Sleep Is Worth Fighting For

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Before I had Little E, just about a month ago, I would have killed for a full night’s sleep. My back hurt, I couldn’t sleep on my stomach, I was waking up every few hours… I would look at my peacefully sleeping husband and think horrible, horrible thoughts in my sleep-deprived jealousy. I couldn’t wait to give birth and be able to sleep again.

I know what you’re thinking: “How did she think she was going to sleep with a newborn?” This is not my first rodeo, folks. I knew what I was getting myself into. But the first time around, I did it alone. My daughter’s father was not in the picture. I woke up for every feeding and diaper change. I was there for everything. I dealt with sleep deprivation like a champ. But this time around, I had my loving husband by my side. Surely I would be able to alternate middle of the night feedings with him. Together we would get through this without a hitch.

Sure, I remembered how hard it was. Sure, I had read about women who wanted to strangle their husbands in their sleep. But my husband and I are a team! We were going to beat those odds.

The two days after I had Little E, while we were still in the hospital, confirmed everything I believed. My husband was the epitome of what new dads should be. I couldn’t get out of bed so he changed every diaper and was hands on with all of the feedings. It was a beautiful thing to watch… this transformation that he made. Before, he was the man who wouldn’t hold anyone else’s baby – ever. But here he was, so involved in our own fragile little newborn. It’s still beautiful to watch them together. But I digress.

We came home from the hospital and things stayed roughly the same. I would wake up for the midnight and 3am feedings, then T would take the 6am and 9am shift. Or vice versa. I would get up with the baby for an entire night so that he could catch up on sleep, then he would do the same for me. His nights became increasingly more difficult, as the baby wouldn’t seem to go back to sleep for him, so I tried to take a couple nights in a row to his one night.

Then I told him that I was mostly recovered from my c-section and he went back to work. The babymoon was officially over.

Please let me preface this by saying that my husband is still very involved with the baby. It is not me against the world, even when I’m so tired that I feel like it is.

Depending upon his work schedule, he still tries to help out in the middle of the night, which I am eternally grateful for. Then there are the nights that he can’t help and even though these nights are not his fault, I look at him peacefully sleeping and I wish harm on him. Not death or dismemberment, but at the very least the same excruciating calf cramps that would wake me up from a deep slumber while I was pregnant. I’m sure he’s wished the same upon me those nights when the baby gives him a hard time and I’m fast asleep. I’ve snapped at him over the stupidest things… something I was hoping would end after the surge of pregnancy hormones had escaped my scarred, shriveling body. We often go to bed barely speaking now, not because we’re angry with each other (as far as I know) but more out of sheer exhaustion. There’s a good chance that at any given moment in our house either someone is sleeping (the baby) or someone needs a nap (either one of us).

To the teenagers out there thinking, “I want a baby so that I have someone who loves me forever,” or the early 20-somethings thinking you’re ready, I say this: This is how you know if you’ve found true love or not. When you are so tired that you want to physically harm the person you love, but you stop yourself because you would miss them and your life would be infinitely worse without them in it, that is true love. I have found that with the man of my dreams… even on the days when I’m fighting for 5 more minutes of sleep.

Take Us As We Are

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Okay, no, that’s not what my house looks like right now, but I feel like it does. And to be honest, I don’t care. As many of you now know, we have a new baby in the house and I’m recovering from a C-section. This means we also have visitors on an almost daily basis. To those visitors, this is what I have to say:

You are welcome here whenever you’d like. Please feel free to stop by and see the little man. We have plenty of food and drinks, we are almost always home lately, and we would love to see you. Just call first and let us know you’re coming so that you’re not overlapping with other guests.

We are happy to share Little E. We understand that the little man came into this world with a lot of people loving him and we are grateful for it. That’s why we are happy to share him with you. Yes, I expect you to wash your hands before you hold him. Other than that, I’m pretty relaxed on the subject. Most of you have your own kids. I trust you’re not going to drop mine.

Don’t judge my house. Let’s face it. I’m happy to have you over for a visit, but I’m not going to clean for you right now. There are stains on the tablecloth, papers on the counter, and blankets all over the living room. Depending on the time of day, there are also unfinished bottles next to the sink. Oh, and the bathroom hasn’t been cleaned since before I went into labor. Call ahead and let me know you’re coming. Those things aren’t going to change.

Don’t come over if your kids are sick. Use common sense here. If you have kids, you know how the game works. Your kid goes to school, gets sick from some other little walking germ, brings it home, gets your whole house sick, goes to a birthday party on the weekend, gets every kid there sick, and the cycle continues. My little guy has no immune system yet. If your kids are sick, stay home. We intend to keep him. There’s no rush for you to come see him. He’ll be a little older by the time you meet him, but hopefully he won’t be sick then. Because you stayed away. Thank you in advance.

Right now, I am thoroughly enjoying spending time with my family. Peanut had a 3-day weekend, T is off of work for as long as I need him, and I’m off until mid-August. I’m soaking in every moment of this bliss before life kicks back in and we’re all running in different directions. I welcome any of my friends and family over to share in the peaceful chaos that is our life right at this moment. Just don’t judge me based on the condition of my house.

And Then There Were Four

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First off, please let me apologize for not posting in a while. I was kind of busy giving birth. That’s right. We have a new little man in our home! Yay!! Little E is absolutely wonderful so far and worth everything it took to get him here.

See, last Tuesday started off like any other day. Peanut was at school, I had lunch plans with one of my besties for her birthday, T was sleeping in because he worked the afternoon shift that day… Nothing out of the ordinary. Until 9:36am when the first contraction hit. The next one came 9 minutes later. I texted my friend to let her know what was going on, but still thought I had plenty of time. So I jumped in the shower. Three contractions later, I was getting dressed and waking T up to let him know he should probably get ready for the hospital. The contractions were a steady 3-4 minutes by then and gaining in intensity, but I still wasn’t panicking. We had time, right? Wrong.

By the time we got to the hospital I was in so much pain. I was admitted immediately and that’s when the real fun began. Not only did I go from 5cm to 8cm in a matter of what felt like 20 minutes, the entire nursing staff in my room was panicking. Unbeknownst to us, the cord was trying to make its way into the world before my little man, so every time I pushed, his heart rate dropped. After much yelling and screaming (from both the nurses and doctors and myself yelling back at them) and no pain medication, I was wheeled back to the OR for an emergency C-section. T was forced to stay in the waiting area with very little knowledge of what was going on and our conditions.

The hospital staff did a wonderful job and Little E came into this world at 12:27pm weighing in at 6lbs 11oz and 20.5in long. He is everything our little family didn’t know we were missing and watching my family with him has made my entire being that much more worthwhile.

T is an amazing daddy. Especially considering he would never even hold a newborn up until a couple months ago. He has been so hands on and you can tell how absolutely in love he is. It’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever witnessed. He’s been wonderful with me too. Not that I had any doubts. Things are just so much different this time around than they were when I had Peanut. It’s much harder to get around after a C-section. T has been completely understanding and has been taking care of bottles, laundry, dinner, etc like a champ. We have a pretty good system so far of waking up with the baby, but that will probably change once he goes back to work. For now, I’m so grateful to have him home and to have such a loving, supportive husband.

Peanut is such a great big sister already. She’s been helping with feeding him, giving Little E his pacifier when he cries, and just helping me with all of the things I can’t do yet. She still doesn’t completely understand the depth of my incapacitation (and no, I’m not playing the invalid and letting my family do all of the work, but I am taking things easier than I normally would). I showed her my staples last night after she spent the day utterly frustrated by my lack of enthusiasm for playing outside, and she finally understood. She had no idea I was in that much pain or that I literally had 19 staples going across my belly. She also gets frustrated thinking that she’s not being a good big sister every time we correct her or when what she tries to calm the baby doesn’t work. But we’ve been talking her through everything step by step and she’s trying her best. That’s all we can ask for.

All in all, it’s been a pretty emotional week for everyone in our house. But it has been 100% worth the ride. I’ve seen sides of my family that I didn’t know existed and I have reached new depths of love. Welcome to the family, Little Man. You’re in for a crazy ride.