They don’t ever sleep through the night, do they.
A baby sleeping through the night is yet another one of those myths of motherhood like “breastfeeding makes you lose weight.”
(if you believe that, I have a 10 pound Mexican barking cat I’d like to sell you)
In fact, I’m starting to think they don’t sleep through the night until high school. Then you spend 4 years telling them to wake their lazy ass up and get out of bed at an ungodly hour of the morning because you’re up so they should be up. And why wouldn’t you be up at that time. You’ve spent the last 16 years conditioning your body to exist on little to no sleep so of course you’re up before 6 am!
But back to baby anti-sleeping thing. They say wait six weeks (and if I ever meet “they” I’m going to launch myself all apeshit crazy at them, tackle them to the ground and hold them there for six weeks). Six weeks arrives and you’re still getting up twice a night. Wait until they’re 10 pounds when their stomach can hold more milk. We coasted right through 10 pounds with no long stretches of sleep. Wait until 3 months, that’s when they really sleep through the night. 3 months. 3 MONTHS!?! I have not slept for more than 5 hours at a time in the past 11 weeks and now you’re telling me I have to wait 2 more weeks!
As you can tell, I’m having a little problem with the whole constantly interrupted sleep thing. We were beginning to see the light at the end of the dark, very dark, tunnel and even had that night where baby got 10 hours of sleep. But since then we’ve gone backwards. Max has been waking up every 3 to 4 hours. Refusing to nap during the day. Demanding to be attached to my shoulder when not refusing the nap.
This does not go well with increased yardage in swimming.
Last night he was up every two hours. Every – TWO – hours. I woke up at 3:26 am thinking to myself: I thought we were past this. Weren’t we?
I’m tough. I am. I can handle this. But sometimes...I just need a little break. Chris leaves for work around 7:30 am and usually doesn’t get home until after 6 pm. In between it’s just me and the baby (and the dog). There are times when I am envious that he gets to go to work. Not because I want to do his job or don’t have enough of my own job to do – but because he gets to leave the house. It’s mostly quiet where he goes. He doesn’t have to spend the day as someone’s source of nutrition, entertainment and sanitation.
And that’s just for the dog!
On Tuesday, Max finally seemed like he was going to take a nap. I put him in the bassinet and I’m telling you when have a baby only then do you realize how damn noisy the world is. Must the garbage man throw the cans on to the ground? Does the dog have to bark every time a delivery truck drives by? And why don’t we just live on the runway of O’Hare because I swear to god a plane goes by every minute anyways. He would fall asleep, wake up, fall asleep, wake up until finally he just gave up and said MOM I’M AWAKE!
(well, it was a little noisier than that)
Max spent the rest of the day crying, fussing and setting all new poop PRs. Not only did he soil his own outfit but it leaked right through to mine. At that point I just gave up and put on pajamas pants, spilled my fruit smoothie all over them and realized there was absolutely no point in me walking around the house in anything other than a giant absorbent towel. By the time the afternoon rolled around, I cried uncle, or – grandma – and asked my mom to come over to watch Max so I could ride my bike outside (imagine that!) for 75 minutes.
Max cried the entire time.
By Wednesday I had enough. So I called the doctor. I was convinced that he was not eating enough. He is constantly wanting to feed during the day. He is frequently sucking on his hands. And I feel like I’m just not making enough milk any more. It took me 15 minutes to pump 3 ounces last night (which is a lot of time for a little milk) – and then I spilled the bottle. I ALMOST CRIED! I had visions that I was starving my poor little baby. I worried that I would need to start supplementing with formula. I have nothing against formula but at this point I’ve survived 11 weeks of breastfeeding and I’m not giving up. MY NIPPLES BLED FOR THIS. I will not DNF breastfeeding.
And that is how I found myself today in the doctor’s waiting room. And we waited. Nothing like waiting 30 minutes with a fussy baby. Except maybe when a woman I will just call all sorts of crazy sat down next to me with her two crazier kids. There had to be 20 seats open in the waiting room and she sits herself RIGHT.NEXT.TO.ME.
Her 3-year old is tearing apart the office in a mess of grabbed flyers, magazines and crawling under chairs (the empty chairs, any chair – she could have had ANY chair, why next to me?). Her 7-month old was sitting on her lap. She was having a conversation to me. Not with me because I was too busy trying to inch myself and my child to the far reaches of the right side of the chair that still left me within 2 feet of this woman practically breathing on me.
BREATHING ON ME.
She’s talking to me like we’ve known each other for years. Girl, good luck with that baby. I got 3 boys. Did you want a girl. I did and got 3 boys. Good luck with him. In between she is yelling at her 3-year old for doing what 3-years old – run around, make noise, disregard obedience. Things that make you wish you had two more kids.
Oh wait, she did.
She continues to talk to me while setting her overstuffed purse on the ground. I half expect a crazy woman crack pipe to fall out when instead out rolls a canister of Enfamil formula. I had a moment of this-is-a-sign-from-god. Without stating my position on god I do believe from time to time messages like this fall out of the sky (or someone's purse) to warn you about things. In this case, that message being if you feed your baby formula he will be crawling under the chairs at the doctor’s office in no time. Or sitting on his mother’s lap spitting up something so white and nasty that I wanted to ask for a Haz Mat suit for my own safety.
Before the scene got any worse, I was called into the office.
THANK YOU GOD!
The nurse took some vitals on Max and then weighed him. 12 pounds 1 ounce. Now I thought two weeks ago he was 12 pounds 6 ounces but according to her charts he was recorded at 11 pounds 12 ounces. Am I really that sleep deprived? Am I imagining things? The answer: YES. She asked me some questions about his feeding and sleeping. I gave her the answers. As I did I realized I was slowly filling the role of THAT crazy first time mother who brings her baby to the doctor every time he has a booger in his nose (for the record, he does right now and I’m a little worried). I was hoping that he would have not gained any weight to support my theories but it seems that even data cannot save me.
The doctor visits us a short while later and gives Max a thorough exam. He doesn’t have a hernia, a fever, an ear infection, he’s not teething and his soft spot isn’t sunken. In other words there is nothing wrong with him. Diagnosis: crazy mother who thinks that she cannot possibly have a fussy baby.
And so I was given a handout. Yes, 3 pages of this just cost you a co-pay so next time just diagnose yourself on the internet. The handout was all about colic. Of course I don’t think Max is colicky, he’s just going through a rough patch right now. Kind of like miles 60 to 90 at Ironman. You’re still moving forward but bound to either puke, cry or curse the world for 30 miles. Then they pass. And you’re back to laughing and singing again.
Am I the only one who sang myself through most of Ironman?
I walked out of the office feeling a little embarrassed. Like I had been labeled. They will red flag my chart with overly concerned mother with utterly adorable baby, approach with caution and a colic handout. And wouldn't you know as soon as we got into the car, Max started sucking on his hand and crying.
Back at home, I fed him and then the unthinkable happened. He went down for a nap. And despite the dog barking every time a leaf fell off the tree in the front yard (damn you autumn!) or the maintenance crew mowing the lawn (must this be done every week?) or me unrolling a bag of cereal (if you eat second breakfast it’s like pressing the reset button on the day – right?) – he slept.
(that is...until the Fed Ex truck arrived and the delivery guy rang the doorbell. Every day that doorbell rings which sets off a chain reaction of dog barking and baby waking up. In all fairness, I am going to start storing these items in my car until 1 am when I will put them on the doorstep and ring the door bell nonstop until the husband wakes up to collect the small bike shop he is assembling in the basement)
So please, tread lightly and let’s whisper. Don’t wake the baby. Let’s see how long this lasts. Or, better yet, how long I last. I know that relief is only two weeks away when he hits 3 months. At that point he’ll sleep through the night and only poop once a day and I’ll magically be 10 pounds lighter.
By the way, have you seen my Mexican barking cat?