Friday, December 13, 2013

Back to Life, Back to Reality

Last week I returned to work after a blissful, action packed, 10 weeks of maternity leave.  During my pregnancy, I had a few ideas of what my leave would entail, a few ideas of things I wanted to accomplish, and a few ideas of how I would do things.  Heh.  Looking back now, I see how silly I was.  Well, maybe not silly, but just naive.  After I had Cyprus, something inside me was... turned on.  I don't know how else to explain it.  It changed how I see things, how I do changed me.
I had many grand ideas about keeping on top of work from home, by logging in remotely.  I planned on keeping a clean house and making nice dinners for the hubby most nights.  I planned on sleeping when my baby slept, taking daily walks, and visiting with friends.  I saw myself updating my blog frequently, keeping in touch with friends via e-mail/text, and basically having non-stop weekends like I was used to before baby was born.  Moms, are you laughing yet?  It's even hard to type these "plans" I had in seriousness.
Reality struck pretty much 4 hours after baby was born, and I had at least 15 of my closest friends and family texting me and calling me for updates.  Right then and there I had to choose what was most important.  #1 me, #2 baby.  As soon as we got home from the birth center, I turned my phone off and went to sleep.  I needed rest.  I needed to learn how to take care of this new exciting thing that I was so enamoured with.  But most of all, I knew immediately that I was going to be no good for this baby if I didn't take care of myself first. 
To say I was selfish during my leave is an understatement.  I only did what I wanted to do, and the only thing I wanted to do, was whatever my baby wanted to do.  For the most part. Of course there were appointments (so many appointments!), grocery shopping trips, and general tasks that needed to get done, but 90% of the time, I was taking cues from baby.  Generally, that meant a lot of breastfeeding, cuddling, diaper changing, and resting.  I made a point not to try and put him on any sort of schedule that suited me.  I followed his lead everyday, and everyday was different.  It also meant dropping any ideas I had about checking work e-mails everyday, blogging, and even responding to family/friends.  For someone that likes (needs) routine, this was a change, but sort of nice too.  Just letting my baby be free to nap when he wanted, eat when he wanted, etc. and purposely let everything else go was incredibly freeing.
I'd say after about 3 weeks or so of this type of living, things settled down, and I was slowly able to take on more.  I began meeting up with other new moms, or making dinner, or running some errand (Target, Trader Joes, etc.).  I'd say I chose one "major" thing each day to do.  One thing was plenty!  If I was meeting up with a friend, I needed to make sure I was showered, and dressed, and I needed to make sure that baby was fed, changed, dressed, and diaper bag packed up.  Just adding in one outing a day made the time pass so quickly because of how much effort was involved!  I became a master at in-the-car breastfeedings and changings.  I learned that if I wanted to make a nice dinner, I needed to start it at 10am because I never knew what sort of sleep patterns baby would have throughout the day.  Basically, anything I wanted to do, I needed to get a start on it at least 2 hours earlier than I would if I were alone.  I planned an activity each day, and the weeks started flying by.
By week 8, I was getting a little restless with all my freedom.  I was starting to crave more of a routine again, and was getting a little frustrated that anytime I needed to do something, it took so much effort.  Especially since baby was not really sleeping anymore during the day, I felt I needed to spend more time entertaining him- walks, reading, music time, etc.  I missed having adult conversations and being able to just walk to the fridge and get water or something without having to worry about pissing off a baby.  I was ready to get back to work, get back to a routine, and ready for the next phase of life with baby.  Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved every second of time I got to spend with baby.  I took full advantage of my days off and got to see everyone I wanted to see, got to do things I always dreamed of doing as someone with endless free time...but alas, without structure I start to go nuts, and that is not healthy for me. If I'm not taking care of myself, I can't be the best mom to my baby, rule #1.
10 weeks was the perfect amount of leave time for me.  I got to just relax and let baby lead the way.  I got to visit with so many friends in town I normally have to struggle to make time for.  We had a lot of family visit.  We mastered baby wearing, stroller walks, trips to the grocery store, mall, and restaurants with baby.  I had a break from work, the gym, and other routine obligations.  I'm glad I was right in my sense that I am not a stay at home mom.  I think it would be very difficult to realize on maternity leave that being at home with baby is the most important thing in the world and dread going back to work. 
Now that I'm back at work getting into the swing of things, it was almost like I was never gone except for the near constant pumping :).  The hubby and I have arranged our schedules so that we are the only ones caring for baby.  I have slowly begun to get back to the gym.  I love my time to myself at work, and I love when I get reunited with my baby after work.  So far we all seem to be handling the new schedule well.  I hope it continues in this way. 
In the next coming weeks, I plan on getting back to tracking my daily food/wokouts here.  I want to track my progress as I feel I'm starting from ground zero back at Crossfit.  I can't lift nearly the weight I was prior (or even when I was) pregnant.  But, that is a post for the future.   

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Aftermath Part II

I feel like I need to expand a little more on my previous post, as looking back weeks later it seems a little dark.  My intention was to give a real account, and not sugar coat anything that I was experiencing at the time.  I focused a lot on the difficult realities of recovery, but that is not all there is to the days following birth!
In the days immediately following the birth of Cyprus, my mind would travel through incredible states of euphoria.  It was like nothing I've ever experienced in my whole life.  The sunshine was sunnier.  Everything was clear and beautiful.  I felt so blessed, so happy, and serioulsy believed I was the luckiest person in the world.  I would look at my newborn son, or my husband, or my husband holding my newborn son, and it would bring tears of joy to my eyes. 
Now, if you know me, that's weird.  I'm not a tears of joy type of person.  I'm sure hormones had a lot (all?) to do with it.  The joy and excitement also made waking up in the middle of the night not a big deal.  Everytime he cried to be fed, I would wake up like it was Christmas morning, just to get to hold him and feed him again.  I literally would miss him after 2 hours of sleeping. 
Of course, along with the highest of highs came some pretty intense lows...not lows in the sense of blues or depression, but just frustration and being so incredibly tired.  Those were the times I needed to lean on my husband the most, to relieve me from baby duty.  Just having to change one less diaper, or have someone else to rock him while he was crying was amazing. 
Just as I continued to heal physically, these highs and lows eventually balanced themselves out, and I began to feel like myself again emotionally.  My baby and I reached many silent understandings and soon began to trust each other.  He learned I would give him everything he needs, and in return I learned that he makes my heart whole.  Everyday since he's come into this world, I am so incredibly happy we made the choice to have a child after years of thinking it wasn't for us.  It is SO for us, and by far one of the best things we've done.