Thursday, May 28, 2015

Vrlyfry-day fail and Prego update!

Well, I’m officially the worst at pic a day blog.  The worst.  I am so many weeks behind it’s outrageous.  So here’s my story and my proposal for making it up (kind of).  I put off about two weeks while I wrote the blog about maternity leave and fully intended to go back and upload pictures.  Well, then I got a phone update and my data stopped working.  In order to fix it I had to do a factory reset, and bye bye pictures.   Okay so I picked myself up and decided to brush off the two weeks of pics I had missed.

So we went on vacation to Padre.  I took all kinds of sweet pics of me and my prego self in a swim suit and even sweeter pics of Zilla playing with his cousins.  Annnnd then I dropped my phone.  Bye bye pics part 2.  UGH.  So frustrating.  Even more frustrating is that I am now using Jason’s olllld phone that moves at the speed of the big turtle we saw on the island.  But that’s what I get for being the worst at taking care of my phone.  Come October, I’ll be up for an update.  So at least it’s just in time to take 100 pictures of Panini when he/she arrives. 
Here are the few pics that I had uploaded to drive before resetting the phone:
Miss Reese was so sweet swinging with her momma
Showing off his owie. 
I just love this picture of him.  His eyes look so pretty.
My little rockstar!
ELIIE'S GETTING MARRIED!  Actually she's already married, but here she is at her rehearsal dinner with her sister.
The dress! SO SO PRETTY!
They had Root Beer Floats instead of a Groom's cake, such a cute idea!
Zilla once again asked me to put his hair up.
This hug makes my day!


Okay, so I will try to resume my pic a day blog starting next week.  I will do it.  Maybe.  In the meantime, I’ve decided to rehash the old prego blogs I did with Zilla and do an 18 week update on how pregnancy #2 has gone so far.

How did we find out?
We had been trying since about October (we were hoping for a New Orleans baby when we went there on a mini vacation).  I will tell you, when your first baby comes super easily, 4 months feels like forever to wait.  But, looking back I know that this is quicker than average and feel so blessed to be given this gift of carrying another baby. 
I turn into a super neurotic person when trying to conceive and in January I bought about 10 pregnancy tests and used every single one of them.  And they weren't the cheap kind.  So come February, hubskie made a rule that I was not allowed to buy any.  He would purchse the test and tell me when I was allowed to take it. 
The day finally came, Feb. 18th )Ash Wednesday).  Annnnd the test was negative.  I was so bummed.  I wanted to immediately go and drink some wine, eat some sushi, and take an ibuprofen just because "I'm not pregnant so I can."  Instead, I mostly just sulked.  I was so sure I was pregnant this time around.  I had started having a weird metallic taste in my mouth about a week after ovulation and had read that some other women had experienced this as a sign of pregnancy.  I had also started having weird hot flashes.  So surely I should have been pregnant.  But the test said no.  Hubskie told me I could take a follow up test in 3 days.  I jumped the gun and took another test the following day.  Still negative.  Still super bummed.
Luckily I had lots of distractions over the next few days with Zilla's bday and bday party.  I decided not to drink, just in case, because I still believed that I should be pregnant.  At his party, my sis in law pulled me aside and told me that one of Zilla's gifts was a t-shirt about being promoted to a big brother.  She wanted to let me know, because she was just giving it to him as positive wishes for us, but didn't want to confuse the rest of the people attending the party.  I really really appreciated her letting me know before hand.  I also may have cried when I opened the gift because I wanted so badly for it to be true. 
By the time the weekend came to a close and mother nature hadn't come a knocking at my door, I was having an unusually long cycle.  I asked hubskie if I could take another test, but he said I would just have to wait for my doctor's appointment in two days.
So Tuesday, Feb. 24th came around and it was finally time to go see my OBGYN.  When the nurse asked me about the date of my last period, I asked her about getting a pregnancy test done.  She said she would and would come into the room to let me know the results.  Next thing you know, my doctor walks in and asks me how I'm doing.  I say fine. He says "YOU'RE PREGNANT!" and then showed me the pee stick.  I wanted to hug him, I didn't, but I just wanted to hug somebody.  I was so ecstatic!  He ended up throwing the pregnancy test away.  I may have dug through the trash a little to find it and take a picture but wasn't able to. 
How did you tell Jason?
I thought about it all day after my appointment.  How was I going to tell him?  I wanted to make it cute, since I actually had time to plan something and Zilla would be staying at my dad's for the evening.  But after coming up with lots of elaborate plans, I ended up just blurting it out over dinner.  He was pretty shocked.  Happy, but I think mostly shocked, he kind of sat there for a long time with a creepy smile on his face and I kept asking him if he was okay.  He assured me he was happy, but had already started calculating the costs of baby number 2.  Such a guy.
How did you tell your family?
We told hubskie's mom first.  We went out to visit her and Aunt Sherry in Giddings one weekend.  When we arrived, we put Zilla in the t-shirt that Aunt J gave him for his b-day (turned out to be a perfectly timed gift).  It took them a little while to read the shirt, but when they did, they were so excited!
With my family we had Zilla give my mom a copy of the sonogram of Baby Panini.  They were all so excited!
How many weeks?

18! Almost half way there.  This is going so so fast.

How big is baby?

About the size of a bell pepper.

Weight Gain: 

Man o man.  They tell you that you start to get bigger faster in the second pregnancy and they are not kidding.  By 14 weeks, I felt as big as I was at 20 weeks with Zilla.  I don’t know if weight gain is also “supposed” to be more, but I’m definitely gaining more this time around.  I’m up about 8 pounds now. 

Maternity Clothes:

So like I said, I seem to be getting bigger faster.  So maternity clothes started a little sooner.  Or at least my switch to only wearing dresses or gym shorts came quicker.  I still need to get all of the maternity clothes from my SIL so I can wear them again.  I am still able to pull off the rubber band trick with jeans and most of my shorts and dressy pants fit.  But they’re tight and not entirely comfortable.  I am definitely looking forward to the full switch to maternity clothes.

Sleep:

Ugh again.  Sleep has not been my friend.  I am peeing all the time.  I made the switch to boppy pillow sooner too.  This has helped some, but there’s nothing that is going to stop my bladder.

Best moments:

1)      Of course seeing Panini is my favorite part!  The first time we saw Panini, he/she was just a little dot.  We were only 6 weeks at the time. But that didn’t matter, I still cried.  The second time, around 12 weeks, Panini had grown so much!  He/she was so sweet and I cried again.  I love those moments!

2)      Watching Zilla “interact” with Panini has been super cute too.  I am pretty confident that he has no idea what is going on despite our efforts.  But he will kiss my tummy when I ask him to give baby panini a kiss and one time after he built a tower out of blocks, he came over and lifted up my shirt and put the tower on top and said, “For Panini!”  It was so cute.  I’m nervous about his transition, but the people at daycare have assured me that he’s going to be a great big brother because he is so gentle with the younger kids.  I was a little shocked to hear this, but happy. 
 
3)      Also adorable, I am pretty sure that Zilla thinks Panini is the little skin tag I have on my belly button.  Whenever he asks to see Panini I pull up my shirt and he just starts pulling the skin tag and saying “here’s Panini
 
4)      Telling friends and family.  Everyone has been so supportive and excited for us! 
 
Cravings:

Not much of anything.  Thankfully, the morning sickness has mostly gone away.  Now I just need to be careful about not going too long in between meals.  I do really like lemon.  With Zilla, I wanted lemonade all the time, but this time I just want water with an obnoxious amount of lemon juice poured in.

Vegetables.  If I go too long without a salad or a veggie I start to feel sick.
 
Aversions:

Sweets.  AGAIN!  I know, I was really hoping I wouldn’t have this aversion for baby #2, but alas it’s here.  And seems to be stronger.  I’m mostly not drinking lemonade because it’s too sweet. 

For a while I had aversions to pasta, bread, and fried foods.  Those are for the most part gone.

Symptoms:

Some killer headaches.  Feeling huge.  I think I can already feel my ligaments loosening.  When I go for a run I am super careful about not going over anything that is wet or potentially slippery because I’m worried about falling.
 
Movement:

I think I have maybe felt a few flutters, but nothing consistent just yet.
 
What I’m looking forward to:

1)      Starting to feel consistent movements.  This is my favorite part of pregnancy and I just can’t wait for it to start!

2)      Our next sonogram.  It’s in 2 weeks and we get to find out if Panini is a Henini or Shenini! 

3)      Letting Zilla feel the baby move, I’m hoping this will make it more real for him.

4)      Starting to get our house ready for Panini.  Actually, this one is a little overwhelming.  Before we can start the fun part, we have some big repairs that need to get done.  But once all of that is out of the way, we’ll get to start moving around furniture and start on the new nursery!  I don’t have any themes or colors in mind just yet.  I’m hoping knowing the gender will help with this.

What I miss:

Not too much.  More so just miss that I don’t enjoy things that I used to enjoy like coffee and sweets.  I did want sushi the other day, but no big deal. 

I also miss going for a run without feeling like I’m going to topple over. 

Next appointment: June 11th (my niece’s 2nd bday!)

Workout:

I’ve been trying to stay on top of this, but it’s even harder to find time with a toddler running around.  Who knew?  I usually tell myself that chasing after him is a workout from Mon-Wed and then Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and sometimes Sunday I am able to find some time for a run or other quick workout. Before my phone broke I had a pregnancy workout app that had a bunch of 20 minute work outs that were low impact but got my blood pumping some.  I’m also signed up for a 5K on June 13th that I’m excited about!

ALSO I won an Instagram contest and was gifted a prenatal workout DVD.  I haven’t received it yet but I am so excited to try it out!

That’s about it!  We are so excited for the next 22 weeks or so! 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

What the First Trimester Has Taught Me About (the need for) Paid Maternity Leave

WARNING: Word vomit/rant ahead:
This pregnancy has been different in many ways from when I was pregnant with Zilla: physical differences – I’m pretty sure I’m already as big as I was at 20 weeks with Zilla, what the heck; but more so, there are some major (somewhat unexpected) emotional and situational differences this time around.

Among the more obvious, having a busy toddler running around has made the fatigue of the first trimester rather interesting. While the weather was still cold and rainy, Zilla watched a lot more TV than I would usually be okay with. And by TV, I mean that we watched Steve Earl music videos about 20 times a night. I could write a separate post about being pregnant with a toddler, but I won’t, because I’m pregnant with a toddler and don’t have time for two posts like this. Come on, now. But this is about the other major difference in pregnancy number two: employment.

With Zilla, I was still in school, I had a part time job as a graduate assistant and my first trimester mostly happened in the summer when my work load was almost nothing, and I had a very flexible part time practicum. What I’m saying is, I could not have planned to be pregnant during a better time in my life. Whoop for openness to children and trusting that God’s plan is better than mine.  To top it all off, I would be graduating two months before he was due and therefore had no real commitments once he was here, other than knowing eventually I would need to get a job.
But this time, I am a full time worker. I’m expected to be on top of my game from 8am to 5pm. I am dealing directly with people’s lives so there is a very small margin of error in my work. Demands are high in my work environment right now, and I can only expect them to get higher. It’s important that when I am at work, I am all there, and I am not making mistakes or dragging.

And then there’s the first trimester. A life may be forming within me, but it feels like the life is being sucked out of me. I’m tired all. the. time. Always. So much so that Zilla has taken to saying, “Mama’s always tired.”  And yet, I can’t sleep for longer than 2 hour stretches at night because I need to pee. Add to this the nausea, and smell sensitivities, and occasional trips to, um, return my food. None of this is news to me. I’ve been here before, but this time I have real responsibilities with a rigid schedule. This time I’m expected to throw up and come right back in to finish my counseling session like nothing ever happened. And I’m completely stuck. I have no option but to power on through.

Well, just take a sick day, you say? If you’re particularly tired, go home for the afternoon and take time off, you suggest? You’re cute. Because this time I also have the foreknowledge of how much I am going to miss this new little squish when he/she is here and I have to go back to work. This is where the somewhat unexpected emotions come into play.  As we started to try for baby #2, I knew that I would be going back to work and I knew that it was going to be hard.  I did not know how hard this was all going to hit me once baby #2 became reality. 

I think about being a stay at home mom all the time now.  I come up with ways to earn money on the side, I cry about not being crafty enough to be a WAHM on Etsy, I’ve looked into online counseling jobs and online teaching jobs.  I’ve cried.  A lot.  Something about having another child has turned on this desire so strongly that I just can’t shake it.  It really snuck up on me too.  I have, for the most part, been at peace with being a working mom, enjoyed contributing to our family financially, been happy that me working is allowing hubskie to go back to school and pursue his dreams, been happy with the daycare and the way I know Zilla is learning from his school.  But with Panini in my belly, I want nothing more than to stay home and spend all the time I can with my kids before they grow up.  And it’s not just wanting to be a stay at home mom once Panini arrives, it’s wanting to be a SAHM with Zilla, now.  Part of me almost feels guilt for how drastically different his little life is going to be in just a few short months and I want to soak up all of the alone time with him that I can right now.  I want to take in every bit of his wild little personality.  I want him to know how deeply loved he is so that when Panini arrives he does not doubt how much he means to us, even when we are equally in love with the new baby.  It certainly doesn’t help that Zilla has taken to crying as we are getting in the car to go to school saying, “Stay home and play with momma” and then wrapping tightly around me and saying “Mama Sing.”  Gosh son, how am I supposed to go to work?  With streaky, puffy eyes, that’s how.  

Anyways, back to where I had intended this post to go from the beginning.  Ummm…oh yes, sickness, nausea, first trimester, sick time, maternity leave.  Okay, so I’m feeling sick, I’m not in a place to be particularly productive at work, you recommend it’s as easy as taking a day of sick leave because that’s what it’s there for, right? Wrong. Every sick day I consider taking is one day less I get to spend bonding with Panini; or one day more our family goes without pay. 

What about FMLA , you’ll get 12 weeks, you scream! First of all, I laugh (cry) at your 12 weeks. That’s just long enough for me to finally get into something resembling a routine. Just long enough for me to really be comfortable breast feeding again. Just long enough for Panini to start developing a real personality and interacting with the world. Just long enough for me to realize how not long enough it is. Oh, and that 12 weeks, it’s not paid. The only way for me to have an income while using those 12 weeks, is to use up every bit of my vacation and sick time. I’ve not been at my job long enough to have accrued much leave and little Zilla’s ear infections last year pretty much sucked up the leave I had, so I was already expecting to have some non-paid days of maternity leave.  Who needs a second income anyways? (we do).  But every time I think about taking a day off, I also think about how it’s adding that much more stress to our finances, because I just can’t fathom going back to work any earlier than I have to. There are things like part time disability that may carry me to six weeks of at least some pay, but again, that’s after I use all of my sick leave. So all that sick and vacation time I have now, I need it. I need it for when I’m essentially unemployed for 12 weeks. If I can get 3 weeks of pay after baby gets here instead of no pay, then I see that as essentially extending my time with him/her.

So, sorry clients, sorry co-workers, sorry people who listen to the lovely throw up noises I make in the restroom, but I am trying to function like I am working without sick leave right now. My quality of work is nowhere near where it should be, and could be if I just took a day or two off. Because I don’t want to spend my “maternity leave” worrying about how we are going to keep up with our bills for the next few weeks. There are much more important things to enjoy, and worry, about. So I drag myself to work every day and stare blankly at the computer screen, hoping my case notes will write themselves while I take another trip to the bathroom. If you want better quality of work right now, then guarantee me 12 weeks (or more, please more) of paid maternity leave. And then maybe I’ll use my sick days as they should be used; to keep me a healthy and productive worker like you are paying me to be.

Because you know what I think about a lot these days? Maybe after 12 weeks of learning how to live on one income, we’ll realize it’s entirely possible for our family and I’ll just stay home. Okay, hubskie calm down, that is probably not going to happen. But HELLO companies, why do you think that women don’t come back after having their babies? Other than the obvious desire to stay home. If you don’t provide paid maternity leave, then you are providing the family the opportunity to learn how to make it with less, and make that decision to leave so much easier.  Especially with the cost of daycare; I really wouldn’t have to make that much every month in a part time work at home position to fill in the difference between the lack of salary and no longer having to pay the daycare bill.  If you want to save on costs of rehiring and retraining then invest in some of the best workers you have at your company now. Moms, moms to be. Because I will tell you that the moms in my office are some of the most dedicated and focused workers we have. Because we know we have to be. We know that if we want to leave at 5:00, then we need to be our most productive selves for the 8 hours we are here. You won’t see a mom asking for overtime pay around here very often, because the overtime pay could never make up for the lost few minutes of time with our babies. We are hardworking and let’s face it, we’re moms, so we simply know how to get it done. Maybe the organizations we work for could be just a little more appreciative of the work we do and support our desire to both work and have families. In the long run, I think it will work out in your favor.