Thursday, May 24, 2012

The three month check-in.

Cross posted at Salt and Nectar
Well, three months in, and everyone is still alive.

And I could say that the reason I haven't been writing about it more frequently is because I'm busy (I am), that I'm exhausted (oh, my god), that when I have a moment of free time all I want to do is sit on the couch and veg out (with wine). But really, I think the real reason I've had such a hard time finding the words to share the past 12 weeks is because I've had more postpartum than I'd like to admit. And certainly more than I want documented online for my son to one day potentially read. While I know the kind thing to do would be share it with you in the case that you have or will one day feel the same and know you aren't alone, I just can't.

But I've struggled. A lot. With emotions and feelings that I didn't want to have or share or be judged by, no matter how common this 'side-effect' may be. The bottom line, however, is that my son is perfect, and beautiful, and awesome, and all I want to do is make sure he knows that his father and I will do—and always have done—anything and everything needed to make sure he knows that we're in his corner. Cause, seriously, look at this guy.

So. That said. Moving on.

Looking back at all the research and judgmental observation of other parents we did while I was pregnant, no one just came out and told me what we really needed to hear. And so I'll say it.

Put the pile of books down. Stop worrying about what kind of schedule you're going to put a tiny, helpless human who has been in the world for mere days or weeks on. Stop judging other parents because they are doing it "wrong," because they're doing what they have to do to survive. Seriously. And stop listening to what worked for your best friend/aunt/mom/grandma/neighbor/stranger at the grocery store. Because what you think will happen is not going to happen.

You hear me? It's. Not. Going. To. Happen. You are not in control of this situation. You will never be in control of this situation. I thought I'd be relinquishing some control, sure. And then the boss showed up and let me know I was just a fool for having any preconceived notions at all.

My child was not going to use a pacifier. 
And then, on the second night of nonstop crying unless he was being nursed, the nurse informed me he was likely using me as a pacifier. If I wanted to get any sleep at all, she recommended the real thing. I refused, because the book* said not to introduce them before 4 weeks. About 4 days and numerous crying fits (mine, not his) later, I realized I couldn't act as a human pacifier if I wanted to function in the world, and I caved. Nipple confusion, my ass...he still nurses just fine, thank you.

*"The book" refers to any number of books. No need to be specific, because this was always my answer: "But the book says to..."

My child was not going to sleep in our room. He has his own room and a monitor for a reason. Sleep in our bed? Not a chance.
And then, when every peep he made the first night home had me in his room, peering at this tiny little thing in his giant crib wondering if he was ok, it was quickly clear that he needed to be in our room. But as we had no bassinet, we had to fashion a makeshift bed for him (and found a second use for his changing table pad), which we placed between our heads. And then we all slept.

When we bought him a bassinet the next day, after five minutes of sleep he promptly decided that was enough, and the screaming began. And the only way I could get him back out was in the crook of my arm in my bed. Which is precisely where he stayed the next 11 weeks until he decided the Rock and Play next to the bed would suffice. His crib is the next step at a time.

I didn't need my mom the first week. 
But she came anyway. And then one night she wordlessly took the crying child from me as I paced the house, sat up with him from 2-5 am, and I remembered what it was like to sleep during those hours. The next day, she cleaned my house and went grocery shopping. Again. My mom is awesome.

I'd just sleep when he sleeps.
Ha. Hahahahahahaha. Right. This has got to be the single Worst. Piece of Advice. Ever. This child didn't sleep during the day for the first 10 weeks (note: no, this does not mean he slept better during the night), and if he did, it wasn't more than half hour at a time. (It's still only half hour at a time, but at least now we're up to 4 or five naps a day). So how exactly does that give me time to sleep? You at some point have to feed yourself. A non-toasted plain bagel is not exactly the type of meal I was used to. It's no wonder I lost 17 pounds the first week.

And a shower is nice. Shampooed hair is nicer. Blow-dried clean hair totally wins. And since our moms can only visit for a day or so at a time, I've been pretty much on my own to do basic house stuff the rest of the time. Laundry has to get done. (Mine can wait, but this kid knows how to crap his way through multiple outfits a day.) Dishes need to be washed (not optional. We don't have a dishwasher.) Anything that isn't baby centric needs to happen. Cause hello, if I have a half hour to myself, I'm not about to sleep through it.

So what have I learned the past 3 months? Basically, that this is hard. Like, hard in ways I didn't know were possible. Breastfeeding alone is an 8+ hour day (at least the first couple of months—by now we're down to 5 to 6 hours a day. I know because I have an app that times it. Obviously.) Every moment of the day is consumed by the need to care for someone else. And sure, some babies sleep through the night by the second week, nap constantly, or only eat for 10 minutes a side. Some babies only poop once a day—or every three days—by six weeks. Some babies are, well, boring. But E is so, so not that baby.

He is, however, a champion at the toothless grin. He's crazy strong and frustrates himself by constantly trying to sit up by himself. He thinks it's hilarious when I sing Jack Johnson songs to him. He talks constantly. He loves bath time. His favorite thing to cuddle with is whatever t shirt I slept in the night before. He knows that the best time to ruin a diaper is the minute I've put on a clean one. Or, even better, when I hand him to Daddy.

So we're learning. Every day is different, and every day is a challenge. But we're hanging in there.
Happy three months, Mister Man.

1 comment:

  1. Post partum is rough.... don't be afraid to get help if you need it. I was a mess after Alayna. I ended up going on anti-depressants for a year, and they were a huge help for me. Hope you start getting more sleep soon and feeling better!