Monday, May 25, 2009

Almost There

At 36 weeks:
  • Monkey has "dropped"
  • which means I am waddling. So attractive.
  • Ultrasounds estimate Monkey weighs 6lbs 11oz. although I feel like he/she weighs at least 11lbs
  • I'm down to about 4 outfits that fit and will NOT buy anything else.
  • We've "graduated" from our childbirth class. I wish I could say I feel prepared.
  • My to do list gets longer the more things I cross off.
  • I can't wait to meet our baby!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Adventures in Babysitting

Or shall I say adventures in trying to find a babysitter (rather CHILDCARE PROFESSIONAL if we're being 2009) for the yet to be born little monkey.

First, let me say, I now know why "back in the day" families all lived within blocks of each other. It really does take a village to raise a child. And unfortunately for us, not everyone in said village is trustworthy and competent. Now, that's not to say that Karl and I don't love where we live. Because we totally do (except for the absence of Publix Grocery stores, and Chickfila, and Bradford pear trees, and sweet tea). We have the best friends here, who really are like a second family. But as I'm beginning my attempt to find quality childcare for Monkey, a part of me wishes we had grandparents, siblings, aunts, cousins who live in the same area code.

In a way, Karl and I are lucky. When I made the decision to leave news and work on photography, a big factor in that decision was babies and my desire to be a stay at home mom. Karl and I were both raised my SAHMs and were committed to making that a priority in our family. Of course, living on one income is becoming increasingly more challenging these days, and shooting weddings is a great help to us. I am LUCKY to be able to be a SAHM 6 days a week. But at the same time I am not so lucky to be searching for good, reliable, weekend childcare because so many options just aren't available for us when our main need is 12-14 hours on a Saturday!

So...Monkey could be here any day now (but not until after this weekend when I'm shooting a wedding thankyouverymuch!)....and I'm beginning the process of interviewing potential part time nannies to begin in September when I return to shooting weddings. I'd like to think I've been pretty clear in my desires and expectations from the person who will be "joining our team"
  • you need experience with infants, which sounds kind of funny since my own husband has never actually held a baby...but whatever.
  • you need to be dependable (we can't call in sick on our brides....therefore don't call in sick on us)
  • you need to not be a criminal, a smoker, or a leadfoot with an outstanding warrant for failure to pay your tickets.
  • bonus points if you love our dog as much as we do.
  • more bonus points if you have a morning or two a week that you can come by and watch Monkey so I can hide in the office and power edit.
  • did I mention the dependable thing? Because that's really important to us.
I began getting replies just a few minutes after my ad was posted (written much more professionally than the bullets above by the way). I was able to weed out a few candidates right away. I'm sorry 16 year old girl who has her license and is homeschooled so therefore available during the week. I don't care how "risponsible (sic)" you are, I am not comfortable leaving you home alone with an 8 week old for a 14 hour stretch. I also turned down the mom of 3 who was willing to watch Monkey but only at her house 25 minutes away. It just isn't a good fit for us to have to drive an extra 1/2 hour at midnight to try and pick up our sleeping baby after a long day of shooting.

Once the definite nos were weeded out, I started setting up interviews with my top five candidates. One a day starting this past Monday. We're halfway through the week and here's how things are looking so far.

Monday Candidate A: This person sounds great on paper. She has experience with newborns, first aid and infant cpr certified, etc. Unfortunately....she didn't show up for the interview. An email from her the following day informed me that she never checked her email again over the weekend after she suggested we meet on Monday so she didn't get my reply with a time. Grade: F

Tuesday Candidate B: She showed up, which to me is a huge bonus after Monday's debacle. She has a great amount of nanny experience, but the youngest child she's ever cared for is 5 months old. She's currently a part time weekday nanny for another family so her ability to help out during the week would be limited. Her references are excellent. Grade: not entirely decided but leaning towards B+

Wednesday Candidate C: Oh the high hopes I had for C. C was my girl. Not only does she have newborn experience but she is studying to be a nurse and has a job at the hospital. When you're a nervous new mom like me there's nothing like the comfort of someone with some medical knowledge.My only concern about C was whether she would be committed to the job because her schedule is already pretty busy. But she reassured me via email that she understood how important dependability was to us. I couldn't wait to meet C this morning. Except....C called my cell phone 45 minutes before our interview and left a voicemail that she "woke up not feeling well" and "needed to reschedule." Seriously??? I guess the whole, "Wedding photographers can't call in sick so therefore they need childcare providers that will be reliable" seems to not apply during the interview stage. Grade: With great sadness F!!!

So 3 candidates down and only one with potential. The last two candidates on my top five were there only as backups because I thought for sure the first three were my strongest candidates. My current fear is that when it's time to return to shooting I will be doing so with Monkey strapped to my back!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

On This Day...

I wonder when I'll really believe it. Despite the swollen ankles, the heartburn, the frequent need to pee and the resulting sleepless nights, I still don't believe I'm a mom. Even though I'm being bruised from the inside by this little soccer star, I can't really wrap my brain around the fact that in just a few weeks I will hold OUR BABY in my arms. A baby that has lived in my dreams for years always just a little out of reach.

I've kept a journal since 2000. That journal chronicles so many changes in my life, new jobs, new cities, new friends, and new loves. It is a written record of my relationship with Karl from the moment that he was "some guy on eharmony." I can go back and read my feelings during our long distance relationship, the anticipation I felt as our wedding day approached, and the excitement of those newlywed days.

The first talk of babies in that journal began in November 2005, right after our first wedding anniversary. I went off birth control that month, feeling confident in "our plan" to begin officially trying in February 2006. My thoughts there were optimistic, excited, and perhaps a little naive. Karl and I would conceive our first child while on vacation in Florida, because that is what happens when you time things right and you cut out caffeine and you take your prenata vitamins, right?

Not for us.

I can read through those entries now and watch as my excited "Maybe this is our month..." turns into "Next month will definitely be our month..." and finally "What did I do to deserve this?" I can look back and relive those first frightening doctors appointments when I said out loud for the first time that I thought maybe there was something wrong with me. I am reminded of the first months we tried drugs and how I suddenly had new hope. A pill could fix this. A pill could make me a mommy.

But sometimes pills just aren't enough.

And when you want nothing more in the world than to be a mommy, days like Mothers Day seem especially brutal. The commercials on tv seem to mock you. The long wait for a table at a restaurant suggests you should just stay home since you have nothing to celebrate. I stumbled upon this entry from just before Mother's Day 2007:

" I had a lot of hope this time around. Sometimes things just seems to be blessed. They fall into place when you're not even thinking about it. And maybe because it's May. Because it's almost 3 years since we lost Aunt Sherry. Because it was just days before Mothers Day.

And it helped that my body seemed to be giving me every signal in the book. Sore boobs, exhaustion, a constant weird taste in my mouth, nausea, even bleeding gums.

But all those symptoms-- they don't equal a positive pregnancy test.

All that hope doesn't mean you get what you want.

It just means it makes it all the more difficult when you fail.

It's not my month.

And in the spirit of learning something out of all of this-- I've learned it's a bad idea to run to the grocery right after such a realization. I don't like the type of person I become when I find myself staring at other women and wondering what they did to deserve their babies.

Maybe next month."

It turned out "next month" wouldn't be the month either. It would take 15 more months full of tests, and drugs, and tears before I saw that positive pregnancy test. And now, almost 9 months later, it still doesn't seem 100% real. I guess in all the years of guarding my heart against another disappointment, I've forgotten what it feels like to get exactly what I want.

So on this Mothers Day, I am thankful for the blessing we waited so long for. But a part of my heart still hurts because I know I didn't walk that long infertility road alone. I know that tonight there is a woman who will cry herself to sleep, trying not to wake the husband sleeping next to her. She will wonder if she'll ever hold a baby in her arms. She will long for the sleepless nights and the dirty diapers and the grubby hands. She will pray once again for the strength to cast her hopes on "next month."

Tonight, that woman and all the others like her are in my prayers.