A (working) day in the life

From another work day... but it will do.

From another work day… but it will do.

2 am: Day begins now. I am sure my days used to end about now. I feed Sam, settle him down and begin the first pump of the day. I try to do something vaguely productive on the computer while pumping. I Fail. I start sleepily going crazy on pintrest, gathering ideas for the organization of my craft stuff .

4 am: Sam stirs… I refeed Sam, and enjoy the quiet breastfeeding bond, marvel at his drunken sleepy drinking, and his smile when done. I try to settle Sam in his crib. Fail no 2 of the day. Oh well, guess he’d better come into bed with me… which means no pumping (guess I didn’t try very hard…).

7 am: Alarm goes off on my iPad. Ha! with my alarm app it automatically goes onto snooze. Awesome. I don’t even have to angrily flail an arm, and the world is shut out a while longer. I snuggle closer to Sam.

Sam HATES waking up

Sam HATES waking up

7.30: The incessant, 5-minutely snooze alarms get to me. I decide I will indeed get up, put the light on, and go to wake Sam. Sam is as unimpressed as usual. He pretends this cruel wake-up is not happening and valiantly struggles to stay asleep, shielding his eyes from the light and snuggling closer to me. I sit him up and snap on the light. He looks like I feel. He even shuts his eyes and pretends to still be asleep. Before he realizes what has happened, I run downstairs and put my coffee and steel cut oats on.

But cheers up quickly

But cheers up quickly

7.35: Back upstairs, when he comes to he realizes it is a new day, Happy-Sam kicks in. His beautiful smile wakes me up, and cheers me up, and galvanizes me more than any coffee. We get up and get dressed. I always choose proper outfits for him, for totally selfish reasons. I am sure Sam would love to stay in a sleepsuit all day, but I like making him look smart.

Smart AND happy

Smart AND happy

7.45 We go and wake Dad. He is the only one of the three of us who wakes quickly and fairly perkily. Ugh. I leave Sam with him and go to get my coffee (OK, so Sam galvanizes me, but not that much). Even though it is decaffeinated, I need my fake coffee before I can deal with the world. Which is unfortunate as there is dealing to be done.

I burned my oatmeal.

Yup. Burned oatmeal.

In my dopey state I decide that the thing to do is just scrape off the burned bits and cook the rest. Mmmmm… black bits in my oatmeal.

Mmmm... burned breakfast. Today is going to be AWESOME.

Mmmm… burned breakfast. Today is going to be AWESOME.

I pour coffee. Enough for 4 cups (2 in my giant mug; 2 on the way to work). Add 1/2 a banana and vanilla protein powder to the oatmeal and go and bring Sam down. Sam lies in his pack and play. Thus begins his daily battle with: The elephants. What passes between Sam and the elephants every day for 20 minutes will have to remain known only by Sam. But, every day, there is talking, yelling, hilarity and often, anger and tears, followed by more hilarity. Fair enough.

Oh those elephants

Oh those elephants

Look, I even did that annoying thing new parents do where they take a video of their child doing something very mundane and ordinary, but think it is wonderfully hilarious and so share it:

While this is happening, I dash upstairs to get dressed. This is easy peasy. I am still a dress size bigger than pre-pregnancy, so bless Target and their ‘cut for curvy hips’ range: I went a bought one pair of plain trousers which I wear every day. They go with all my tops, so throwing those on, grabbing a top and putting my hair in a ponytail (or, if I am feeling fancy, a bun) takes all of 4 minutes. Why didn’t I figure this out before? All those wasted hours.

8 am: Feed Sam and go upstairs to pump, taking my oatmeal with me. Pumping in the morning is always SLOW for some reason, I often takes 45 mins – an hour to drain, so I start my work – clearing up emails, finishing reviews and making a neat to do list for the day.

9.15: Eeek, I hoped to leave at 9. I blindly grab an assortment of packets for lunch, clean and pack up the pump, get my coffee refill and off I go.

9.45: Now begins the endless work-pump-eat- cycle, punctuated only by consuming massive amounts of fluid. We get about three rotations before the day is out. I am trying to establish a decent milk supply so my pumping schedule is crazy. My first pump is usually ~10.30, takes to 11.20. I clear up until 11.30 and at 12.20 it is time to set the whole thing up again. That 50 minutes off the pump flies by and it seems like I am always hooked up to the darn thing.

I’ll be honest: I am not sustaining this 2-hourly pump schedule forever. I will use it to establish a supply, and maintain for  2 weeks. But then I am going back to every 3 hours, and if I can’t maintain a supply with that, then I guess Sam can have more formula. It is interrupting to my work, and depressing to do it all day every day.

Anyway, first task of the day: Gain access to data from the MESA study. I spent all yesterday getting my ethical approval to do the analysis. Now to get the data. MESA send me a form. UT need to sign this form. I call the bod at UT who needs to sign it. He says I have to get another form signed, before he will sign the form. Really… you think I am making this up, but there are forms to be signed to get a form signed. I run up and down and left and right getting it filled in and collecting 2 more signatures (only one person had a form for me to sign to get the form signed to get the original form signed. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP, THIS ISMY LIFE), and scanning and PDF-ing and generally not doing any Science. I have to say, both UT and MESA people are very nice and extremely helpful.

Quite an achievement (for me: a 'low supplier').

Quite an achievement (for me: a ‘low supplier’).

12.30. Yeah, I am pumping again. But now I get lunch. Let’s see: what did I grab in my haste? Let’s see: A packet of ‘hot multigrain cereal’ (read: over priced oatmeal) and a packet of herb and garlic tuna. Well. That’s just lovely. I eat the tuna and then feel guilty about not eating enough carbs to make milk, so I make the cereal and throw in some old blackberries I had left in the fridge and the remain of a Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Bar from UAB, which has gone white with age. It is surprisingly delicious. SURPRISINGLY DELICIOUS I SAID.

Delicious, ya hear me?

Delicious, ya hear me?

Back to work. Or… form signing. Yeah, this is why I went through 8 additional years of education.

2.30: Oh look, you caught me pumping. Funny that. I am also having a delightful instant decaff coffee. How depressing. I used to at least have a Starbucks coffee from UT’s cafe but I fell out with the server there when he threatened to call the manager because I asked for souvlaki in my souvlaki sandwich. Don’t ask.

4 pm: HOME! Now I get some Sam cuddles, some pumping (of course), and a run. I get into my black ‘n’ pink gear (always with the black n pink), including my favorite hot pink top. My favorite hot pink top given to me by a girl much slimmer than me, even when I wasn’t post partum. A foolish move, and I run with my belly attractively hanging out.

Running time

Running time

Even pink shoes:

130110_0003

And really waddle my way through 2 miles at 9:30 a mile. I am pissed. With relative ease, just 11 months ago, I used to bang out 9 miles at 8:30 a mile. Seriously: I don’t think I have recovered from the 10 unit transfusion. I think, even given pregnancy, this pace tells me that my body is not recovered fully. I have never known my heart rate get up to 220 bpm and me make so little progress: even serious sprints would only touch that before. So, I guess I am still anemic, and my heart has to work extra hard to get oxygen around. It sucks, but it is what it is. I am off to the OB next week to have a blood count to see what the damage at 3 months postpartum is. I am persevering though. Not as much as I should be, but I am.

Pathetically exhausted after 1.8 miles

Pathetically exhausted after 1.8 miles

5.30: More Sam cuddles and the highlight of my day: bath time. Sam and I clamber into the bath together, and splash and sing songs and generally be ridiculous.

Post bath smugness

Post bath smugness

6 pm: I feed Sam (expressed milk this time… my supply seems to be dead after 4 pm) and he comes down while Daddy & I have steak. Yeah… I am lady muck, I get my dinner cooked for me EVERY (week)night. And my laundry folded. And my dishes washed. Boom. This was why I went through those 8 years of study I mentioned (not the chance to make a real difference o human health: I was in it for the lazy lifestyle). Sam’s not very impressed by the steak / milk bait n switch. But I worked so hard for the milk!

Dinner!

Dinner!

8 pm: It is time to put Sam down. He drinks a whopping 8 oz of expressed milk (THIS is why (1) I am up at 4 am pumping and (2) He gets 2-4 oz formula every day. That boy can eat), but as usual, goes down fairly rapidly. He sure will tell us if he is NOT ready to go to sleep though.

8.30: Work, work work (today, other days it is either Dexter, Once Upon a Time or American Horror Story) until my last pump of the evening. If I am watching AHS, Evan Peters makes milk fly out of me, which is really twisted as he is physically not attractive, so I must like his personality, and he always plays super needy killers. I am a sick puppy.

Yay! A whole 3 hours uninterrupted sleep ahead of me.

Yay! A whole 3 hours uninterrupted a head of me.

11 pm: All pumped out, and ready for bed. See y’all in 3 hours time. Zzzzzzz.

Is this what you imagined my life 9 weeks postpartum would be?

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2 thoughts on “A (working) day in the life

  1. Katie Ingram

    I remember those days all too well…. except that I didn’t have the energy (or time) to run. They will pass quickly, so enjoy all the good parts as much as you can while you can! hugs

    Like

  2. Alexis Frazier-Wood

    Thanks Katie. I do feel guilty about only getting out twice a week at the moment (to run), so you have made me feel better! I love Sam, I love parenting him, I love having my little buddy with me when I do things. I just wish the feeding were easier. Nice to hear from you – big congratulations 🙂

    Lekki

    Dr. Alexis C. Frazier-Wood (previously published as A.C. Wood) Assistant Professor Division of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences The University of Texas School of Public Health 1200 Herman Pressler, Rm E-517, Houston, TX, 77030

    Tel: 713-500-9814

    Preferred email: Lekki.Wood@Gmail.com Alternative email: Alexis.C.Wood@uth.tmc.edu

    http://www.soph.uab.edu/ssg/people/wood

    Like

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