Monday, October 29, 2012

First Week As A (Temp) SAHM

I'm getting a brief glimpse of stay-at-home-mom life. Last week, Claire started going to daycare every other day. I kept her in daycare full-time until then, even though I was home with Baby Amelia. It would have been nearly impossible for me to care for both of them at once, without compromising my healing and recovery from childbirth. That sounds very dramatic (I didn't even have a c-section and I'm talking about healing!) but let me tell you. It's no joke, having a baby. So I packed her up every morning, baby in tow, and took her to school to be watched after by her Daytime Moms.

So I'm only one week in, but hoo-boy. Now I get why SAHMs feel they get a bad rap sometimes. What I mean is... I always believed it when women said "WE WORK! We just don't get paid."   You know, during the whole "working mom" conversation, in which it sounds as if "working moms" are saying that SAHMs don't work because of the wording of our titles. I never thought that, I have always thought SAHMs do indeed have full, busy, not-always-fun days. But now I UNDERSTAND it. I empathize. And at the same time, I feel I am finally validated as a mother, in some weird way. I feel like....... being a "working mom" up until last week, I never really earned my mom badge until I spent some time as a SAHM. 

I say I was a working mom up until last week because Maternity Leave and SAHM are quite different things. The first five weeks with Amelia were Maternity Leave. This meant I was parked squarely on the couch, just watching TV and nursing all day long. Occasionally I would, say, unload the dishwasher. Perhaps on a Tuesday I would fold a load of laundry. Not much else, at least not during the daytime when the baby was awake.

Now on the days when I have both Claire and Baby Amelia (I can't just call her Amelia.... I have to call her Baby Amelia... it's like a lisp) home with me, I feel like I'm a SAHM. Which means, it's a work-day.  Yes, there is still some couch-sitting, and there is definitely still some nursing, but there's a ton of housework (dishes and laundry galore), a ton of activity planning, a ton of cleaning up from meals and snacks and activities and playtime and diapers and pull-ups and underwear (potty-training on top of it all!), and there's cooking dinner, and swiffering the blessed hardwood floors because holy shit if there isn't dog hair all over the floors AGAIN even though I just did this, I am going to become a mad-woman over this dog hair situation.  (And that was this blog's longest and worst run-on sentence.)

Anyway... don't take the above verbal vomit to mean I am not LIKING my foray into this new, albeit temporary, role. In fact, I kinda think I love it. Which I'm surprised to realize SURPRISED ME. I mean, why was I shocked to realize I enjoyed spending the whole day with my two beautiful daughters?

But like I said, I feel somewhat validated now... like I finally earned a little bit of street cred in the mom world or something. I won't lie... I sometimes feel slightly judged by SAHMs when I disclose that I send my daughter to daycare full-time due to my office job. See? I can't even say "when I disclose that I'm a working mom" because I feel like using those words discredits what SAHMs do every day, which is still "work".

This post is going nowhere fast, so I'm going to end it here. The last week has been awesome, and I'm going to try my best to enjoy this precious time while I have it. I need to formulate some of the awesomeness that is Two-Year-Old Claire here on this bloggy thing, because let me tell you... she is so awesome. But later... my babe child is wailing for me, duty calls.

Monday, October 8, 2012


I'm a mom again.

Three weeks ago, my darling Amelia was born. Three weeks man. At times it feels like a minute ago, at times I can't remember what it was like just with one.

I expected everything to be a carbon copy of my experience with Claire. Going into labor a week early, laboring for 24 hours, birthing this sweet little E.T. looking (a beautiful E.T., mind you...) creature.

Instead, I was surprised with an on-time baby (why am I even using these "early" and "on-time" labels... I don't even know, as I've never believed in "due dates"), a 3 hour labor, and a completely different baby. This one is not a carbon copy of her sister Claire, she's a carbon copy of her Mama, Lindsay.

Three hour labor... yes, I said it. I woke up on my "due date" (there I go again...) with no signs of labor, so we did what most normal people do when they're 40 weeks pregnant... they go to Ikea.

OK, I make it sound more dramatic than it actually was. In reality, it was a Sunday, and we got there just when they were opening, and we had a very specific shopping list. We were in and out (including a frozen yogurt!) in 40 minutes, a new record. (Also: I will NEVER go to Ikea again unless it's Sunday when they open. Empty, I tell you, EMPTY! A Scandinavian miracle!)

We rounded off the shopping trip with a stop at Plum Market. During both trips, I had a few contractions here and there, nothing to write home about. It didn't even dawn on me to call my sister (our designated Claire-sitter) to warn her "this might be the day". The contractions seemed too sporadic and not even close to consistent.

The day went on... Ikea furniture assembled (I do believe it was our 12th and 13th piece of Ikea furniture my poor husband put together post-tornado), a trip to Target and Whole Foods under our belts (I apparently was trying to shop my baby out of my yute), and we retired home to watch the Lions game. I laid on the couch while Nick cheered on our football friends, and eventually fell asleep for almost the entire game.

My theory is that perhaps I went into labor during said "nap" during this 8:00 pm football game. Not that I woke up or anything, but when the game was over and Nick woke me up to go upstairs to bed at 11:30 pm, I think I made it to bed without noticing contractions or anything (I'm a pretty deep sleeper and thus zombie-walked to bed in a stupor, I'm sure). Less than an hour after going to bed, I woke up at 12:30 am with contractions.

I stayed in the bathroom for about 1/2 hour timing the contractions, and was like "well dang, that hurts" and "well dang, there's another one" and then "well dang, I'm going to take a shower because OW".

So I woke up Nick to let him know "hey, no big deal, I'm just taking a shower at 1 am because OW" and he was sort of like "eh okay? are you having a baby?" and I replied "don't know?"

It only took about 5 minutes of the shower before Nick made the Executive Decision to call my sister, because we were having a baby. I don't know what it is about me, but I was so indecisive about whether it was happening or not. HELLO DENIAL. Being that my sister lives 45 minutes away, I'm so glad he called her when he did.

I spent another hour laboring in the bathroom, draping myself over an exercise ball every 2-3 minutes. Eventually I started to sound like a zoo animal. I won't lie, I was kind of embarrassed on my own behalf. I know having a baby is this natural, albeit primal, mammalian thing to do, and I was definitely playing the part, but I was muy embarrassed at my "owwwwww" moans. 

So, 30 minutes laboring by myself.  60 minutes laboring with my husband up while my sister drove over here. We're talking 90 minutes total at home from the time I wake up in hard-core labor (without ever really being in non-hard-core labor) and then we're off to the hospital.

There was no way in HAIL I was going to SIT in the front seat, because remember? OW? So I laid in the 3rd row of my minivan (hello I'm a mom of two now, of course I have a minivan) and made more embarrassing sounds every 2 minutes or so. With about 5 minutes left of the ride to the hospital, my water broke in a gush. Lovely! Once we got there, Nick grabbed a wheelchair but like with the car, I was like "nope, not sitting on that" and ended up kneeling on it backwards. I don't think I opened my eyes more than three times between leaving my house and giving birth. I was just In The Zone trying to survive each contraction (have I mentioned it before? OW!) and trying not to die.

So now we're approaching 2 hours of labor. 1.5 hours at home, and about 1/2 hour for the drive there and the ride up to triage.

In triage, they checked me within a few minutes, and told me I was complete. Which means, labor is just about over & done with. UM, HELLO, WHAT?  I mean, thank you for saying that, because if you told me I was 4 cm or some bullshit number like that or something, I would have died from pain. (And gotten all Hollywood and been one of those woman screaming and begging for the Anesthesiologist NOWWWW.)  But of course, the fact that I was thinking those things means of course I was done, the worst part was over, now it's just time to have a baby.

Now, I think they really did get kind of Hollywood on me, because I swear (and this was probably the 3rd time I actually opened my eyes to see what was going on around me) they RAN my gurney down the hall. I swear I think I felt my hair blowing in the wind. It's not like I was pushing the baby out or anything? Nonetheless, I got a kick out of that. I kind of felt like a Big Deal on the maternity wing, if that's possible.

In actuality, I think I spent a total of 30 minutes in triage, between kneeling on the bed for a few contractions waiting for the resident, to getting checked, to getting admitted and what not. So in the 2-2.5 hours I was awake and in labor, I got to 10 cm and "ready to push". W. T. F.

The rest is pretty much storybook... push, push, baby. Crying, sweet, baby. My first thought was "OMG, she's different from Claire!" because like I said, I was expecting a version two point oh of my first daughter.

But this little sweetie pie, she had my rosy complexion, my fair skin, my red hair. She nursed immediately, and was easy to console. In a matter of 3 short hours (and 40 long weeks...), our family grew.

"Life as we knew it" had already changed when we became parents the first time, so the experience wasn't as... drastic and life-changing as our first go around. But the love was just as plenty, the awe at the miracle of life renewed, and the feeling that life as we know it just got a lot better.

As if there was ever a doubt.