(whoops, this is a long one. Come back later when you have time if needed) :)
My sixteen week appointment went well on Tuesday and apparently I've gained a total of six pounds now. So yeah, five of those pounds snuck up on me from week 12 to 16 but I suppose it's not that bad. I'd be lying if I said my eyes didn't pop out of my skull a little bit when I stepped on the scale because I really didn't think I'd gained that much with my puny bump but whaddya know? I'm pregnant and going to see numbers on the scale that I've never seen before. Nothing like pregnancy to make you feel both proud and frightened of weight gain, right?
Also, I spent a better part of my appointment discussing the hot topic of flu shots with the doc. She made me feel a lot better about the seasonal flu shot and I went ahead and got one before I left the office. Of course now my arm hurts like a mug and I've felt very worn down and yucky all day but whatever. She convinced me with her 'social responsibility' speech considering that I'm in healthcare and exposed to lot more with my now weakened immune system that regular pregnant folks will see. (And for the record, washing my hands and being smart about health hygiene is a given either way since I probably wash my hands about 20 times a day at work....but there is still nasty stuff in the air and spewing in my face as a part of my job. Jealous, aren't you?) Plus, she tends to follow the guidelines of 'smart people' who do actual research like the CDC and the ACOG over hearsay on the internets. I'm still not sold on the idea of the H1N1 vaccine but we shall see....I compromised once and maybe that is enough for one flu season.
Hearing the heartbeat again was awesome and it's crazy how much my uterus is expanding. She found the ticker about half way down from my belly button this time and at 12 weeks it was a whole lot lower. And in case you are into the old wives tale about heart rates predicting gender, mine was right at 140 bpm. So since the cut off IS 140 (anything higher supposedly means girl and lower means boy) I suppose I'm out of luck with this one. Ah, only 4 more weeks and we shall know which private parts await us. Did that sound creepy? Sorry.
Enough about the appointment, the real reason I wanted to post today is because of boring yet necessary 'adult' stuff. You know, having babies isn't all about nursery decor, belly pics, dreaming of names and snuggling and baby laughter. No, really, there are some heavy-duty reality concepts to embrace even before little one arrives. The dreaded finances are a big part of it.
In the real world--one apart from daydreaming about smelling my baby's little head--I'm going to have to work after the baby is born. In case you haven't heard me discuss this at great length in the past, I am the sole breadwinner in our household while my handsome hubby attends full-time graduate school. Whatever paycheck I bring home is what we have to work with and let's not forget about my health benefits I hold for us---those are pretty freaking important these days. As a side note, when trying to select our benefits for next year we wanted to gather some price info on having a baby at the hospital. Maybe this isn't shocking to any of you but seeing it in numbers was jaw-dropping to me---easily $15,000-$20,000 or more in hospital bills for labor and delivery plus the hospital stay. Can you IMAGINE if you didn't have health insurance and birthed a child for that price tag? Makes me cringe a little bit even with insurance....geesh.
So yeah, if I decided to work just one or two days a week after the babe is born not only would we have practically no money but we wouldn't have health benefits covered anymore. Not going to happen. I knew this before we got pregnant and although I'm obsessed with the concept of being a stay at home mom one day, we decided that sacrificing that goal in order to start our family sooner would be worth it. Sure, we could have waited until Nate graduates (May 2011, baby!) to have a kiddo but I know we can make this work now and the old biological clock would not be ignored. Apparently we like to do things in unconventional ways in this marriage:)
I'll need to work full time to provide the most inexpensive health insurance for us and also to make us the most money, obviously. Currently I work five 8 hour shifts plus some weekends which is all fine and dandy except that we do not have the luxury of having family to watch our baby. It seems like almost everyone I know (or maybe it's just 90% of people at work) has one, if not two, sets of parents that willingly offer to watch the baby FOR FREE. If you are one of these lucky people in the world please give your parents or in-laws big fatty hugs in gratitude. My parents live 8 hours away and are not that close to retirement, still working full time. Nate's parents, although they conveniently live right below us, both work full time as well. Bummer on our part, right?
So our baby will be a day care baby. No, it's not the ideal situation but plenty of new families have to go this route. I can be level-headed enough to see that sending a child to day care is not the end of the world...right? Hopefully it's somewhat temporary and I'll be able to work less and less as Nate gets his degree and works his share of full time hours (right honey?) One problem: day care is disgustingly expensive. For instance, one of the places near our home is $57 per day. That is almost $1200 per month and it's not even THAT expensive for day cares. So much for our amped-up savings for a house, right?
I'm trying to get creative and figure out ways I can still work 'full time' but not 5 days per week....maybe four 9 hour days to give me 36 hours per week would be enough, then we are only paying for 4 days of daycare. Luckily my job is pretty flexible but I need to figure out what works best for our little family. And unfortunately it doesn't include me being a stay at home mom just yet.
So here I am, attempting to prepare myself mentally for returning to work full time and sending my precious babe to the care of strangers. Also trying to prepare for our bank account hemorrhaging in the process. But in the name of being Pollyanna, I can find some positives here: I have a career that is stable, that I enjoy, that allows me to make a difference in the lives of people. It pays well, it supports our growing family, and it's ONLY 40 hours per week (could always be more, right?) My husband took the plunge and is going for his goal career in grad school--which will in turn, make him happier and ready to contribute to the work force in a career he will love. How could I not support him in this decision?
I guess I'll just have two full time jobs: being a PT during the day and a Mommy at night and on weekends. Sounds freaking exhausting, doesn't it? I hope I'm good enough at both jobs, switching my 'hats' efficiently, without feeling too stretched.
Thoughts and advice welcome. And if anyone knows of a cute little old grandma who is just DYING to watch a newborn for a reasonable amount of money, let me know! I'd love a tiny in-home set up to begin with and will continue to search out all of our options.
**Update: Quad screening came back normal. No worries there, whoo hoo! I didn't think I'd hear back from the office for a whole week so hearing back after two days freaked me out a bit. All is well***