Wednesday, April 17, 2013
After I left the recovery room following my c-section, Emily was taken to the nursery for a bath. In retrospect, we should have just refused it at that time, knowing some family was already in the waiting room and others were on their way. We didn't think much of it at the time, because after all, how long does it take to bathe a baby.
Emily went to have her bath and I was moved to my mother-baby room. We anxiously awaited Emily's return, and looked so forward to introducing her to Noah and the rest of the family. And that's not to mention the rest of the world who knew my surgery was at 9am awaiting text and Facebook announcements!! We waited. And we waited. And we waited. Three times I sent Ben to the nursery to check on her. Turns out she was still having difficulty regulating her temp, and after her bath, they decided to put her under the heat lamp.
Finally after a freaking eternity, they brought me my baby girl!!!! Looking back at Facebook, I posted at 1:51pm "Me and baby girl are doing great! Details to come after she meets the fam! :) she's perfect!!" And then at 3:05 "Thanks for being patient everyone! All is well, details ASAP!" Finally at 4:11, after meeting the whole family, the details went public "Emily Reese koechling. Born 10:24am, 6lb 7oz, 19in. She's perfect!" That goes to show how long she was in the nursery.
First Noah met Emily, with only grandpa and auntie Julie there to document the moment. It was exactly as I'd hoped. He was so sweet and so enthralled with her. Here is the video of their first meeting. :)
Then Julie and Grandpa left. Our family of four alone, together. Perfect. Noah was quite excited to play with the present from the baby, his new Bruder trailer that hitched to his Jeep.
Lastly, Gaga, Julie, Grandma, Grandpa, Katie & Samuel came to meet the baby. We introduced miss Emily to the family, and gave them all the stats. Everyone oohed and ahed of course, and I'm pretty sure she was worth the wait.
Despite my having asked the OB before she was even born about check her hemoglobin and bilirubin levels ASAP, the nurses were unconcerned. It wasn't until the next day when she started looking yellow, and the ped came in and said yeah, I ordered those labs yesterday.... ugh! I was practically begging them to do bloodwork, and the order was supposed to be in the system! (apparently, the "system" was brand new, as the hospital had just merged with another one and i guess that meant new computer system) anyways, once labs were done, it was determined that she did in fact have elevated bilirubin counts. she was put in a different sort of bilibed than noah had. it was completely open air, just her, naked, under the lights, and she HATED it. after a day, maybe a day and a half, i asked the nurses if we could use the kind noah had, and use the little bili "blanket" for when i took her out to nurse. they switched her and all was good with the world. where noah was in the bed until the morning we were released, i think emily was in from mid-weds to early friday. (she was born tuesday and we went home saturday.) her jaundice was much milder than noah's but of course it indicated to us that she also had the same blood disorder noah and i share, hereditary spherocytosis, or HS. At some point during her time under the lights, the doctors encouraged us to supplement with formula, as babies pee their jaundice out. The idea is the more she drinks, the more she pees. So I think I maybe gave her formula once, and because I just really didn't feel right about it, supplemented with pumped milk a couple times. Other that that, she was a rockstar at breastfeeding.
I think it was the morning of day 3 (Thursday), when I came out of the bathroom to my find that my nurse that day was Mitchie. I burst into tears and told her that she surely didn't know me, but she was my nurse with Noah and that she had held a special place in my heart for being so great when he was so sick and was the one who told me the morning I was being discharged that he was going to be able to go home too. I'll never forget that as long as I live. That time was so scary, and when she told me that, I burst into tear, sat bolt upright in bed, and gave her a giant hug. I was so hopeful she would be my nurse again this time, and there she was, both Thursday and Friday!
**warning: the following is somewhat graphic.**
I remember when I was in recovery after my c-section there was talk about blood loss or clots... well something was definitely off that week. People kept telling me how pale I looked, and I just thought post-op, whatever. But then I got up one day to go to the bathroom (I think Thursday), and sitting there on the toilet, something felt really weird. And then it hurt. A lot. And then.... I felt something that I'd never felt before come out of me and plop in the toilet. It was terrifying. I pulled the emergency cord in the bath room, and in seconds, three nurses were there. I was hysterically crying, gown around my waist, trying to tell them i just passed something large. They helped me back to bed and assured me everything was okay. I was shaken but okay.
Later that day, while Ben's parents were visiting with Noah, I again went to the bathroom, and again, the same thing happened. There must've been terror in my voice when I called for Ben, because his parents scurried Noah out of the room, and Ben called the nurses in.
Blood work was ordered, and my hemoglobin was 6.1. On Friday morning, we talked to the OB, and he was not concerned about the blood clots or my low hemoglobin. In fact, he said low hemoglobin can be normal after a c-section. I talked to my mom and Ben, and decided to call the OB and request a blood transfusion. My concern was that I was going to be discharged the next day, and either feel like crap for the next few weeks, home with a newborn through the holidays, or wind up back in the hospital just in time for Christmas.
I got two units of blood Friday afternoon, and my angel nurse Mitchie even stayed past the end of her shift to make sure I was doing alright. I definitely felt much better after getting the blood and my count was up a few points.
The next morning, we got our walking papers, and what started the week as a family of three, went home as a family of four. <3 br="">3>
i suck. wow. i knew i was bad at blogging, but this is reallllly bad. for a minute i was going to move my blog to wordpress, but below is the one and only post from that site. change of plans. guess i'll stay here...
also, it's been a crazy few months! gosh, let me think. so noah started preschool, and has loved it. academically, he is so smart. i really think he will be great in school. he loves letters and numbers, and can sound out words (when he is in the mood). he's done well on the testing they do, but the teacher's most recent comment was about how he doesn't quite understand personal space. he's touchy feely and gets in your face to get your attention, and 3 and 4 year old don't like that.... it's a prime example of why the school cut off is appropriate. would noah be ready for kindergarten in fall? academically, i believe he would love it. socially or emotionally, no. he needs to learn personal space and needs to become more independent. he is a bit of a baby still, and i think that's in part due to him being the first born, and yeah, we kind of spoil(ed) him! but he also needs to learn to be more independent, and dare i say, take risks?!
emily is thriving. she is an incredible child, and so different from noah in so many ways. she is a daredevil. she is going to be the little monster climbing the shelves and finding her way out of her crib (yikes!). she started walking right around 14 months, loves crawling up the stairs (yikes), climbs onto her little bike and scoots back and forth across the room. she is trying to climb onto the couch and LOVES to climb onto noah's little chair at his little table in the family room. and she is chatty. oh dear, *this* child does not need speech therapy! she knows so many animals, animal sounds, says car when she hears a car, says truck, mama, dada, gaga, recently started calling grandpa (who she adores) "pa". if you ask her a question, like "is that bear or toby?", she'll respond with the last thing you said, pretty consistently. she will ask to eat, ask for a baba, ask to color ("cu-dor") on her magna doodle, says go-go when she's ready to go. says hi and bye, waves, blows kisses, gives high fives, gives kisses and hugs and cuddles. she is sleeping well and eating everything in sight. i still nurse her twice a day.
in september, i started having a weird pain in my side. my left side ribcage to be exact. the first 3-4 days, i thought little of it. assumed i slept funny. but when it didn't go away, i googled "left side ribcage pain" (imagine that), and the first thing that came up was enlarged spleen. and i immediately said "crap".
the kids and i have a condition called hereditary spherocytosis, which basically means the red blood cells are goofy and kind of makes you chronically anemic. it can also cause problems with the spleen and gall bladder (which i had out when i was 13). so when i see this pain could possibly be related to my spleen, i pretty much resolved myself to the fact that this was in fact the issue.
i saw a general doc, who wasn't convinced it was my spleen, but sent me for an ultrasound to check it out. the afternoon i had the u/s, a nurse called me and told me i needed to see a hematologist soon, because my spleen was enlarged. so i made an appt with a hematologist, who said, yep, spleen's huge, but she wasn't terribly concerned because i wasn't in any sort of hemolytic crisis (ie. my blood counts were normal) and it wasn't ruptured. however, she recommended surgery to remove it basically for quality of life. i was having a hard time bending over, picking noah up, and finishing a meal. it didn't exactly *hurt* but was definitely uncomfortable. so she then referred me to the surgeon, or hot doc... young, good looking, and definitely younger than me.... and he said they would try to get it laprascopically, but wouldn't know until they got in if it would come out that way. lap would be 3 days in the hospital, and the other way would be a week. in either case, i would be out of work for at least two weeks!
i decided to have surgery mid-november. they did surgery on mondays, and i did not want to have to early vote and spend election night in a hospital! (i was able to take both kids with me to vote, and both wore their little Obama shirts that day too. and ben and i stayed up watching returns on msnbc until the president was officially re-elected!) i was also leary of waiting until the week of thanksgiving (for the obvious reason), and then into december was emily's party, her birthday, and then christmas, so that was out.
i had surgery that 2nd monday of november, and woke up in recovery to hear the nurse telling me they got it laprascopically. i was so happy. that afternoon was the one "pump and dump" i did, but after that i pumped the whole time, or a couple times in the evenings actually nursed emily in a sort of upright position. i think she was so happy to see me, she didn't care. she just kind of sat next to me on my right side both times (cuz my gross drain and main incision were on the left), and craned her neck up to make it work. it was lovely. i did wind up being out of work for two weeks, but the tail end of that time was thanksgiving, so it was kind of nice that it worked out that way. ben was off work the day of surgery (monday) and the day i came home (weds), and then the entire week of thanksgiving.
in december, emily turned one. not spoiled at, the girl had a ginormous birthday party with family and friends. like her brother, she wasn't so sure about her first birthday cupcake, but gave it a whirl. it's so crazy to think she is 16 months old already, and that it has already been four months since that big day. on her actual birthday, we had cake and lou's pizza. :)
in february, i went on a girls weekend to the wisconsin dells with some former co-workers and very dear friends. it was lovely. saturday was a spa day, where we got massages and literally chilled in an outdoor hot springs pool. it was 0 degrees out that day! saturday night, we did dinner and lots of drinks. it was a fabulous time.
in march, i went on another girls weekend. this one was a once in a lifetime trip to long beach, california to meet 20 of my online IVF mommy friends. i met most of them on an ivillage.com message board in 2007 when we started down the IVF road. we have been through the lowest lows and highest highs together, and continue to be there for each other on our new facebook group. it was truly a life changing experience. to finally hear the voices of these women that i already "knew" and to learn that they all really exceeded my expectations of the people i knew them to be..... there really are no words. it was an amazing, amazing experience.
and now, i don't know.... what's next for the koechlings? just taking it one day at a time. :)
(here is the lone post from the now defunct, "new" blog)
february 12, 2013:
bad mommy. i have such mommy guilt over my lack of blogging, journaling, scrapbooking, baby booking…. ugh. i have pictures upon pictures and facebook statuses that i’m sure will jog my memory in the future… but for now, a list of emily’s amazing tricks!
body parts: points to her nose, ears, eyes, hair, tummy, belly button and sticks out her tongue
animal sounds: kitty says meow and purr, monkey say “ah ah”, duck (“guck”) say “kahk kahk”, dog says oof oof, dino says “rahr”, sheep says baa, owl says “oo”, elephant sounds with arm for trunk
she waves and says hi and bye, she recently started blowing kisses, points, gives high fives, reaches for uppies, claps and rolls her hands for patty cake
in the past week or so, she has started walking across the room! she falls gracelessly to her hands and knees, but keep on trying!
new favorite word is “nana” for banana. she babbles and talks all the time, much of it is jibberish, but she is so communicative. it’s such a welcome change from noah, who maybe said one word at her age. she calls “dada, daddy” non-stop, and ben and i are both “dada” with the occasional mama… she points at pictures of gaga and proclaims “gaga!” noah is not consistent. the other day it was na-na, sometimes it’s wa-wa…
in that vein, she is also different from noah in that she will literally eat anything you put in front of her. it’s amazing to see! it makes life so much easier.
sleep is still a stuggle, but we did do cry it out the week she turned one. it was going well at night til recently (maybe past 3 weeks) when her top molars started coming in, poor baby.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Tomorrow marks the official beginning of your educational career. I have such mixed emotions. I am so proud of you and the boy you are becoming. So witty and funny and smart and loving. Everyday you do something or say something or come up with some creative idea or story that blows my mind. I look at you and I am absolutely amazed at how remarkable you are and feel so lucky that you are MY son.
I am also feeling a little bit sad. My baby, my first born, my first little miracle is growing up. You will be four in a few months- a few weeks really - and yet, it still feels like just yesterday I held you in my arms for the first time.
I hope someday when you are older, and you read these silly blog posts of mom's, that you can understand my emotions and truly feel my love and adoration for you (and your sister). Someday, you will have children of your own and I know you will feel the same way I do.
But until then, I want you to know how proud of I am of you, and how proud I am to be your mommy. There are times that I get angry and frustrated with you, and I sometimes forget to take a step back, breathe, and remember that you are just a three year old. I love that I have taught you to "take a deep breath", and that you will remind me to do the same.
Tomorrow, nothing changes and everything changes. For you, it will be a fun experience, of playing with friends, going to the gym, finding a new book in the library. It will be a place to expand your knowledge of so many things (though I know you will blow them away with how smart you already are, since you already know all your letters and numbers and can even read when you're in the mood). It will be a place to meet new people and learn that even though some people might be a little bit different, deep down, we are all the same. At the same time, I feel like this is a whole new world for us. Preschool is school. This is the plan for the next 15 years, and then it's off to college. I worry that maybe I'm pushing you too much. After all, this is really your THIRD year in a preschool type program (the last two being a loosely structured, two day per week parents morning out program).
But I know you can handle it, and not just that, you will thrive. You will grow socially and emotionally, as well as intellectually. I can't wait to hear about everything you do on every day. I will hang on every word, and try to remember that this time of our lives only happens once. I have a hard time with that, and then I feel sad when I forgot to embrace that way of thinking. I know this is the "last time" my first born will have his first day of preschool, and I don't want to let anything distract me from this experience. I want to remember it the way I remember the first time I saw you and the first time I held you in the recovery room. I want to remember it like your first steps and cuddling with you in that big uncomfortable chair we had in your nursery, where I rocked you to sleep for so many nights.
Noah Taylor, I love you and I am so proud of you. You and Emily are my heart, and I know that you will both be whatever you want to be and do whatever you want to do. My wish for you both is just that. To succeed in whatever it is you aim to achieve, and to have health and happiness every step of the way.
I love you with my whole heart, Boo Boo. You are my best boy.
Friday, August 10, 2012
the long and short of our summer... we have kept busy as we always so in the summers with play dates, parties, cubs games, concerts, etc. emily currently has six teeth. two top middle, two bottom middle, and one top/one bottom on her left. it's cute/weird/annoying to me that her teeth aren't coming in evenly. whatev. as long as they all show up eventually, right? she started sitting totally independently somewhere between six and seven months, and ON seven months, she started doing babbling "dadadada" and "wawawa". in the last few days, we are pretty sure she is trying to say kitty (though she generally squeals when she sees the cats), my mother-in-law thinks she's saying hi, and i think she might have waved at some kids at the doctors office today... she's not crawling yet, but it's close. put her on her tummy or butt, and she either pivots or scoots, and can DEFINITELY get to what she wants. she will rock on hands and knees, and it's about time to lower the crib cuz if we sit her in there, she grabs onto the side of the crib and you can see those muscles tightening, as she tries to pull herself up. she eats like a freaking rockstar, so unlike her bro. every kind of baby food, but also puffs and crackers, i've given her bits of chicken and pasta. she loves food. she is still nursing like a champ. my goal of nursing to a year (or beyond) is in sight, and i'm so proud of both of us. her sleep is still somewhat inconsistent. she is very recently (like the last month or so) FINALLY getting more normal naps during the day, and her nighttime sleep is day to day. last night she slept 10:30 to 7:30, but other nights she's up at 3, 4, or 5 (for example). i'm pretty used to it after 8 months of NOT sleeping through the night, but i would like to get my consistent 8 hour stretches back, no doubt.
noah is growing like a weed. 41 lbs and 41 inches at our hemotology appt the other day! he did two different tee ball programs this summer. the first was a six week, 2 and 3 year old class that worked on the basics, kind of an intro class. the second was another six weeks, but for 3 to 6 years olds and met two days a week. they broke into teams, got shirts and hats and PICTURES, and played legit games. noah's skills came a long way during these sessions. his hitting, throwing and running have drastically improved. he also took a saturday morning group swim class, and it helped him better enjoy the water, though he is still pretty timid in the water and has a long way to go. (though he DID go down the water slide at my friend's pool a few weeks ago, which blew my mind!)
he is loving the london olympics and loves pretending to do every sport that comes on. he is very excited about piatt lake and has been sharing with us his memories of the cabin and the lake, and tell us the things he is looking forward to (playing in the sand and water, sleeping in the cabin, and driving therenokay. right.) he is loving being a big brother, though he sometimes forgets his own sttrength, but he adores emily and he is her world. it is quite evident that NO one trumps noah in emily's eyes.
hopefully i can blog again soon. noah is starting preschool on the 23rd so i'm SURE i'll have something to share. :)
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Food is still a challenge with Noah, but we have had some little victories lately. About a week ago, we got him to eat some small pieces of peach. Then two nights ago, he ate a hot dog on a bun (the bun was a first) and he ate two cherries. Last night, he ate a whole piece of Orange pretzel jello. Progress people!
Emily on the other hand is loving solids and I've even let her play with trying to get some banana and avocado to her mouth by herself! She also loved cherries when I put them in the mesh feeder! Six months yesterday, she is getting so big! Not quite sitting on her own, but with a big head like Noah, it will come....
Thursday, May 3, 2012
I'm a passionate person, if you hadn't noticed. When things come up that I care about, I fight for them.
In late March, I learned via the Facebook page for Resolve, the National Infertility Association, that there was some controversy surrounding a proposed fertility clinic in Naperville. (Article here) Thirty some people showed up at a city council meeting in opposition of the clinic. Some of the reasons these wackos gave was that the clinic was close to the church/school, and kids would walk by the clinic... The clinic was close to North Central College, and would target college students as egg donors... The clinic would destroy embryos, which they equate with abortion.
Reading about these wack-a-doos, I was livid! I could not believe that something that started as a zoning issue had been tabled because of the dissent of a handful of crazies. Word spread on the internet community and articles ran in the paper. A week later, close to 300 people showed up, the vast majority in support of the clinic. I took Emily, and joined the dozens of other IVF mommies, daddies, kids, and friends (including my friend Stephanie and her sister Melissa, and my friend Melissa from an IVF message board - that night was the first time we met in person!) in support of the doctor and proposed clinic. Now bear in mind, not my doctor, not my clinic, but IVF gave me my family, and I'm going to stand up for something that I believe in, and something that can help give other couples the families they wish for.
I was one of 50 some people who spoke before the council. I wrote an impassioned account of my IVF experience and somehow kept it together as I read it in front of the crowd, with Emily asleep on my shoulder. As I walked back to my seat, several people told me I had done a good job. I thanked them, and I knew I had. I had done something that not many people in this world do. I stood up for something I believe in. This is what I said:
"My name is Mindy Koechling and while I am not a patient of Dr Morris, I am proud to say that I am the mother of two IVF miracles. Noah and Emily were both conceived in love, despite the fact that my eggs were fertilized in a dish by doctors to whom I owe my world.
The fact that the purposed fertility clinic here in Naperville is being opposed by so many is an outrage to me, and frankly a slap in the face to my family and the families of so many amazing IVF children.
I do not wish infertility on anyone. The months and years of trying to conceive my children were the hardest of my life. Countless nights I cried myself to sleep, and my emotions ate away at my heart each day that I was not pregnant. It was not just the pain of the sadness of not being able to conceive a child that we so desperately wanted, but the self-blame and guilt that my body, one that was meant to conceive and carry a baby, was failing me, and with that, I felt I was failing my husband and our families.
After months of trying on our own and with the fertility drug Clomid, we decided to pursue IVF. On my third cycle, my son Noah was conceived. I was in awe of the entire process, and even to this day, I cannot forgot seeing the beautiful embryo that would become my boy, being transferred into my uterus on the ultrasound. I watched that image with sheer amazement and gratitude to science and the doctors and staff who finally helped me reach my goal.
IVF children are unique in that they are born out of a special kind of love. IVF is *not* for the light of heart, and unfortunately, I feel that the process is downplayed in the media. These people who are opposing the clinic *think* they know what the process entails and how and why embryos are chosen for use or for freezing. The fact of the matter is, this is not something that any right minded person would choose to do if they did not need to. The months of preparation- pills, shots, doctor visits, blood work, ultrasounds, and a wide range of emotions – all leading up to *surgery* to retrieve eggs and then back a few days later to transfer the embryos in hopes that THIS TIME it will work. And when it doesn’t, those who have the opportunity of having embryos to freeze (which very sadly, I do not), can go back to the drawing board, this time though, without having to do so many shots, visits to the doctors office, or surgery, not to mention the significantly lesser cost of a frozen IVF cycle. Frozen embryos not only allow a woman to have multiple attempts at conceiving a child in the first place, but also offer hope of conceiving a sibling, which is something that many couples without infertility take for granted. Furthermore, embryos (frozen or fresh) are just that – embryos. Not babies. Not people. They are clusters of cells. There is no brain, no heartbeat or face. If these were babies, as some claim, does that make me the mother of 12, because that’s the number of embryos I’ve produced in my four IVF cycles…
Through my infertility and IVF journey, which I am very proud to speak publicly about, I have met dozens of amazing people who have changed my life for the better because I did not have to walk this path alone. Each one of them and their children are like family to me, because we have been able to support each other through the lowest of lows, and the greatest joys a parent can know.
Infertility is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with, but it is also my greatest triumph. I would honestly do it all over again, because of the two amazing children it gave me. They are not manufactured. They are not lesser people. They are in fact the opposite. They are children who were fought for, and who were wanted with such great desire, and who have changed my life in a way that I cannot put into words.
In summary, I strongly urge the council to vote to allow the Naperville Fertility Clinic to be built. As infertility affects 1 in 8 people, these services will benefit many in Naperville , as well as the surrounding suburbs. Thank you for your time."
The council voted 7-2 to approve the clinic. The article is here and yes - that's a picture of yours truly and my beauty girl making it on the web AND in the Tribune the next day! :)
I returned to work in early March 2012. I began pumping in my cubicle twice per day upon returning to work, and the ladies who sit immediately surrounding me were supportive of my pumping. After being back to work for about a month, my supervisor called me into her office on Monday, April 9th and told me that HR had asked her to ask me to not pump at my desk because someone had notified HR that it made them uncomfortable. I was initially caught off guard as I had been doing it for four weeks, and was not the first in office to do so (only the first to be "caught" by the complainant). It is important to note that my office is 90+% female and the two men who i work directly with are also supportive of my pumping at my desk.
The agency IS in compliance with the state and federal requirements to provide a clean, private place to pump, however it is my belief that my job is not one that can be done productively away from my own personal workspace.
I spoke to my supervisor again on Wednesday April 11th, and expressed my frustration and disappointment with the situation, and let her know that I was fearful that my work was going to suffer by having to leave my desk to pump. She encouraged me to ask HR if I could have a conversation with the complainant to try to reach a compromise.
I emailed HR, and later sat down to talk with her on Tuesday April 17th. She informed me that the complainant would be happy to have a conversation with me, and let me know that it was a male, and the associate director of the agency, with whom I do no have daily contact, nor does he have any need to walk past my cubicle for any reason. I expressed my concerns and frustration, and HR stated that she would bring my concerns to the management meeting a few days later. After meeting with HR, I emailed my supervisor to let her know who the complainant was and to ask her to go to bat for me in the management meeting.
The next day (Wed April 18), I spoke with my supervisor again, and she told me that she asked HR to NOT bring the issue to the management meeting because she did not want it to become a matter of policy before I had the opportunity to have a conversation with the complainant. I agreed, and told her that I would try to schedule a meeting as soon as possible, though the rest of the week was very busy and I would not have time to contact him or have a meeting. (I was out of the office both April 19 and 20th.)
My work is suffering. My milk output and let down while I'm at the office have decreased. I am stressed out and it is affecting my family. I can understand why most working moms don't breast feed back 6 months. I am not feeling supported by the place I have worked for the last eight years, and I am fearful that this matter will either cause me to decrease my pumping and therefore affect my supply, or continue to negatively affect my work productivity, neither of which I am okay with.
Well, I get in Monday morning April 23rd, and what's in my email, but a new nursing mothers in the workplace policy, that basically states the law (they are required by state & federal law to provide a clean, private space to pump), but then the last line is the kicker. To paraphrase, says pumping anywhere other than designated areas is PROHIBITED.
I went straight to my supervisor and was like WHAT THE HELL? I said was this policy and not being enforced, or new. She said it was new and could barely talk about it. I could practically see the steam coming out of her ears. She was so frustrated that they made a policy before I even talked with them. She told me that I needed to talk with them before she could address it. So I emailed HR and complainant asking for a meeting to discuss the issue ASAP. Had an email back that they could meet the next morning.
Tuesday morning, I go in to meet with HR and complainant armed with an AMAZING letter from my co-worker, who is the other girl who "got away with" pumping in her cube for 4mo, merely because her row is no a high traffic area and upper management never "caught" her. (my supervisor knew and didn't care.) The letter was great because it spelled out everything I hoped to be able to convey about the challenge of having to gather my stuff, go to the other room, pump for 40min, move all my stuff again, and get re-situated at my desk, and the effect that that all has on productivity, as well as the importance of breastfeeding and maintaining supply, etc.
I say my piece. I'm frustrated that this has become a policy when I had made an effect to be discrete (wore a hooter hider, facing inward toward the wall/desk) and that the pumping room, while appreciated (and required by law), is not functional for the work we do. I did not do a good job of expressing myself and could not keep myself together. I HATE that I'm a crier in these situations.
The complainant went on to say that he understands where I'm coming from. His wife BF and pumped (20+yrs ago), blah, blah blah, but they are within the guidelines of the law and it's not about one or a few people feeling uncomfortable, but making sure everyone in the office is comfortable, including clients and other visitors.
I straight out told him that I am sorry if people are uncomfortable by it, but that is their issue to deal with, not mine. I said I know the law is gray and doesn't say anything about pumping in public.
He says he knows the law protects nursing in public, but pumping in public isn't the same thing. I said that is a matter of opinion, and it is my belief that they are the same thing.
They said they they felt like this was a good policy and was best for the office. That was that.
I went straight to my supervisor, and told her what happened. I told her I did my best to stay professional but that I did stand my ground. She seemed disappointed with the outcome, but said she would follow up with them. I said to her, thinking ahead, what if nothing changes? I'm really struggling, and cannot see leaving my desk to pump working long term. I ask, what happens if I break policy and pump at my desk? She doesn't say anything and kind of shrugs. She says not to do anything until she has a chance to talk to them.
Crazy week, whatever, I email her on Thursday, and she hadn't had a chance to talk to them yet.
Through out the week, I've talked to a few people about it, all of whom seem supportive, and say hell yeah, break policy, pump at your desk, have Ben/MIL brings baby into the office to nurse, etc.
Friday, chatting about something else with supervisor, she asks if I have a minute to talk. Sure, thinking she just wants to debrief before she meets with them.
Apparently I've been blissfully fu*king naive this whole time. Turns out three people have gone to her in the last few days with concerns about the route this going. Apparently people are fearful of what could happen if I test it and break policy. They're afraid that management will crack down on other things, like our flexible schedules, how much time people spend on email/FB/etc... They've commented that I'm so concerned about not getting my work done, but I keep wasting time talking about the issue. I told her, yeah, I've talked with people about it but generally only to debrief after conversations with her or when I met with the other two. I totally broke down and said I was so frustrated that this was even an issue and that I'm sad that people won't come to me with their concerns. She told me she's not sure now how to move forward because she needs to make sure to keep the group in mind. She said she doesn't want me to think that she's dropping the ball on the issue, but just asked me to think about what she said, and we can chat again next week.
I'm basically beside myself that a) this is becoming such a big issue, b) the staff that I apparently naively thought supported me is now more concerned about themselves than supporting me and the cause...
My next step is to either contact a lawyer/advocacy group, consider either pumping or nursing at my desk, or just straight up quitting. i'm honestly leaning toward the latter at this point. i have been thinking for a long time about leaving, and i feel like maybe this is a sign from the universe........
After all of that, I get a message from one of the girls in my IVF group with this:
From: John Novack, Communications Director, Inspire Hi members, A reporter with ABCNews.com contacted us last night seeking to interview a woman for an article about breast feeding and workplace issues. Here's what she wrote: "I’m working on a story on breast feeding – a new study found that women who breast feed beyond six months actually end up earning less money than women who breast feed for six months as well as women who favor bottle feeding. One of the biggest reasons is because women may have to work less or stop working entirely, and contributing to that is the fact that many workplaces are not conducive to pumping, etc. I’m interested in talking to a woman who perhaps has run into this sort of challenge. Maybe she has had problems at work with pumping or stigma related to lactation, etc. Maybe there’s a woman who decided to no longer work because of obstacles – something like that." If you fit the profile of what the reporter is seeking, and you'd be willing to be interviewed by phone, please email me at email@example.com today, April 27, by 4 p.m. EST. I'll put you in contact with the reporter. Please include a phone number when responding and include "ABC" in the subject line of your email.
How timely! It was after the deadline, but I emailed him, he forwarded my info, and the next morning, I heard from the reporter. I did a phone interview with her on Sunday, and Tuesday morning, my story was out. now this isn't really public knowledge (well, it is now, i suppose) because of the shit show at work. There is already enough drama being created by people who are either too selfish or ignorant to give a shit about something that is important to me and is something I'm fighting for to help the group as a whole in the long term.
I'm exhausted and frustrated and sad about all of this. I really just wish I could stay home with my kids and not have to stress about all of this. But in the meantime, I have to fight for what I believe in, even if it doesn't change anything. I'm hopefully at least showing people that it is important to stand up for your beliefs and not just follow along like lemmings, always doing as told. Question authority when they're making bad decisions. Fight for things that matter to you, things you believe in. Care about SOMETHING. Don't just follow the pack. I won't apologize for who I am or for standing up for my beliefs just because it makes others feel uncomfortable. Grow the fuck up.
I'm still holding on to about a 1% chance my boss will convince upper management to compromise with me, but realistically, I have to come to terms with pumping in the "pump room" as long as I continue to pump or until I find a new job... :/ I don't want to have to leave because of this, but honestly, my family needs to be my priority and if that's what it comes to, so be it.
I think because I won't have more kids, I am savoring breastfeeding. Emily is so good at it, and I love that she and I are able to share that time. I hate pumping, but I do it because I have to work and so that I can continue to nurse her. I want to be with her and Noah all day, every day but can't so it is what it is. For coworkers to question why I am pushing the issue so hard frustrates me. Why is it so hard to see why this is worth fighting for? How do people go through life without fighting for anything, without believing in anything? I could go on a political tangent here too, but I won't. I think this all just proves my theory that the majority of Americans are mindless idiots. You've got the 99% that I am a part of economically, but then you've got the 1% that I am a part of in terms of having a brain, using it, and giving a shit.
Emily is now 4 1/2 months old! (I've lost count of the number of weeks!) She is doing amazingly! She is talking non-stop, all kinds of sounds, big cheesy smiles, coos, giggles, chuckles... She is IN LOVE with Noah (and vice versa) and she watches his every move.
She is growing well, and we've developed a pretty consistent feeding routine, with her usually waking around 6am to eat, and then I try to feed her before I leave for work (between 8 and 9), and then she'll eat at 12, 3, 6, 9 and then she's out for the night! At her 4 month appt, she was in the 80's (percentile) for height, 60's for length, and her head was at 99, just like her brother. We will be seeing our neurosurgeon, Dr Tomita at Children's with Emily after we get an ultrasound of her head at CDH. I haven't moved on that yet, because honestly, I've yet to have my follow up with my OB (went to the two week post-op, but the 6 week got cancelled by him and then by me when I had the flu) and I cancelled my rheumatologist appt last month. And that's not to mention the fact that we have piles of medical bills, and I don't really feel like adding to them right now when the fact of the matter is I feel incredibly confident that Emily's large nog is genetics, and nothing more.
Anywho, we did go back to Children's for follow up with our hemotologist, Dr Liem. Everything is looking good. Her hemoglobin has continued to go up - was in the 8's in January, 9's in March, and over 10 in April. They want us back in 3 months and then they will do the osmotic fragility test to confirm the hereditary spherocytosis (HS) diagnosis, which we are assuming she has given her jaundice at birth and lowish hemoglobin since birth.
Emily is really inconsistent with rolling, but I've seen her roll both ways. She's a rock star on her tummy, and really does great in tummy time especially when she has Noah to watch.
She has two teeth already! I'm pretty sure Noah didn't have his first tooth until 6 months. They came through in just about a two week period. I first noticed them that there was clearly something just under the surface on a Saturday. By the following Wednesday (April 25th), the bottom left one popped through, followed by the bottom right on Saturday (April 28th).
Emily started rice cereal a few nights ago. She seems to be enjoying it, but hasn't quite figured out to open her mouth for the spoon. She tries to suck on it like she's nursing! Occasionally, her mouth opens wide, I pop the spoon in, and she gets a big bite. When that happens, the look on her face says "oh my, this stuff is GOOD!"
Noah has continued to do so well with using the potty. A few weeks ago, we finally convinced him to stand up to pee, and there's not a lot cuter than Noah, pants around his ankles, hands on his hips, leaning back just a bit, peeing in the toilet. And then there's the little pelvic thrust to "shake it off". Cracks me up everytime!!
Just today, Noah went to the Dentist for the second time. The first time (back in January), the hygienist basically just counted his teeth and the dentist took a look to make sure we were brushing well enough. THIS time, he got a full on cleaning, polish and floss. Wish I would have been there, but Ben said he did amazingly. So proud of him!
We took the kids to Cubs opening day. It was cold and they lost, but it was fun nonetheless. Noah actually sat in his seat and was relaxed for most of the game. Toward the end, both kids were kind of over it, so we left a little early.... on our way back to the car, a random guy gave Noah a baseball which he though was awesome. Great souvenir for the day!
Ben and I went to the Bulls playoff game two night ago. They lost. :( Noah is *very* into the Bulls this year, and we've agreed that we need to take him to a game next year! We did get tickets to see "The Fresh Beat Band" in October with the kids. Ha, we're officially those parents!
Friday, March 16, 2012
Emily is now blowing raspberries! It is so funny to watch her play with her lips. She is making so many.sounds with her mouth open and closed, and she has mastered the slobbery vibration of the raspberry. She was.doing them during her bath tonight and it wad cracking me up and I could tell she was hamming it up for me. She has quite.the.little personality.
She has also been rolling to her sides a lot. On her back, she puts her.feet straight up in the air and rocks... She's so on the verge of rolling. Tonight she successfully kicked over her blocks, after I nudged them closer when she clearly was becoming frustrated. It's so incredible that at three months old (13 wks), she is already such a little.person. :). She's pretty rad.