't have to tote around bottles and formula like the one couple in front of us did. Nursing definitely has its perks, that's for sure. Having my sister around was a huge help, although I may have been able to get the flight attendants to help if I needed anything. I'm definitely glad I went and got the chance to show Baby off. She certainly showed her little personality.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Stay at Home Mom

I've always been a very busy person. I mean, extremely busy. In high school, I was part of too many clubs to name (even headed up a few), maintained good grades, worked a part time job, did some babysitting on the side, participated in a few of the school plays (those required a LOT of rehearsal time), and was even active in my church a few nights a week. On top of that, I had a few close groups of friends who i did activities with. Whew. I was a busy bee, and I loved it!

Then I met the love of my life and my pace in life slowed down. I went off to college and didn't do nearly as much. I still worked, maintained good grades, did some community service projects, made new lifelong friends, but wasn't nearly as pressed for time. Instead, I dedicated a lot of my time and energy to fostering a good relationship with my soon to be husband, instead of all the busy activities I had done before.

When I got married, both Husband and I worked part time and went to school full time. We attended church, but weren't heavily involved. However, it still felt like we had a lot to do between work and school.

Before having Baby, I never thought I could be a stay at home mom. I had never understood what moms who stayed home actually did with their time. Well, now I know. What did I ever do with my time before I had a baby? How in the world did I manage all of my previous responsibilities?

Since having Baby, even though I stopped working and hardly ever go out, it still feels like time is flying by. What I do now revolves around her; when she eats, when she sleeps, when she plays. But with Baby, I go at a much slower pace, stopping to smell the flowers so to speak.

I cherish every moment I have with my baby girl. She is full of new surprises every day. I know she recognizes me and can identify my voice. She can tell if I am near her or not. She loves to "talk" to me in her own little way. She fits perfectly in the crook of may arm, or laying her head on my shoulder. I love it when she relaxes against me and peacefully drifts off to sleep. I don't want to move a muscle because I'm afraid it will ruin the moment.

I now know what it's like to be a stay at home mom, and I love it with every part of my being.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Baby Speak

Baby has become a lot more vocal lately, and it is adorable. I love how she smiles and talks to us. Her "voice" consists of different vowel sounds. She will "aaahhhh," or "ah, ah, ah, ah" or "whoo". Now I know where goo-goo gaa-gaa came from; Baby says "goo" a lot. Sometimes she says her words softly, and other times she will shout them out with all her little might. She does some shrill screeching, too. I like to call her my little dolphin, because that's what she sounds like.

She loves to look at me and smile and talk. She acts so proud of herself when we hold little conversations. She also kicks her little legs and waves her little arms and gets so excited. She talks and smiles a lot to the ceiling, too, so I like to think she is looking up and communicating with angels. I would hate to think she is trying to communicate with the overhead lights.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bulking Up

I bought Nestle's Instant Breakfast not too long ago because it is quick and easy to make, as well as easy to drink with one hand while the other holds Baby. It's like a breakfast shake. It has tons of vitamins in it. You just mix the powder with milk and enjoy. I like the chocolate flavor.

I like these drinks so much I've been drinking them at various times of the day. Before lunch, after dinner, whenever. I figure they have to be good for me because they have all these vitamins. Plus Baby should benefit from them too when she gets the nutrients from nursing.

Well, after dinner the other night Husband sees me make one and asks if I'm bulking up. Say what?

Husband kindly explained to me that I've been taking in a ton of extra calories by drinking these shakes. Similar to eating two meals at once.

So that explains where those extra three pounds came from! Oops.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Baby Weight

I have never had a weight problem before. If ever my clothes started to feel tight, I would cut back on the junk food and the world would be right again. Then I got pregnant.

If you read my previous blogs, you knew that I did not have a huge selection of maternity wear (remember my ONE pair of maternity pants- yes I wore them the whole time), and was able to wear my normal clothes (with a few modifications) pretty much until the last couple months of my pregnancy. Thus, I figured I would be able to fit right back into them a few weeks after Baby was born. Not so. Not so at all.

It's been three whole months and I am just now starting to squeeze myself into prepregnancy jeans. I can wear a few of my larger pairs, with a little effort. But my shirts? No way. Not even close. I have this lovely flabby belly hanging out that is so not pretty. Did I mention it's covered in stretch marks? No bikini for me this summer.

I've been going for about a walk a day when the weather is nice. I've also slightly been monitoring what I eat (Ok, the Starbucks addiction is back), but I've just been really hungry lately! This may be due to breastfeeding, but my portion sizes are still huge, which I really need to work on.

I weighed myself today to find that I have gained back three pounds. Three pounds! I've been pretty lazy about any other exercise than walking (who can find the time? I have a baby stuck to me), but now I'm really gonna have to work on it.

I shall now attempt to do two walks a day. Morning and evening. Really. And maybe I'll try to eat a little less and a little healthier. Oh and Starbucks, I'll only visit you on rare occasions. Like when you happen to be on my walking route...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day

I celebrated my first Mother's Day yesterday. I think Husband was more excited about it than I was. He just wants to set the bar high so he can have a great Father's Day. Well, he did a pretty good job.

I had told Husband previously that all I wanted was a nap. And none of this, "Ok go in the other room while I watch the baby cry and you try to sleep" nap. That is not a nap at all. I'm not the type of parent who can sleep through their baby crying. Even if it is down the hall, through a closed door, and muffled by a fan. I can still hear it, and therefore can't sleep. I told him I wanted a nap and he could take Baby out for a walk or somewhere far away where I could not hear her. I'm not sure what he thought of that.

Well Mother's Day Eve Baby fell asleep really early, like around 5 (remember, we have no schedule here). I was tired, so I wanted to sleep too. I told Husband I was going to take a nap, and could he get Baby when she woke up. He agreed. Surprisingly, I was able to sleep for a few hours (yes, I said hours), and it was glorious. Husband watched and played with Baby and she did fine.

Mother's Day Morning I woke up to have breakfast served in bed. I chose healthy cereal (I know, boring, but I'm attempting to lose this baby weight) with a banana. It was nice to eat it in bed while Husband tended to Baby. Baby also gave me "her" Mother's Day present. It is a book entitled "My Mother is So Smart!" and it goes through a bunch of different scenarios of how the character's mother is so smart. I'm sure Baby relates.

Then we went to church for the morning. I can selfishly say that I wanted to be recognized as a new mother in church. In past years they've had all the mothers stand and given out a flower or something special. I was really looking forward to getting a flower. Well, of course we were running late and got in fifteen minutes after the service started. I was really hoping we didn't miss the recognition and looked around to see if anyone had flowers or anything specifying they were a mother. It seemed like I was still in the clear.

At the end of the service (which was geared towards husbands and fathers and all about how to be a better man-supposedly the church's Mother's Day gift to us), they had all the mothers stand up to be recognized. Woo hoo, the moment I was waiting for! I proudly held Baby and stood up while everyone clapped. Unfortunately, no flowers were handed out. Maybe next year.

After service Husband said I could decide whatever we wanted to do for the day. (Now I have to wonder if that was an easy way to not plan the day, but that was ok with me). I had really been craving Jack in the Box's dollar chicken sandwiches, so that's what we had. We went through the drive through and had chicken sandwiches and curly fries. It was super unhealthy and extremely delicious. I could have chosen to go to a fancy restaurant, but I didn't want to have to worry about taking care of Baby and eating in public at the same time, so the drive through was perfect. We also hit up Starbucks so I could get a mocha (decaf of course).

It was a rather gloomy day outside, so I lit a fire in the fireplace (I LOVE fireplaces, one of the reasons we bought this house), and curled up with a book on the floor in front of it. Husband took care of Baby and I got to just hang out. Something I really haven't done in a while. Oh, and Husband also dd the dishes and vacuumed, something I really haven't done in a while...

When Baby fell asleep we watched a fun chick flick, and that concluded my first Mother's Day. It was great how different people told me Happy First Mother's Day. I can never have another first Mother's Day again now. Funny how that works.

Oh, and Husband also got me a massage, which will be wonderful for my aching back. I could get used to this.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Dinner in the City

One of my good friends is getting married, so of course she had a bachelorette party planned. It was going to be a weekend in the city (about an hour away) filled with sightseeing, dinner, dancing, and good friends. While I knew that I couldn't be gone from Baby that long, I thought perhaps I could do dinner. Maybe this would be the day Baby would take a bottle! Google said that the best thing to do is leave for an extended amount of time so Baby has no choice but to drink from it. We could try it!

Husband agreed to the plan, and planned to watch Baby that night. She had been having a good day so far, hanging out with us as we went shopping, so we hoped it would continue. I arranged to leave at 5 pm, and told Husband I would be home no later than midnight.

I had a fabulous time in the city and dinner was great. Around ten Husband texted me to ask if it was ok if she hadn't eaten a thing. She was refusing the bottle and hadn't eaten in five hours. My child normally eats every two to three hours, so I was a little worried. However, I texted him back and told him it was fine. If she got hungry enough, she should eat. I asked him if everything was going well, and he said they'd had an emergency earlier, but all was fine now and we could talk when I got home.

Wait, emergency?

What could have happened? The only thing I could think of was that maybe when he gave her a bath she fell in the water, or something like that. Or maybe he dropped her. Or she stopped breathing and had to be taken to the hospital.

I finished dinner and headed home. I made it home two minutes before midnight. The moment I walked in the door Husband greeted me with Baby in his arms. He shoved her at me and said something along the lines of, "Here, you can deal with her now." I nursed her and she gulped down as much as she possibly could.

Later I learned that she had cried practically the entire time I was gone. She only stopped crying when Husband took her on a walk, and when he gave her a bath. Both of those activities she normally enjoys. Other than that, she screamed her little head off.

Onto the emergency. Husband said she cried and cried so much she started choking. She choked herself so much that she ended up turning blue and he had to turn her over and pound her on the back until she took a breath. The only other time she's turned blue was at the hospital when she choked on fluid from bring born. Scary.

Needless to say, she did not drink from the bottle. I'm not sure where to go from here. At least I have some more time before I have to go back to work. In the meantime, I won't plan on being gone for more than two hours at once.