I’m going to be totally honest in this post. Some of you will think I’m speaking blasphemy. Please just know that being a new parent is tougher than I ever imagined.
I spent two hours last night wondering what the hell we’ve done to our lives.
I know that it’s time to start a bedtime “routine” with Joshua. (No, there can’t really be a routine when you’re demand feeding a one-month old, nor can you really expect said one-month old to sleep for longer than three hours at a stretch, if you’re lucky.) But, a “routine” of bath, bottle/breast, bed seems like a good idea. So we started it last night.
We gave Joshua his reflux meds, gave him a bath, fixed him a bottle, and Dan fed him. Dan tried to get him to sleep, but was unsuccessful and lamented that he “was just not good at this,” so I took over. I got him to sleep at around 9:00. I put him in the pack-n-play at around 9:15. Then, I pumped (three ounces!) since we’d given him a bottle and I don’t want my supply to tank and I was in bed by 9:30. Things were lookin’ good.
Until about 25 minutes later.
Joshua woke up. I got him and sat down on the bed to see if I could get him back to sleep and he started fussing. Dan, at one point very, very early on asked “How did we get such an unhappy baby?” And I replied “He’s a baby. What do you want me to do, send him back??” Joshua fussed/cried/screamed for the next TWO hours. Dan, whom I really do love very dearly and would give my life for, slept through all of this blissfully unaware that I was having a mommy meltdown.
I tried swaddling. He fussed. I unswaddled. I paced. I bounced. I rocked. I swayed. I nursed. I tried EVERYTHING. The babe was SO tired. His eyes would get so heavy and then BAM! wide open and screaming again. In the middle of these attempts to soothe my child, I started crying and I couldn’t stop.
I cried and sobbed while holding him and I repeated over and over “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” I don’t know what exactly I was apologizing for.
Part of me feels like a horrible mother when I can’t get him to settle down. Part of me feels like I was apologizing for the fact that he was in so much pain, like I’ve somehow caused it. Maybe part of me was crying and apologizing because I’m in mourning over the fact that it could be MONTHS before I sleep for more than three hours at a stretch without the aid of my mother or my husband. Part of me cried last night because who knows how long it will be before I feel comfortable leaving my screaming child with someone long enough to go out to eat with my husband, or before I feel comfortable taking him out to eat with us. Mostly, I cried because I feel like I’m failing him somehow. Like I really, really suck at this.
All I know is that I cried almost the entire time I was up with him last night. When he’d calm down, I’d calm down. When he’d start crying, the tears started flowing.
Finally, at about midnight, I’d had enough. I’d done everything I knew how to do and I could do no more. I marched into the bedroom and said “Dan, you need to get up NOW” and he flew out of the bed like I’d just shouted that the house was on fire. I managed to get out “I just need ten minutes!” before collapsing into a puddle on the bed. Dan took over baby duty and got Joshua settled down.
We both paced the house trying to keep the baby calm with me trying not to blow up at him since I was clearly an emotional wreck. Then I asked Dan if I could just lay down…and I did. Dan tried to put Joshua in the crib in the nursery and sleep in the chair in there, but Joshua would only sleep if he was being held. Dan and Joshua both came to our bed at about 2:30 this morning. Joshua slept until 5:00am.
Yes, technically, he slept through the night (midnight to 5:00). However, it probably won’t happen again and I don’t want to start the family-bed habit. (I have nothing against people who co-sleep in a family bed, but after seeing some pretty nasty sleep attachment issues in my family, I don’t want that for us.)
This morning we had a happy baby who was alert and wanted to play for almost an hour after he woke up and ate. When I could tell he was getting sleepy, I picked him up, rocked him a bit, and he was out for another three hours.
I have no idea what tonight will bring and really, I think it’s the uncertainty and lack of predictability that gets to me. I just know that last night took it’s toll on my sanity.