Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh So Weary

My darling second child, henceforth known here as Cily, is (not surprisingly) nowhere near sleeping through the night. I thought I was tired before she was born, what with the having to get up to pee twice a night and then letting anxious thoughts about Everything Under the Sun keep me awake each time. Oh, but no. I have reached a new level of fatigue.

Cily eats every 2 to 3 hours, sometimes every 1.5 hours, around the clock. I am not breastfeeding this time around, and that is a whole ‘nother stressed-out post in and of itself. (Summary: My milk has dried up. Cily is a biter, lactation consultant was not helpful, pumping painful and not fruitful [i.e. pump for 20 minutes and get 3 drops of milk], I was preoccupied with packing and moving during the crucial two weeks after she was born, I am not healing well from the surgery, and for some time there I was barely eating -- all of which resulted in a kind of “perfect storm” of breastfeeding not going well. NOTE: Much as I love you and value your opinion, I am not looking for advice on this. I have received a plethora of well-meaning advice. Despite all that I know about the benefits of breastfeeding, I have made my peace with this happenstance.)

So we have set up a feeding station in the bedroom, bottles at the ready. Cily is now waking up, eating and STAYING AWAKE for sometimes an hour and a half at a time, screaming for part of that time, and being perfectly sweet but awake for part of that time. During the sweet time, we lie in bed next to each other and stare into each other’s eyes. I stroke her cheek and speak softly to her.

In the not-so-sweet times, like at 2 this morning, I swaddle the screaming one and we dance slowly across the bedroom floor to the Cowboy Junkies’ “Sweet Jane.” We sway and I tell her how tired I am and I sing to her, “Heavenly wine and roses seem to whisper to me when you smile,” and I thank God I don’t have to go to work in the morning. And then her sister screams from her room down the hall that she is scared of her closet, that she needs a drink of water, that maybe she has to throw up.

Two kids. Two little girls. It is a blessing. It is tiring. I love them.

P.S. Digital camera? Broken. Videocamera? Recording, but out of focus, so the recording of Cily's birth is all hazy and smudged like a French Impressionist watercolor. My darling husband, who (a) makes his living with film, and (2) lost all his childhood photos in a fire and is thus rabid about documenting our children, is livid. I'm trying to figure out how we can afford to (I) repair the videocamera and (314a) buy a digital SLR (it's the lens on our Canon SureShot that's broken). Merry Christmakwanzaakuh to us! My point: I don't have any new photos to post. We are resorting to our 35mm camera, but then we have to process the film, which we haven't yet done. Not to worry! These early weeks of her life are not lost forever!


Cee in SF said...

Yeowza! It's a blessing, indeed.

bridget in oregon said...

Oh, man. I just wanna come down there and help you, sister. I've been there. I get it.

But I'm so glad you posted and are holding your own. It was good to read and I envy you to quiet, "sweet" moments you're having. Not the screaming one, the sweet ones. ;-)

sploo said...

You do what's best for you, girl! You're not doing T-giving dinner. That is a statement of fact. Not a question.

Mango Mama said...

MBB, I remember those early days after the birth of our second (and last), Yannick. The fatigue was so bad I felt like I was on another planet. I truly underestimated the complexities of moving from one child to two. Be easy with yourself.

E. said...

I feel for you, too. I remember those early days with Roo (and O., too, but yes it's more complicated with two, and the rest is even more elusive). But, remember: it gets easier. You know this from Viva, but let me remind you. It gets easier. And I'm glad the sweet moments are still so vivid in your mind, even with the hard ones. It's kind of surreal, the middle-of-the-night time. Hope it gets easier soon, and that you can continue to enjoy what's to enjoy about the hard nights 'til it does get easier!

Los Angelista said...

Just checking on you, new mommy! I hope you all are doing great. I can only imagine how exhausted you are.

As far as breastfeeding, girl, I hear you! Everybody wants to put their two cents in, but sometimes it just doesn't work out. In the old days, that's what wet nurses were for. Nowadays, we don't have that so bottles it is.

Hang in there and hope you're getting more sleep now.

Lisa Blah Blah said...

Thanks, everyone, for bearing with me as I transition into this new phase.

Cee: Yes, I keep telling myself that. It's a blessing, it's a blessing, so very tired, it's a blessing...

Bridget: I know you feel my pain! But yeah, I look into those big dark eyes and they are so deep and so old and so sweet, and yeah, it's all okay.

Sploo: I am trying! I did do Turkey Day, but just for us.

Mango: I used to think it was unfair when Bill Cosby said, "If you only have one child, you're not really a parent." Now I get it. It's still unfair, but I get it. "The complexities of moving from one child to two" - yes. It is hard to wrap one's brain around it!

E: You are right, and it is getting better. She only woke up twice last night! I'm trying to get her on a feed/wake/nap schedule and I think it's helping.

LA: We are doing better, mainly because we are all getting more sleep. I am trying a new tactic with her and it seems to be working. Fingers crossed!