It’s midnight yet again

My little one refuses to go to bed at night. No, that’s not totally true. My little one refuses to go to bed at night in his bed. He’ll sleep just fine if we’re holding him. He’ll be calm and collected and perfectly reasonable. But as soon as you put him anywhere near his crib he turns into a flailing, rolling, crazed maniac. It’s currently 11:30pm and we’ve been trying to get him to sleep since about 10. I know that sounds late to put a baby to bed but we sleep in late. And generally I’m up late. With my erratic schedule at work (this week for example: off, 10-7, off, 12-9, 10-7, 8-5, 8-5) if we were to put him to bed early (say 8 o’clock), I’d miss most nights with him. So later works better for us.

Why is his bed lava, you ask? Well, dear friend, if you can find the answer to THAT question we will all be millionaires and get to sleep at night. Ok maybe not on the millionaire part but we might actually get to go to sleep at a reasonable hour if we chose. I’ve never been one of those who is on a specific side of the fence when it comes to “Cry It Out” tactics, but I have a hard time with both sides. I HATE letting Baby G lay in bed and cry. I hate it. It hurts my heart and makes me feel like a terrible mother. I feel like I’m abandoning my sweet child who is lying in his bed miserable and alone and terribly upset at being bereft of my presence. I feel like when I finally do go to pick him up he clings to me like I’m a life preserver and I’m saving him from a terrible fate. But at the same time… I also don’t sleep very well sitting upright in a chair. I don’t have a recliner and for whatever reason Baby G doesn’t want to sleep on my chest if I’m laying down. So sometimes, like tonight, I let him cry. I sit downstairs and listen to him crying piteously through the monitor and I feel like my heart is going to leap out of my chest. Some nights we can bounce him or pat him to sleep and that works. Some nights if you put him anywhere near his room, much less his bed, he breaks out into hysterics. I don’t know what makes the difference but I wish I knew what the right thing was.

Sometimes I just feel selfish. Maybe that little tiny boy is scared or doesn’t feel good or is lonely and he just wants to be cuddled. I don’t know. Maybe he’s just being a toad and doesn’t want to go to bed. So what do I do? Do I hold him and let him sleep on me? Do I give up my sleep so he doesn’t cry? It took 10 minutes tonight. 10 minutes of him crying after I had been upstairs for almost 40 minutes rocking him, holding him, and trying to get him to lay down. That 10 minutes felt like 30. We are 10 1/2 months in and I still don’t know what the right thing is. There are lots of people who use the CIO method and swear by it. There are lots of others who deem it a method of torture from the devil which will result in your child becoming a homicidal maniac who will eventually kill you in your sleep. I’m not going to throw stones at either camp. I think both tactics have valid points and have different times when they are effective  My biggest concern is what is right for Baby G?

Tonight, anyway, was a combination of cuddling and soothing with a little crying at the end. It makes me want to go upstairs and hug him and give him kisses but I guess that would defeat the fact that he finally fell asleep. So I’ll take myself to bed now and hope he sleeps through the night, and plan to snuggle him in the morning when he wakes up to eat. You know how I love those morning nursings.

Dear Tiny Person,

You have recently decided that sleeping at night is not necessary. You’re tired – oh so tired – and you rub at your red rimmed and bleary little eyes but you refuse to sleep. We’ve been struggling with sleep for awhile now. We have a routine – bath, nurse, sleep – and you know it. You know when it’s bathtime and you know that milkies come after bath. You have forgotten that bedtime comes after milkies.

Even before you moved up to your crib you had the habit of going to sleep easily but waking up within an hour almost every night. Most nights you were easy to get back down and stayed asleep for 6-7 hours. Then you’d nurse and go back to sleep with me for another hour or two. Once we moved you up to your crib and unswaddled you (as you would wiggle out of the swaddle and then roll over) we’ve had trouble with bedtime. You used to fall asleep nursing, I’d put you in bed, you’d wake up about a hour later and need to be patted or sometimes bounced but the you’d go back to bed for the night. For a few days I could put you down in your crib, pat you a little, and walk away. Several nights you slept through the night without ever requiring us to come comfort you.

Now being put in your crib is akin to torture. You scream and cry and arch your back. You won’t settle and you won’t sleep. I can’t just let you cry. I’ve tried. It hurts my heart and tears at me. It makes me sad and it doesn’t help you. So we pat and sing and bounce and rock and nurse. Sometimes all at once. You need comfort. You need us to be close to you. And I’m ok with that. Yes, it’s frustrating when you won’t sleep. It’s exhausting having to get up multiple times in the middle of the night to comfort you. We’re so lucky to have your Auntie living with us to take some of the nights. You’re a good baby but a bad sleeper. You take short inconsistent naps. You much prefer to do your sleeping on us. I’m sure some people will say that is our fault. That we made that happen. And maybe that’s true. But when you are bereft of your child’s presence for the first 6 weeks of their life you hold on a little tighter. You cuddle a little longer. You indulge your tiny baby who you didn’t get to hold enough at the beginning. You soothe and comfort whenever you can because you weren’t always there to do that. And if your sweet baby wants to sleep on your chest you let them. Because your sweet one went to bed every night without you there to cling to when sleep wouldn’t come.

So we’ll keep doing what we’re doing. We’ll keep to our routine. Instead of getting frustrated we’ll sing and pat and soothe. And when your little head pops up just when we think you are asleep and your face breaks into a big smile when you turn to look at us, well, we’ll cherish every second. Because one day you won’t need us at night. One day you won’t want us to cuddle and kiss you and sing to you. But right now you do. So forgive us if sometimes we sound frustrated. It’s hard not knowing what you want or need. Sometimes we just have to keep guessing, patting, and singing.

4 More Days

I only have 4 more days with my baby before everything changes. Before we head to FL to see my family and pick up my little sister. Before we spend some time getting her used to caring for Baby G. Before I go back to work.

I know that I have 4 weeks left. I know that. But only 4 days of that are just mine. I don’t have to share him, or leave him, or let him go.

I’m scared. I don’t know if I can do it. I don’t know if I can get in my car that morning and drive away from him. I know I sound dramatic. I know women everywhere have to work and leave their sweet babies with someone else. I know they survive. But this is my first baby. I’ve been with him every day for almost 5 months.

Why does it feel so bad? He’ll still be my baby. He’ll still be there when I get home. But I’ll miss out on so much. Will I be there for his first word? When he starts to crawl? His first step? I’m going to miss him so much everyday.

So these 4 day I’m going to hold him a little longer and play with him a little more. I still have to pack and do some cleaning before we leave, but if I have to wait until he’s in bed at night to do that then I will. Because I don’t want to regret anything. I don’t want to regret not picking him up. And I don’t want to regret folding that extra load of laundry. And I know I’m still going to have time with him. I know that after my 4 days I’ll still have over 3 weeks left. But it doesn’t feel that way. Right now it feels like these 4 days are the only thing I have left.

Blessings

Several things happened today to remind me just how blessed I am. And how extremely lost I would be without my God to rely on. It started out as I was playing around on the internet and stumbled across someone’s blog sharing their own preemie story. Their baby was born 14 weeks early and from the few things I read experienced so much more trauma than my own sweet one did. Surgeries and scares and many more problems than Baby G. I know in the world of preemies, 31 weeks isn’t anything compared to a 24-26 weeker. The odds for those babies are so drastically different from where we were. As bad as our experience was, so many families have it so much worse.

While reading that blog I saw that they mentioned another little girl and then saw a link on their page to another blog. I started reading that blog and ran into a scenario I can’t imagine. I know that I would be devastated, but there is no way to imagine just how terrible it would be to hear that your 4 year old child has several brain tumors and then spend the next year waiting to know if she will make it or not. I won’t lie. I sat there with my sweet baby cuddled up on my chest and I cried for this family. And for the sweet little girl who is living that nightmare.

Then, when Husband came home today he reluctantly told me that one of the younger men that works with him called him tonight to tell him that his wife went into labor. She was only 6 months along. The baby didn’t make it. The little boy was their first child. I looked down at my own little boy and told my husband it reinforces just how blessed we are. That could have been us very easily. Only a few small changes in our day and I would have felt that pain. My heart breaks for them. I have cried for them. It has been on my heart and mind all day.

As I read one of the posts about the little girl, the mom mentioned that someone commented on the blog saying that the family should “have had more faith in doctors than God.” That the doctors are the only ones with saving powers. I feel a profound sorrow for that person. I feel more sorrow for that person than I do for any of the others I read and heard about today. Let me explain. For while there is sorrow and pain in losing a child or dealing with a child that might leave you before you are ready, how much more sorrow is there for someone who has no light in their life? No hope? For there to be no purpose or no relief? To believe that the doctors are the only ones that can help? To not know that your precious child is safe and whole again with their Creator? How do you handle death? How do you look at your loved one who is fading away and not know that they will soon be happy and whole again? Or know that there is always another answer if the doctors, like in the case of this little girl, had all but given up?

I am blessed. In so many ways. I am blessed that God has gifted me with this precious little boy to raise and protect. I am blessed he chose to guide us and the doctors who attended us that day. I am blessed that my parents raised me to believe and trust in the power of our Heavenly Father. I am blessed that God has given me a heart that overflows with love for people I don’t know. I should remember more often that this love needs to be felt for everyone – not just those in pain. I am blessed with an amazing family of people whose fates I already know. I am surrounded by love and warmth, forgiveness and acceptance. I have a God who listens and answers.

I believe in prayer. I have seen God answer my prayers. And not just in the case of Baby G. He is actively working in my life. So I will pray. I will pray for the little girl, Lucy. I will pray for the couple who lost their son. I will pray for the girl whose story I ran across on Facebook a few weeks ago who has the same name as my own little sister. I will pray for my sweet Grandfather. I can’t change what has already happened, but I can pray for peace, for health, for healing, and for understanding. I can pray for others as so many prayed for us.

I am so blessed. And I hope that you will take a few moments to count your blessing too. And to say a prayer.

It can wait

Today is laundry day. In order to keep my home from being overrun with dirty laundry I have deemed Mondays to be laundry day. I wash all the laundry on Mondays. This way Husband has clean underwear and work shirts for the following weekend. {Edit: I just realized this might sound as though the clean underwear were specific to weekends. The work shirts are specific to weekends. The clean underwear is a daily requirement.} As it is laundry day I also swap out the covers on the changing table and the Boppy.

Today I have managed to get one load of laundry washed so far. As in it’s still sitting in the washer. The other laundry is sorted and waiting patiently.

But it can wait.

I also bought two big packages of chicken breasts, having a stroke of genius, that I planned to clean, cut, and preportion into meal sized servings. I managed to get one of these cut and packaged. The other is sitting in a bowl waiting to be cut up.

But it can wait.

My bed needs changing, the rogue loads of laundry from last week need folding, dinner needs making, and the kitchen needs cleaning. Several other projects throughout the house also need attention.

But they can wait.

My little one isn’t feeling so hot today. He’s been fussy and clingy and sad. He cries so pitifully and can’t seem to get comfortable. He hasn’t napped well and only wants to be cuddled and held. He’s nursed more than normal, finding comfort in the milk and the momma. He’s finally starting to brighten and I hope whatever was bothering him won’t return. But until he feels better, everything else can wait. Dinner can be microwaved or picked up. There is clean laundry that can be worn. The sheets, kitchen, and projects will wait another day.

My baby is hurting. Nothing else matters.

This is a Public Service Announcement

For many years I’ve been on anti-depressants. I’ve gone off them a few times and find that I just do better on them. I’ve never been suicidal – my symptoms generally manifest themselves into lethargy, low energy, and an unwillingness to go anywhere or do anything. I cry easy, am more easily affected by things that happen to me and have increased anxiety. It’s something my friends and family are all aware of and love me just the same even if they don’t totally understand it.

I stopped my meds about a month before trying to get pregnant. I knew that anti-depressants weren’t recommended or considered safe while pregnant so we knew that it might be a struggle but it was something necessary in order to try and have children. I did ok for the most part except for the first two months that I ended up not pregnant. The first month was the hardest and I cried bitterly off and on for a few days. The second month I fared a little better but still spent several hours crying in bed. I don’t tell this to many people because I’ve found people judge you very harshly when it comes to your emotional reactions to situations in general but trying to conceive and pregnancy specifically. Someone always has it worse and you should never complain or be upset. This is what I’ve found being on pregnancy blogs and boards. We got pregnant the third month but I still had a high anxiety level and worried a lot those first 12 weeks. But I fared emotionally very well until the situation happened at work and I fell into a deep dark hole that I couldn’t climb out of. That, coupled with the fact that I was disappointed about not seeing my family for the holidays, caused my husband and I to wonder if I needed some help.

The final event that sealed the debate was the ultrasound that showed us we were having a boy. I tried not to, but I had my heart set on a girl first. I knew from the beginning of the ultrasound that it was a boy – I had “seen” and spent the rest of the time trying to keep myself together. When she confirmed it was a boy, I teared up. After that I just couldn’t stay composed. When the doctor asked me a little bit later how I was doing, I broke down. That’s when she suggested I try going back on the anti-depressants. I had held off and debated and told myself I could be ok; that things would get better and I’d find my way out of the hole. But the rest of my evening was spent mostly in tears. The floodgates had opened and I couldn’t shut them. Please don’t get me wrong – I love my little man already and I will never love him less than I would have a girl – I had my hopes set on a girl and my emotionally worn out brain just couldn’t let go. That combined with everything else I had been feeling the previous weeks was more than I could manage. It was literally the straw that broke the camel’s back. If I thought of myself as a camel.

I made the grave mistake that night of writing a post on a pregnancy/baby-based board about my disappointment and how I was feeling. I suppose in my less than stellar state I forgot how hateful, judgmental, and downright nasty people are. I know, really? How could I have forgotten that? The responses I got back were just short of verbal stonings. I was called every name in the book and basically made out to be a disgusting person who shouldn’t be allowed to procreate.  I also took for granted that my depression would be understood and my already damaged emotional state taken into consideration. But often, those who don’t understand, judge. This, dear friends, did not help me feel any better. I thought that these women, who were all in the same position I was in, would understand another woman’s fears and feelings. I was, unfortunately, very wrong. It took me a lot longer than I like to admit to get over their hateful responses.

What’s interesting is people ask all the time “what do you want?” in reference to the baby’s gender. This is disguised as a real question, as though the asker truly wants to hear what you have to say. What’s even better is when you tell them what you ARE having and they ask you if that’s what you wanted. Then you’re REALLY in trouble. But apparently though the politically correct mommy response is “Oh, we just want(ed) a healthy baby!”  Then you win the good mommy-to-be award and you get a cookie and a pony. Ok, not really – you just don’t get publicly flogged. Now, I’m pretty sure no one has ever answered that they want an unhealthy baby. People just don’t do that. And I understand not having a preference. But why is it so bad if you do have one? You can prefer dark chocolate over white, paper over plastic, trucks over cars, but you most definitely cannot prefer to have a girl child over a boy child (or vice versa). Shame on you for thinking of it.

So back to my mental state. I started a very low dose of Zoloft that night and have been on it since. The first few days were rough as I was dealing with the fallout from my online verbal diarrhea, continuing hatred for my job, and the typical anxiety that comes from starting new anti-depressants. I also had some internal struggles as, like I mentioned earlier, anti-depressants during pregnancy aren’t proven to be 100% safe. My family was also concerned and I struggled with that as well, feeling like I was disappointing everyone and risking hurting my baby. But the medicine helped – is helping. There are risks either way as stress hormones can cross the placenta and also harm the baby. I’m entering my third trimester now and I am weaning off as everything I have read shows that the main risk is during the third trimester and near birth. I am now on half a dose and am doing ok. I’m praying I will continue to do well after I am completely go off of them.

Depression isn’t something a lot of people talk about or understand. You hear about postpartum depression a lot but you don’t hear about the depression that happens during pregnancy very often. It’s like one of those things about pregnancy no one ever tells you until you are in the middle of it, but worse. You must be happy you are pregnant and happy you’re having a healthy baby and you cannot have bad thoughts or wish things were different, because, dang it, YOU ARE BLESSED. Ok, so that might be a slight exaggeration, but it’s close. Pregnancy makes you extra emotional to begin with, so determining what is “normal” and what is “too much” is not an easy thing to do. It’s also not an easy decision on how to deal with it. I think I’ve done the best I can do for my little boy and me. So now I will foray into the third (and thankfully, final) trimester med-free. I have an appointment tomorrow and plan to find out the final weaning steps. Keep us in your thoughts, and more importantly, your prayers. I’m sure we’ll need them.

I’ll cry to that!

The pregnancy weepies have found me. We are on our way back from Tennessee and stopped at Arby’s to eat lunch. As I currently intensely dislike fried foods I went with a French Dip and a salad. I’ve always loved Arby’s French Dips… Not so much with the new bread they use. Now they’re gross. Add this disappointment to the fact that I hate the way I look, there’s something wrong with my car (and of course it started as we were getting ready to start a 6-hr trip home), and I’m terrified we might have picked up bed bugs in the cabin, and I barely made it to the car before busting into tears. I feel violently unhappy and seriously overwhelmed. On top of all that I miss my family desperately. I talked to my dad for a few minutes this morning and hearing his voice made me realize just how much I miss him and everyone else. So now I’m a blubbering mess and I worry that now that the dam has broken it will never stop. Just when I’m not feeling so heinous all the time, something else starts.

On a more positive note, we close on our new house Friday and hope to get everything moved in this weekend. I say “we” even though I’ll be working all weekend. Then we have a week to finish up moving and cleaning the old house to get it ready for the renters. We have some new furniture picked out and hope to order it this week. Then it will just be the joys of unpacking. And painting. And figuring out where to put stuff.

As I mentioned earlier, I currently have a distaste for fried foods. This started last week when I ate some fried chicken. The chicken was delicious as I ate it, even if I was a little sensitive to the grease taste. But after I ate, holy cow, I felt horrible. It felt like my throat was coated in grease and that’s all I could taste. I apparently did not learn my lesson as the next day I had French fries (fast food version) and ended up feeling the same horrible way. It was then I decided (and announced) that I was not allowed to eat fried stuff anymore and no one was to let me do it. I have stuck by my guns but I should add raw onions to that list as I can’t get the taste out of my mouth since I ate a few on my salad for lunch.

That’s all that’s new for right now. I have my first trimester screening tests tomorrow which include an ultrasound so I hope I’ll have some actual “baby” pictures instead of my 6 week ones that look like a blob. Pray for a healthy normal baby and a healthy happy mama!