A Parenting Low - At 8 Weeks
We have had a rough couple of nights in the Hopkins household recently. Some were because a certain little girl thought she was a newborn again and wanted to eat every two hours. Some were because I kept myself up mentally. I haven't blogged about this yet but, I do a lot more pumping and bottle feeding breast milk than I do nursing these days. That means I feed her a bottle and then attach myself to a machine. Sometimes, like 2 nights ago, I woke up and attached to the machine to make her a bottle that I figured she would wake up for any minute. I waited and waited and waited for her to wake up. I figured as soon as I fell asleep, she would wake up, so why fall asleep? I was up from 1am to 4am waiting. Ooops. Mom Fail.
Yesterday I was exhausted and didn't get a chance to make up for any lost sleep. I made dinner at Noon knowing that I would be tired by the time my husband came home. When my husband came home, we ate dinner and at 6pm, collapsed into our couches in the family room. Both of us were exhausted. If the baby wasn't here, we both may have fallen asleep. Instead, we rocked and sang and danced with her as she fussed. I pumped, we fed her, etc. She ate at 6pm and again at 8:45. After her 8:45 bottle, I rocked her and read her a few books. She wasn't asleep, but she was sleepy so I put her in her bassinet, turned on the mobile and prayed we would have a good night as I crawled into bed myself.
After what felt like 5 minutes, I woke up to her fussing. I was mad. I said out loud, "Really? Already??" My husband woke up and asked if everything was okay. I told him that I was frustrated and I just couldn't handle it anymore. I told him, "I NEED a full night's sleep!" He asked if I wanted him to take care of her and I just grunted at him and decided to take care of it myself.
Yes, I can be a mean wife when I am lacking sleep. I apologized this morning, promise.
I reached down into the bassinet, frustrated, and as soon as I touched her I felt better. All I could think was here is this innocent child who depends on me for everything. How can I really be mad at her? It helped that she was warm and snuggly and as I pulled her to me, she snuggled into my left arm. We fit perfectly together. She drank, I stared at her and wondered what was wrong with me. I looked at the clock and saw it wasn't just 5 minutes later, it was 2am. It was over 5 hours since her last bottle, no wonder she was hungry!! I had slept for just under 5 hours! She finished her bottle, I burped her and she fell asleep on my chest. I moved her to her bassinet and pulled out the machine again. I was asleep 30 minutes later. I didn't wake up again until 8am.
Parenting is tough. Everyone tells you that and you really don't understand how hard until you have one of your own. This morning when she woke up at 8:45 (yes, 45 minutes after I did) I fed her and put her back in her bassinet. I watched her as she giggled and smiled at her teddy bear mobile. She kicked her legs and shook her arms around. It warmed my heart and made me feel horrible for how I felt at 2am when she woke up to eat.
I know there will be many more frustrating moments in the future but I hope I can keep my head like I did tonight. I know if I couldn't have handled it, I had my husband there to help out. He is willing. He actually got out of bed and came around to give us both a hug and kiss after I had her drinking her bottle. That showed me yet again the support I have from him. He also crawled back into bed and rubbed my back while I pumped after I put her down. I feel bad I kept him up but I'm so glad to have him there for me during those low, really frustrating points.
I know I'm not the only Mom who's run into sleep deprived frustration, right?
PSA: This is unrelated to my story today but I wanted to mention it. I don't co-sleep for numerous reasons. I sleep like a rock, our dogs sleep with us and I like sleeping with blankets and pillows! This is unrelated to my blog post today but I thought about it as I was writing about putting her back into her bassinet after she fell asleep on me. I do not know this person, it's a story my husband found and sent to me. As hard as it is to read it, please do: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/wd508/iama_father_who_has_experienced_every_fathers/
My husband and I know many people who have co-slept successfully. It is a controversial parenting choice but I don't care whether you do it or not. I just hope everyone who does, does it safely.