When We All Got COVID

Despite our best efforts since the beginning of the pandemic almost a year! ago, our family caught COVID-19 right around the holidays – between Christmas and New Year, specifically.

I guess all of our diligent hand washing, my working from home exclusively, sanitizing our kitchen and bathrooms nightly and our mask wearing was not enough. At first I spent a lot of time thinking “What did I miss?” or “What could I have done better?” but by now I’ve given up that way of thinking.

So here I will recount what happened for posterity’s sake.

The Husband started feeling sick the day after Christmas (Saturday.) He complained of a headache and was off all day. We did not have a big Christmas gathering, but my father, mother in law and father in law came over for breakfast in the morning and to see the kids. We then had no company during lunch/nap time, and after that my mother, brother, grandmother and stepfather came over for dinner. So, although our house wasn’t “full” all day, we had two sets of guests come over for two separate meals. Nobody had been feeling ill on Christmas day.

Sunday, two days after Christmas, The Husband complained of fatigue, headache and body aches. Now we started to get a little worried since it obviously wasn’t “just a headache” as we thought on Saturday. Monday, the third day of symptoms, he stayed home from work (he has a job that he cannot work from home and needs to be at his physical workplace/job site) and he went for a rapid test in the morning and by noon that day it came back positive. I had taken the week between Christmas and New Year’s off anyway so was home with the kids. Once the results came back he immediately went upstairs to isolate, and thus began the longest and most draining time of the whole ordeal for me. And in my mind I knew we would all probably end up getting it, but I went through the motions of isolating him anyway. Even though the rest of us in the house hadn’t experienced any symptoms, we too had to quarantine for 14 days given we live together and were in close contact – very close contact in fact, since The Husband and I shagged on Christmas Day, the very day before he got his first symptom. So yeah, I had no hope that I wouldn’t get it.

I suppose we are lucky in that we have two floors, two bathrooms and could easily mostly isolate him. I immediately moved my and the kids bathroom essentials downstairs (after sanitizing) and washed all my pillows and blankets so I could set up my new “bed” on the couch. Lysol spray and Clorox wipes were my dear friends that day. I couldn’t send the kids to their preschool (they go two days a week), and I couldn’t have my mother and mother in law take one of them or both of them even for a little while since now we were quarantining.

The first few days felt like Groundhog Day – I would wake up downstairs, go upstairs to get the kids, bring them down to eat breakfast and then it was me, a four year old and a one year old all. day. Every day I strapped them in their car seats and took a drive, a long aimless drive, since we could not do anything and we were ALL going stir crazy in the house all day together. We typically ended up at the pond, or parked at the boat ramp, where there was nobody as far as the eye could see and we could walk up to the pond’s edge and watch the ripples and waves. And in my memories it was always cloudy and dreary most days – I guess my mind has colored it that way now. Then we could come home for lunch, and then I’d put them down for a nap and get an hour of two or piece to clean or do laundry or sit on the couch and zone out. And then they’d wake up and we’d be together again, then have dinner, then do bath/bed times. The first day I remember feeling very, very mad at The Husband – unfair given that he was sick, I know, but I felt very lonely and overwhelmed. Worrying about him, worrying that the kids would get sick, worrying that I would get sick, worrying about doing EVERYTHING by myself – all the meals, diaper changes, baths, lunches, dinners, clean up, stories, puzzles, dishes, laundry. It felt like A LOT. It was exhausting, draining, depressing. The kids did. Or understand completely why daddy was home and they could not see him. McLovin sort of understood that there were “germs” and we didn’t want him to catch them but a 1 year old just doesn’t get it.

And then, the second night of my “single motherhood”, I discovered what I now consider to be a savior during this time – BRIDGERTON! Silly, I know, but I was browsing Netflix one night after putting the kids to bed and decided to start it and it was JUST what I needed. I was exhausted by the end of each day, but I popped an edible or two, turned that on and totally, completely, zoned out. The alternate universe, this escape, was everything I needed during that completely awful, draining, time. The escapism, the story, the colors, the aesthetics, THE DUKE! I binge watched it over two nights, up until 2am to finish it. Symptoms wise I was still feeling completely “normal” at this time (aside from the fatigue from running around all day and worries) so physically I was okay, but mentally I was not. My husband was isolating, I was alone with two kids who were running me ragged and yeah… I definitely fantasized a night or two about the duke. I was totally ripe and susceptible to this type of show. And I watched it twice because getting high and watching that hot man strut around and the “gluteal cinematography” was one of the only things that made me happy that week. Sorrynotsorry.

A few days after The Husband was diagnosed McLovin woke up in the middle of the night (unusual for him) and started crying. I was downstairs and our living room is right below his room so I heard it right away and went to see him. He was hot, and complaining of not feeling well. I was, obviously, alarmed. He couldn’t articulate exactly what didn’t feel well, and I took his temperature and it came back with a fever around 102. He wasn’t coughing, said he didn’t have a belly ache but just didn’t feel well. I gave him some Motrin to make him comfortable and ended up rocking him back to sleep. Once he was back in bed I moved my “bed” upstairs to his room and ended up sleeping on the floor in this room that night, because I couldn’t not be near him knowing he was sick and wanted to be there to reassure myself he was okay. It was the worst night sleep I’ve had in a long, long time. Maybe I got 2 or 3 hours of sleep. He woke up in the morning and was so, so happy to see me in his room and was excited, in only the way a 4 year old can be, that I had spent the night in his room with him. However, he said he still didn’t feel good and spent the day sitting on the couch, very lethargic – and if you know him you know how unusual this is. He didn’t eat much but was drinking liquids. We had a video visit with his pediatrician that day and they set up an appointment for him to get tested the next day, which was New Year’s Eve. I considered isolating him with The Husband but by this point I knew in my gut he had it and that it was too late for me. I had already been his only caretaker for the days earlier and saw no way that either he or The Husband hadn’t passed it to me by then so I stayed with him and didn’t isolate him. McLovin’s symptoms lasted exactly one day. The next day he woke up hungry, energetic and wanting to play. He said he no longer “felt sick” but obviously we had him tested anyway.

Sure enough, a few days later his test came back positive. By that point The Husband was still having symptoms – mostly fatigue and cough and he had also lost his taste and smell by that time. The headaches and body aches had gone away. I wasn’t having any symptoms, neither was RBG.

That changed a few days after McLovin’s diagnosis though – one morning I woke up and everything was fine. I ate my breakfast and went about my business. It was after the new year so I was “back to work” (i.e. bringing my laptop to the living room so I could watch my kids run around and answer emails). I made lunch for us and then noticed that… I could not taste or smell anything. I ran to my diffuser and opened my essential oils, tried huffing straight from the bottle and put drops on my hands and put them right to my nose and… nothing. I grabbed for life savers – no taste. I grabbed for cranberry juice – nothing. Peanut butter – nothing. And then I knew. I didn’t have a headache or anything – I had a light cough, which felt like a tickle in my throat nothing serious but with he loss of taste I knew. I went on the Mass gov website to find a free testing location with an appointment and ended up ordering an at home test. It was delivered the next day, I took the test that day and then dropped it off at a FedEx box. Two days later my results were positive. Our pediatrician recommended we get RBG tested immediately, even though she had no symptoms, so that at least if she was positive we could begin her quarantine immediately – if not, she would have to quarantine an additional 14 days AFTER my ten day quarantine ended – since technically I would be considered “symptomatic” for 10 days after my positive test. If she did not take a test and get a positive result at that time then she would have to quarantine 14 days after my last “symptomatic” date. So really, the goal was not to have to quarantine her an additional two weeks if we didn’t have to.

And, naturally, her test came back positive too. Throughout this whole ordeal she had ZERO symptoms – no fever (I took their temperatures every day once The Husband tested positive), no cough, no runny nose. Nothing. She seemed like her perfectly normal, happy self the entire time. And McLovin had only that one day of fever and general malaise.

I, on the other hand, lost my taste and smell for three weeks. That for me was the worst symptom. I did feel more tired than normal, and had an annoying “tickle in my throat”, but other than that it was okay. I never once got a fever.

The Husband, out of the four of us, had the worst symptoms.

But now we are all “back to normal” I guess. I have my taste and smell, so does he, nobody has a cough or fever or anything “lingering” that we know of.

Interestingly enough, since The Husband came out of isolation I haven’t been able to keep my hands off him. Prior to this our sex life was okay, but I think it’s safe to say we were in a rut. I had sort of lost hope we might ever have the sort of passion we had at the beginning of our relationship – and thought it was maybe silly to think we could, since our relationship was no longer “new”, we had two kids, were older and had been through much, much more now. But maybe it was facing my own mortality when I got COVID, or maybe it was facing his mortality when he got it first and was sick and isolated, or maybe it was seeing hot people on Bridgeton having sex all over the place and making it look appealing – maybe it was a combination of it all. But we’re definitely enjoying a much improved sex life right now so I’m going to take it, regardless of how or why.

We have great family and friends who brought us anything we needed when we couldn’t get it ourselves – Chinese food, coffees, donuts, meals from our favorite italian restaurant, ice cream, even my brother dropped off breakfast sandwiches for us one morning and soda for us another day when we ran out (when I’m sick I love soda and the carbonated bubbles – yeah I know it isn’t the best for you but I feel desperate for it when I’m sick.) We really wanted for nothing and I know we are lucky in that regard. Lucky that we have a big yard and our kids could go outside and get fresh air even when we were quarantining. Lucky I didn’t have to take any time out of work since I wasn’t that sick and was working form home anyway and could still do my job.

The worst of it, for me, was the mental aspect that first week when The Husband was isolating upstairs and it felt like the weight of everything, the world, was on me. And feeling just completely alone. So thank you to Shonda Rhimes for the mental distraction + the eye candy and my local dispensary for the “candy” candy…

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Peace, Light and Love

The holidays can feel so hard and unkind when you’re struggling. No matter the cause – grief does not discriminate. Holding space in my heart for those who are struggling this holiday season, who feel tired and lonely and hopeless. You aren’t alone.

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Pandemic Life

So since my last day of normalcy (Friday, March 13th, 2020) this is what our pandemic life has been like:

  1. Trip to Great Wolf Lodge cancelled.
  2. Started new job, 100% remote due to the pandemic and office being closed – still working 100% remote to this day. Have been told to expect working from home at least until April 1, 2021. Personally I am glad not to be commuting 40 minutes each way to the new office and that I won’t have to worry about driving in snow/ice this winter. But I do feel I am lacking a sense of “community” with my new colleagues. They have all been kind and helpful and patient during my remote on-boarding and training but I do not have “friends” like I did at my last job.
  3. Furloughed for a month from new job.
  4. RBG turned ONE at the end of June (my baby is not really a “baby” anymore, sob); had a small, socially distanced outdoor birthday party for her with a “Pink Lemonade” theme. This is entirely possible for us because we have 2 acres of land and a large pool and patio; if not for that we would not have had this party. I realize how lucky I am to have so much land and to be able to enjoy the outdoors in the privacy of our own yard during this time. RBG is a ray of sunshine. She loves to smile, and dance, and play with her brother’s toys and drink out of her brother’s cups (even though she has her own). She loves peanut butter puffs and macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets and yogurt.
  5. Went to NH for a long weekend at the beach; avoided all restaurants and stores (save for my favorite fried dough takeout); went from cottage to beach and back.
  6. McLovin and RBG went back to their daycare/preschool two days a week starting in July. This was a hard decision as I didn’t want to “lose control” over our safe bubble, but at the same time it was damn near impossible for me to get work done while watching a 3 and 1 year old during the day. The Husband works outside of the house and it was on me alone to watch them during the day unless my mother or mother in law came over to help, and they are not available each weekday. If we didn’t have them come over those days then I would have to work at night until however late to do my job. That has actually happened on days when we didn’t have help – I was up until 11pm at the computer answering emails, reviewing spreadsheets and putting together financial analysis. After being home with two kids under 4 all day. Not fun for me! McLovin was constantly talking about missing his teacher and his friends and asking when he would go back to school. The school sent out their safety procedures and protocols and based on the trends in our state at the time and their plan we felt it was safe for us, and that it would be helpful for McLovin and RBG to get that stimulation with their teachers and friends outside of the house, which McLovin was clearly missing.
  7. Went to Martha’s Vineyard for a week. Enjoyed social distancing at the beach and going for walks every day. Visited all lighthouses except one, because McLovin was fascinated by the lighthouses. The Husband and I went to dinner one night to a nice restaurant where we were social distanced and a second time to the golf club where we ate outdoors. It was so strange being out to eat and being served instead of just getting takeout. Avoided the busy “tourist” areas and enjoyed the change of scenery. The carousel was closed this season, naturally. But McLovin got to fly his first kite at Ocean Park and RBG had her first bite of ice cream and I got my favorite sandwich from The Chilmark Store and The Husband got his favorite burger from Farm Neck and all felt right with the world for a week.
  8. Halloween. McLovin was a lion and RBG was a pumpkin. We visited only our parents, which my mother and mother in law each come over one day during the week to watch the kids while I work upstairs in the office – so we feel safe visiting them. They are over our house with the kids anyway.
  9. The Husband and I finally met with an estate attorney to draft our wills and estate plans. We’d only been talking about it since McLovin was born. All done remotely except a 10 minute meeting in the office to sign. Between our initial call and some follow up meetings we signed off on everything last week. It is a relief to have this all done and know our wishes have been discussed and are in writing. And that we are minimizing tax and probate costs as best we can based on our attorney’s guidance.
  10. THE ELECTION! I am one happy never-Trumper. I wish he would just go away forever now. Please get here soon January 20, the universe only knows how much more damage he can cause in the next two months. Leading up to the election I had to block/restrict a lot of family and friends and even went off social media a few weeks because I could not stand the lies, negativity, and delusions. I avoided speaking or even texting with some family because the fact they continue to support Trump after the past four years just disappoints me beyond belief and makes me question their judgment. I am just glad, glad, glad that the majority of people in this country agree he is a lousy excuse for a leader and/or human but in my opinion it shouldn’t have been this close anyway. Sigh. But damn did it feel good to pop that bottle of champagne that Saturday that it was called for Biden. It had been chilling in my refrigerator since inauguration 2017.
  11. McLovin turned FOUR earlier this week! Four whole years. I could cry just thinking about it. I just love seeing what a bright, energetic, mischievous, kind, funny kid he is becoming. He loves trucks, The Lion King, Finding Nemo, Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol, chinese food, pizza, Bel Vita biscuits, playing police man, being cozy in his big blanket, and “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” He is a sweet, loving big brother but sometimes still has moments where he asks “Can we get rid of RBG now and send her back to the hospital?”

Life is plodding along. I’ve watched The Queen’s Gambit and The Crown Season 4 recently. I haven’t done as much reading as I thought I would have this year but I’m hoping to change that. The holidays are coming and I am going to do what I can to make it festive for us, since we won’t be visiting a lot of friends or family. I think I may overhaul our entire holiday decor scheme this year.

Otherwise we are continuing with our social distancing and doing what we can to stay safe. Getting takeout, doing grocery pick ups instead of going in store and sticking around our house. Avoiding gatherings and parties (even though some in my family are still hosting holidays and having housewarming parties which boggles my mind – how can they be that untethered to reality?) I am not too bothered by the restrictions, I am a person who enjoys my solitude anyway.

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On MRL

A few days ago someone told me – “You and your brother couldn’t be MORE different.”

We share the same parents. We were raised in the same house. We ate the same foods (I was pickier for sure though), we had the same pets, we went on the same vacations and same schools and had the same general life experiences. We have the same brown hair (although his can turn in to a curly fro) and same brown eyes.

And we couldn’t be MORE different.

He got the brawn and I got the brains (at least the brains that put you in AP classes and got your good grades.) He got the people skills and outgoing personality and I got a RBF, reserved demeanor and can sometimes seem standoffish even when I don’t mean it. He is a jack of all trades and I sit behind a computer crunching numbers all day.

Sometimes I feel guilty, guilty that I am more mentally tough. Guilty that I pulled through my losses and struggles and setbacks in some way that I can’t explain. Guilty that I can’t share that mental toughness and grit with him, give some of that to him because he needs it. It’s hard seeing what you warned was going to happen actually come to fruition after years of irresponsibility and squandering money and talent. The same mistakes again and again and now 36 years later. Guilty that I can have a drink or two and be fine and that’s it and he can’t. Why can I stop but he can’t? Guilty that I can be fine smoking a joint and it was never a so called “gateway” for me but he ended up going to rehab for a cocaine addiction. I don’t know why I feel guilty but I do.

Through drunken tears he asked The Husband tonight – “Do you ever look in the mirror and wonder why you are here?” Yes, yes I have. The Husband has. Isn’t that the existential question that has bothered humans for centuries? But I can ponder it and put it out of my head and move on and he seems trapped by it right now.

Part of me wants to scream ‘SEE!’ ALL THOSE YEARS WARNING YOU AND LOOK!’ A small part of me. We warned him he needed to save some money and stop partying and eating out every day, told him he needed to get his license back and save for a car and an apartment on his own (not with a crazy girlfriend) and take better care of himself. Told him he needed to be more responsible, told him it would catch up with him. Told him he had talent and just needed to put his mind to it, told him to settle down. Warned him he’d wake up one day SOL, it would catch up with him. It was all on deaf ears.

You can say it until you’re blue in the face. Offer help. Offer a listening ear. Offer to be there.  But if they don’t want it then what can you do? I told him I will bring you to counseling (I am working from home 100% so can make the time.) I will bring you to the RMV to pay your fines and fill out paperwork to get your license back. You can sleep on my couch tonight. I will pick you up where you are and bring you back here. We will talk it through and set some manageable goals and chip away at them and clean this mess up. But if he doesn’t want it and isn’t willing to take the step then what?

Nothing, really. You can’t make someone admit something or want something. Me wanting it and our family wanting it just aren’t enough when it’s, really, up to someone else.

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Half A Turn

Hello, Blog. It’s been a while.

I wish I knew what to do with you.

So much has happened (or not happened due to “social distancing”, cancelled plans, etc.) in the (almost) six months since I last wrote.

New job. Working from home (all my concerns about the longer commute no longer matter since I am 100% remote for now.) More time with McLovin and RBG (who celebrated her first birthday a month ago.)

It seems like a whole new world.

And I am still here, hanging on.

One night last week I laid in bed with McLovin, and as I cuddled him to sleep – he is always in motion, so I enjoyed the stillness of cuddling him to sleep as he quickly dozed off – I thought to myself “Please don’t ever take this boy away from me.” To whom the thought was addressed I have no clue. But there was the thought, over and over.

I wonder if it is some sort of PTSD or does everyone beg the void to protect their children and their hearts like that?

Maybe I spend too much time following sad stories on Instagram.

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“…. things are very topsy-turvy at the office.”

Indecisive, adj: (of a person) not having or showing the ability to make decisions quickly and effectively

If you’ve followed my blog over the past two years or so I’ve touched upon various work related issues and changes. It’s been a tumultuous two years at my current employer, to say the least. It started in May 2018 when my former boss, who was beloved to our department, who hired me, who coached and mentored me for 6 years, was abruptly laid off during a mass layoff. Since then I’ve had four different bosses (including my current boss.) Most of our Tech/IT Department has been outsourced to India. Layoffs in Marketing. When I was on my maternity leave last summer it was announced most of Finance was also being laid off and outsourced to India – only managers were being “retained” or “not impacted” so there is one person at corporate office from each subarea but all the workers are in India. My entire team was laid off and has been transitioned or is in the process of being transitioned to “offshore,” and calling the whole knowledge transfer and training process a shitshow is being kind. It SUCKS and there is too much to even get into, it would take me hours to write about all the screw ups, false starts and mismanagement by the project managers. There’s been massive turnover at all levels,  including people who are “retained”, because nobody wants to be last man standing holding the bag for all the work that’s being screwed up or not done that’s piling up. Nobody wants to be under the pile. Turnover at the C-suite level too- three CFO’s in the past two years. No stability, no consistency. Just a hot mess and every day there is a new drama. I’d talk about the most recent drama of the past two weeks but doing so might give too much of my anonymity away. The Glassdoor reviews are HARSH, and mostly TRUE!

So, while I haven’t been exactly HAPPY and I’ve been aggravated more often than not at work, there are benefits. Such as five weeks vacation, 18 minute commute, and flexibility   – my current boss has no clue who is coming or going and as long as you can answer his questions and the work gets done I just don’t think he cares. They’ve lost so many people that they basically let people  do whatever they want to keep them. Work from home two days a week? OK. Come in late, leave early? Whatever. I am honest and get the work done either way but the flexibility has been…. nice. Especially with a three year old and an infant. And not what I’ve had in the past. My salary is okay, I was much happier with it BEFORE all this bullshit and I’m definitely getting to the point where I want more money if they want me to deal with the crap that’s going on. Having to apologize for people in India, when I had no choice in selecting them and no choice in this whole business model, is definitely irksome and I’ve been biting my tongue and doing it but it’s frustrating. Also, the organization is so flat now that there’s no clear growth path or opportunity for me look forward.

However back in September my old boss contacted me about a job she had open at her new place of employment. It was a step down in title, which I wasn’t thrilled about but justified it by saying that I have MORE responsibility and stress at home with two kids now so perhaps having LESS responsibility and stress at work would be okay. It’s a longer commute – more than double the commute I have now which is probably my biggest concern and what I consider the biggest drawback. But I went in an interviewed with the Treasurer and one of the other Directors. About a week after that their HR people called me and told me the job was being put on hold, they didn’t say it outright but it was a hiring freeze. They’d get back to mea after the new year. Fine.

In the meantime I’d been toiling away on this India transition and now this feels like my new normal. My old boss contacts me last week an the job is open again. But the title changed to a step up, so it’s the same exact title as I have now. No step down. I mentioned my concerns about the longer commute, getting home later so less time with my kids, etc. and she tells me I can leave early every day if I want. Ok. But if I’m interested I need to reapply again and go through the process, they still have to post it for two weeks per their company policy. Ok.

I can’t figure out why am I not jumping up and down and thrilled for a very good opportunity to get out of the shitshow I’ve been in for so long? I feel very wishy washy about this. I’m not thrilled about the longer commute. There’s no official offer on the table yet although she said I was their top choice in the fall and given our past history together – the job is basically mine if I want it. Obviously I need to have an offer in hand to fully weigh this out – if the money is way off from what I’m getting now then that’s a problem. I also told them in the fall I don’t want to go back to two weeks vacation and that won’t work for me – they said they could “work with me” on it, typical HR response. 

Pros of potential new job: out of the drama and instablility (hopefully this new place isn’t as tumultuous), no India outsourcing for IT, no managing a team in India, a boss I know and like that can teach me new things, room for growth when my old boss retires, hopefully a company that has more respect for employees and understands that perks does not equal culture, fresh start, it’s not in the city and a lot of open jobs right now are in the city, I won’t have an opportunity to walk into a new job knowing the boss and her style, and her knowing me and my capabilities, in any other opportunity that presents itself in the future should I decide not to take this

Cons of potential new job: longer commute (more than double), less flexibility, less vacation (probably), have to make new friends (this sounds ridiculous but I really don’t feel like having to put myself out there like that to have to be an extrovert and make new friends), further away from the kids and our life (doctors, dentists, schools) during the day, having to learn new systems and new processes, walking into unknown situation – all companies have their problems, what if the problems there are worse and the grass isn’t greener – I just don’t know

Unknown: salary, benefits cost (I carry the benefits for our family, The Husband works for his family business and the benefits cost is crazy and the benefits aren’t very good)

I do not think I can justify accepting a position at a company with a longer commute, less money and less vacation. The longer commute is a given. So then it comes down to money and vacation time, and a promise that I can have SOME flexibility.

I am really just torn. If I didn’t have two young kids I probably wouldn’t care so much about the commute, being further away and flexibility. But I do.

Sigh.

I keep looking for signs. Either I’m not getting any or I’m missing them.

 

 

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Bye, 2019

Bye, 2019. Thank you for helping me welcome my daughter, safely and healthy. Thank you for a wonderful 4 month maternity leave with her during prime summer/fall months. Thank you for an amazing toddler year with McLovin, watching him grow and learn is such a joy (although potty training has been a big fail right now.) thank you for being mostly kind.

The end of the decade is here, and my life has changed so much over ten years. New (old) house, new job, two babies. Three heartbreaking pregnancy losses. One heartbreaking pet loss. Trials with my brother and his substance abuse. The loss of a lifelong childhood friend this past September. Countless parties and celebrations and dinners out with friends and vacations. Life has happened.

The majority of 2014 and 2015 seem like a blur. I was just trying to get by. Then 2017, 2018 and 2019 seemed to go by at warp speed in comparison.

Parenting a three year old and a 6 month old means there’s not a lot of time left for me, or left for “us” as a couple. RBG is still exclusively breastfed and I love those cuddles and our time to slow down together. Some days it feels like going to her room and rocking in the glider with her are the only times I get to “myself” and to take a time out.

Work is stressful. So much is going on and changing and I was unhappy before RBG was born so I shouldn’t be surprised that going back from maternity leave I’m still unhappy. I went on a job interview at a different company in October and was told in November the job is on hold until after the holidays. A hiring freeze I presume. The first interview I’ve been on in 7 years, I never felt the urge until now, when I returned from an amazing maternity leave to a miserable situation. I continue to vacillate on what to do. I’m unhappy and stressed but the location is so close to home that any new offer would have to be very, very compelling to make up for losing an ideal location and commute.

For now I am looking back on the past week I got to spend with my two beautiful amazing living children, their first Christmas together as siblings, an enjoyable and busy week off with them. Looking forward to a short work week this week, and to finishing my Schitt’s Creek marathon with my time off this week. How did I not watch this show until now?!!!

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A Year

A year ago today is the last day that we had our Layla, and she was well. She probably wasn’t that “well” but we didn’t know it.

A year ago today I didn’t know RBG existed.

We didn’t know about Layla until she got sick on October 30, the day before Halloween. That was the first time she was noticeably sick, and we thought it would just pass like any other GI bug. But it didn’t.

Today is the one year anniversary of the last day we thought she was well, and tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the first day we knew she was sick. And from there on it was a long, sad month until she passed

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of finding out I was pregnant with RBG. Why did I find out the morning of the day that she got so sick? Probably just random.

We don’t have another dog yet. Too much to handle with an infant and a busy almost-three-years old toddler. But probably soon, maybe around Christmas or maybe in the spring. McLovin alternately asks “Where is Layla? When can I see her?” And “When can we get a puppy?” I’m so glad he remembers her, and asks about her, as hard as it is to explain over and over that she’s not coming home.

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RBG’s Birth Story

RBG is almost two weeks old and it’s been a whirlwind adjusting to being a family of four. Two weeks ago at this moment she was less than a day old, and it’s already starting to feel like so long ago and I wanted to try and document her birth story before I forgot too many of the details.

Her birth went much quicker than McLovin’s, and without an induction (his birth story is shared here.)

That Thursday I worked from home, as I had been the past two weeks. Our cleaning ladies came by in the morning and we talked about when the baby would come – they thought for sure on the 30th. My mother stopped by and brought me lunch from my favorite Italian restaurant – chicken, broccoli and ziti. It was all quite normal. I was a bit tired, and laid down in bed for a little while in the afternoon. Other than that the day passed uneventfully.

The Husband returned with McLovin around 5 or so. They played outside and I prepared dinner, added some things to my hospital bag, very mundane. The three of us had dinner together, then McLovin and I watched a segment of Paw Patrol while The Husband mowed the lawn. That’s when I started to notice I felt off, with some awkward back pain and cramps. Eventually the two of us went upstairs, brushed his teeth, washed his face, and got ready for bed. We went through our whole bed time routine, and I rocked him and sang songs to him and put him to bed. In hindsight I’m so glad I was the one to put him to bed that night, that we had that last bedtime together with him as an “only child.”

As I was putting him to bed the “cramps” became more noticeable. Once I left his room I started timing them and paying closer attention, realizing they were in fact contractions and not the Braxton Hocks variety – they were lower, more “painful” (at times I’d have to stop what I was doing to breathe through it.) I told The Husband what was going on, and based on my timing they were between 5-7 min apart. I also felt at one point a “leak” – not a gush but leaking. Now with McLovin I was induced and labor did not start naturally so I had no previous experience with this so I called my OB. They said as this had been happening over an hour, and because my water may have broken, to go to the hospital to have an NST and they could determine if my water broke.

I was upstairs in our room and The Husband was not in the house, and I couldn’t see him in the yard so I called his cell phone letting him know we had to start moving. He called my mother to come over because she was going to watch McLovin for us and then he came in the house to shower. After his shower he gathered his bag, added some stuff in it  and then we headed out. By the time we left it was around quarter past eight. As we drove up the highway I continued timing contractions, which were down to about 4-5 min apart, and focused on breathing. It was a quit ride, no traffic, a nice night and I was watching the planes circle and fly in to Logan as The Husband drove and we must have been driving under the flight path that night.

We arrived at around 9pm and got GREAT parking and went in to the hospital. We checked in to the Labor + Delivery unit, and they were expecting us since my OB’s office called them and told them we were coming and sent our information over. The nurse we met with was super sweet and took us to the procedure room for the NST. I got hooked up for the NST. The nurse took a sample from “down there” to test for amniotic fluid to determine if my water had broken, and the OB who was working that night came in to talk to me. We went over everything again, then they left and The Husband and I were alone for a bit while they completed the NST and waited for the other sample results. Turns out my water had not broken, but the NST showed my contractions were consistent and four minutes apart and “rather strong” according to the reading. The OB checked my cervix and I was 5 cm dilated, so they admitted me. That was around 9:30pm.

I was wheeled in to room 5, which was much smaller than the room I had with McLovin. I was told they usually hold the larger L+D rooms for inductions, as those tend to last longer. In any event, The Husband went downstairs to get our bags out of the car (BTW I love my new Vineyard Vines weekender that I used as  my hospital bag), and I got settled in the room. When he came back with our bags he also had bought some Frito’s, and I remember being so.annoyed. at the smell of them. I set up a diffuser and made my “Labor Blend” and took out my oil roller to use (which I only used twice because it went so quickly.) The nurse we initially met with was leaving at 11pm, and our new nurse was actually in early so I had both of them covering me for some time – setting up the IV, going through questions (why does it seem like you have to answer the same questions ten times?!?!). I changed into one of the more comfortable options I’d packed and they brought me a peanut ball to bounce/rock on. We went over my wishes for L+D (no pain meds/epidural, skin to skin, delayed clamping, etc.) and then they left us to try and relax. The contractions were consistent and strong but I was able to breathe and bounce on the ball through them. The Husband rolled some tennis balls on my back at one point as well. At around 10:45pm I decided to lay down and try to rest/relax for what I assumed would be a long night. The TV was on and we were watching The Sandlot (much better than the Duck Dynasty from last time.) I was mostly focused on breathing  through the contractions, and then at 11:55pm my water broke. I felt a pop inside, then a gush, then just as with McLovin immense pressure. I buzzed the nurse to come in and told her, and she was smiling and excited and I remember thinking, you seem awfully happy and my pain has increased significantly right now. Then some more nurses came in, that I hadn’t met yet, and I don’t remember what they were doing but they were doing something. And it seemed like they all complimented me on the diffuser blend and how nice it smelled in our room. I remember thinking, geez I just want to push now and I feel like I should push. But I didn’t. The OB came in and I was 10 cm dilated, and then it was sort of a blur and she was sitting with me and basically said, whenever you’re ready! And so I pushed for 16 minutes, and after a lot of swearing and f-bombs she was born at 12:31am.  Again, that relief when her head delivered and then the shoulder and it felt like the rest “slipped” out, all the pain just stopped. All told I was in labor for about 6 hours from the first time I felt contractions, and she was born 3 hours after I was admitted. About half the total labor time with McLovin. I was surprised at how quickly it went, but thankful all the same. We had our skin to skin time – unlike McLovin she was rooting and tried to nurse right then, right away – her agpar scores were 9, and again my post-delivery meal of choice (I was starving!) was a turkey sandwich with chips and ginger ale. The nurse helped me to the bathroom to help me clean up and see if I could go and such, and then eventually they wheeled us over to the maternity ward. I don’t remember the time.

In my mind the contractions from the induction were stronger and more painful than from the spontaneous labor; it was easier to relax between contractions and breathe through them the second time. Maybe I was more prepared, maybe my body remembered, maybe it was both. However, I did have a bit more tearing with RBG and that whole “ring of fire” situation seemed more painful with her. But overall I am happy that I managed both deliveries without an epidural, I was mentally present for both. I waited for so long thinking this would never happen for me that I wanted to feel it all, the pain and the sweet relief when they delivered. People would tell me, even one of the MFM doctors I saw in Dr. T’s absence one visit “If you can handle an induction birth without pain meds then I’m certain you can handle a spontaneous birth without pain meds”, and it was true.

So that is her birth story, what I recall of it now two weeks out. Maybe I’ll update this post if a new memory pops up some time – more so for myself so I have a clear complete story. Again it was an amazing experience, and although it was intense at the time the pain feels so far away now. A distant memory in the back of my mind.

 

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Hello, World

RBG arrived safe and healthy on Friday morning at approximately 1 am. We were admitted to the hospital Thursday night, and she arrived three hours later. More about her birth story and McLovin meeting his little sister to come!

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