Reaching Out

We've been home for a little over two weeks. The first week Adam’s parents were here and I thought I could totally rock this mom thing. Grammy and Pop Pop were not overbearing, but they were there when I needed someone to hold him because my incision was killing me, or I had to pee, or shower, or I just wanted to eat with both hands. It was nice to have company as I slept in my chair each night. My incision hurt waaaaaay too much when I laid out flat, so I've been sleeping in the oversize chair in our living room. Grammy slept on the couch next to me and Andrew was usually in his pack and play infant sleeper - or in my arms.

Once they left my mom was here for a night. That's a story for another time.

Then there were three. Adam was home with us for another week. He worked from home in the afternoons and I got spoiled. I could shower. I could eat. I could pee. I could think about "I".

Now we've been home alone for three days and it is quite possible that I am losing my mind. Although I don't think I have post-partum depression I can now completely understand how it could manifest. I feel myself walking a slippery line between being ok and a total breakdown.

Mostly it's because I have no idea what to do. I've read the books and the blogs and I've listened to all the older moms around me. None of them tell you how to make it through each day though. Add the insecurity to massive amounts of sleep deprivation for a person who needed 10 hours BEFORE she got pregnant and you have some... well... issues.

After a sleepless night last night and a diagnosis of Thrush this morning from Dr. K I was on the edge. We went to Starbucks and I got a Venti Mocha Chip Frappucino. WITH CAFFEINE. It was that or gin. I think I made the right choice.

When we got home I left him in the carrier because I am a horrible mommy and I got so many things done! I clipped coupons and made a grocery list for Adam, pumped and prepared a bottle, stuffed the birth announcements into envelopes, started the dishwasher, sent some emails, checked Facebook and ate lunch. I didn't wake him up to eat when I should have. I let him sleep and felt simultaneously guilty and relieved.

Adam’s Aunt L is a baby nurse. She had commented on my self pitying morning Facebook post that maybe it was time for us to do some sleep training. That's when I did the best thing I could have done today. I messaged her and asked her exactly HOW we were supposed to do that.

Here's our conversation in case it can help anyone else:

  • Me:

    So how do we do the sleep training? Do we just try to keep him up all day? Keeping him awake has never worked in the past. When this kid wants to sleep he can SLEEP. Any ideas or advice you have would be life saving. No kidding.

    Aunt L:

    The goal is to shorten the amount of daytime sleep each day.... play a little before feeding if possible, or in the middle of a feeding... and to keep him up as long as possible after a feed before he naps. It is hard at that age because they do fall asleep so easy, but dressing/ undressing, baths, stimulating noises, different music, drumming on surfaces, etc. Try to find ticklish spots, teething rings... one hot, one cold. Don't make him or you miserable keeping him up... just extend the normal awake time. And decrease nap time... especially mid afternoon and later! Just waking him up by doing something stimulating, be creative... you'll learn with Andrew what works. By the second or third night, he should be sleeping a tiny bit longer, but almost definitely will go back to sleep faster

    Aunt L:

    Does he spit up alot? Just wondering, because reflux can make them choosy about the position they sleep in....


    THANK YOU!!! We'll start tomorrow and see what happens. That doesn't sound so bad. I thought that we'd need to keep him awake for hours and hours to get any relief!

    He doesn't spit up that much - a little bit after every 2nd or 3rd feeding. And he's only fussy about sleeping at night - he'd sleep all day long if I let him!

    Aunt L

    Alot of babies don't understand night and day, so lots of light, noise and stimulation during the day ( smells too!) Thrush isn't uncommon, hopefully that'll help some... keeping him up for extended periods is an option if the other doesn't help.... but the biggest naps to keep shorter is mid- late afternoon through early evening..... oh and maybe sing the same song or play the same music when its actually" bedtime" whenever you normally would go to bed, maybe a little earlier for him? Hope it helps, good luck, and hugs!

    So after we played a little bit before I fed him - about five minutes until he started to get fussy. After he ate and burped I put on some music and we "danced". I moved his arms and legs in time to the music and picked him up so he could kick and tickled his belly and we just... played. He wasn't fussy and I wasn't cranky and we were simply Andrew and Mama. It lasted for three songs before the yawning and crumple-face set in, but those three songs changed my entire day.

    Sometimes you have to reach out and ask for help. Someone out there has an answer.


Graeme SeabrookComment