I write this, lying here in the dark of our room. The red digital numbers on the clock reading 11:13. Meg is asleep next to me, while one of our cats, Jasper nudges his way between us to curl in for a night’s sleep.
At the foot of the bed sits the cradle that’s been in Meg’s family for generations, and seen all three of our little ones rest their heads in it.
In there tonight sits our youngest, just shy of six months old, alternating between sleep and rapid bouts of coughing, worse now than when I took her to the doctor’s earlier today out of fear of an ear infection. The ears were clear and the best diagnosis for her recent and regular bouts of misery and blood curdling screaming were chalked up to the perfect storm of teething, gas, and bad eczema all over her body. The doctors offered some dietary change suggestions for Meg, cutting out things like dairy and peanut butter among others to narrow down what it is in the breast milk that could possibly be leading to such widespread redness.
And as our nearly six month old coughs her way through the night, our two year old has already thrown up twice in bed, leading to impromptu washings of her, her clothes and sheets. Upset stomach? Another virus? The second round of flu that’s been in the headlines? Or just a bug? I don’t know.
*Post-script note: Since writing this, there were two more incidents of vomiting throughout the night, with more washings, sheet strippings, and washes to the point that we started running out of sheets and pillows. And by this point, I had taken position on the floor next to her for the rest of the night.
And as they slumber, here I lay, feeling utterly helpless. There’s few feelings worse than watching your children sick, looking to you for aid and only being able to do so much for them before having you put them back to bed and tell them it will be alright, even if you’re not quite sure when it’ll be…hoping that if we are convincing to them that perhaps we might be able to convince ourselves too.
Late nights. Weary-eyed mornings.
It very well could sound a lot like my twenties, but yet it is something we’re doing all over again, yet completely new.
That’s right. Our third child has arrived and it’s a girl…again! That makes us the proud parents of a five year old boy, a two year old girl and a newborn girl. And of course, the original trio – our three cats.
We’re about two weeks out since she arrived to the world and into our arms, and while there’s definitely a transitional period as we adjust to life with a newborn once more, our son adjusts to another little sister, and our now oldest daughter adjusts to no longer being the baby, all feels right.
Sure, it may be tiring, but it all feels…right, even thinking about the wake ups in the middle of the night to a baby’s cries, or dragging out of bed the next morning. I think, knowing this is just a part of new life and knowing it will change before I know it, I’ve just become a bit more adaptable (or maybe appreciative) of things that I think earlier on as a parent may have led to complaints or worry. Though now most of my middle of the night/early morning worry is focused on making sure the other two don’t wake up when the baby cries!
Otherwise, it now just seems like part of a process when a new life is adjusting to the world. And it’s a process that passes like so much else, and who really wants to rush the sands of the time?
Enjoy all of it, even the tiring stuff. Because before too long, we become too tired to ever experience such joy like this again.
Welcome to the world, my beautiful, wonderful girl!
When you’re in your twenties (or at least when some of us were in our twenties), you’d occasionally find yourself waking up after a night with friends (and drinks), asking questions about if you really did do that thing you’d never ordinarily do sober. “Did that really happen?”
When you’re a parent in their 30s up during the wee hours of the night and morning with a new baby in need, you find yourself watching television you’d never normally watch.
And when you only have basic cable, those choices are pretty limited.
And sometimes that choice is watching QVC.
And sometimes things on QVC at 3 in the morning seem like brilliant ideas that during more coherent times of day you might not ordinarily consider.
That’s when you wake up the next day and ask your spouse “Did we really order gourmet caramel apples off of QVC last night?”
Enjoy your Mrs. Prindables gourmet caramel apples, all our relatives at Christmas.
Some say don’t drink and Prime (as in Amazon Prime). Let’s add to that, don’t late night nurse and QVC.
On the plus side, the one we tried was pretty tasty.
In the past week, our little guy has added solid foods to his menu. I say solid as in mushy, but heck, it’s certainly something a little more diverse than just milk, I’m sure.
Eventually we would like to begin making his food on our own. It’s amazing how much of a supply you can get out of simply pureeing a piece of fruit or vegetable, and how cost-effective! Of course, this is sometimes met with an eye roll or two from people who wonder why we would go to such trouble. I totally look forward to it, though.
Call me weird, but I look forward to the fun of choosing what types of food to make and making it as a family. Knowing what’s inside what he’s eating and where it came from. My wife and I have spent the past few years trying to eat local whenever possible. Here’s a perfect, inexpensive way for the baby to do so too. Not there yet, but I look forward to when we are.
Last week we started with Rice Cereal, which he lapped up excitingly. A few days later it was Oatmeal Cereal.
This week, drum roll please…it was sweet potato for our sweet potato, and boy, did he love it.
What a world-changing feeling to see that orange-smeared face smiling with a spoon in his mouth as he got his first tastes of new food, and liked it, to boot.
Times, they are a changing.
I might as well hand over the car keys now. 🙂
For the first time in these past six weeks since he was born, sickness has hit the household, and it’s not just me. Within the past 48 hours, both my wife and I suddenly started coming down with something affecting out throat, chest, nose, and head. Being sick can be bad enough, but fighting back the gunk falling into the back of your throat, the burning sensation in your eyes, and having the baby screaming at the top of his lungs?
This is all new territory for us, my friends.
Last night, our dinner was a bowl of chicken soup, with hot tea (echinacea tea for me), and some hot lemonade for dessert.
Naturally, we’ve been incredibly concerned about possibly spreading it to our little one, and this morning, wondered if we already had. He screamed for well over an hour, and nothing could console him – not the melodies of Simon and Garfunkel, not food, not rocking, not snuggling, nothing. Imagine how scared we were to hold him close, too, considering our fears about spreading whatever sickness we’re carrying at the moment.
So, we called our pediatrician and expressed our concerns – especially his resistance to eating, whether it be breast or bottle.
He’s not running a temperature, which was a good sign, and they recommended running a cold mist humidifier, along with saline drops in his nose (to then be pulled out with a bulb syringe) to clear out his head. They said it could be that if he IS sick, that he could be stuffed up in his nose, making his mouth the only way he could be breathing. That means when he tries to eat, he is possibly blocking off his only way to breath, which could be why it’s been so hard to get him to take breast or bottle.
So, we’re going to see how things go in the day(s) ahead. I feel guilty that while I’m at work, she’s at home, dealing with a fussy baby who’s eating schedule is hit and miss while at the same time fighting off illness herself.
Any suggestions on keeping a six-week old from catching what mommy and daddy have?
He likes to show them off to us usually ni the middle of the night, working himself into such a tizzy during breastfeeding that he’s too worried about screaming to get fed than actually feeding.
Hey, when you’re under 14 days old, you get a lot of slack.
So, last night in the wee hours of the morning, while my wife set up next to me in bed, struggling with the little one, I looked over to my my Alarm Clock/Radio/CD Player on the nightstand and remembered the CD inside – Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits.
So, I flicked the switch to Track 8 “At the Zoo” – a song we used to listen to a lot when he was in utero.
It took a little bit, but before the song ended, he had begun to calm down, becoming much more manageable through “Fakin’ It,” “Mrs. Robinson,” “Old Friends,” and my personal favorite, “The Boxer,” which all followed. Meg then joined in singing a few bars, which also helped “soothe the savage beast,” as they say. 🙂
A few diaper changes and tears followed, of course, but thank you, Paul Simon, and thank you, Art Garfunkel, for helping calm my little boy down, and making the middle of the night feedings and diaper changes a little more groovy.
“We have only been home from the hospital for three hours and I don’t think I have ever been so tired in my life.
I feel terrible even using the phrase ‘I’m tired’ as I feel that my wife had redefined the word after her past few days.
Since we’ve been home these three hours, our little guy has had two feedings, a diaper change, and is now napping.
Both Meg and myself are trying to heed the advice given to us by many and try to nap when he naps, even if it’s for just a fewer items.
Since we are still adjusting the baby and our cats to the wonderful world of co existence, our napping has been in shifts so that one can keep an eye on the baby and cats while the other one sleeps.
But with every little noise he makes, we wake and check.
As I write this, Meg is asleep on the couch, the cats all asleep in various spots, the baby asleep in the pack and play, and I on the chair.
She has tried to convince me to do something lazy and mindless while she and they sleep, such as watching cartoons. But despite the lure of a gilded invitation to do so, I just can’t find the energy to go more than blindly just ‘sit’.
I’ve run races and never felt so tired, but the emotional wallop of the past few days does not compare to any race.”
Now, several days later, we are doing a little bit better. By better, I mean my wife and I are adjusting (as are the cats).
The little guy has taken to feedings at a multitude of intervals throughout the night, starting around 11 or midnight, and wanting to go again every hour or so. That is not counting any of his diaper changes, of which there are several during the night.
During the day, he seems to eat a lot in the morning and then sleep through most of the day, waking in the evening for another feeding before sleeping and starting his nocturnal activities.
A lot of people have told us we need to sleep when he sleeps, but it becomes difficult, as when he is sleeping (and not screaming to be fed or changed) seems to be the only time to tackle things that need to be done around the house, be it laundry, dishes, etc, etc. So, a small cat nap here or there, but no large slumbers for us thus far.
Some people have told us “oh no, he’s got his days and nights mixed up,” but our pediatrician says that, being only a week old, he will, in time, start to develop a more normal routine. We’re hoping this is the case.
Our sleep has still been few and far between, which sometimes makes irritability an issue between my wife and I, but we’re managing. We know that this too, shall pass, and that this is all a part of the wild world of babies, children, and parenting.
I take a huge chunk of responsibility for part of our fatigue, as, with various requests “to meet the baby” I scheduled visits with friends/family each night of the week this week, meaning every night has been occupied. I admit, I think I may have overextended us.
One of the things about the hospital that we’re registered at to have the baby is the multitude of “extra” educational offerings they provide. For the past six weeks or so, my wife, Meg, and I have been attending Childbirth Classes at the hospital one night a week, where we’ve learned all about the process of child birth, contractions, etc. Made up of roughly 20 or so other couples, it provided us with the opportunity to take yet another “extra” that we attended this past weekend – Breastfeeding Class.
We’re both very big advocates of breastfeeding our “soon to be,” and I admit, the class made me even moreso, if that’s possible. I know some people will tout how far science has come, but by my humble estimations, there’s only so much that science can replicate in baby formula, and certain things that can only be found in breast milk. These unique characteristics include immunities, anti-allergens and all kinds of other great nutrition that they can’t get elsewhere. So, I’m all for it.
We’ve had people in the family who have had some trouble with breast feeding, and that gave Meg a sense of caution – one of the reasons she wanted to make sure we attended the class. I didn’t mind, as I really want to make it work.
Of course, that’s said as the relationship-half that isn’t going to actually be having a child sucking on its chest, so perhaps I’m out of place with my enthusiasm.
While I found the class informative, it also was a bit daunting. Between the video that shows you all the problems that may arise for you to troubleshoot, to the intense “lactation specialist,” it can feel a little stressful and could easily push some people off of the whole concept all together.
That is the slippery slope, I think. Here’s why…
One of the things they press upon you in this breastfeeding education is that a child has to latch on and breastfeed within the first two hours of their birth. It’s crucial. Introducing a bottle at any point in the first few weeks can kill the entire process of breastfeeding.
But when a mother is feeling scared, and a specialist, nurse, whomever, is so intense that they enhance those fears, it can often lead to some difficulties for both mother and child. It’s pretty detrimental to what a lactation specialist is trying to accomplish in the first place, wouldn’t you think? So the key is calm. Calm. Calm. Calm.
That’s where I, as the spouse, realize my place. I can not offer the physical nutrients that the child needs, but what I can offer is support to Meg, and to the baby as we head into this venture together. Yes. All three of us. The baby may be latching on, but we’re a family, and we’ll get through it all together, even this.
As I sat in the breastfeeding class, I could not help but notice that I was one of only a few spouses that were in attendance. What’s more, directly across from us at another table was a woman who was very eager to try this when her baby is born, and next to her was her spouse or boyfriend, who at first was sleeping during the class (very blatantly), and then got up and left, leaving her on her own until class had ended.
I felt terrible for her. Here we are, learning how important support of the spouse is to a mother who is trying to breastfeed, and this guy can’t even sit through a class with her. I just felt bad.
So, husbands to be, I say to you this – don’t brush off the idea of breastfeeding, and don’t be so quick to hand over a bottle if they haven’t latched on right away. Stick it out, it can happen, and you can help – simply by being there, being supportive, and being the partner that you’re significant other needs you to be, for her sake and the sake of your baby.