My first pregnancy started off a little rocky. Actually, all of them have been rough but at least that first one made it full term. In June of 2006, my firstborn daughter entered the world.
All 7lbs, 6oz of her. Have you ever seen a baby with jaundice? It’s not pretty.
As if being a first time mom while trying to nurse a fussy baby wasn’t enough, she had to spend the first week wearing this blue light under her onesie to help with the jaundice. She even had to wear it while nursing, which was uncomfortable for both of us.
It took a full 6 weeks before she and I developed a nice nursing relationship. It took a good ol’ treatment of gentian violet to take care of a yeast infection we both had but nobody would treat. That was my first mommyhood Google experience and it saved us in sooooo many ways.
My Terrible Sleeper decided she’d sleep through the night on the very night I had to return to work. She was not quite 7 weeks old that night. She slept all night the entire rest of the time I worked, with a few rare exceptions. Her night sleeping meant I could pump another bottle for her for daycare the following day. I had hoped to be one of those moms who always had plenty of milk available for their child but that wasn’t the case. I only ever had “just enough”. But that was alright.
My little girl was quickly put on a schedule at daycare and I did my absolute best to stick to that schedule on weekends. I knew everyone would be happier that way. Sleeping in on Saturdays? What’s that??
It took me a few weeks to get to where I trusted my care provider in a whole-hearted sense. Her husband I never particularly liked (they’ve since divorced), but I knew my daughter was safe and ultimately that mattered the most. I went with my gut instinct on that and I’m glad I did. I learned some important lessons just by watching our provider in action. Plus, on teacher work days, she had no problem at all letting me come and nurse the baby, even if it messed up the routine a little.
Confession time: I could never have taught another year. I needed to be with my daughter all day long. Knowing that I only had to teach for one more year was what kept me sane. I managed to still enjoy teaching most days and was rewarded with a truly fabulous last year. Of the 165 students I had, all but ONE passed the end-of-level standardized test. Not only that, but about 65% of the students earned a pass-advance and 90% of my honors students received a perfect score. What a way to end my full-time teaching career, right?? Highest scores in the department? Yup, that was me. And them. I really do have to credit the students since they are the ones who took the test.
As a side note, that was also the first year that the math testing in our school was done on a computer so scores overall had dropped for most of the math teachers. (Just not mine)
I worked those students butts off but by golly they KNEW their math when the year was done.
Now, about law school. Anyone here ever known someone who went to law school? It’s tough. Between internships, externships, papers, papers, papers, and finals, there really isn’t much time to be a Dad. Again, I knew it was only for one last year and then he’d be done and I’d have my husband back. I sucked it up, dealt with the hard stuff, and tried my best to be as supportive as possible.
He did his fair share of helping, too.
At the end of the year I knew I’d done my best. I’d managed to nurse my little girl until she was 8 1/2 months old, we’d maintained health insurance through my employer, we’d survived one overnight hospital stay (stomach bug went through the daycare), and we we’d done it all without government or parental assistance.
Was it easy? No.
Was it worth it? Absolutely.
Would I do it again if I had to? Yup.
Little did I know as I packed our bags for a 6 week get-the-heck-out-of-the-way-while-Daddy-studies-for-the-bar-exam trip to California that my time being an *almost* single mommy was not up.
One of my all-time favorite pictures of my firstborn.