Feel the Thrush?

Dear Hive Mind,

I have some seriously sore nipples.  It started Thursday night, and hasn’t gone away even with the addition of nip cream. It also hasn’t gotten worse. (Thankfully.)

Of course, I’ve convinced myself I have thrush, but Dr. Google isn’t being terribly helpful (shocking!)

The only symptom I have is the sore nipples. They aren’t red or freaking out in any other way. They feel fine when, ahem, not in use. The pain also subsides after about a minute of nursing or pumping. 

No pain anywhere else and no visible signs on Chick.

Is this thrush in the making or just some testy nipples?

*Yes, I realize none of you are my doctor. And yes, I will be seeking legit medical intervention. But it is Saturday night and googling nipple infections is now apparently what I do for kicks.

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Judgement Day

Soooo… I may be a bad person. Maybe.

Here’s the back story:

A coworker of mine had a baby via surrogate around the same time as Chick. Not only were we due around the same time, our babies were both born premature. He and his husband have been trying to have a child for years (everything from adoption to 4 failed surrogate pregnancies) so I was really very happy when I learned they were expecting a child. If anyone knows the long, hard road to fertility, it’s me…

But this is where our stories diverge.

Said co-worker, “Pea” as he will be known from here on out, isn’t just a coworker, he is the head of my unit. Which means he makes bank. Upon learning that he and his husband were expecting, Pea sold his fancy loft in the city and moved to a multi-million dollar home in the ‘burbs. His husband stays at home with their daughter. They hire a babysitter once a week so they can have a date night. They also hired a night nanny when their child was teeny so that they could get a good night’s sleep.

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“Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope.” -The Great Gatsby

Um… yeah. That’s not my life. There are times I feel a bit like Nick Caraway in The Great Gatsby. I can see the fancy, but I always return at the end of the day to my tiny cottage just next door to Pea’s metaphorical (and come to think of it, LITERAL) mansion. 

Because our kids are close in age, Pea will occasionally ask me how Chick is doing. Specifically, if Chick is eating solids yet, rolling over, playing with sensory toys, etc. It wasn’t until recently I realized he is comparing his child to mine. It’s like Chick is a litmus test. On one hand, I get it… as new parents, you don’t know what is normal. On the other hand, I’m not entirely comfortable with the tone of some of these conversations.

And still I’ve managed to be mostly pleased for him. Sure, there are times where I just marvel at what having money can do. Yes, there are times when I wish I could provide X for Chick or Mr. O if only I made a kagillion dollars. But these times are mostly fleeting.

Recently, Pea and I were catching up over the proverbial water cooler when he drops the bomb. He and his husband are trying for another child. They found another surrogate and had just completed an FET. I was kinda gobsmacked. I can’t imagine having another child right now. Chick consumes so much of my time, even when I’m not with him. How on earth can they be starting on another child so soon? I will admit it– I got judgey. (On the inside. All on the inside, because I have the best polite poker face ever.)

I’m not really happy with my reaction to this. It’s complicated. I’m about to be completely honest here in an effort to get to the bottom of this… *gulp*

First, is it because they are wealthy? Not only can they afford to buy a fancy house, have a parent stay at home, hire a night nurse, and all the rest, they can afford another surrogate. Mr. O and I are just making it work with the cost of daycare, diapers, etc., while still meeting all our financial obligations. A second baby right now would make my bank account implode.

Second, is it because they are men? Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t start on child #2 right now because my body is still recovering. (It takes between a year and 18 months to fully recover from pregnancy and childbirth.) Not to mention that I’m still supporting Chick through breastfeeding. Because neither of them is carrying the physical burden of this child, they can bounce into baby #2 much easier than I could.

Third, is it because they are having a baby at all? As so many of you know first hand, there is a part of me that will be infertile forever. Birth announcements still sting a little, even though I have a baby of my own. I see pregnant women and I cringe (all on the inside.) Infertility is a wound that doesn’t heal, never fully.

Or four… is it a big ol’ sauce of all three?

In all of this is the lingering question of why another person’s happiness has to reflect on my own. I don’t think I’m alone in this– keeping up with and feeling insecure about the Joneses is as American as apple pie. I do wish I were better at keep that nagging need for comparison at bay.

In the Ladies Room

I went for a run today at lunch. (It was ugly and glorious at the same time, but that isn’t the point of this post.) When I was finished, I de-grossed myself in the locker room at my office.

As I stepped out of the shower, I overheard two women talking. One of them was clearly pregnant and the other one has two small children. As you might expect, the woman with kids was giving first-time mom all the advice she could spare. Which was a lot.

The advice was, shockingly, not bad. Among these nuggets of wisdom were:

  • Don’t feel bad about dropping your kid off at daycare. This doesn’t make you a bad person.
  • Only allow people to visit you if they promise to bring you food. (Ha! I wish I had thought of that one…)
  • You and your child may not be able to breastfeed. Don’t let anyone pressure you into doing it.
  • Someday you will sleep again.
  • When you’re on maternity leave, plan to meet with adults. You can’t baby talk all day.

I just had to join in the fun, didn’t I? Because. Well, I have a big mouth.

“And then there are times when it is fine. I mean, I didn’t have any problem breastfeeding and my kid has slept through the night since he was 3 months old.”

 

No one ever wants to hear this. I’m not kidding, people have told me that I shouldn’t mention it because other moms will hate me. (Direct quote. For serious.) The moment I said it, I realized I do kinda sound like a dick. I’m not trying to brag, honest. I won the sleeping baby lottery, and I know that.

The point I was trying to make is this: I spent a lot of time worrying about things that everyone told me would be awful… the not sleeping, the hours of breastfeeding, the crying, the projectile bodily fluids. In retrospect, I worried about a lot of things that never actually happened to me. That isn’t to say that I didn’t have challenges. But I also think so many new parents spend their time focusing on the horror stories– what could go wrong– that we don’t realize that it is entirely plausible that parenting a newborn isn’t 100% sucky.

I also don’t want to imply that when things are hard, they aren’t waaaaay hard. Layer on hormonal changes, lack of sleep, and a tiny human being that literally needs you to survive… Yeah, that can turn into a shit show. There are times when I didn’t eat for 6 hours because Chick’s needs came first. There are times when I cried crazy chest-heaving sobs because it all felt so hard.

Perhaps what I was really saying was that parenting is hard, but it isn’t always the same hard for everyone. It doesn’t do anyone good to start convincing themselves that all the “bad” things will happen to them. Sometimes it actually will be okay.

Update on Daycare-gate

I owe you all an update on Daycare-gate. It’s okay now (or will be soon.) I just haven’t had a chance to fill you in. So why don’t I stop blathering on and just get to it.

After being told that maybe “This is not the daycare you’re looking for.” the Early Intervention office called the state governing board. Lo and behold, they have mandatory reporting laws that mean they are supposed to alert the state when daycares aren’t allowing them access. So in a way the whole “Do I report them/Do I not report them?” conundrum was out of my hands.

This turned out to be a pretty beneficial thing because it sounds like the governing board came in and helped them figure out how Chick could still have his EI appointments on site while also accommodating the larger needs of the daycare. (It also led to a truly awkward conversation with the director who asked me point blank if I called– thankfully I had no idea that this was happening, so I looked sufficiently surprised.)

I still have to write up an email to the director to finalize our new plan, but Chick should resume his in-care EI visits in two weeks.

In the meantime, I had been researching other daycare options, and was quickly reminded of why I was with this daycare in the first place. Though I found three other plausible options, they were a) out of my way, b) out of my budget, c) not working-parent-schedule friendly, or d) all of the above.

[Insert rant about how our country doesn’t prioritize quality early education care here.]

So for now, Chick is staying put.

I feel… okay about this decision? The truth is that this daycare is the best option for us, but honestly not the *best*. This whole thing drove it home for me. There are other daycares that wonderlands of early education. A friend of mine is in this amazing co-op which I coveted… until I realized it is twice as spendy as mine (which is already more expensive than my rent in an already expensive city.) It also requires she volunteer for two hours a week, a full day a month, and come in on one Saturday a month to clean.

This 9-5 bread-winning mama can’t do that, thank you very much.

I know, I know… in the scheme of things, Chick is perfectly fine where he is. He is doing great, actually. He continues to amaze me with how he hits his milestones regardless of his premie status. It seems to me that this is the first in many angst-ridden decisions I make as a parent, giving Chick the best that I can while knowing full well it isn’t always going to be the best that there is.