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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

5 months in - just breathe, just love!

5 months into being the mother of 2 little boys and I barely have time to breathe sometimes. I work as a Pediatrician but I had completely forgotten how very very very very very very (can I just type the word “very” for the rest of the post?!?) hard mothering a newborn is. Add to that some complications, a rambunctious, highly intelligent 6 ¾ year old, a husband 2 years into his tenure-track and 35-year-old bones and you have a recipe for fatigue that rivals the best of them.

5 months of cuddles. Of tears. Of such profound joy that it takes my breath away. For example, I remember the first time Zo told us how very much he loves his “baby bro” and how he’s his “best buddy”. Mothering for the second time has also been very humbling. When we found out that our little one was losing too much weight and could not exclusively breastfeed I felt like an utter failure. I KNOW how to breastfeed a baby after successfully doing it with our first and I thought if I powered through, me and Mau would get-it-done! But I had to come to terms with the fact that sometimes a mama’s body and a baby’s body just can’t power through, you just can’t will enough strength in his little low-birth-weight jaws to muster up enough energy to be a good breastfeeder. It took lots of letting go, lots of submitting to our reality. And y’all know I cry, a whole lot, so this made me weep and gnash my teeth like nothing else! But as I snuggle his now chubby little thighs, I remember the donor breast milk, the formula, the supplemental nursing system, the bottles, the reflux and I can smile. And it’s all okay even if it’s not what I envisioned.

So 5 months in, I know why my patients miss follow up appointments. Even with my father here with us almost full time I am inundated with Early Intervention, Cardiology, Ophthalmology, and other appointments. He’s perfectly and wonderfully made (took a while for me to be able to say this) but his little life requires a team for him to thrive. And thrive he is! We have all overcome so much and we have so much more to go. To all of the mamas out there in MiM land - wishing you and your babies so much love, health, and happiness. Even when mothering isn’t what you envisioned just remember that you and your baby were meant for each other. Learn all you can. Teach all you can. Be gentle with yourself and your baby.

5 months in. Inhale. Exhale. Smile. Inhale. Exhale. Smile. “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return” (Nat King Cole).

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Return Of The Resident



This isn’t the most elegant post, but I thought that I’d share some of my before and after thoughts about starting residency again after my six months at home with my little one. 


Pre-Rotation:
-I’m starting with a tough rotation. I want to get it over with, so I’m happy it’s first, but historically, it’s been my least favorite rotation of all. 
-I have a terrifying schedule, regardless of now having a baby at home to spend time with. How am I going to do this with extra sleep deprivation!?
-I think I’ll miss Baby Ticketyboo, but I feel that I’ll likely be too busy at work to dwell on it.
-Really skeptic that pumping at work will happen. But I really want it to. I put so much into making it this long breastfeeding, it would suck to have to stop now (no pun intended). Becoming attached to breastfeeding was not something I anticipated pre-baby. 
-I’m curious to see how Mr. Ticketyboo fares at home with Baby Ticketyboo (they’ll be home together for the next 6 months). 


Post-rotation:
-I’ve now been back for over a month. I finished my tough rotation, and I’m finishing up my second rotation, thankfully a bit lighter. 
-I’m so happy that the tough rotation is out of the way! Although the schedule was hectic, I had a better experience with this rotation this time, and worked with a good team. 
-The first day, I remember feeling strangely out of touch with clinical medicine. I understood all the medical lingo and my medical knowledge did come back quickly, but it all felt faraway initially. I still don’t feel 100% back in the groove and feel less confident than usual, but I’m getting back to normalcy
-Missing Baby Ticketyboo has not been too bad so far. He’s usually all smiles when I come home and not having my days dictated by baby fussiness and how well nap time goes is actually nice. We’ve not been successful in getting him to go to bed earlier than when we do (around 9 pm) and he still wakes up 1-2x overnight, so I’ve spent time with him everyday despite being back at work. I have been reticent to sleep train and move him to his own room because I’m worried about seeing him less when we do.
-I surprisingly don’t feel too tired during the day. Of course, my fatigue scale includes total exhaustion secondary to residency. For me, having a newborn was less tiring than residency. I actually came back from maternity leave with more energy than usual. I’ve so far maintained it to a certain extent. I’m still tired getting out of bed in the morning most days though. It’s discouraging to think that I’ll likely spend most of my working adult years feeling tired. 
-I haven’t been perfect about pumping, but I pump at least once per work day, ideally twice if I’m finishing around 5 pm and ideally three times if I’m finishing around 8 pm. Luckily, my supply has proven pretty robust, so we’re still EBF for now. I’d like to keep things going as long as possible. We’ll see, as I have some hectic call schedules in the upcoming months. I’m not too sold on the health benefits of EBF from 6-12 months and beyond, but I’d feel guilty stopping since it’s a source of comfort for Baby Ticketyboo, and if I stopped, my sole reason for stopping would be work. 
-Mr. Ticketyboo has been awesome at home with Baby Ticketyboo! It has been amazing to have a stay-at-home spouse while working. It meant a less stressful return to work for me, and it really helped us more equally share childcare responsibilities. Plus, there’s even more father-baby bonding now, which I feel is important for good family dynamics. 

So, overall, I’m surviving residency with a baby so far, and honestly enjoying it more with my little family to come home to. That said, I want the next few years of residency to fly by, but time with my little one to slow down. I'm so afraid of missing out on his best years.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Ode to my couch

Sometimes I think the most definitive memories I will have from this time period will come from my couch.

This is not my couch’s first life. It is secondhand from one of my aunts. We bought a house (our first house) after medical school and didn’t have a lot of time/money/interest to put toward new furniture, so we adopted this one. Her kids are now in high school and college, and give my aunt a lot of crap about selling the softest comfiest couch they’ve known for a better looking fancier one.

In our childless days, this is where my husband and I sat to play Nintendo games together with a dog in between us. We watched movies and ate Chinese food back before we had an active 9 month old who could reach  everything on the coffee table.

It is a perfect couch for post call naps with a dog at your feet. It is covered in soft fuzzy blankets thought to protect the couch from the dog but moreso add extra snuggle factor.

We brought baby home from the hospital at the first snowfall of the year. Our extended family was sick during Thanksgiving and as I was very hesitant to bring my baby near any germs under 2 months of age, so this is where our small little family sat with plates of takeout turkey and potatoes from a local cafe pretending to watch football but really all of us  intermittently napping. It is one of the favorite Thanksgivings I ever had because it was cozy and all about my own little family.

I spent the majority of my maternity leave on the couch with baby snuggles sleeping on my tummy. I either had a coffee or a book or would play my Nintendo switch over his head. The only time in my entire life I have ever completed a video game was the week I was post term pregnancy waiting for induction and they wouldn’t let me work and during my maternity leave. It is the snuggliest I have ever felt in my whole life with the snow falling outside and all the warmth inside.

Fast forwarding - baby is now 9 months old and more of a little boy than a baby each day. He is a great explorer and crawls and scoots himself around non stop. Our living room is our biggest room so it seems like all my free time is spent on this couch, watching him bang two toys together, only to find two different toys to start banging them together.

I’m post overnight call today. We have crawled and played. And Baby is napping in his crib and I am back on my couch. Time for a nap. The dog and blankets and couch are calling.

Kicks