How I’ve changed since becoming a mom….

Only 4 months into this whole mom business and I can already see a significant difference between me now and me this time last year.  There are things I knew would change, like, I knew I wouldn’t be able to meet up with friends at the bar at the drop of a hat or it would be awhile before I got more than 4 consecutive hours of sleep or no more spending money all willy nilly.  These are more changes that have taken me by surprise.

  • The biggest and most amazing change has got to be my production level and cleanliness.  This time last year I was still stepping over junk mail I hadn’t thrown away yet and finally loading the dish washer because I was running out of counter space to make dinner for the night.  But only after watching 3 episodes of Doctor Who, or some other hour long TV show on Netflix.  And that’s basically how life has been since I graduated college.  These days, the second I get home, I rinse any dishes I may have had from lunch and promptly put it in the dishwasher, then fill the sink with water so I can throw bottles in pump parts in to soak.  Then, I hang out with Jack a little (this is where my TV time comes in) eat dinner that I had made the Sunday before, wash, dry, and fill bottles, put Jack to bed, play on my phone a little, then I go to bed.  Junk mail is already in the trash and minimal messes are made.  It also helps that my house is on the market right now, so I make sure my messes are small enough that I can clean up real quick in case we have a showing.
  • I realize now that I hate moms.  I’ve mentioned this a few times in previous posts.  But seriously, Moms. Are. The. Worst.  So many Judgy McJudgersons.  “My way is best because…”  “You’re parenting wrong if…”  “If you don’t do ___, you’re kid is going to end up stupid/needy/entitled/dead.”  I mean, c’mon.
  • I realize I actually do care about politics.  This may not have much to do with having a baby, it may just be me getting older, but there are hot button topics people like to argue about these days and I actually have a side I agree or disagree with!  This is very new to me.  I used to not care much about issues or feel like most didn’t really affect me.  But for whatever reason I care now.  And unfortunately with caring comes realizing that I hate people in general and that humanity may be doomed.  And that makes me sad.
  • Writing this post I just realized I’m becoming bitter.  This must change.
  • Instead of going to get my bangs cut because they’re in my face, I’m OK with just pinning them back.  Small change, but still.
  • When packing to go to J’s for the weekend, I simply throw in a pair of jeans, a couple shirts (long and short sleeved), and my Tom’s.  Every weekend.  Sometimes I don’t use all the shirts or underwear I pack, so the next week I just replace the shirts and underwear that I did wear.  This is very different from the me picking out every outfit for every occasion that might occur (are we going to go out?  lounge around at home?  meet his friends?) and shoes to match.
  • I realize having your own, for real, bona fide baby that you get to take home and name and be responsible for is way different from loving and wanting to cuddle with your friend’s or brother’s or sister’s baby.  And it’s not a difference of overwhelming love for my own child over theirs.  It’s the difference in spending time with a baby 24/7 vs spending the evening or even a couple days with a baby.  I thought you could never ever get enough baby cuddles.  Turns out you can get enough baby cuddles.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the little guy more than I could ever explain, and I appreciate the cuddles more now that I’m back at work, but mom and baby spend A LOT of time together in those first two months, especially with dad away half the week.  So, I guess the change here is that I look at babies a little differently now.
  • (I thought of one more)  I really enjoy Starbucks now, or any specialty coffee really.  Actually, my favorite coffee is Hazelnut coffee with vanilla creamer from Wawa.  I always drank coffee before, but unless I was really tired, I never really went out of my way to get some.  And I never drank coffee everyday at work.  Now, it’s a cup every morning at work, and whenever we’re out, or I’m traveling back home from J’s, I make a point to get me a Starbucks treat.  It’s tasty.

I’m sure there’s others, but these are the ones that come to mind.  And I’m not saying any of this is good or bad.  Just different.  I’m growing up!

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A major moment for this nerd mom!

So, last week was Halloween.  Ever since I found out I was pregnant, I had been dreaming about this moment.  Baby’s first Halloween is obviously not for baby.  Can baby eat candy?  No.  Will baby remember any of this??  No.  Does baby even enjoy being toted around in a head-to-toe felt costume???  Most likely not his favorite thing.  But you know what?  I make sure this baby stays alive every second we’re together.  I wake up in the middle of the night to feed him (let’s see J get up in the middle of the night to make me a sandwich after I’d been crying for several minutes.)  I change diapers and I cuddle when he wants (OK, the cuddling part is for me too.)  I do all these things and I think I should get a little something in return.  And that little something comes in the form of a Halloween costume for this nerd mom.

Even before I became pregnant, I dreamed of the perfect family costume.  It would likely be something nerdy of course, but it had to be perfect.  I was jealous of great creative baby costumes I had already seen, like this fantastic Aliens costume:

The big blockbuster hit last year was Guardians of the Galaxy.  If you haven’t seen it yet, go watch it.  Like, right now.  Probably my favorite comic book movie yet.  It was fun, funny, and, ummm, Chris Pratt.  There is a character, Groot, that is basically a walking, talking tree (although all he can say is “I am Groot” which with the correct inflections, can really say a lot!).  At a point in the movie, there is a baby Groot in a flower pot.  Oh!  Surely if you’ve been reading my blog, you know all about Baby Groot because that was my unborn son’s nickname!  Anyway, baby was Baby Groot, mom was Rocket Racoon, and dad was Star-Lord.  And I like to think the costume came out pretty damn good (not quite as impressive as the Aliens costume though.)

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Credit to the actual Baby Groot costume goes to my mom, and the flower pot goes to J.

So we wouldn’t look weird carrying a baby door to door that can’t even eat candy yet, we tagged along with some friends that have kids that are appropriate trick-or-treating age.  We got a lot of compliments, but we also got a lot of “Awwww, he’s so cute!  What is he??”  Ugh.  C’mon people.  One girl asked what we were and I asked if she had seen Guardians to which she proudly responded “twice!”  So, I mentioned that baby was Baby Groot and she goes “Oh!  are you Zoe Saldana’s character?”  Ummm, I’ve got furry ears, whiskers, and I’m not green.  No, I’m not Zoe Saldana’s character.  Also, in the movie, the bond is really between Rocket and Groot, so the costume worked out well.

Now, if only there was a comic con coming up that we wanted to go to, we’d fit right in!

Home with baby

Turns out caring for a baby is hard.  And not for the reasons you probably think I’m going to say.  Yes, there are a lot of diapers, crying, sleepless nights.  Yes, caring for another human being is a huge responsibility.  Yes, it might have been especially hard for me because after the second week, my husband wasn’t there half the week.  He didn’t just leave for work early and come home late.  Since he works 2 hours away, he had to leave us Tuesday morning to Thursday night (and he hated it just as much as we did).  I expected all these things though.  I already knew babies were hard work.  And I already anticipated my husband not being able to be with us every night.  What I did not anticipate was the emotional toll this baby would have on me. It’s really hard to have something depend on you 100%.  Taking care of my baby made me feel like I was losing a little bit of myself.  Losing my identity.  I was no longer wife, daughter, engineer.  I was only “mom” and I didn’t know how to handle it.  I was also nursing and that was horrible.  Sometimes little guy would need to be nursed for up to 2 hours, which gets tough when they’re supposed to eat every 2-3 hours.  And I’m pretty sure he wasn’t getting enough to eat a lot of the times.  Breastfeeding is especially hard for a numbers person like me I think.  I want to know exactly how much baby is eating and there’s just no way to know that when you’re breastfeeding.  Unless you exclusively pump, which I thought about, but stubbornly decided to nurse and only pump when I needed to.  The nursing, being alone for 3 days a week straight, it all started to take its toll.

I loved when friends came to visit, but would also be very anxious about his feeding schedule at the same time.  Is baby going to want to eat when my friend gets here?  And how long is he going to want to eat if he does?  Will my friend care if I feed my baby while they’re here??  Adult interaction was key to survival during my maternity leave.  That, and just being able to get out of the house.  I would strap baby to me in his carrier and go for a walk around the neighborhood with the dog.  I think all three of us appreciated it.

My other escape was TV.  Television has always been an escape for me.  Maybe why I love it so much.  In one hour I can travel to far away planets with The Doctor, pretend I’m high society with the gang from Gossip Girl, fight demons with Sam and Dean, help take care of the Gallagher kids and yell at Fiona’s bad decisions on Shameless.  I did all those things while on maternity leave and I think it kept me sane.  Not trying to brag or anything, but I made it through 5 seasons of Shameless, all 121 episodes of Gossip Girl, 3 seasons of Suits, and 2 seasons of Supernatural in 8 weeks.

When baby was a week old, the family ventured to Costco.  When baby was 2 weeks old, I decided it was time for him to meet my coworkers, so I took him into my office to meet some people.  When baby was a month old, we traveled 12 hours to New Hampshire for a family reunion.  Nothing was keeping mama and baby from leaving the house.  Like I mentioned above, it was needed for survival.  Dad had a conference in Las Vegas to go to when we got back from New Hampshire.  He was gone for 6 days straight.  6 days!!!  It was a little tough, all that time alone with baby.  Before I met J, I had considered having a baby on my own, just because being a mom was something I wanted so bad. I wouldn’t have been anytime soon, but it was something I was seriously starting to consider because I was almost 30 without even a boyfriend.  Thank the good Lord J came around!  I can’t even imagine doing this all by myself.

Baby is almost 3 months now.  Feedings are so much quicker.  I’ve been back at work for almost a month and feeling more normal because of it.  The first 3 weeks of work, my Manang (see my Mother’s Day post) stayed with me and helped.  She was a Godsend, to say the least.  Not only did she care for baby, she deep cleaned the house from top to bottom!  And I didn’t even ask her to!  It was weird coming home and the t-shirt I slept in that I just threw on the floor that morning was no longer on the floor!  Then I started to stress out, the thought of taking care of a crying baby, AND getting lunches and dinners together, as well as cleaning and sterilizing pump parts and bottles, all by my lonesome, made me cry some nights.  Manang was so good at tending to baby while I took care of everything else.  But, the first week without Manang is now passed and we survived.  An unintended side effect to parenting alone is that I somehow became productive and organized.  And I now eat dinner before 9pm and sleep before midnight.  Weird!

Baby seems to like daycare, and let’s be honest, he’s doing way more in daycare than he would be if he was home with me.  We would probably just watch TV all day.  And now that he doesn’t watch any during the day anymore, I don’t feel so bad plopping him in front of it at night for a little bit.  It’s our bonding time 🙂  Call me a bad mom, but I know it’s just the lights he’s interested in.  The first daycare drop-off wasn’t the traumatic experience I’ve heard many talk about (traumatic for mom, not baby.)  I felt a little guilty for a second, like I was supposed to have some sort of break down, but I realized that just because I didn’t cry doesn’t mean I love him any less.  I love my little guy.  I mean, how can I not – he’s the cutest baby in the history of babies.

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I’m pretty sure he’s like the smartest and strongest also.

Am I having a baby now?? Part 2.

So, the hubs and I went to the second half of our childbirth class last weekend.  I didn’t realize childbirth class had this stigma to it until I read a Scary Mommy (the blog site) article on a hypno-birthing childbrith class and all the comments were moms saying how they didn’t need childbirth class because they figured they’d just know what to do because women have been having babies for years, or that they didn’t need a class because they were just going to get drugs anyway, or they took a class but didn’t use anything they were taught, or they didn’t want to give the hospital anymore money.  Now, from what I understand, hypno-birthing does seem a little “hippie.”  Basically, you hypnotize yourself into not feeling much pain, I think??  And from what she said in the article, it sounded very “hippie.”  But the class we took I thought was great.  I’m one of those people that needs to know stuff ahead of time so I can try to prepare myself for what I need to do, or else anxiety takes over and I’m a nervous wreck.  I understand the whole process isn’t exactly predictable.  That’s not what I’m going for here.  I’m not a control freak or anything that needs everything a certain way, I just like knowing what I need to know ahead of time.  Like when I make phone calls at work about stuff I’m not exactly sure what I’m talking about (like soundwalls or a specific type of bearing).  I rehearse in my head a couple hundred times what I’m going to say before making the call, then I go about my business.  I don’t know what the person on the other end will say, but I can usually wing it from there.  Same thing with giving birth I think.  Yes, we did learn the breathing techniques and all that “hippie” stuff, but we also learned all the drugs you can take and what will be offered, we learned that we should call our doctor before we leave for the hospital so they know we’re there (who the heck would think of that?!), we learned when we should go to the hospital, we learned which entrance of the hospital to come in, we learned that you get moved to a second room once you deliver your baby, so you should pack two hospital bags (one for before the baby comes and one for after), we learned you should pre-register with the hospital….so much stuff we learned!  And I feel better about it now, sort of.

Am I having a baby now?? *insert confused look*

So, the hubs and I went to a childbirth class last Saturday.  Part 1 of 2.  We need 10 hours of class to tell us how to birth a baby.  Pretty intimidating!  But it was informative and nurse that taught the class was fun and made everything interesting, which is good because I often the attention span of my dog Bastion.

I’m pretty sure the other women in there were farther along than me.  Most had the “waddle” going on, which I don’t think I’ve quite reached yet.  And when the nurse asked if anyone was sleeping well these days, I almost raised my hand, but slowly took it back down when I realized the questions was met with a bunch of groans and sarcastic laughter.  Apparently women far along in their pregnancy get up in the middle of the night to pee and have trouble getting into a comfortable position to sleep in the first place.  My husband says all this will most likely happen to me, it just hasn’t happened yet.  As for now, I shall consider myself lucky.

The thing I’m having the most trouble with is how subjective everything seems!  Anyone that knows me, or most engineers I would assume, is that we are very objective and have an objective mind.  It’s hard for us to think in terms of things that aren’t definite or concrete.  Don’t ask me how I feel about something, ask me about what size and color that something is.  Well, this whole contraction thing seems a little subjective to me.  There are apparently 4 stages of labor: early labor, active labor, transition, and pushing.  I think you’re supposed to go to the hospital at active labor, maybe.  Ugh, I should’ve taken notes.  And Jason, who miraculously remembers everything, doesn’t remember either.  In early labor, I guess the contractions aren’t that bad, but they gradually increase in intensity and frequency.  This is the part that scares me a little because I don’t know what a contraction feels like!  I mean, I think I’ve had a few, where everything kinda feels like it’s tightening up, but what’s the difference between that and baby trying to come out contractions??  It’s so weird to me.  I feel like I need a meter of some sort connected to me at all times, that records some sort of contraction intensity number, and once I’m above a certain number, I go to the hospital.  Somebody get on that.  I experienced some quite uncomfortable contractions after the cerclage surgery, but I wonder what those feel like in comparison to the labor contractions.

I forgot to ask at what point can you no longer have an epidural.  I know that’s a thing.  I was surprised at how many women in our class were like “no epidural.”  4 of the 6 I think.  Me and another woman said we were planning on waiting and seeing what would happen.  I have nothing against epidurals at all.  I know some people are afraid the drugs will affect the baby or something, or have other strong convictions as to why they don’t want one.  Honestly, I see it as a challenge.  My competitive side is shining through and I want to see how far I can go without one!  I mentioned this to Jason and he just looked at me and shook his had as if saying “awww, how adorable.”  We’ll see.

We’ve got 5 more hours of learning next week.  I’ve got to be sure to pack a pen and paper this time.  And more snacks.

I’m going to be responsible for another life?!

First blog post ever…how exciting!  So, I guess this is where I should get everyone up to speed with where I am right now in this adventure called pregnancy.  I am currently 22ish weeks along.  By the way, this whole week and month thing…I kind of hate when people ask how far along I am.  I have no idea what month I’m in (too used to thinking in terms of weeks now) and I’m really not sure which day a new week starts.  So it’s always a guess.  Or my non-committal nature.  Not sure which.

My wonderful and supportive husband (who is also an engineer by the way, but the computer kind) and I are very excited about bringing this living thing into the world.  It’s something I’ve always wanted and can’t believe it’s finally going to happen!  And the more I read about how crazy kids can be, the more I can’t wait to have one because I can’t wait to mold a mini-me!  But then sometimes I think, “OMG. We’re bringing a living thing into this world.”  And we’re responsible for it, as in, we have to be able to keep this helpless being alive.  Forget designing a 10 span continuous curved steel girder bridge with vertical and horizontal constraints, or debugging 10,000 lines of code.  I believe we’re going to have an even more daunting task ahead of us.  I mean, I sometimes think it’s a miracle that I’ve survived this long in the world.  I still sniff clothes to see if they’re clean and only do laundry when there is absolutely nothing left to wear and no floor to be seen, I sometimes forget to pay bills, not because I don’t have the money, but just because I forget, I still call my mom when I’m sick (she’s a doctor though, so you can’t fault me too much for that one), I call my little sister when I can’t decide what to have for lunch, binge watching Netflix is my favorite activity, I secretly wish the Doctor (Doctor Who) would greet me one night with the TARDIS and ask me to be his next companion…  The girl that does all those things, she’s going to be a mom soon.