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A Tuesday in the life of Kelly Wooley

Kelly is a full-time marketing specialist at Cook Children’s. She’s been married to her husband Shawn for three years. Their daughter, Avery, 22 months, was born 14 weeks early and spent 234 days in the Cook Children’s neonatal intensive care unit. She came home on oxygen and with a feeding tube.  

5:50AM Alarm goes off. I pop out of bed. Let the multitasking begin!

6:05AM I start getting ready while I watch Avery on the video monitor. Her morning feed (through her feeding tube) is going and she’s notorious for rolling over and pulling it out. 

6:45AM I’m dressed and ready to go. Avery’s medication syringes and feeding bag have been washed. Time to wake up Miss Avery.

6:55AM Avery is dressed, and we come downstairs to wake up Dada. We spend a short five minutes in bed together as a family before Shawn has to get up and get dressed.

7:05AM Time for me to leave for work. I kiss and hug Avery about a thousand times before I leave. Shawn and Avery walk me to the door where we work on her saying “bye bye.” I’ve been back at work almost a year and leaving her every morning hasn’t gotten any easier.  

7:10AM On the 12-minute drive into work, my thoughts alternate between work and home to-dos for the day. Avery’s heart medication is almost out so I need to call in a refill. The Heart Center brochure needs to go to print today if we want to make the deadline for the American Academy of Pediatrics conference. It goes back and forth like that until I pull into the parking garage. My mind is about to explode and the day has barely started.

9AM I look at my watch and a twinge of mommy guilt sets in. Avery has a physical therapy appointment and I’m not there. Luckily, the therapist comes to the house and Debi, our incredible nanny, takes notes and catches me up on what I miss. I try to make as many as I can but it never seems like enough. In my defense, Avery has speech and occupational therapy, and pulmonology, cardiology, neurology, gastroenterology and pediatrician appointments.

9:15AM My pity party can’t last long — I have a meeting to prepare for. We’re launching a city-wide safe infant sleep campaign with all the hospitals in Fort Worth and today is our last meeting before the official launch.

11:45AM I actually have time to take a lunch today. My co-worker and I make a trip to Anthropologie. It’s our favorite store, and we both have something to exchange.

1:15PM I get a text from Debi. Avery’s physical therapist wants to talk to me. She thinks Avery should get fitted for orthotics, something we’ve been trying to avoid for a while now. It’s always something.

2:30PM No meetings for the rest of the day, which is some kind of miracle. I write some copy for a new direct mail campaign for our health foundation. We’re using Avery’s NICU story so that was an easy one.

4:55PM I wrap up some other projects and get ready to go home.

5:18PM I’m home! Debi updates me on Avery’s day. She takes daily detailed notes so I can read up on everything I missed. Mommy guilt hits again. I try and remind myself that I’m not alone. There are lots of moms out there who work.

5:30PM Debi is gone. Shawn is still at work so it’s just Aves and me. I change out of my work clothes and she blows raspberries at herself in the bathroom mirror.

6:15PM Aves and I read books in the living room. I try my best to be present in the moment, but I’m exhausted. I’m an introvert at heart, but my job regularly forces me out of my comfort zone, which completely drains me. I also work so hard at being efficient during every minute of the day that by the end of it, I feel like I have nothing left.

6:45PM Time for Miss Avery’s dinner. Between being on a ventilator for her first three months and then having severe reflux, she does not like to eat. I mix up a concoction of pureed baby food, coconut oil and oatmeal, turn on a video to distract her and work on getting the first bite of food in her mouth. The first bite is always the toughest.

7:15PM This is probably my most favorite time of the day. Avery gets her second wind and is at her silliest. She walks around the living room, blowing raspberries and babbling in what I call her “sexy smoker” voice. Periodically, she walks over to me and falls into my lap, which means it’s time for me to tickle her and roll around with her on the floor. God, I love her so much!

8:15PM Avery is down for the night. We have a super short bedtime routine and then it’s lights out and cue the Nick Lachey lullabies. We’ve played these for her since she was in the NICU.

8:45PM I’ve showered, eaten some leftovers and settled into the couch to watch whatever is on the DVR.

9:15PM I get a text from Shawn. He’s on his way home! I try my best to wake up so we can spend 30 to 45 minutes of quality time together. Mental note: Ask my mom when she can baby-sit so we can schedule a date night. We need one desperately!

9:30PM Shawn and I talk about our days. I tell him about Avery needing orthotics. He has a positive attitude, as always.

11:30PM “Baby, you ready to go to bed?” I’ve fallen asleep on the couch again. Without fail, it happens every night. And every night, my sweet husband wakes me up and then tucks me in bed while he waits for Avery’s late night feed to finish.

11:45PM As my head hits the pillow, I think about the day. Was I a good wife, mom, employee? I try my hardest but these days, I have to settle for good enough.