When Molly was born 6 weeks prematurely, it never crossed my mind that I would be a stay at home mom. Chris was working his way up the cooperate ladder, but had just changed jobs to open himself up to more opportunities for growth. I had found a home day care for Molly to attend, and had planned to take the 8 paid weeks allotted to me for my c-section delivery. When she was so small and in need of so much, I decided to use my FMLA and extended my leave to 12 weeks. Molly entered the world of day care at 3 months old and weighing less then 10 lbs. It was a heart wrenching decision to leave her, I actually felt guilty. I wanted to work, I thrived from working. Being alone with a newborn who depended solely on me scared the crap out of me! Then Molly started getting sick a lot and we in turn got sick. All these new germs were invading our house - yuck! The home daycare was a loving place, but she confirmed what I already knew - Molly was a handful. And I was, essentially, a single mom during the day. I had all the love and support that I needed, without a doubt, but I only had 2 hands and was by myself - and it terrified me!
When Molly was 6 months old, the home daycare closed and we had to find a place. I decided I wanted her in a small center that would both nurture her and teach her. Somewhere where she could interact with other children her age, but also get plenty of attention. We found a great daycare, right on the way to my job. She transitioned (eventually) and life moved forward. She still got sick a lot, but she was well cared for! Then December 4, 2006 happened. She had her first seizure at daycare, she scared them senseless, and the thought of losing her snapped me out of the timid new mommy-ness I had been experiencing. I grew-up that day. There is something about holding Oxygen over your child's mouth in the ER, and then watching helplessly as doctors administer medication after medication and run test after test.... I just knew that I would do ANYTHING for my baby. From that moment on my life changed.
I continued to work, but my teaching career suddenly didn't hold the passion it once did. My passion was in helping Molly, in finding out what was wrong and how to fix it. I was rushing to therapy sessions scheduled right after school, so I could be a part of them. My heart was torn. I was so devoted to my students, and to giving them a wonderful musical and theatrical experience - but I could no longer be the teacher I wanted to be. But, we had medical benefits with my job, and at that point, that could not be matched.
In 2008 we found out we'd be expecting Kennedy. Chris and I had a long talk and made a decision. The cost of 2 daycare tuition payments compared to my salary, meant I was working for less the $8,000 a year. He and I concluded together that the stress of scrambling for sick days, doctors appointments, therapy appointments, school meetings, etc - was not worth $8,000. We would stop going out to eat, we would cut back on the expendables and we would make it work. The day we made that decision, it was like the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders.
Kennedy turned out to be an equally, if not more so, challenging baby. She would scream for hours on end, in pain from reflux. Her spells looked like seizures and we were terrified. Molly was 3 when Kennedy was born, but unlike most 3 year old children, Molly, at the time, was like a very large 18-24month old. She had little language, trouble getting about, couldn't use the bathroom, and did very little for herself. I had my hands full! Over time, we got into a routine, largely dictated by Molly's school schedule. She had started an integrated preschool program 3 weeks before Kennedy was born. Life progressed in a whirlwind of good days and sick days - but we kept moving forward.
Our days are still dictated by school schedules and routines. Kennedy's birth to 3 therapists come out 3 times a week, and we schedule play dates to encourage her interactions with other children. I started working, volunteer, on the board for the Dravet Syndrome Foundation, and I take care of our house as well as being a room-mom for Molly's class. I can't believe I ever thought I'd be bored as a stay at home mom.
This is the life style that works for us. It doesn't work for everyone. I don't know what the future has in store for us. I have many ideas out there on the horizon of things I still want to accomplish, but right now - I'm happy being where I am!