Monday, February 27, 2012

Back to Work

Well, 3 months of maternity leave passed by more quickly than I imagined, though the 1st 6 weeks went at a slower pace. That 3 months means that my maternity leave it over. I initially cried over the thought of having to leave Jane and go back to work full time, but fortunately, my boss has been super accommodating and has let me come back part time. In May, I will have been at PAMF doing research for 2 years and I have been the one consistent person on a study during that time, as well as one of the primary qualitative researchers, and so I really feel like I need to see the analysis process out completely. We are now at the paper writing stage for the mental health study and beginning data analysis for the patient centered medical home study.

I admit that I was a bit teary when I left Jane this morning but I did not shed any tears and was able to make it through the 4 hours. My work email inbox has been dealt with, my desk organized (it was a disaster since I just had to leave so quickly to give birth), and I am back to writing about what happens when a patient cries during a primary care visit. I am the lead author on this paper and I have been working on it for months and so I am hoping to finish it up within the next few weeks. It was nice to see my coworkers again and get some work done- the office is SUPER quiet- even more so than a library. I am planning on working just half days, but I still need to work out the details with my boss (she was at a meeting all day).

While I was super excited to see Jane and teared up at being "reunited" with her, I think that she did not miss me very much. I truly feel SO BLESSED that we have an AMAZING family taking care of her. They have a 4 year old girl and two year old boy and the kids are just the sweetest, and I know it is because their mom is the same way. Jane was fascinated by the kids- sometimes she couldn't decide which ones to watch- and she was apparently pretty good (she was asleep when I arrived), though she did have some fussy moments, which sounds like how she is most of the day with me. Jane really loves being around people and doesn't want to miss out on any of the action (that's how she was when family was in town) so she had so much fun that she has been asleep since we got home.

I really feel so lucky to be able to have OPTIONS regarding my going back to work. I know that some women are not so lucky and have to work full time or want to do part time but don't have a flexible employer. William has been super supportive of me with whatever decision I made- I thank him so much for being a good provider so that I do not have to work full time.

So, we survived day 1 of my being back to work. I think that working a 4 hour stretch is just perfect- enough for me to get work done and have mental concentration but not get burned out :-) Here's hoping that the following days work out even better for everyone!

Friday, February 24, 2012

"She Survived"

We decided to have Jane's baby blessing on the Sunday of President's Day weekend so that way people could stay later since Monday was a holiday (and as chance would have it, William's birthday).

We were so touched to have my parents, both my sisters- Sarah and Cynthia, and William's parents here with us. We missed having Bekky, Corey, and Tyler as well as Chris and Karen and kids but we know that they were there in spirit.

Before the blessing, William and I were both nervous about how Jane would act. She does not like to sit still at all (unless she is looking at lights- like Glo worm or a TV) and even that is only for a few minutes- she really likes to be held looking out at the world and walked around. We got to church early and had a good seat and Jane was ok for a few minutes but then she was starting to melt down. I told William to go and stand at the back and then come forward when it was time and of course as he does this, the bishop says it is time for the blessing.

In his head, William told me that he was thinking "abort, abort mission" but we obviously couldn't do that so he just went forward with it. Jane was ok for the naming portion but the cried through the rest of the blessing. Our worst fears had come true. I was so proud of William for maintaining his composure and giving her a blessing although she cried the whole time. It was short, but beautiful and included a blessing of help for her parents, which we need.

The funny thing is is that the second they were done and William started moving and turned her around to face the crowd, she immediately stops crying and smiles because she knew she was done. The same thing happened on Friday morning when I had to take her for a hearing test (SIDE STORY- she passed her first one but being a NICU baby, Kaiser does followups for the first 3 years. She was supposed to be asleep and she was but of course, as soon as the car stops, she wakes up. Fortunately, it was ok for her to be awake but she had to hold still. One hour later we were FINALLY done as she passed the test again only after crying and squirming for most of that time. Literally, the second the test is over, she is completely fine and smiling- no evidence of turmoil. That girl DEFINITELY knows what's going on and what she likes/does not like).

Following the blessing, our bishop got up and said "she survived" into the microphone :-). Her parents just barely survived as well :-) My sister Sarah then leaned over to me and said that it was so rude that someone did not take their screaming child out while the blessing was going on and I replied that it was my daughter :-) So at least Jane's cries were not loud enough to completely overwhelm William's words.

Jane looked "stunning" (according to Grampy) in her blessing dress which Nana picked out for her, her flower headband, and the special bracelet that my friend April made for her. The white blanket is particularly special as it was made by my Grandmother Child before she passed away a few years ago- my mom was kind enough to piece it together for her. She really did look like a little princess- or an "Elf Princess" according to Grampy :-)

This is my favorite photo of her- what a little angel!
Her famous open mouth smile
It really meant the world to me that I have the most incredible husband who was able to do this for our daughter. Isn't he so handsome- I still can't believe that he chose me to be with him forever. I'm such a lucky woman.
Me with my baby girl
Our first family photos :-)
With Grandma and Grandpa Kunz
The Stults Family
Being held by Nana
She already has Grampy wrapped around her little finger
Finally getting some Auntie Cynthia time!!!
Auntie Sarah
It really was a special day for us and we are so grateful to all of those who traveled to be with us and for those who wanted to be there but couldn't.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Many Faces of Jane

While Miss Jane has been smiling, she also has made some other interesting faces. The following is her "ooh" face
The inquisitive face
The "what are you doing Mom" face
The "aaahhh"- "what happened" face
The "you've got to be kidding me Mom" smirk (I'm sure I will definitely be seeing more of this one later on)
Hmm- what faces will she make next???

Smiley Baby

Jane smiled for the first time over a month ago and it took awhile, but she now smiles a good portion of the day.
We absolutely LOVE this because it finally provides us with some feedback that she likes something.
My personal favorite is her open mouth smile

and this is a priceless moment capturing both her and her daddy doing open mouth smiles :-)
Still waiting for the big belly laugh . . .

Swaddle Time

We did not swaddle Jane for the first few weeks after she was born because she would cry every time we did it so we figured that she really just did not like it. Google sent us a care package of a $500 gift card for take-out/diapers/house cleaning, what to expect during the first year book, and the Happiest Baby on the Block DVD. What a life changing gift

If I would have read his book, I would have said that swaddling is fine for many kids, but that my kid is one of the exceptions who dislike it and I would not have tried it. But, the DVD showed me that he is a baby whisperer and that while the babies initially cried when first swaddled, they eventually calmed down when paired with swaying or sucking of a pacifier. As he did this with 10 babies, I figured that we at least needed to give it another try- and IT WORKED! This was the first time after watching the movie that we tried it and it was amazing to see the evolution of her falling asleep.
At first, eying us warily
Eyes are getting sleepy
Eyes fully closed
Completely passed out
Our being able to swaddle her was life changing for me because before this time, I had to hold her in order for her to sleep for 2-3 hours, which meant that I was sleeping on the couch and not getting quality sleep.

She has been sleeping much better with her Swaddle Me and is now up to 4-5 hours a night at her longest stretch. She still cries and fiercely struggles to not have her arms straight jacketed but she does calm down just after having it. She even somewhat has a smile in the following photo
Our little baby burrito or her "straight jacket" as called by daddy. We also think that she kind of looks like her Glo worm.
When she starts getting super fussy at night, it means that she- and her parents- are ready for swaddle time and we are thrilled it works!!

Jane's BFF

Jane absolutely LOVES her Glow worm when the face is lit up it makes her smile and calms her down. Sarah and I spent a good 20 minutes watching her be entertained by it before bed time. When Nana and Grampy came, she actually started to "sing" along with the gloworm (though she starts fussing at the end)

It is so amazing that she will be crying and then sees gloworm and stops (well, most of the time). Many thanks to my friend Inger for sharing this secret with us!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Outing with Mama

Jane and I had our own little outing by ourselves to the De Young Museum to see their exhibit "Masters of Venice." I normally see others women there with little children or infants but I only saw one child who was about 6 years old. Jane definitely got some attention as well as several comments about how she is getting her art exposure early- I am at least trying :-)

I brought the Snugli just in case and it was good that I did because they did not allow strollers in the special exhibit. I went on a Thursday afternoon because I thought it would not be crowded but there were many more people than I had expected so that we still had to try to navigate to read the panels. Jane was great for most of the exhibit, literally just looking around and taking it all in the works of Titian, Tintoretto, and Mantenga. When we got to the last room on Veronese, she started to cry so I took her out into the gift shop and she calmed down in a minute as we walked around the gift shop so I went back in to try to see the last room and I was only able to see a few pieces before she started crying again and I had to take her out. Yet, she was fine when I walked around some of the other exhibits at the museum so I think she is just not a Veronese fan :-)

Overall, I only liked a handful of pieces because most were portraits and the side panels next to them did not have any interesting information at all. Maybe the audio tour was better but I did not want to overextend Jane's good behavior. I loved San Sebastian by Mantenga as well as a portrait of Christ by Titian and some other scenes illustrated from the Bible that illustrated the amazing brushwork and use of color, such as the bright blue velvet on Mary as she handles Christ's body being taken down from the cross. I was glad that William didn't come because he definitely would not have liked it as I thought that it was only ok. I'm glad that I went because I would have wondered what it would have been like and it was worth it to see those few pieces but I am so glad that I have a museum membership so that I didn't think twice about the cost. (FYI- museum membership is the best because you get in 2 people free to special exhibits at the De Young and the Legion of Honor and then general admission any time for both).

Can I just tell you how much I am LOVING the weather- it was 70 degrees in San Francisco and so after the museum, Jane and I wandered around Golden Gate Park for awhile. It is crazy to think that it is February and I was fine walking around with short sleeves and no jacket. Yet another testament as to why California has such a high cost of living to have experiences like that.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Jane's First Zoo

We had a bit of an unplanned adventure on our trip to Sacramento on Saturday. Bank of America has the first weekend of every month featuring several museums around the country for free with your card. I wanted to go to the Discovery Science Museum in Sacramento and so we made the two hour drive there on Saturday.

Jane was great in the car for the two hours but when we got to the museum, we found an hour and a half line to get in. It turns out that Sat. Feb 4th was Sacramento's FREE museum day and so everyone had the same idea as us. There was no way that we were going to wait in that line but we found out that the Sacramento Zoo was offering half priced admissions that day so we headed there so that our two hour drive would not be in vain.

We discovered that Jane has about a maximum tolerance of the car at 2 hours because when we put her back in the car to drive the 15 minutes to the zoo, she cried the entire time. There was a line at the zoo too but fortunately, the cash only line was just 10 minutes long. The weather has been INCREDIBLE here for February- it was about 70 degrees on Saturday which made it a perfect day for the zoo.
Jane's not quite sure what this experience will be like
William was a trooper and carried Jane in the Snugli for the visit so that way we could not have to worry about the stroller, which was a good call given the crowds.
The Sacramento Zoo is not very big so it only took us over an hour to see the entire zoo and so we were glad that it was only half price admission. It was money well spent as many of the animals were very active for us.

We were able to get up close and personal with the giraffes.
You could buy some leaves to feed the giraffe but we opted for watching others, which was entertaining. Giraffe's have a LONG tongue, as evidenced below, and so it was amusing to watch these little kids try to feed them. This brother and sister would just throw the leaves at the giraffe or would place them on the ground near the giraffe rather than directly giving it to the giraffe. Even when the mom demonstrated by feeding the leaves, the kids still just threw the leaves.
We saw the adorable Chinese red panda
The tiger was awake and actually let out a couple of roars while walking around, one time just a few feet away from us. Of course I wasn't ready with the camera until after he passed. I had never heard a tiger roar- it actually sounds similar to what you hear in the movies, though not quite as perfect :-)
And then we saw one of the most AMAZING sites I have ever seen at a zoo. BOTH the dad and mom lions were AWAKE!! I have never seen both of them awake before, as they sleep nearly 20 hours a day, and then to have them so perfectly posed, was priceless.
Jane was fascinated by them as well
We later came back and the dad was still awake, but the mom had gone to sleep so we really did luck out with our timing. It was a fun outing even though it was not what we had set out to do.

We then went to Chick-fil-a since we were in Sacramento and enjoyed that deliciousness while Jane snoozed. She woke up at the end and then had a melt down in the parking lot as we changed her diaper and put her back in the car seat. I was relieved that it happened outside the restaurant as she was really exercising her lungs. After a few minutes of crying, she did manage to fall asleep for most of the ride home, only fussing at the very end. This trip made us realize that while Jane does like the car, she will only tolerate it for so long, meaning that there will be no longer than two hour road trips in the near future.