L: My name is Lauren, and I live in Hampton, Virginia. I am a Computer Systems Administrator for a local hospital.
Are you a single mommy? A married mommy?
L: I have been married to my wonderful husband for five years.
Introduce us to your daughter!
L: I have one child. Her name is Zoë and she is 10 weeks old. She is a joy to have, and I can’t imagine life without her. She loves to be held to your chest, so that she can hear your heartbeat. She loves to smile in her sleep. I hope it’s because she is having sweet dreams. Zoë loves kisses. My husband and I are always kissing and hugging her. She smiles when she hears our voices. She loves when I sing to her even though I am a horrible singer. She is a daddy’s girl and loves being in my husband’s arms.
Tell us about your birth and delivery.
L: Zoë was delivered 6 weeks early. It all started when my husband and I went to the hospital on a Saturday so I could get a routine blood test. I developed a significant amount of swelling during my pregnancy, so my doctors began monitoring my protein levels and platelets regularly. On this day, the blood work was taken as usual, and we were free to leave. About an hour after we left the hospital, the doctor called and notified us that the blood work did not look good and suggested that I come back to the hospital and stay for a 24 hour observation, during which time I would receive two steroid shots to help with Zoë’s progress, in the event that I had to deliver her early. While I was at the hospital, they took a blood sample every four hours to monitor my progress. On Sunday the doctor suggested that we stay another 48 hours, based on the results of the blood work. On Monday, the doctor presented us with the option to deliver Zoë early as a safety precaution. I was induced on Tuesday and delivered Zoë on Wednesday afternoon. Zoë spent 2 ½ weeks in the NICU, and we were there everyday. It was a great relief when we were finally able to bring her home.
Did you breastfeed?
L: I did pump breast milk during my maternity leave. I stopped before I returned to work. Zoë was primarily drinking a formula made specifically for premature babies. I spent a significant amount of time pumping. Now that I have stopped, I can hold Zoë comfortably (without pain in my chest) and spend more time with her instead of pumping.
How do you balance work and motherhood? How do you carve out time for yourself?
L: I am just now returning to work, so I am still trying to find the best balance. Zoë currently attends an amazing in-home daycare, which provides Zoë with a personal touch that mainstream daycares can’t provide. My husband and I have developed a schedule of who will be primarily taking care of Zoë after work and during the night. The schedule is broken up into three-hour shifts, which allow both of us to spend time with Zoë and get some individual time.
What is your biggest parenting challenge right now?
L: Zoë has reflux, which can be uncomfortable for her and painful for me to watch her go through. I pray that she grows out of it soon.
Who is your child-rearing support group?
L: My husband and I make up Zoë’s child-rearing support group. We make a great team. We work together to do everything for Zoë. That includes feedings, diaper changes, baths and nurturing.
How do you determine that your daughter is well-adjusted?
L: I know that Zoë is happy when she smiles or calmly stares at you. If her hands are open and flat, she is calm. If her hands are clenched, she is uncomfortable.
What is the most important value, ideal or philosophy that you want to impart to your daughter?
L: I want her to know that she can do anything. If the odds are against her, I want her to know that she can be the exception.
What advice would you give to a new mom?
L: Babies don’t come with a handbook, but there are a lot helpful tools: my pediatrician, BabyCenter.com, Google, Mom or other mothers with experience. I find comfort in prayer. I know God will not give me more than I can bear. He blessed me with Zoë, and he will bless me with the tools to be a great mother.