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.


Heather said...

Good luck going back to work! And don't worry about your daughter's weight. My Phoebe (who is 9 years old now) has consistently been in the 25% for weight and the 95% for height. She's built exactly like I was as a child and she eats like a horse. Her day care center used to take her temperature if she didn't eat good, as the only time she didn't was when she was feeling sick.

~Jess said...

Good luck going back to work!

The whole vaccine thing drives me nuts...I didn't know what to do and felt that regardless of what we did I was somehow doing something to jeopardize DD's life. I'm glad the doctor suggested an approach that you guys felt ok with.

I went alone for DD's 2 month shots, DH went with me for the 4month. I thought he was going to lose it more than me.

Shots suck!

VA Blondie said...

Good to know that Miss M is doing so well! And good to know that your ped worked with you on the vaccines. Hooray for good health care providers!

As for your comment on my blog: The government subsidizes COBRA. You have to 1) be involuntarily terminated from your job, 2) elect COBRA, and 3) be ineligible for any other group health plan, including Medicare. I fit all 3 qualifications, and they let me have the subsidized. Otherwise, I would not be able to afford COBRA at all. We only get it for a year, but hopefully things will look different in a year. They usually do.