Into the Rabbit Hole

Is it just me? How do people with a newborn get anything done – ever?!?! Thank goodness that I have my (amazing) husband to help out… but I only have him for another 10 days before he has to go back to work. I have no idea how I’m going to get anything done after that.

I know people always talk about how your life completely changes and you get no sleep and how the baby’s needs come before your own… and that all seems fine when you hear it. You think “I can do this!” But lo and behold, your life COMPLETELY changes and becomes unrecognizable — as do the days of the week or ever knowing what time it is. In fact, time loses all meaning. You operate in some strange, sleep-deprived alternate reality, barely able to hang on to any recognizable structure. It’s disorienting to say the least. Sleep is a distant memory… something you vaguely remember doing in more than 45 minute bursts a long, long time ago when you were child-free.

The baby feeds every 2 to 3 hours, but what it really looks like is this: feeding alarm goes off at 3 am (did you know you have to wake babies to feed them, at least initially?) – diaper change takes place first (because you’re hoping baby will be drowsy after feeding and magically go right to sleep – ha!) Easy diaper changes take only a few minutes, but it’s more likely that the baby will projectile poop as you’re changing her diaper and sometimes, not just once or twice. So, you go through 1, 2, or 3 diapers and manage to finally get her in a clean, dry diaper. Hooray! (She is screaming by now because, well, you woke her up – it’s cold and uncomfortable – and you introduced a wet wipe to her privates. Nobody likes that!)

Then the feeding commences. You have to have her properly positioned, which requires lots of pillows – and, in my case, since she can’t rest on my C-Section scars (or belly in general) it’s a little tougher. I can only use the “football hold” for breastfeeding now. Although, I started using the My Breast Friend pillow this morning which works quite well. Our baby girl generally feeds for 20 minutes on each breast, with a five minute burping interval in between sides. This is the part where I either try not to nod off, if I’m really sleepy… or alternately, stare at my baby in complete wonder, adoration, and gratitude for the miracle she is. These are love-filled, bonding moments. And I realize that what people told me is true: I can’t imagine life without her now.

If I’m lucky, I won’t have any issues with breastfeeding – other than sore nipples – as sometimes she falls asleep and is nearly impossible to rouse. (This is a bad thing because it shortens my 3 hr interval between feedings as she’ll be hungry sooner.) When the feeding is done, I burp her and swaddle her tightly. She absolutely hates the process of swaddling, but it’s our best chance at a calm baby afterwards. If she gets out of her swaddle, the shrill screaming isn’t far behind.

At least an hour has passed and now it’s 4 am. I still need to get baby to sleep before I can sleep. My mind starts counting down the hours. If I fall asleep now, I can get 2 whole hours before the next feeding! (This almost never happens.) What usually happens is one of two scenarios, either she’s screaming her head off for some unknown reason or she fakes sleeping for a good 5 minutes and I am lulled into a false sense of security before she starts whimpering, then crying, then screaming. Some nights, I get lucky and all the tricks from the “Happiest Baby on the Block” video actually work. Other nights, it takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more to get her to settle down and sleep. I try my best to fall asleep for whatever time I have left before I have to do it all over again.

At least once per night, hubby takes a screaming shift so that I can get some sleep. This makes me fall in love with him all over again! I have the BEST husband in the world!!!

I don’t get what people mean when they say, “Sleep when the baby sleeps.” Um, yeah, I would love to. But when do I get to eat, use the restroom, take a shower, do the laundry?(Omigod, there is a TON of laundry all of a sudden and it’s all baby stuff!)

Oh, and speaking of “the baby’s needs come before your own” — I didn’t realize that actually looked something like this: I’ve had to pee for 4 hours but the baby is crying because she’s hungry and I now have to breastfeed for an hour before I can use the toilet or her screaming will wake up my sleeping husband whose been up with her all night! Or, I’m starving, but the baby needs to eat, poop, sleep, etc. and I haven’t had a chance to grab anything from the kitchen, let alone the luxury of a PB and J! It’s a good thing she’s as cute as she is because at the end of it all, you just look at her an melt and know, deep in your soul, that you would do anything for her.

I’m obviously ridiculously tired right now… but regardless of how any of this might sound, I wouldn’t give it up for the world. I love our little girl so much that I can hardly stand it. My husband and I are sooooo in love with her! It’s our mutual obsession. He says it has changed his perspective on life completely. He’s now afraid to die because he’s afraid of leaving her alone. All our priorities have shifted in a way that would only sound trite if I tried to describe it. I have never known real fear until now. The thought of anything happening to her is devastating beyond recognition. She holds our hearts. She is our world.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Daryl
    Oct 31, 2012 @ 20:12:54

    I don’t care how tired you are–that last paragraph? Tears.


  2. Laura
    Nov 16, 2012 @ 07:17:35

    I loved this write up because I think most moms can relate! I remember waiting desperately for Chris to get home from work so I could pee because Connor didn’t want to be put down. I’m not sure if you have one but a bouncy chair, sitting in the bathroom, is the best thing ever…turn it on vibrate, lay Samantha on there and you can pee without them crying! LOL! I bought two…so I could pee up and downstairs!


    • msfertility
      Nov 24, 2012 @ 13:34:55

      That is hilarious! I have now learned to endure a few minutes of screaming so I can go to the bathroom! Hahaha! (But still, not very fun.) Our rocker doesn’t fit through the door of the bathroom… but you’ve just given me an idea… there’s a bouncy chair she doesn’t use much – now I know where to put it!


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