Thursday, November 29, 2012

I survived!

Well, my first day back at work is behind me and I survived - not without a few tears, but I made it!

Tuesday was really bad for me - I think the anticipation of going back to work was worse than actually doing it. I was just holding onto Aven all day and would tear up every so often at the thought of leaving her. We snuggled on the couch most of the day and I took lots of pics and videos to get me through the workdays. Tyge brought me beautiful pink roses on Tuesday night which made me smile and was so thoughtful.

So I put Aven to bed and went to bed myself, but had a really hard time falling asleep. I didn't sleep too well and popped right out of bed when my alarm went off at 6 AM - I was already up. I was able to shower and get myself ready, then woke her at 7 to nurse and hang out for an hour until Stephanie (our nanny) got there. When she asked how I was doing I teared up again...luckily Aven was sleeping when I left which made it easier. I did cry most of the way to work, despite listening to cheery Christmas music. I walked into work and was greeted with smiles, cheers, hugs, flowers, and brownies! It was such a warm welcome and it did feel good to be back. Like I've said, I really love my job and the people I work with so that made it easier to come back. It was so fun to show off pictures of my little girl and catch up with everyone, and I spent most of the morning cleaning out my desk area and chatting. I did get in two pumping sessions and figured out the ins and outs of doing that at work, which made me feel better. I thought about Aven all day and was so happy to get a sweet text from Stephanie with THIS face smiling back at me:

And she had dressed her in her "I Love Mommy" onesie - how cute!

I left work at 4 so was home in time for the 4:30 feed and walked in to a smiley, happy baby girl!
My amazing husband came home and cooked a special dinner of crab legs for us, then cleaned up while I snuggled the baby.

So the first day is behind me and I hope it only gets easier from here as I figure out the new routine of being a working mom. Thanks for all the prayers and kind texts and phone calls everyone - the support really helped get me through this week!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Returning to work...

As I sit here on a lazy Sunday evening with my family, I feel so peaceful and don't feel any of the "Sunday night blues" because I don't have to return to work tomorrow! However, it's the last Sunday I'll have like this, as this week is my last full week at home with Aven (and it's a busy holiday one at that!) and I return to work Wednesday 11/28.

Before I had her, I said that I needed to return to work, wanted to work, and genuinely felt I would be a better mother if I was working - you know, having my "own" daily life and identity outside of being a mom. Well I don't know who I was kidding. I've loved every single minute of being Aven's mommy full time and would rather do that 24/7 than any other job on earth (even a professional singer, my "dream" job!). Don't get me wrong - I really do enjoy my job and love the people I work with so feel blessed to return to that environment, but will so miss being with my little girl every minute of every day.

These past (almost) 12 weeks have flown by so fast - everyone told me they would, and they weren't kidding! I can honestly say it's been the toughest and best 12 weeks of my life, and things truly keep getting better each day. That's why it's so tough to leave her NOW because she's not the helpless dependant little newborn, but getting to be such a sweet, fun little baby whose personality is just now really developing. I feel like I know her so well, know what each cry and coo means, know her routine and schedule, and know exactly what to do to make her happy. I fear that, in returning to work and not being with her all day, I'll lose that. I won't know her as well anymore. And that makes me sad beyond belief. I know I'll still have weeknights and weekends, but also know how much I'll miss out on each day. She is growing and changing and learning so much every day and I'm sad that instead of being a part of her daily world, I'll be working.

In addition to feeling sad, I'm filled with fears - some irrational, some not. I'm afraid she'll love the nanny we hired more than me. I'm afraid I won't be able to pump enough to give her milk for each day. I'm afraid she won't want to nurse when I am home. I'm afraid I won't get anything done besides loving on her, because that's all I'll want to do in the moments I'm not at work. I'm afraid she'll love the nanny more than me.

Financially, I do have to go back to work so there's not much choice there. Tyge and I talked and I COULD stay home, but it would be a big cut for us and we're just not able to do that right now. I know 100% that God would provide and we'd be okay if I did stay home, but it was always the "plan" for me to go back, so I'm going to. My dad made an excellent point that if I didn't go back now but in 2 months decided I wanted to, my job would be gone. However, if I go back and 2 months from now decide that I just can't do it, I can always leave. I think that once I go back I'll be fine and will probably adjust and do well in my new working mother role, I've just gotten so used to my stay at home mommy role and am afraid of the change.

So for the next 9 days I plan on locking myself in our house and staring at this face all day:

(Don't judge my penguin comfy pants...)

And this face:
(Don't judge my striped comfy pants)
And doing lots of this:
And this:

And with that, I'm off to go snuggle my sweet baby girl!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Morning conversation

Ignore my annoying baby talk voice...but it was the best conversation I've had all weekend! :) Love my sweet, smiley, chatty little girl.

Friday, November 2, 2012

1st Halloween!

Halloween was Aven's first official holiday!

We spent the day hanging out and met my mom for lunch, wearing the adorable above outfit. She is a bit young for trick or treating (and I'm trying to stay AWAY from candy right now!) so we stayed at home and handed candy out to the neighborhood kiddos while she napped. However, had we gone trick or treating, she would have worn this sweet pea costume - too cute!

(excuse the phone pic)
It was a sweet first holiday with my baby girl, and I am so looking forward to the rest of the "firsts" to come! It's all going by too fast!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Aven Hope - 2 months

Where is the one month post, you might ask? Well, this baby care thing is a full time job I tell ya! I so meant to do a one week, two week, at least a one MONTH post, but those milestones flew by before I could even blink. My sweet little girl turned two months old last week (9 weeks today) and I'm finally sitting down to write about what we've been up to this last month!

Two Month Stats:
Height - 23 3/4 inches - 90th percentile - we knew she'd be tall!
Weight - 12 lbs -80th percentile
Head - 15 1/2 inches - 60th percentile

Feeding - going really well! Around weeks 5-6 nursing completely stopped hurting and I now look forward to each session. She is eating every three hours (on average) for 15 minutes per side and is a great eater according to her pediatrician! We affectionately call her "Little Hippo". :) She also has a pumped bottle or so a week (usually 4 oz.) and has no confusion going between that and nursing.

I think I'll eat this sticker!

Awake time - We are loosely following the Babywise method of "eat/play/sleep" and it's working out great for her. I've noticed that her max waketime is about an hour (feeding included) - once we hit that 60 minute mark she starts to get owly so we swaddle her and down for a nap she goes. During waketime we do tummy time (which she's not a huge fan of), sing songs, read books, play on her activity mat, talk to Keely, and take LOTS of pictures.

Enough pictures, Mom...

Sleeping - Still trying to figure this one out, but we're getting there! She is a really great napper during the day and takes 4 naps that are 1.5-2 hours each - great for momma! She mostly still naps in her bunny swing in the living room, or in her carseat if we're out and about. She's done a few naps in her crib and I plan to start making that the norm more often. She's in there at night now (transitioned around 4 weeks - we ALL sleep better at night that way!) so I need to be consistent with where she naps too. Nighttime sleep has been up and down - the most she's done is a 7 hour stretch, but only a few times. Like I said, around 4 weeks we moved her to this pillow in her crib and she really seemed to like it. Last weekend we took the pillow away and now she sleeps on an incline wedge (for mild reflux issues) with this headrest so she doesn't get a flat head. :) The first few nights in the new setup did NOT go well (I'm talking waking every two hours) and she missed her pillow, but it's much better now. We now have a bedtime routine that we stick to every night where I nurse her (or Tyge does a bottle), then we change her diaper and swaddle her (to wake her up again if she fell asleep nursing - don't want to form that sleep association), read one book, then turn the light off and rock while singing a lullaby. We rock her until she's drowsy but still awake then lay her in her crib. She's does well with then falling the rest of the way to sleep on her own. She usually only gets up once at night between 2 and 4 AM, nurses for 10-15 minutes, then goes right back down with minimal effort. Like I said, we've had some really rough nights here and there but I think we're getting a nice little routine down, for now anyway...

How can you be upset at that face when she wakes you at 3 AM?!

Outings - We usually try to do 2-3 outings per week, whether that be lunch with a friend, shopping, seeing Grandma, etc. She does really well in her carseat (hated it at first) and hasn't had any huge public meltdowns, thank goodness! We also had our first two road trips this month! First up North for our baby shower in early October, then to South Dakota for pheasant opener with my family a few weekends ago. She did great both times and actually had her longest stretches of sleep in the Rock N Play sleeper - love that thing! She's also had a few playdates with her friends (er, my friends kids, but they will be her friends someday!) and I can't wait for more of those!

I'm so excited!

Temperament - she is a much more happy girl this month! She gave me her first smile at 6 weeks - while I was changing her diaper she flashed me this happy grin. She smiles quite often now when we talk sweet to her and I just melt. Her Daddy can get some really good ones out of her! She continues to have mild reflux symptoms so we take her to the chiropractor and it seems to help from what I can tell. The spitting doesn't seem to cause her pain anymore, but she does spit up quite a bit - more laundry for me! She definitely went through the 6 week fussy stage where she had a bad witching hour in the evening for a week straight, but that's gone now. She really only cries when hungry (but I usually feed her before she gets to that point), is wet (poo doesn't seem to bother her!), is overtired or overstimulated, or while burping - she hates being burped. She has so many cute faces that make me laugh, and I love when she "talks" to me - I can't get enough of her sweet cooing sounds and happy squeals!

As for me - My 6 week appointment went great, all is healed! Though I was cleared for exercise, I didn't do anything until this week when I went for my first run - in nearly 11 months! It was more of a jog with walking breaks, but it felt great nonetheless. Whenever it's nice out I try to get Keely and Aven out for a walk, which feels great as well. I've been doing surprisingly well on the less sleep and sometimes get to nap during her morning nap, which is awesome. I try to only schedule a few outings per week so Aven and I have lots of cuddle time together at home, as I know I have to go back to work in a month and will miss that. We were too busy in the first month, so I've toned it down this month which has been nice. The post-birth emotions are more in check, but I do get overwhelmed at times with how consuming it is to take care of her and keep everything running in the home - I have lots of respect for stay at home moms - it's WORK! Though don't get me wrong, I love every minute of it and dread going back to work, really. I can't imagine leaving my little peanut, but don't want to go there yet. I still have another month of 24/7 with her. :)

Schedule - Like I said, we do the eat/play/sleep thing and I've been playing around with the times until last week when she finally seemed to settle into a nice routine, that looks something like this:
  • 7:30 AM - Wake up and nurse followed by playtime
  • 8:30 AM - Nap
  • 10:30 AM - Nurse and playtime
  • 11:30 AM - Nap
  • 1:30 PM - Nurse and playtime
  • 2:30 PM - Nap
  • 4:30 PM - Nurse and playtime
  • 5:30 PM - Nap
  • 7:00 PM - Nurse and less stimulating playtime
  • 8:00 PM - Doze in our arms or bunny swing
  • 9:00 PM - Nurse followed by bedtime routine - usually in crib by 9:30
  • 2-4 AM - Middle of the night feed
**I usually wake her from every nap to feed, otherwise she's sleep all day it seems!
**I tried doing a dreamfeed where I put her to bed at 7-7:30 then wake her back up to feed at 10:30-11 but she doesn't seem to sleep any longer and it actually seems to make her wake more frequently throughout the night.

Being a mommy to my sweet little girl is the best thing I've ever done, and each day truly gets better and better!

My sweet little angel