Author Archives: Sara Reichling

Changes in Open Enrollment: Now Thru May 22

GoMamaGuide

OE 2015LAUSD’s Open Enrollment applications are now being accepted for the 2015-16 school year and there are a number of big changes this year!

•They’ve gone online!

•They’ve centralized the lottery!

•Siblings get priority!

•Apply any time between May 4-22. Deadline May 22, 2015!

•You will hear initial application results by June 9th.

Every year LAUSD faces handfuls of seats at under-enrolled schools that are available for those who want them and apply for them. Easier than a work or childcare permit, Open Enrollment seats are up for grabs and once admitted into a school through this type of transfer, your child can stay until they complete the final year it offers. No annual renewal, no proof of residency/employment/licensed childcare paperwork to agonize over, and no lengthy application or approval process.

From the site:
“The District’s state-mandated open enrollment policy enables students anywhere in LAUSD to apply to any regular, grade-appropriate Los Angeles public…

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Celebrating 12 weeks

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Ellery is 12 weeks old.  It has been the most intense 72 days of my life.  I have always been nothing but honest on this blog and I am going to continue that, although, this is probably the most difficult one to write.  Well, actually the second most difficult one. 

So…parenthood has kicked my ass like nothing ever has before or probably ever will again.  I grossly underestimated how challenged I would be on every level of my being.  Physically I am exhausted.  Mentally I am a ball of anxiety.  Emotionally I am wrung out.  Spiritually I am disconnected.   I had no idea what I was getting into.  It may seem ridiculous but I truly didn’t know how hard it is to have a baby.

WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME!?  Or maybe they did and I just couldn’t grasp what they meant.  It’s one of those things you can’t understand until you actually do it.  At least I couldn’t.

 

Let me first say that Elle is a wonderful baby.  She’s probably even considered an ‘easy’ baby.  She’s perfect and so damn cute and I love her to bits. 

B U T

Around about week 6 I realized that I had a mean case of Post Partum Depression.  It actually manifested more as post partum anxiety.  When breastfeeding wasn’t working out despite spending most of my day trying to make and extract more milk I had a breakdown. Elle wasn’t doing that well on formula and that was stressing me out and that sort of spiraled into PPD.  So I made some difficult ‘controversial’ decisions:

  1. I decided to give Ellery breast milk from another woman.  I know it sounds crazy but it’s been a godsend and she’s doing great on it.  Some moms don’t have enough milk and some moms have a ridiculously excessive amount.  The Internet has allowed us to connect and I am grateful.  Yes, there are medical tests and milk bank certifications, etc.  It’s all very above board Joe and I agree that it is the right decision for her at this time. 
  2. I went on vitamin P.  That would be Prozac.  I was a high risk for PPD due to my own history with depression.  I knew it might come-a-callin but I didn’t know how intense it would be.  It is no joke. I was barely able to care for Elle and I wasn’t enjoying it at all. The Prozac has really helped.
  3. I decided that I am not a stay at home mom.  My stay at home mommy fantasies were clearly not based on any knowledge of what mommies do all day.  It’s a sobering realization and not one I am proud of but there it is.  I believe I will be a better mom if I work.  So I will.  Starting in January I will join Joe’s team selling real estate.  I am SUPER excited about it.  We have found an amazing nanny for Ellery who’s been helping us part time for a couple of months. 
  4. We are not having any more children.  This may be the most controversial of all the decisions.  Joe and I are super clear that we are one and done.  This is a young persons game and we lucked out with her.  I’m not going to press my luck.  Please don’t try to convince me that two is actually easier than one.  That didn’t work at the dog rescue and it won’t work now.  There’s no way in hell that two is easier than one.  Snip snip, honey.

 

If I am being really honest I must say that having a baby is not fun.  At least not yet.  It’s so hard, even terrifying at times.  My life was much, much easier before and sometimes I pine for the luxuries that I used to enjoy like sleeping in, watching TV with Joe, daily yoga and meditation.  All of these are simply on hold right now.  My entire focus is on Ellery.  I am carving out some Sara time here and there but I will never again have the luxury of just worrying about myself.  And that is ok.  Frankly, I laugh at the things I used to worry about or focus on.  They seemed so important then and so insignificant now.  I guess this is all part of the adjustment period.  It’s the hardest adjustment I have ever had and I’ve never felt so ill equipped, so in fear, or so in love.  What a wild ride!

I am super happy we’ve made it through the first 12 weeks.  It’s already getting a little easier…a very little, but I am hopeful now that we will actually live thru the first year.  Elle is starting to laugh more and cry less and she really is the sweetest little thing.  We are so blessed that we get to raise her and I am looking forward the journey and lessons that I know await us all.

 

Like my friend and yoga teacher extraordinaire, Hala Khouri told me years ago “Taking care of a child is my spiritual practice.” 

Fuck yeah it is. 

Fuck yeah.

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She’s here!

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She’s here, she’s here!  Ellery Jane Reichling was born on August 14th.  After a very smooth labor and delivery she arrived into the world kicking and screaming, like a good little baby.  She came exactly a week early and I was so grateful because it was truly getting challenging for me to eat, breathe and walk around.  She is a petite little munchkin, weighing only 6lbs, 2oz at birth and currently almost 7lbs.  She prefers sleeping to eating so gaining weight has been challenging but we are getting better. 

 Her due date was August 20 and I was somewhat relieved that she came early because I thought she might choose to come on Asher’s birthday, which is August 23.  While it would have been nice for them to share a birthday I am glad she has her own. 

On Asher’s birthday Joe and spread his ashes in near our home in Griffith Park, on a trail that he and our dog Lexi, run almost daily.  Everything about spreading his ashes on that day and in that place felt right but it was still hard to let him go.  I know that he is the reason that Ellery is here.  Something about my pregnancy with Asher righted my body and I was able to conceive her.  The vision I had so long ago of one baby pulling another by the hand and asking for permission for both to come makes sense now.  He was her shepherd. 

 

What a difference a year makes.  Last year at this time I was in such a deep well of grief, with no hope and no sense of what was to come.  Life is like that I guess.  It’s filled with impossibly hard experiences and unbelievably joyous ones.  I’ve learned that anything is bearable, that life goes on, and that there is always hope for the future.  I realize that perhaps I wouldn’t feel that way if I wasn’t holding my baby girl but I am and so I do.  For whatever reason this is my experience and lesson.

 

So, parenthood is intense.  I can’t believe they just send you home from the hospital with no license and no supervision.   Despite the reading we did Joe and I feel like we are totally winging it.  One of our friends gave us this piece of advice:  “Don’t worry, she doesn’t know it’s amateur hour!”  Really?  I hope that’s true.   

 

The first few days I was flying on adrenalin.  Sleep? Don’t need it. I just need to look at her little face and I can go on forever.  Or at least until day 5 when I hit the first of many walls I would hit over the past 4 weeks.  Thankfully, we were able to get some help in the form of a little angel named Ruby who comes to help us at night so mommy can get 3-4 hours of uninterrupted sleep.  Ruby is worth her weight in gold.  She actually knows what she’s doing and she’s teaching us how to care for Elle. 

 

I just want to say a quick word about breastfeeding.  Breastfeeding was the one thing that I was super attached to.  I couldn’t wait to breastfeed and not just because of the cleavage.  So, of course, I am having problems breastfeeding.  I am just not making enough milk.  There could be myriad reasons for this and I am exploring all of them with professional help but at this point I have to supplement with some formula.  I hate it.  I am devastated.  But I have to feed my baby.  And I don’t want to stress myself out because I know it will stress her out.  I’m doing everything possible to achieve a full supply but at some point I may have to surrender to this reality.  And when I start to spin out about how awful it is I can quickly reframe the experience, again, thanks to Asher.  Ellery is here.  She is alive.  I am beyond grateful.

 

 

 

PS- I got a lovely email recently from someone I sort of knew in college who happened upon this blog and has been following my story.  She shared some of her own struggles with me and thanked me for writing this.  She was also curious about how I was doing.  I want to say thank you to everyone who reads this, those I know and those I don’t know.  I hope it has helped someone else.  I know it has helped me to write it and put it out there without any expectations.  I truly don’t know if anyone reads this or not but if you do, thank you so much.  I feel honored that you would.

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