Golden Slumbers

If anyone has seen our previously sweet sleeping baby, could you please return her? No questions asked. There may even be a small reward for her safe return. The baby left in her place has now decided that night waking will be her new M.O. for the foreseeable future. This has gone on for the past month with no end in sight. I have reached for all the excuses and reasons I can manage: teething (three teeth almost simultaneously), developmental milestones, getting over her first cold, hunger, boredom, and whatever else I think of that day.

Whatever.

Let’s talk about sleep, shall we?

As a NOC shift nurse, I am used to getting less than the ideal 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and while these latest nighttime shenanigans by our beautiful daughter have left me sleepy, it is absolutely no match for the immediate postpartum newborn days and nights. This is nothing. That was a fucking nightmare.

If there is one piece of advice I would give to pregnant women, it’s this: be ready for the bone-crushing, soul-stealing lack of sleep. If you breastfeed, it will be even more magnified. You will wonder how you don’t fall asleep standing up or you don’t kill your baby from lack of rest. It is an amazing Darwinian development. I am still in awe of it. Seriously, though. Lack of sleep is one of those topics that nobody seems to talk about. It is quite possibly more potentially damaging than any physical postpartum change I can recall.

Maybe it’s just me? Maybe I just had a more rough time than others? Who knows. What I DO know is that lack of sleep will fuck with you in the most subtle of ways. Your relationship with your partner will suffer. Your relationship with your baby will suffer. Your relationship with friends and family will suffer. Until you sleep uninterrupted for at least a few hours, buckle yourself in. Lack of sleep is a bumpy ride. I’m convinced that a lack of sleep contributed negatively to my PPD. I am absolutely convinced that a lack of sleep contributes to many mamas developing a touch of PPD/PPA. It’s okay to talk about it. It’s okay to treat it. Hell, if we don’t treat it, the alternative is beyond comprehension.

Sleep is a beautiful, delicious, life-giving thing. Once our babies achieve some semblance of sleeping, we all rejoice. We all sleep!

Then, a regression happens.

Suddenly, our beautiful daughter, who turns 8 months old today, as a matter of fact, has decided for the past month that her wonderful 10-12 hour stretches of uninterrupted slumber were just plain boring. She is choosing to mix it up a bit. She wakes anywhere from once per night now to six. No rhyme. No reason. No clue. No sleep. She has had needs that were met with the breast, or a diaper change, but the vast majority of wakeful periods, she is simply awake.

And sometimes, she’s ready to party.

Fuck.

I know, I know. She’s at a point in her little life where the whole world is new and exciting and wonderful. She is learning so many new things almost daily, and I can almost see the synapses firing in her brain, watching those connections as she discovers something today she didn’t know about yesterday. I have to believe that this is a huge part of our nighttime woes.

Now, you’re probably asking me, “Well, why not sleep train?”

That’s another post. Suffice it to say, I’m not in the sleep train fan club. I simply don’t believe that babies have the capacity to ‘manipulate’ us adults or to be ‘bad’ babies. It simply makes no sense. Since they can’t talk, they cry. How many nights as an adult have you had difficulty sleeping? It happens. And I think it probably happens to children and babies as well. Until they gain the ability to truly self-soothe, they cry. Is it inconvenient? Well, sure. Are they doing it on purpose? No. I can cite study after study to bolster my position, but I won’t. It’s as simple as typing ‘sleep training’ into Google, and I trust you can all do that yourselves. This isn’t meant as debate, because I am certain there are others reading this on the other side of the sleep fence who swear by it. Hell, I did sleep training with my son 15 years ago. Did it work? Yep. Do I feel good about it? Nope.

Here’s my philosophy: this too shall pass. I am also lucky to have the gift of hindsight. I remember this phase all too well. I went through it with my son to an extent, and you know what? He eventually got older, time passed, and yes, he slept all night and continues to do so at the ripe old age of 15. Babies don’t stay babies forever. They grow. They evolve. And I know you sleepless mommies are cursing me right now, thinking, “Well, fuck, that’s great and all, but I want to sleep right now!”

My answer? You can’t right now. You will sleep again someday, but that day wasn’t last night, and it might not be tonight. You signed up for parenthood, all the ups, and all the downs, and everything in between. Sleep is a gift, and sometimes, sleep is a luxury. And sleep is just one aspect of parenting. I wonder if people were forced to sign a contract during attempts to conceive that listed all the shitty things you’ll go through in the first few years if people would actually sign on the dotted line. I’m sure they would. Then when all these things happen, they’ll still complain. Get what sleep you can when you can, and know that it WILL get better.

And buy a fuckton of coffee in the meantime.

I remember the conversation with my husband that led to two lines on a pregnancy test. We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but we wanted it so bad. And after a night of waking six times, I see this face, and I get happy tears.

10374495_10152788745912302_674329279825839418_n

 

I’m typing this during J’s beautiful 90-minute nap, and guess what?

She’s still sleeping.

Sorry, Bambi

Mystery solved. Odor eradicated. What WAS that awful stench we dealt with last week,  you ask?

An entire deer was shoved underneath our downstairs neighbor’s patio crawl space.

Fuck. Gross. Ick. Eww.

Bambi has since been taken away, and we are now once again free to move about outside and let the FRESH air inside. Ironically, today it is cloudy, cool, and even raining. There is no need to even open the windows. Whatever. At least I CAN if I need to do so.

Best part of all? We live in a community called Deer Park. Mother Nature has a brilliant sense of humor.

bambi

Where’s Dexter?

Okay, so three days ago, a disgusting, putrid, foul, rotting stench was noted outside our back patio, and since we don’t live on the ground floor, we had no earthly idea what it could have been. We surmised it was a dead animal of some sort that had met its untimely demise somewhere out back.

Fast forward to today. Three days later. The smell is still just as pungent, foul, and is enough to make me gag. As a nurse, I’ve encountered my share of c diff, GI bleeds, and stage IV decubitus ulcers, but this? This is unbelievably bad. I can only imagine this is what a dead body smells like. The smell slaps you in the face as soon as you open the patio door or a window even a crack. It’s enough to turn my stomach.

Management of our townhome is aware, and even the police department paid us a visit. They even did a door-to-door search to ensure that nobody was indeed deceased. Everything checked out.

The smell remains, and is so foul, we may be forced to stay in a local hotel tonight. We are unable to open any windows or doors to allow any ‘fresh’ air inside for ventilation. We have to run our window a/c units nearly all day with temps in the high 80s. To say I feel trapped is an understatement. The smell has even permeated the interior to a very small extent. Once you get that scent in your nose, it’s hard to not smell it. Never mind us adults that reside here, but I feel badly for our daughter. Her room has that very faint odor. Damn it. DAMN IT.

I feel like I’m in a Stephen King novel. If I were going to dispose of a body, I would do a much better job than the hacks who may have left someone down there. I will admit, I’ll be disappointed in a weird, morbid way if this turns out to be a damn cat, raccoon, or squirrel. This smell is BIG. Big and powerful.

And don’t get me started on the massive amount of flies that have also taken up residence outside. Is this Amityville Horror? Is there a Pet Cemetery down there?

Dexter, I need you stat. Stay tuned.

dexter

Odds and Ends

Wow. October already. Jesus, where does the time go?

We are gliding into Halloween, then it will be time to carve the turkey, and then J’s first Christmas will be upon us.

Did I already say wow?

It’s Tuesday morning. J is napping while I enjoy some down time, coffee, internet, and of course, I figured it would be a great time to blog a little. I need to remind myself that blogging doesn’t have to be an epic entry. I can also bore you with the mundane.

Swim lessons have gone better than I could have ever expected. We went with Infant Swim Resource, where the focus is on RESCUE, and while it’s not cheap ($600 for six weeks), how can  you put a price on water safety? I refuse to think about what might happen if J were ever exposed to water and didn’t have these skills. We are in the final week, and the progress is amazing. We have watched J go from initial curiosity, crying and protesting each lesson, to silence and actual SMILES during her float. I’ll admit, I beam with pride after each lesson.

As for me, work is work. I could complain, but I won’t. It’s two nights per week and allows me the luxury of being home with J during the week. We’ll just leave it at that.

Looking forward to Christmas. Tyler will be here. My boy will be with me for the holiday. This will be the first Christmas we have spent together since I moved in 2010. To say I am excited is a ridiculous understatement. We are going to do it all up right. A tree, trimming, the requisite holiday tv shows, presents. Hell, I might even try some egg nog this year. It’s gonna be great….

Okay. That’s enough for today. Plus, I need to go refill my coffee.

My Kids Eating Lunch Under a Blanket in Honor of National Breastfeeding Month

godlessnurse:

It just doesn’t get any better than this. Nurse on, mamas. And get rid of that ridiculous cover.

Originally posted on OneGoodDad:

Kids eating

In honor of National Breastfeeding month, I made my kids eat their lunch under a blanket just like the old days of when they were infants. It turns out it isn’t the ideal way to eat. Who knew?

Other posts on breastfeeding that you might enjoy:

A Dad’s Thoughts During National Breastfeeding Month

Reaction to the Time’s Breastfeeding Cover

View original

Mammary Musings

10329690_10152490096092302_3423662821774972812_o

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I felt it was time to express my thoughts surrounding the whole booby topic. I have had this post in my brain for some time, but I have finally decided to sit down and at least start the conversation. Well, that, and my daughter is enjoying a nice afternoon snooze, so I have some hands-free time as well.

Breastfeeding seems to always be a hot topic and one with no lack of debate. The only thing that has the potential to pit mommy against mommy like this is circumcision and sleep training. I guess I fall into the camp of ‘passionate breastfeeder’. Am I a Breastfeeding Nazi? Only when it comes to MY daughter. I honestly don’t give a shit how you choose to feed your child. But, I simply refuse to believe that my boobs deserve any less of a location to feed my baby than a mom who uses a bottle.

They are boobs. They are feeding a baby. As I have said countless times: If you don’t like it, don’t fucking look. (Okay, I don’t always sprinkle the word ‘fuck’ in that phrase). Why is that so difficult? Is it so scandalous to see a mom breastfeeding that you simply cannot look away? I just can’t believe that. Here, let me help guide you: 1. See a mom taking her breast out to feed her baby in ANY public place. 2. Feel uncomfortable at her ‘nakedness’ 3. TURN YOUR FUCKING HEAD. See how easy that was?

Three easy steps at joining the crusade to normalize breastfeeding.

World Breastfeeding Week was initiated in 2011. It’s one week, people. Yeah, your Facebook newsfeed will likely be clogged with photos of lactating boobs, engorged mams, milk drunk babies, and all sorts of nursing-related items. Your Twitter feed will include the same.

So?

It’s one week. Seven days. Surely you can survive the onslaught of boobs for seven days.

Breastfeeding is hard fucking work. It is a job unto itself. For anyone to continue to breastfeed in the face of ridicule surrounding the very method upon which they feed their child, they deserve a week of praise. A week of kudos. A week of pats on the back. Hell, they likely deserve more, but a week is a great place to start. In a way it is a shame that we have to highlight something that our breasts were meant to do in the first place.

Breastfeeding is beautiful. It is a bond like no other. I will take any opportunity to promote the bond that I feel has brought my daughter and I closer together than any other single thing we could do as a team. No, we all don’t look like Gwen Stefani, or Olivia Wilde, or Giselle when we breastfeed, but it is still beautiful. And so are we.

Breastfeeding is simple. Simple in that it is about feeding a baby. When I’m out in public and my daughter is hungry, I am not thinking about giving people a peep show. I am thinking that the sooner I stick my nip in her mouth, the sooner I circumvent a fussy baby. I would think that most people would rather sit next to a nursing, QUIET baby than a screaming one. No?

Breastfeeding is about support. If you have ever shamed a woman for breastfeeding, shame on YOU. If you have ever told a breastfeeding woman to cover up, fuck you. If you have ever whispered about a breastfeeding woman exposing her breasts, here’s your sign. If there is one thing I cannot tolerate, it is a lack of support from friends, family, and strangers. People have no idea how crucial they are in the early days of breastfeeding at providing needed support for that mother. We need to hear that we are doing a great job. We need to know that you support our efforts. We don’t need to hear that you are embarrassed at being with us when we choose to breastfeed in Target. Or at the park. Or on the bus. Or in a restaurant.

As the adage goes: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I’ll take silence over ridicule any day.

So, this week, and every week, I ask you to smile at that breastfeeding mom you see out in public. Better yet, if you happen to be at Starbucks, buy her a coffee.

Yes, I’ll be the one with my daughter on my breast.

At Starbucks.

214 Days

That’s how long I have been away from work. But it all changes one week from today.

I am nonplussed to say the least. It’s not to say that I don’t love being a nurse, but when I’ve been away from work as long as I have, it becomes somehow difficult to go back to ‘that life’. It seems somehow foreign now. I suppose I will pick up where I left off, wearing my manager’s hat, but my heart will be back at home. Fortunately, I am only returning to TWO night shifts per week, Saturday and Sunday, 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. and nothing more. This fantastic schedule allows us to dispense with the cursory daycare that most working parents have to deal with, and in turn saves us upwards of $2,200 per month.

Yes. That’s right, folks. $2,200 per month. That is not a typo.

In any event, I shouldn’t complain, and I won’t complain. But, I will pout. Just a little bit. I’m easing back into the workforce, and I’m hoping that it goes smoothly. I couldn’t ask for a better person to be with Julia in my absence, and I know James will roll with it and relish the times he gets to spend with Julia one-on-one. As dark and depressing as those early days of Julia’s life were for me, I cannot imagine life without her, and I remember this familiar comfort as my baby gets older each day, becoming more interactive, revealing more personality. These days remind me of when my son was her age. Everything is new, and every day is filled with the possibility of new skills and new discoveries. I am honored, humbled, fortunate, lucky, and happy that I have been with both of my children during these early days.

Two 12-hour shifts per week.

Easy breezy.

I can so fucking do this.

No drama. No muss. No fuss. No bitching. No complaints. I realize how lucky I am to be in this enviable position. I will only work two nights per week, yet maintain the same pay and benefits as before.

Shit, I better end this whiny post now.

One week from today I will add ‘working mother’ to my list of accomplishments.