Friday, April 30, 2010

What IF?

Or, How Infertility Affects Your Finances. . .

I am nearly 38 years old, and I just recently had my first child. I was only 34 when we started trying. Like so many women, I had a feeling that something was not quite right after a few months of trying. Neurotic, Type A person that I am, I started charting as soon as we started trying, and I discovered a very disturbing trend. I always ovulated much later than all of my books said I should. But my doctor, unfortunately like so many gynecologists out there, told me to keep trying. She said she wasn't concerned about my late ovulation. She still wasn't concerned when we got pregnant, then miscarried. My age didn't worry her at all. My rail thin frame didn't raise any eyebrows, either.

After my second unsuccessful pregnancy, I felt conflicted about what to do. I liked my doctor, and wanted to believe her reassurances. But, there was something eating away at me. It was one thing to deviate a little from the textbook Day 14 ovulation. But I couldn't find anything that said it was okay to regularly ovulation on CD 22 or later. I wanted a second opinion, so that at the very least, the nagging doubt would go away. I was reading a lot on my own, and I just felt like my doctor was missing something. I decided to consult a reproductive endocrinologist.

I was lucky, for two reasons. First, I have great health insurance through my employer for which I contribute a pittance. This insurance is so good that it provides full and apparently unlimited infertility coverage. Even better, it doesn't require a referral to see a specialist. Second, I had been researching on my own, and discovered that the source of my problems might be that my BMI was a tad too low, causing late ovulation, which was in turn resulting in rotten eggs (which was in turn causing the miscarriages). I began a campaign to gain some weight (a mere 10 pounds), and looked for an RE.

Had I needed a referral, I might not have ever seen the RE. I probably would have chickened out, rather than face the scorn of my doctor, who clearly didn't think there was anything wrong with me. Had I not had such great health insurance, I might not have been able to afford to ever see an RE. And had I not had the ability and tenacity to both research and advocate for myself, I might never have gotten to the bottom of my problem at all. If I'd left myself in the care of my old OB, I might have merely been subjected to endless rounds of Clomid, which was her knee jerk reaction to my problems, as it is for so many gynecologists.

Instead, I consulted with the RE, who confirmed that I was too thin. My weight gain campaign was already underway, and I got pregnant during what was supposed to be my "evaluation" cycle. I have a healthy baby girl now. Given how proactive I was with my own reseach, might all of that have happened without the RE? Sure. I was already trying to gain weight on my own. But would I have known what my IF problem truly was, and why it was happening, had I not seen the RE? No, I would not. After all, I was under my OB's care for a few years before I got to the bottom of it, and without that RE's confirmation, I would have had my suspicions about the cause of my miscarriages, my late ovulation and my wonky cycles, but I wouldn't have been confident in it. I would have been even more worried for the future than I am.

So it is with great trepidation that I leave my current job, and its gold standard health insurance. I know that it will be at least another year before I will be ready to make a decision on whether to build our family from here. At that point, I will be another year older, pushing 39. At that point, I will work somewhere else, with health coverage that sounds as though it may not measure up (and really, how many plans can measure up to my current health insurance? It's amazing coverage). If we decide we'd like to have another child, will my body cooperate? And more importantly, will my insurance?

Those are just two of my fears. Once I switch insurance, will I get the care I need? Should I stay where I am? By pursuing my career dreams, am I compromising my personal dreams regarding my family? What if that's the case? Will I have regrets? I can't know the answer now to any of those questions. I worry that I am making the wrong choice, that once again I am sacrificing personal happiness, and the happiness of my husband, at the feet of my career. This time, though, the angst is caused not by the job, but by the quality of the insurance coverage on offer.

To learn more about infertility during National Infertility Awareness Week? Visit Resolve. You can also read more What If's by visiting here. They will both inspire you and break your heart.

So, what if I am throwing away my opportunity to have another child? Ah, but what if I am not? I don't save the good china for holidays, and I won't give up this wonderful new job opportunity just because the health insurance isn't as good. I have to live my life, after all, insurance be damned. The RE consults gave me some confidence that I can handle my IF in the future. It feels scary, but I just have to hope that it will all work out in the end. But what if I didn't have to make a leap of faith on this one? What if health insurance treated infertility for what it is: a medical condition just like any other.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


That last post was mostly about me trying to boil down to its core a disagreement with my MIL, so that I could attempt to figure out how to deal with it. The long and short of it is that I'm still avoiding the entire situation, because it's just more than I feel like dealing with right now. I am overwhelmed with other stuff, namely a project at work that needs to be completed before I leave, moving hundreds of miles away, and starting a new job.

I gave my notice yesterday. I've been at my job for more than eight years, and it's strange to think that I won't work there any more. I didn't know what it would be like to give my notice at a job that I have long loved and worked so hard at and sacrificed so much for. But in short, it was pure joy to tell everyone that a) I am leaving, and b) where I am headed. I wasn't sad at all. That's how I knew that it is really time for me to move on. I have absolutely no regrets about leaving (well, I haven't started telling my clients yet--some of them are going to be VERY upset, and that's going to make it harder). I think it might almost have been harder to leave if I was going to be working somewhere else around here, but it's such a clean break, knowing that I am leaving not only the job, but the entire area, and going to a job that I have long desired.

I still have about five weeks left of actual work, and then I have about two weeks of vacation time that I'll use up at the end. It will go by fast, though. I have wanted this new job for so long, and worked so hard to get it, that it doesn't feel real that I actually HAVE it and that this day is actually here. I keep reading and rereading the emails from the employer, to make sure it hasn't disappeared, or that I'm not imagining it. It's sort of like continually peeing on a stick once you know you're pregnant, just to see that line appear again and again and again. I am just. . .happy. Really, really happy. I have a wonderfully supportive husband, the best baby ever, and the job of my dreams. (Now I constantly worry that something bad must be about to happen to us, but that's a neurotic post for another day.)

The response from my work friends and colleagues was amazingly positive and supportive. The head of my company said lovely things and was incredibly gracious and supportive about my departure, even though it leaves them in the lurch a little bit. People are excited for us, about the new job and the move, which will in time involve living abroad. People think it's really cool that we are making this crazy leap of faith from our nice, comfortable life here, and doing this thing that is completely different and new. Colleagues have said such kind things to me about my work, and how much they'll miss me.

I have been caught off guard, however, by the response from personal friends and family. It has been somewhat muted. The "congratulations" are there, but aside from my mother, people have a distinct lack of enthusiasm about our new life, although they aren't saying that, exactly. They are sad to see us go, which I completely understand. I don't know why, but I just hadn't expected that people would be so open about how they felt, and their reactions are making me feel a bit guilty. One of T's best friends stopped by last night with a bottle of wine, a man who is normally peppy and full of enthusiasm about life, and the conversation was sort of. . .melancholy. It makes me second-guess our decision a tiny bit (but honestly, I then revert to being really excited--after all, there are all sorts of new-fangled technologies out there that will help us stay close, like email, and Skype, and big birds that fly through the sky and take people wherever they want to go).

My mother is excited for us (although I'm sure she'll be sad to see us move far away), and said that she understood what it was like for me to have worked so hard to get something that I wanted so much. She's able to separate herself and her own feelings about us leaving, and just be happy for us because this decision makes us happy. My sibling is also excited for us, and has already sent me a list of preferred destinations. I really appreciate their support--their ability to set aside their own feelings about how this decision impacts them, to just be happy for us.

I think the thing that has made this so easy for me is that I do have a rather large family. I look around, and I see the choices people have made for themselves, and I have loads of good examples of what I can expect my life to be like if I stay here and take another job here. It would be a good life, a happy life, no doubt, but it would pass by in an instant, and it would be very much like what my life is like now. Life here is familiar, but not especially interesting or unusual. I live in a rather ordinary place where people live rather ordinary lives. Good, but ordinary. This new job will truly be a different way of life on so many levels, and will give me and my family the opportunity to do extraordinary things. There will be hardship and difficulties, as there always are in life, but there will be opportunities and challenges unlike anything we could experience here in our little town. I am scared to leave, but I am more scared to stay. I don't want to wake up in twenty years and wonder where the last two decades have gone, or felt like life passed me by. I want to seize it up and live the hell out of it.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Any Suggestions?

I just drafted a long, ranting post about something that happened today. It was incredibly cathartic to write it, but it needed to be erased. Yet, I still have no idea how to handle the situation.

Here it is in a nutshell: I ended up in a heated discussion with someone today. During the conversation, I was pushed to my limits, and therefore spoke the unvarnished truth about a third person, which deeply offended the person I was speaking with.

I feel like the other person involved in the conversation does not respect me or my decisions, and has generally been rather unsupportive of our little family in recent months. I am angry with this person, because of this. The truth-speaking probably would not have occurred but for the fact that things have been bubbling under the surface for months.

The person called me back and left me a voicemail asking me to return the call. From talking to a third party, I know that this person claims that they were "joking" during some of the parts of the conversation I found most offensive (I don't think this is true), and that I responded inappropriately by saying what I did (although what I said was 100 percent true, and this person knows that). I didn't call back yet.

I'm not sure how to handle this. I find the person impossible to talk to when there is a difference of opinion, because it's like talking to a wall. I am wrong, this person is right, the end. Oh, and it's a family member, so I can't just avoid the situation forever, which is what I'd really like to do.

This has made me really tired. Off to bed I go, but if you have a great way for me to smooth this ugliness over, I'd love to hear it.

Happy Things Big and Little at 3.5 months

It has been a fabulous week.

Miss M. had a shots-only appointment this week. She got the DTap and polio vaccines, and she got weighed. She is up to 10 pounds, 10 ounces--still a peanut, but gaining nicely. She did just fine with the shots, and barely even cried. There was just one little yelp from her when they injected her, and then she was find--no sobbing, no tears, at least from her. I, of course, was in tears. I am so pathetic. She was terrific the rest of the day, but fussy the day after. Thankfully, she bounced back quickly and seems just fine now.

There were lots of cute moments with Miss M. this week. While I am working, Miss M. obviously drinks breastmilk out of a bottle. She held the bottle and fed herself twice this week. It makes me a little sad that I didn't get to see it for myself, but on the other hand, if I were here to see it, she wouldn't have been drinking from a bottle!

When she sees us coming at her with the pacifier, she opens her mouth wide to accept it. At about five this morning, after she'd been fed, I was desperate to get a little more sleep. She was happily laying in her bassinet sucking on her hands and talking to herself. When she saw my hand reach over with the pacifier, she took her hands out of her mouth and opened wide. Ahhh, sweet bink relief. . .she dropped back off to sleep immediately.

Last night, another precious moment: she fell asleep while I was nursing her at around 7. I left for a quick burrito run, and when I got back, T. had put her in her bassinet upstairs. A short time later, she was fussing, so I took my dinner up to my bedroom. As soon as she saw me, she immediately stopped fussing and started beaming at me. I just hung out on my bed next to her as she lay in her bassinet. While I ate my dinner, she stared at me smiled at me, and didn't make another peep except to talk to me. It is so cool that she recognizes us, and that we can make her happy simply by being present. It is even cooler that she can communicate to us that she doesn't want to be by herself, and that we can satisfy her by being present. I just love it.

I also discovered a budding love affair with books--specifically, Dr. Seuss. While reading her Green Eggs and Ham this week, she was giggling and screaming in delight every time I turned the page. She loves the crude illustrations peppering the pages of GE&H. I would've never guessed that such a young baby would respond to a book.

She is also grabbing things with pretty good accuracy. T. said he saw her put her bink back in her mouth herself this week. She is regularly clutching the toys that hang off her bouncy seat.

Miss M. also is exhibiting a taste for television, unfortunately. We put her in her bouncy seat with her back to the television, and she almost turns herself upside down trying to watch the news in the morning. It's funny to watch, and kind of disturbing, actually. Who knew boob tube addiction started so young?!

We did have one little moment of panic this week. The day after she had the shots, she was fussy, but when I got home from work, I found her happy and smiling. T. was feeding her the rest of a bottle when I first got home, and I realized (later) that he hadn't burped her. When I went to feed her a while later, she started SCREAMING. It was horrible. After a period of unabated screaming, I noticed that a strand of my hair had become tightly wrapped around two of her toes. (I have no idea how or why this keeps happening, but it does.) Unfortunately, this time the hair was tightly wrapped and digging into her toes. T. tried to help unwrap the hair, but she was screaming and writhing in pain, and it was tough to get off, as it was knotted around her toes in a way that made unwrapping it impossible. It wasn't clear whether she was in pain from the toes, or from gas. T. got nervous, and wanted to take her to the hospital (hello, new parent freakout overreaction!).

Surprisingly, as upset as I was that she was so uncomfortable, I stayed calm, and pointed out that her toes were pink and appeared fine below the point where the hair was, such that perhaps we could work to remedy this ourselves. After a bit of trying to work at the hair with tweezers and baby nail clippers, I told him to hold off while I tried to calm her down a bit, and turned her over so she was facing my shoulder. She didn't get any calmer, but with her feet flipped over and upside down, T. was finally able to get the hair off her toes.

Just as he said he'd removed the hair, Miss M's screams reached a crescendo, and she let out a huge poopy fart, and a giant burp. And then, sweet silence, and she immediately fell asleep! She's got a little mark on her toe from where the hair was, but is otherwise apparently no worse from the wear. . .such a weird thing to have happen.

Finally, we have a start date for my new job! I'll be moving and starting the new job at the end of June. We are mostly really excited, and partially freaking out. There is so much to be done before we go. The next eight weeks or so are going to be CRAZY.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mother's Day Fiasco

I have waited a long time for my first Mother's Day, and it will soon be upon us. I am looking forward to it. It's exciting for me to be able to celebrate this day. It's sort of special to me, this first Mother's Day.

So imagine my surprise last weekend when my MIL informed me that she and her daughter had decided to throw a baby shower for T's young, pregnant niece on Mother's Day. Now, this is the niece who was using drugs during the early months of her pregnancy, but who has assured her mother and grandmother (who actuallly BELIEVE her) that her doctor says that the drugs didn't hurt the baby, because if they had, she would've had a miscarriage already. [Insert giant eyeroll here.] Needless to say, I'm worried for her baby, and I don't think much of her for doing what she did. In fact, I'm downright angry at her. The reason the shower is going to be on Mother's Day is that someone else is throwing her a shower the day before, and she wanted to just get them all over with at once. Oh, and also, because she was going to be at her mother's house for Mother's Day, anyway, and that way she wouldn't have to make two trips (she lives a whopping one hour drive away, and she is unemployed). I won't even get into how ridiculous I think it is that MIL and SIL have decided to have the shower on Mother's Day.

The invitation to the shower came yesterday. A year or so ago the niece ran into a guy she'd known in high school, and shortly thereafter moved away with him (he's in the military and already once divorced, despite being about 20 years old; she had allegedly been a lesbian before moving away with him--I feel like a crotchedy old woman when I say this, but I don't get kids today). She married him shortly after that without really telling anyone in the family, but that's a whole other story. My point here is that this whole situation is a bit of a train wreck. Anyway, her mother spelled her last name wrong on the invitation. Seriously. I only discovered this when I tried to find her baby registry online, and couldn't. Given all of the circumstances, I suspected that perhaps the name was spelled wrong on the invitation, and started playing around with different spellings of the last name until I finally located her registry.

When I did find the registry, I was shocked at the contents. She registered for about four thousand bibs, including one that said something like "My mom is hot," and three pairs of infant shoes, but no bouncy seat, no bath stuff, no baby swing. It lists specific instructions regarding colors and patterns that she does and does not like (and actually says not to buy certain colors!), but clearly no thought went into car seat or stroller, as she registered for one of the crappiest ones on the market. She registered for bowls and spoons and a high chair, but only for 10 bottles and four nipples (and she plans to feed formula, and I know she doesn't have any baby stuff yet).

I'll just say it now: I'm offended. I know I should just let it go. She's young, she's stupid, and this baby is coming anyway, and I should just be supportive of the baby. I just can't help it, though. We struggled to have Miss M., and she is so very wanted and so very loved. It angers me to see this young, stupid girl be so thoughtless in every way when it comes to her baby.

A Mother's Day baby shower for this girl is more than I can handle. I feel incredibly guilty about it, because it's going to be a very small shower, but I have no plans to attend. I just can't do it. I am not going to spend one of my precious weekend days with my daughter, my very first Mother's Day, with someone who cares so little for the child they are about to have.

I do want to buy the baby a nice gift, though, because it's not the baby's fault that it is being born to such a thoughtless child-woman. I'm not buying any of the crap on the baby registry, though. I'm giving her a ton of hand-me-downs, too, as I am awash in them, and don't need everything I've been given. We'll probably give her some diapers, too. As for the actual baby gift, I know what I think the most useful baby items I own are, but I'd love to hear what people thought was the most useful item (big or little) that they got for their baby. I want to buy her something really useful, because she won't have the money to buy herself much of anything, and she clearly has no sense of what she needs. Also, I'd love to hear your thoughts on best diaper brand. I've heard Target diapers are really good, but we haven't tried them.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother's Deathtrap Crib We Go

Miss M is three months old. It's so weird--it feels like she's been with us forever. I can't imagine what I did with all of that free time I had back before she was born. I surely did not use it to clean out my basement, closets, etc. What a fool I was. I am finding it impossible to get anything done. Why prepare to move (which I HATE doing, by the way), when I can snuggle with an impossibly cute baby? An impossibly cute baby who coincidentally, likes to scream when you put her down, but will snuggle contentedly for hours.

My trusty calendar tells me I have something in the neighborhood of 8-9 weekends to get my life straightened out before our potential move for the new job. That would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 days, max. Plus, I am only working four days a week right now, so that theoretically gives me another day (but see above). That's not a lot of time to sort through a decade of stuff. Ugh.

Miss M. continues to manhandle her pacifier. One day soon she will actually get it into her mouth. I can't think of any huge developments this week. She continues to be a joy.

Going back to work has been fine. It hasn't been as hard as everyone warned me it would be. I think that if she were in daycare, I would be losing my mind, but she's with T. or me or family. We are lucky. I don't worry about her when I'm not here. As hard as it is to not be here for every little moment like I was on maternity leave, it's also quite lovely to talk to adults during the day. The main hassle is pumping. It's a pain to stop what I'm doing and pump, and it's an even bigger pain to have to wash all of the parts multiple times a day. My solution was to order a pile of additional parts, so I can just dump them in the dishwasher at night. I'm paranoid about keeping my milk supply up, now that I'm back at work. It's going to take some attention. The biggest challenge is that Miss M. is either hitting a growth spurt, or digging the bottles, because she's drinking more than I'm pumping right now, and I'm experiencing a bottle deficit. I have very little left in the freezer, because she dipped into my stash last week. I need to work on trying to stockpile some more, but it's harder than I imagined it would be.

Oh, and then there was the trip to MIL's this weekend. For my baby shower, SIL had convinced a friend to buy me a crib bedding set (which I didn't need, because I had already picked out and purchased my own bedding). I couldn't return the gift, so I gave it to MIL to use on the crib she said wanted at her house. It's quite a pretty bedding set, although not what I had in mind. I was going to buy a crib for MIL's house so that it would be something I felt was safe, but MIL beat me to it, unfortunately. MIL told me that she got a like-new crib from a friend whose grandchild had quickly outgrown it. I relied too heavily on trusting the friends she got the crib from, thinking the parents of said grandchild must have approved the crib. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw it: Jenny Lind style with double drop sides, a crib mattress much softer than anything that I've seen for sale, giant thick cushy bumper pads, a pile of quilts and blankets hanging off and stacked in the crib, and all sorts of dangerous gaps in the crib rails just begging for an arm or leg to get stuck, twisted, injured, etc. In other words, the thing was a deathtrap. It was beautiful, but a total nightmare from a practical standpoint.

I've learned to pick my battles with MIL, and I've tired of hearing how different things were in her day, and that her kids all survived. Lacking another place for Miss M to sleep last night, I removed all of the bumper pads and blankets and quilts, and then replaced them this morning before she could see that I had done that. I swore T. to secrecy. Miss M. isn't rolling from back to front yet, so I figured we were reasonably safe despite the relative softness of the mattress. Since she doesn't move around too much, I also figured that the gaps between the spindles wouldn't pose a hazard last night. If we move, Miss M. won't be spending much time there, so I will worry about crossing this bridge again the next time we have to enter this particular forest.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

11 Weeks, 12 Weeks, and The End of My Maternity Leave

First, the blissful. . .Miss M continues to amaze us every day. Over the last few weeks, she has started to smile and giggle even more. If I laugh at her, she will often laugh back.

We had the drama of her first vaccinations during week 11 (I know, they were a bit late, but that's when the doctor's office3 scheduled us). The issue of whether to stick to the AAP timeline for vaccinations had me tied in knots before the appointment.

My difficulty was that no one can definitively tell me if my child will be okay no matter what option I chose. There are no firm statistics to base the vaccination decision on, and in my mind, the decision of whether to vaccinate or not all comes down to statistics. What are the chances my child will get rotovirus? If my child gets it, what is the chance it will be serious? What is the chance there will be some sort of life-threatening complication? If I DO vaccinate, what are the chance of a side effect? What is the side effect? What are the chances the side effect will be serious, or permanent? If I vaccinate, should I vaccinate for all seven diseases , as recommended by the AAP? Should we do combo vaccines to minimize shots? Or does that up the ante that something will go wrong?

It's all about playing the odds, really, and I've never been all that hot in Vegas.

In general, I'm pro-vaccine, and wanted to get Miss M. the seven vaccines recommended at the two month visit. It's HOW to give them that was troubling me. I didn't want to do seven vaccines at once. That seemed like too much for a tiny baby's body. For a bit, I was leaning toward Pentacel, which automatically combines five of the vaccines into one shot. I liked it because it has a relatively low level of aluminum, and it meant just one shot. But then I wondered whether it was really worth it to just delay two vaccinations. If I was going to delay two, I thought that perhaps I should really delay three, so that they're broken out four and three (I was planning to do some shots every month for the first seven months, alternating shots every other month). The problem was that if we went with Pentacel, we would have ended up with just one shot at every visit. If we didn't go with Pentacel, however, we would have ended up with one shot one month and three shots the next month. That sounded miserable to me. And was any of this more or less safe for my child? No one could really tell me. Given our own personal circumstances, my child's risk of getting one of these diseases warrants getting vaccinated, so I definitely want to get the vaccinations. I'm was just not sure what to do. I read The Vaccine Book , and the updates on Dr. Sears' website, but I still couldn't make up my mind.

When we got to the appointment, I raised a few things from my own medical history, in the context of whether I should be concerned about Miss M. having the same issues. As a result, the pediatrician, without me even raising the vaccine issue, reassured me that Miss M. was unlikely to have the same problems, but suggested that we break up some of her 2 month vaccines and do about half of them at three months. We decided to go with that schedule. It made me feel really comfortable with her that she a) was open to an alternate vaccine schedule (I know some doctors are not), and b) that she recommended it herself without me even raising it. Overall, I really liked the pediatrician, but it helps to know that she actually treated me when I was a child (she was just out of med school then). It's sort of like, she practiced on me and my generation, and now she really knows her stuff. Plus, she is cool. She hiked Kilimanjaro last year.

We have to go back at 3 months for a few more shots. It was so terrible to see Miss M. get the shots she did get, though--two nurses lined up on either side of her and gave her the shots at the same timem on the count of three. She let out a horrible shriek upon being injected, which brought me to tears. Daddy grabbed her and comforted her, and she stopped crying immediately. I must confess that I didn't do as well as my baby--the shots seemed to be far more traumatic for me than they were for her! I felt so horrible.

The appointment otherwise went well. She is in the 50th percentile for height, and the 25th percentile for weight. This of course made me concerned about her weight, but the doctor isn't worried at all. I know that I feed her whenever she wants, and the child never goes hungry, so I'm trying not to obsessively worry. She is quite petite, but I'm trying to remember that it's likely just her makeup, and not that she's not eating enough. It's hard not to obsess, though, when your child is "below average" according to some stupid chart.

I haven't posted on breastfeeding in a while, and I have to say, petite baby notwithstanding, it's going really well. Miss M. is terrific now at latching herself. I've been pumping at least once a day, and my supply has increased to keep up with that. I got more productive at pumping once I did it a few times, and I'm developing a nice little stash of milk for my freezer and fridge, in preparation for my return to work. It's to the point where I can't even imagine using formula--it seems like a lot of work/hassle. But, I'm sure people say that about pumping, too. I never thought I'd be one of those people who breastfeed in public, but I've become quite good at that, too, just because it's convenient. I just throw a light blanket over my shoulder, and we do our thing. I still prefer a dressing room, if possible, because it's more comfortable, but it's definitely not a necessity.

We went to my mother's for Easter, and Miss M. had a bunch of firsts while we were there. We did tummy time on a blanket on the carpet, and discovered that Miss M can roll from her front to her back. We normally do tummy time on our bed on the exercise gym mat, which is slippery, because we have hardwood floors and not a lot of area rugs. It turns out the the exercise gym is too slippery for her--put on a less slippery surface, she can get herself up on her arms. She really seems to want to go, too--I bet she will crawl early, if she can develop the strength. I feel stupid for not realizing sooner that the exercise gym mat was too slippery for tummy time.

The next first was that she slept through the night while we were at my mom's house. It felt so good to sleep for eight straight hours! Although, I can't complain, because she is generally only up once a night, anyway.

Perhaps the best discovery over Easter, however, was that we can avoid her nightly meltdowns that had been occurring around 6pm, and lasting until bedtime. We had been letting her have a long nap in the morning. She is not a good napper (unless you hold her and let her sleep on you, in which case she'll nap forever), so she would only take short naps in the afternoon. We changed it up over the weekend, coincidentally, and played with her in the morning so that she didn't nap much, and got her to take longer naps in the afternoon (ie, we held her all afternoon). We realized it makes her a much happier baby.

Last night, T. was running late, and I had to take Miss M. to a meeting with me for a committee that I'm on. She was a champ during the 2 hour + meeting--she slept for part of it, and charmed everyone with her smile the rest of it. She was giving everyone huge grins. One thing she has started doing in the last week is that she will grin at a stranger, and then turn her head to my chest, acting all shy. It is very cute. The other thing she did for the first time last night during the meeting was try to put her pacifier back in her mouth herself. I was completely distracted during the meeting, as was the guy next to me. He whispered at one point that he thought she was getting really close, and I whispered back that she has not yet been able to put the pacifier in by herself. It was so amazing to watch. She could get it in both hands and get it near her mouth, but not quite all the way in her mouth. She was doing it again today. I expect it's a skill she'll master in the next few weeks. I just hope I get to see it when she does.

Miss M. turns three months old on Friday. I can't believe how fast the time has gone. Today is the last day of my maternity leave. I go back to work tomorrow. It is going to be so hard to leave her, as I am really enjoying watching her develop in little ways from day to day. I'm going back part-time (4 days a week) to start. I should stay on this schedule until late June (and hopefully, I'll get a start date for the new job before I have to go back to my current job full time). I am looking forward to being with other grownups for a bit; it will be good to get out. On the other hand, I am dreading leaving Miss M., and missing out on seeing her change in little ways every day. I wish I could be in two places at once.