Friday, May 30, 2008

I feel defeated.

We scrutinized our finances and it looks like I will be going back to work on Monday. I am so upset. I feel like I am failing my daughter. I feel like she deserves better than this. If we made just a little bit more, or health insurance didn't cost quite so much...

But it does.

I hope this is only temporary. But I don't know. I don't see how.

This is what I have anticipated for so long, but it's not what I want for us. And I feel silly for letting myself entertain the idea that I could possibly stay at home with her and have what I want.

My husband has changed his tune to, "You have to work full time. That's just the way it is for us. I mean, if you want to keep the house and the dogs and all." I want to scream at him for making me believe that I had a choice. Instead, I just cry.

I should have gone for a different degree in college, one that would have helped me earn more money. I should have gotten a different job. I should have saved more money.

But I didn't. So I will go back to my hellhole job on June 2. And leave my poor tiny baby. I keep telling her how sorry I am tonight. I have let us both down.

I'm sad.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The right thing???

I have a huge decision to make.

I posted before about not wanting to go back to my job, but I was sure there was no realistic way that I could quit. Well, on Wednesday, my hubby came home from work saying, "Just do it. I want you to quit your job."

You would think I would jump at the opportunity, but now I am even more stressed out. In my mind, quitting was never a real possibility for many times as I said that I wanted to stay at home, it was just wishful thinking. I never thought that it could actually happen.

We looked at our finances, and if I did quit, would make things very, very tight around here. It's no secret that cops aren't exactly paid well! We have some money saved and we would definitely be dipping into those savings. If I leave my job, it would literally cut our household income in half. Dave says he will pick up extra security jobs a couple of nights a week, but that won't even come close to making up the difference.

We aren't discussing me being a SAHM for good...maybe a few more months, or until Brooklyn is a year old, at the longest. I don't like my job, and I would look for another one soon.

I really, really want to do the right thing for my family and especially for Brooklyn. At this point, I truly don't have a clue what the right thing is.

The pros and cons of quitting that I have been thinking about:

1. I get to be at home with Brooklyn! I won't have to worry about missing her or missing out on her first time rolling over, first time crawling, first steps. I won't have to miss 50 hours a week of bonding time with her. When I hold her, when she smiles at me, when I gaze at her, I can't imagine leaving her. I don't want to regret passing this opportunity's a one-time thing, you know? She'll never be a tiny baby again.
2. Hubby would be able to get enough sleep to function at work, and we wouldn't have to worry about me getting enough sleep to be able to work. Brooklyn has reflux and colic and doesn't sleep for more than an hour at night without being held. Because of this, we haven't been able to get our family on any kind of schedule since she was born.
3. Being able to breastfeed exclusively. Brooklyn always nurses for at least an hour at a time...sometimes two hours! She eats really slow, presumably because of her reflux. I would be able to accomodate her if I stayed at home. Breastfeeding has been such a challenge for us, and I don't want to have to give it up after all the work we've put into it.
4. Hopefully I would be less stressed. My job is very high-stress. Ugh.
5. I could look for another job, either a part-time or a full-time job, that I might actually like!

1. $$$$$$! This stresses me out so bad. I really don't want to be taking money out of our savings just to make ends meet. We live comfortably right now...we have no debt, we can buy things that we want (within reason) would be a major lifestyle adjustment. I know this will probably sound selfish and materialistic, but I want to be able to buy things for Brooklyn without stressing about whether we can afford it. I want to be able to take her to get nice portraits done, I want to buy her nice clothes, I want her to be spoiled rotten on her first Christmas! I hope that doesn't make me sound like my priorities are completely out of whack, it just really is something I've been dwelling on. I hope that doesn't sound too stupid.
2. I don't want my hubby to think that taking care of Brooklyn is my job and completely my domain. I don't want him to not spend time with her or help out because it's "my job." Not that I think of him in this way, but that's how my parents were and I never thought that was right. My dad never, ever cleaned, cooked, or took care of us. He disciplined us and was around in the evenings. That's about it. I don't want that for Dave and I.
3. I am terrified of not having another job waiting for me. I hate uncertainty!!! What if I can't find another job fast enough? Or at all? What if I had to go work somewhere that didn't use my degree at all? Or that didn't require any degree? Then I would feel like I had wasted my time in college.
4. I would miss some of my coworkers.
5. I am worried about people thinking I am weak, or irresponsible, or lazy, or a quitter, or something along those lines. Something about not having a job, for whatever reason, seems so irresponsible, especially now that I have a child. I don't know why so many women are able to go back to work without it being this hard. It makes me feel like I am not as strong of a person as I should be.
6. I am worried that Dave will resent me if he has to work extra nights because I quit. I am also worried about him not being home enough or being too tired to spend time with Brooklyn and I.

I'm so scared of the unknown. I am so scared of change. I'm so scared of venturing out to a place where I haven't been before, a place where I don't know what to expect, a place where there are no guarantees.

Please help me! I don't know what to do! I seriously don't know what is the best option for us. Is it better for Brooklyn to have me at home with her or for me to be working so that we can continue to live comfortably and be able to afford things for her? Is it worse to be stressed about work or about my lack of a job and our financial problems?

I don't know. I really don't. Any input is appreciated...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Breathe, baby, breathe

So, I have this sleeping problem.

The problem is that I can't sleep at night if I'm home alone. Not because I'm lonely or insecure or anything like that. I'm scared.

I am terrified that Brooklyn is going to stop breathing. I'm petrified of SIDS. I have to stay awake and make sure she is still breathing. I'm scared to death that just the two of us will be at home and something will happen to her in her sleep. I'm afraid that she will make some kind of noise while suffocating and I won't hear her, or I won't be able to see her in the dark or get to her in time.

I know I would never forgive myself if something happened to her. I have to protect my sweet baby from that horrible monster, SIDS. And sometimes I think that God is going to think I'm not a good enough mom, or think that I'm not grateful enough for her, and take her from me. She's the best part of me, the best thing that ever happened to me. She is more important than anything. I love her so much that it literally hurts sometimes. I couldn't handle losing her. I know I would die. And I have such anxiety about this that I have even had several panic attacks since she was born. I don't know why my mind does this to me.

This fear has intensified since Brooklyn went to the pediatric cardiologist 4 weeks ago. He told me that the type of heart murmur she has (a ventricular septal defect - VSD) can cause too much blood to go to her lungs. "Keep an eye on her breathing, especially when she's sleeping," he said. I became even more afraid after Brooklyn started making this horrible noise with every breath she took last Monday. She had an upper GI done, and it turned out the noise was due to gastroesophageal reflux and tracheomalacia, not an airway obstruction or anything with her lungs. But I am still just so afraid of the worst.

So I sit awake and hold her, so that I can always hear her.

Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

Then I can let myself breathe.

Most nights, my husband gets home from work by about 2 a.m. On Tuesday nights, he works an extra security job until 6 a.m. Every day, he tells me to try to sleep when Brooklyn sleeps. And every day, he comes home to me sitting on the couch, holding the baby.

I don't know why I can sleep when my husband is home. I don't understand why that changes things for me. How is it any different if he's there, but asleep too? I don't know. I still lay there and worry for a while, I still listen for her little breaths. But I can let it go and drift off to sleep after a while, as long as I'm not alone.

It's okay for now, because I don't have to wake up at any particular time in the morning, except when Brooklyn wants to nurse. But I have to go back to work in 12 days. I don't know how I'm going to function then.


On Monday, my husband brought a turtle home from work with him. He had been riding around with is in his patrol car all day. He said the turtle's name was "Chief." Don't ask me why he would just pick a turtle up on the side of the road. He just did! I don't pretend to understand.

He said, "I'm going to let it live in our backyard." However, Mollie, our miniature dachshund, didn't like the idea of sharing her house or yard with a turtle. She was driving me crazy trying to attack the poor thing!

My friend Michelle's husband is going to school to be a herpetologist (reptile researcher). So we took our new turtle friend to her house, which is also home to an African tortoise, some lizards from Mali, and some creepy albino snakes who love to escape their cages. Her boys (ages 5, 3, and 2) were happy to add to their menagerie and probably gave the turtle a series of heart attacks by taking it to play with all of their toys, LOL.

Anyway, Michelle emailed me tonight and said that her hubby came home and said that they couldn't keep the turtle because it is a threatened species which is "red-listed" in Texas. Apparently what we thought was a plain box turtle is actually a three-toed box turtle, which is nearly an endangered species! Ooops! We didn't know! So Michelle's husband is taking the little critter to one of his professors, who is studying and breeding these turtles.

Good luck repopulating your species, Chief the Turtle!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Don't make me go back there

Brooklyn is 10 weeks old today! Hard to believe it's been 10 whole weeks since my sweet little girl decided it was time to make her grand appearance!

On one hand, it seems like it was ages ago because the three of us have been through so much since then. On the other hand, it seems like I couldn't have had her more than a few days ago because time is going by so quickly.

Since time is moving so quickly, that means I have to return to work soon. Two weeks from today, to be exact. I DON'T WANT TO GO.

Before giving birth, I seriously underestimated how hard it would be to leave Brooklyn. She is a part of me. We spend all of our time together. I pretty much never put her down. My husband was telling me the other night that it would be good for me to have a break from her. I don't want a break. This is not to say that everything is blissfully perfect or that it has all been no means is that the case. It's that everything else is so stupid when compared to spending time with her.

I originally took an 8-week maternity leave. Because of Brooklyn's medical issues, I took 4 more weeks. And it's almost up. The thought makes me so sad and it makes me panic.

I don't want to miss out on anything. I want to be there for all of her "firsts." I want us to be as close and bonded as possible. I don't want to pump milk at work, I want to hold her close and nurse her. I want to look at her all day, not pictures of her. I don't want to miss her. So many things.

Maybe if I didn't hate my job, it wouldn't be quite as bad. If I didn't have a job where the "clientele" treated me like crap, regardless of how respectful I am of them. If they didn't act like it was my fault they're in the system in the first place. If I didn't have coworkers who are so miserable and jaded that they have become intent on making every day hell for everyone else. If I didn't work in an office with a broken air conditioner, mold, and something that causes the water I drink there to taste and smell like bug poison. If everyone wasn't so hateful. If I didn't feel like I was wasting my degree, my mind, my professional life.

But that's the way it is. Ever since I came home from having Brooklyn, I've been racking my brain, trying to figure out a way to stay home with her, at least for a year or so. I've been trying to think of a way to do that, or a way to work part-time, or take her to a job with me. A way to make or invent something, or start a business. So far, I've come up with nothing. Time is running out. Any ideas?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Nice to meet you.

So, where to start?

I guess I should introduce myself. I'm Amanda. I'm 26. I've been married to my best friend, David, for 3 years. We both work in law enforcement...he's a sheriff's deputy and I'm a probation officer. I have a bachelor's degree in social work with a minor in criminal justice.

My favorite things are all kinds of music, black and white photography, puppies, soft blankets, Friends reruns, broken-in blue jeans, cuddling, taking long walks and talking under the stars, Mexican food, reading and writing, my iPod, long naps, my flip flops made out of yoga mat material, and vanilla Coke.

On March 10, 2008, David and I had our first baby, a beautiful, tiny little girl we named Brooklyn Lillyann. She was 5 pounds, 14 ounces and 18.5 inches long. She has dark blue eyes and a full head of soft, fuzzy dark blonde hair, exactly the color of mine.

Brooklyn is 9 weeks old now. She can smile and respond to us when we play with her, which is amazing. She loves to snuggle, as do I. She has finally grown out of her preemie clothes and can wear newborn size now! To say she is the most amazing and incredible part of my life would be an understatement. I kiss her about a million and one times a day. I love her so much.

I am so thankful for everything and everyone I have in my life. This really is everything I've ever wanted.
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