Tuesday, September 12, 2006

coming up for air

I feel as if I've been living in a cloister for the past couple of weeks. I rarely leave the house, and when I do, it's with husband in the driver's seat and baby in tow. I barely have the time or energy to call anyone, write a coherent e-mail, take a shower or even put on "day" clothes. I feel lucky if I can get two hours of uninterrupted sleep, and that's at night. Daytime naps are almost impossible because Daniel tends to sleep best if someone is holding him, and that means the person holding him must be alert. He's actually doing OK in the car seat, too, so maybe that will enable me to catch a few minutes here and there.

Yesterday was Steve's first day back at work after his two weeks of leave. By the time he got home, I was totally shellshocked. Daniel had barely slept all day, and I had barely slept the night before, and it seemed like he wanted to nurse every hour or something insane like that. I am not used to being a 24-hour milk delivery system yet. And he cried so much, and nothing I tried to calm him seemed to work for long. It was bearable when Steve was home because we could spell each other, but doing it alone is a whole new ballgame. When Steve got home, I handed Daniel to him and proceeded to sink into a long, hot soak in the tub. I don't know how I'm going to do with this in the long term. Today seems to be going a little better, but it's only 11:00, and that's early. I know I ought to call on people who have offered to help out, but most people are at work at the time when I need them most.

My one outlet is being able to find the time to get online and check my e-mail, catch up on message boards and blogs, order stuff I need (since I can't drive because I'm on narcotic painkillers), from groceries to birth announcements to nursing gowns. (I am sick of wearing Steve's old button-down shirts and extra-large T-shirts to bed. If I am going to be up half the night, I want to feel feminine and comfortable.)

People say these early weeks are the hardest and it gets better. Still, despite all my whining, I look at Daniel in his peaceful moments, or even when he's fussing, and realize that these weeks when he is so young and fragile and birdlike are so fleeting. I will miss them when we've moved on to teething and potty training and kindergarten. So I'm trying to appreciate this time while it lasts.

12 comments:

liz said...

Oh, Em, hang in there. I know you're going to hit your stride soon. I have heard over and over again that the first few weeks are indeed the roughest (and that's true even for moms who are not on narcotics - yuck!). Therefore, you don't need to worry too much about how you're going to handle it long term because it won't always be like this. Which is, as you've noted, both a good thing and something to be wistful about. I think you are doing just great! I so wish I could be there to come help... Consider yourself tightly hugged by me, and hang in there. You're a great mom and I know you're going to feel more like yourself very soon!

Cynthia said...

Emilie, I may have shared this with you, but when I got my first child, it took me three hours to get us both dressed and fed and out of the door.
Parenting is new and it's hard and its ever changing.
But you are so right, you will miss that bonding feeling you have when your child is nursing, the way he looks up at you, wants to grab your face, hold your finger, the way he connects to you.
Do you have that book, "What to expect the first year?" Man, I lived by that book.
There were days when the child was teething and just crying that I just cried in exhaustion, too. I was sooooo tired.
I started wearing wigs because as a single mom, I still had to work and I still had to look somewhat decent.
I know you don't want to hear that this too shall pass, but it will. While you are going through this, you just want a breather.
I don't know your pain or your exhaustion, but you are a strong woman; Steve is a strong man; you two are a strong couple of parents and yes, this too shall pass.
But before it does, enjoy those small moments of when Daniel is at peace. Because you know that when he is sleeping, and at peace, you are your happiest.

Monkeymama said...

The lack of sleep really sucks the life out of you, doesn't it. I hope that you and Daniel get into a groove soon.

I hope that you can find ways to delegate everything but sleeping, nursing, and eating.

Do you have a baby carrier or sling? I've heard that some moms can get their baby to sleep in one of those, chest to chest, and also walk around. Beck wasn't a fan, but now she enjoys riding around in the sling.

Monkeymama said...

Oh, I thought of one more thing. Once you are up to driving around it might be fun to find a La Leche League meeting. I found them to be wonderful when I was feeling too pent up at home.

It was fun to be at a place where no one at all would bat an eye if someone were breastfeeding. I had a baby who ate ALL the time, so it was great fun not to have to worry about who might be offended.

LutherLiz said...

*Hugs*

I know that you can do it and it will get easier.

p.s. I sent you an email.

Emilie said...

Thanks for the support, everyone. It really means so much.

Sarah, I do have a sling ... a Hotsling ... and Daniel sometimes sleeps in it but sometimes seems not to like it, depending on his mood. He's sleeping in it right now, though, which gives me two free hands - nice!

La Leche League might be something to look into. I also would like to join an Early Childhood and Family Education (or whatever that's called) class - I hear they're great in St. Paul.

Laura said...

I felt so helpless when I was first home alone with Isaac. He nursed constantly and I was so sleep deprived. Things will and do get easier.

I love www.motherwear.com for nursing items. Check it out. :)

Missy said...

Wow - great nursing gowns - I wish I had known about them a year ago!!! And those birth announcements are gorgeous!

I remember feeling the same way you do, Emilie. It's totally normal and it will get better.

You are doing a great job - hang in there! :)

Kerry said...

Hey momma Emilie,

It really will get better (or you just get used to doing everything sleep deprived:)

I used to go out on really long walks just to get out of the house. I also remember how difficult it was at first when Eddy went back to work. I think you would really like ECFE, I know for us it starts next week.

If you ever need to get out you are more than welcome to come over. Call anytime.

Kristie said...

Em,

I know I am at work during the day when you probably need the help the most but I am done at 3:45 and I live so close that I could come over anytime!

Let me know if you need anything and I mean anything. I could run to the store for you, post office, whatever.

I'm here if you need me!

Susanne said...

Yes, this sounds exactly like you described on the phone the other night. From what I hear, this is where many develop post-pardom, because a woman goes from pregnant & pampered to 24-hour on call. Sounds like you & hubby are handling it well.

Megan T said...

Emilie,

I remember when getting the mail was the most adventurous part of my day ... or unloading the dishwasher!

What I do miss the most... the bliss I felt while holding her after she fell asleep while nursing.

It WILL get easier very soon; I promise. One day you will wake up and realize -- oh my gosh -- I've slept for five hours -- what's wrong? Really, it will happen. And nothing will be wrong.