Surviving with a Newborn

Well it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. Probably because Mairin Elle was born on October 7, 2015 (her due date!) at 2:45 PM. We struggled through a relatively short labor that started at 10 AM that morning, but which felt much, MUCH longer, given that I went the unmedicated route. She surprised us by coming out “sunny-side up” and weighing a sturdy nine pounds, three ounces.

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The physical recovery from labor and delivery has gone much more smoothly than with Bowen. I felt stronger faster and nursing was pretty latch-and-go easy by the second week. Emotionally I think things have been probably just as difficult as our first time around, but for different reasons. The first few months with Bowen I was racked with constant worry about his weight gain and my ability to successfully nurse (we went through two months of horrible pain and latching issues). This time I feel a lot of “mommy guilt” associated with Bowen. I miss him tremendously, and I mourn the loss of our time just the two of us.

All of my emotions are of course compounded by the hideous lack of sleep associated with these darling one-month old cherubs. Last week I was spoiled by night after night of six to seven hour stretches between feedings and feeling quite smug, thinking of all those other exhausted moms with poorly sleeping newborns. I stand corrected this week, as my darling daughter has been completely kicking my ass with around the clock feedings every two hours, and a fair amount of screaming, particularly in the evening hours.

I consulted my sleep books yesterday and confirmed that a) she is probably going through a growth spurt, and b) fussiness increases in newborns up through six weeks of age. Shit, I forgot about the latter point. Not exactly welcome news as Brady is currently out of town on a business trip. Which, by the way, sounds like the most glorious use of time/ reminds me that I may have been insane for thinking quitting my job was a good idea.

So last night, as I repeatedly attempted to soothe my screaming daughter/ baby pterodactyl, frustration rapidly mounted. When I first put her down in the bassinet in our bedroom, all seemed calm. Noise machine, check. Tightly swaddled, check. Clean diaper, check. Recently fed and happy, check. Drowsy yet awake, check. I got about 20 minutes of free time to wolf down some chips and salsa and get excited about the prospect of binge-watching Girls when all of a sudden, I heard it. The “eeehhhh” squawk. Where you immediately mute the TV, stop chewing, and listen hard. Pray that you don’t hear anything else. Unfortunately in my situation, however, the squawks quickly got higher pitched, closer together, and 20 seconds later, I knew I needed to go in and soothe.

No problem, I thought, I’ve got this. I’m a seasoned second-time mom, I’ll just pick her up, do a little jig, shhhh, shhhh, shush her and she’ll be calm and off to dream-land again in no time. Check.

That time she lasted five minutes before the squawking started. Hmmm. After my second round of soothing I couldn’t even put her down without immediate screaming. Fast forward two hours and I had disintegrated into a hysterical, husband-hating crazed person wailing right along with my daughter. Finally in desperation I put her on the boob and not surprisingly, she passed out right away and I was finally able to get her down.

Our two AM feeding didn’t go much better. In a perfect world, she goes right back to sleep after nursing and all is quiet as I creep back into my postpartum night sweats-soaked bed. Not so when you’re all alone and already running on limited fumes. Miss Mairin decided it was not ok to be put back down in her bassinet and we spent a good thirty minutes working to get her back to sleep. Her 5:45 AM wake-up call wasn’t pleasant this morning either.

But we survived. I managed to get both kids out the door on time to take Bowen to school (so what if I had milk visibly leaking from my boobs, at least I had pants on), and the 15 minute wait to get through the Starbucks drive-through line was worth it, even if Mairin decided to spend the last 10 minutes of our drive home screaming. We nursed as soon as we got home and she’s napping for now in the bassinet. And I put her down drowsy but awake!


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