The Babies!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

No Rest for the Wicked (or Me)

I want to blog, but I find myself staring at a blank screen with not a single coherent thought in my head. All I can think about is sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep.

Patrick is, in fact, sleeping and I should probably try to lay down and sleep a bit, too. But I know he will be awake again in less than 2 hours, probably less than an hour, and that just isn't enough time for my insomnia to let me fall asleep. Plus, I'm downstairs on the couch and he's in his little rocker next to me and that's all fine and well for his napping, but I have a hard time sleeping on the couch and prefer to be in bed. But going to bed entails turning off the lights and television, covering the bird's cage, letting the dog out, carrying Patrick upstairs to his crib so I can hear him when he wakes up, taking my laptop, cell phone, a glass of water for me and a bottle for Patrick upstairs, brushing my teeth, washing my face and taking my meds. And probably doing two or three other things along the way. All of which will take close to an hour, at which time Patrick will be awake again. So sleep is but a wishful dream on the horizon because I'm too damned tired at this moment to do everything I need to do to actually go to sleep.

I'm not alone, though. Mary Anne blogged about being tired this morning. She has a new baby and a toddler, so I weep for her. Of course, she also has a partner and child care, so perhaps she should weep for me. I suspect we are both too tired to waste tears for each other when we can simply weep for ourselves. But I'll quote this part in place of offering anything creative or new or interesting of my own. Because, dear readers, I'm simply too tired to be original:

People keep asking me how I'm doing, especially this week as I see lots of old friends in concentrated doses. And I say terrible and they laugh uncomfortably and I say no really the last six months have been pretty much sheer hell and they say but at least your children are adorable and I admit that this is true but how is that relevant? Cute and hell are not measured on the same axis. My children, you are overflowing with cuteness, your adorability quotient is sky-high, especially when dressed in the little butterfly and alligator outfits that aunty and grandma got you for Christmas but that has absolutely nothing to do with the hellishness. Which also has nothing to do with your personalities, I must note, which are, as children's personalities go, pretty good. (Oh look, my commas have come back, how I love, them.) It is really all about the sleep, or lack, thereof. Comma, stop.

I know new parents are supposed to complain about lack of sleep and we are all supposed to nod and smile and change the subject because that is the social contract but this is truly maddening. I read an article although probably it was just a summary of an article now that I think about it because I can't remember the last time I had the time to just read an article for fun but anyway I read an article about how new parents and interns on call had similar sleep patterns -- being woken up at unpredictable intervals far too often and for far too long. The article said the human brain was not well suited to handle that kind of unpredictability and given that maybe we shouldn't be so quick to put patients' lives and fragile babies into the hands of those who are being slowly driven mad by the interrupted and inadequate sleep. Which all makes total sense to me but doesn't appear to be stopping this from happening.

Now I will begin the slow process of making my way to bed-- hopefully by midnight or 1 AM, depending on how long it takes for sweet, drowsy Patrick to eat when he wakes again shortly-- for my two (maybe two and a half) hours of sleep before he wakes yet again. Tomorrow when someone asks me how I'm doing I will say I'm tired (I don't say terrible because I figure it could always be worse) as I have said every day since he was born (and before, since pregnancy was also exhausting, but in an entirely different way) and I will try very hard not to think about how much actual sleep I got because that only makes me more tired. And I will be grateful that Patrick is a good, sweet, cute, easy baby, even if I'm so tired that I sometimes forget his name.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Off Balance

One of the persistent themes I've blogged about over the past five years is finding balance. Balance is everything, at least for me. When my life is out of balance, it's hard-- sometimes impossible-- for me to be creative. I have found myself more off balance this year than I have ever been in my life. When the writing has come, which has been rare in 2009, it has not come easy. And now Patrick is here and the concept of balance has gone completely out the window.

Granted, I know that's how it's supposed to be right now and in some ways I don't mind at all. I'm only three weeks into motherhood and it's been an incredible learning experience already. Not all of it good. We went on our first mother/son outing to Starbucks yesterday and something that seemed so simple a month ago was suddenly a production. I wasn't surprised by that-- I may have little experience with babies, but I do know how much work they are and I was/am at least mentally prepared for that, even if I was never prepared to do it alone. I know it'll get easier as I gain experience and get my strength back, but I'm just so impatient for that to be now.

Thankfully, in addition to being devastatingly handsome, Patrick is a pretty easy baby. Of course, I have no basis for comparison to know what an "easy baby" is, but so far he rarely cries except when he's hungry or gassy. That's pretty easy, right? He does get fussy sometimes-- flailing his arms and getting red in the face without ever really breaking into crying. Sometimes in the afternoon and evening it's hard to get him to nap after he eats, but even then he's not really hard to calm. Of course, I'm constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop as everyone warns me it can change in a heartbeat. God, I hope not.

But as beautiful and easy as Patrick is, I'm acutely aware of the lack of balance in my life. Technically, I'm still recovering physically and I'm trying to cut myself some slack when I get frustrated over the fact that I'm not charging full speed ahead. I should be writing, I tell myself. I should be working on ideas for my next anthology. Planning events and promo for Fairy Tale Lust. Etcetera. I can't do too much physically yet, but I'm anxious to get the baby weight off. (Yay for Wii in the winter months!) Even in that I'm trying not to be too impatient. As someone pointed out, it took nine months for my stomach to get that big (lord, was it big!) and it'll take at least that long for it to go away. But even though I wasn't a size 6 when I got pregnant, I'm anxious to have my body back. I'm able to wear some of my jeans already, which is a good feeling. It's a start. Baby steps. Ha.

I am profoundly grateful for this beautiful, healthy baby. I don't need to say that, do I? I'll say it anyway-- taking care of a baby might be new to me, but I feel like I was born with mommy guilt. I am grateful and I'm looking forward to so many things with this little boy. But right now-- in the midst of the feeding, diapering, cuddling, attempting to sleep before I start it all again routine-- it's hard to sit on the ground on one end of the see-saw when I feel like I'm never going to get airborne again-- at least not for several months. I was talking to my neighbor yesterday about traveling-- he and his wife are going to Vegas next month-- and he said my "wings have been clipped" now. At the time, I was sitting in the truck with Patrick on our way to Starbucks, mentally calculating how long I could stay out before he would wake up and need to be fed, so I suppose my wings have been clipped. But I bristled at the comment-- stumbled over my words and said not at all, we plan on traveling with Patrick (and I plan on traveling alone, too, but I didn't even think to say that)-- and it stuck with me. Clipped wings. Grounded. Shudder.

I keep reminding myself that I don't do things like other people. I never have. I have proven people wrong, I have gone against expectations and norms and I have made people cock their heads as they try to figure me out. Beneath the fatigue, the circles under my eyes, the baby spit up on my T-shirt and the lack of a decent meal despite a freezer full of food because I haven't had much of an appetite in nearly a week, I'm still that same person. I know that and I don't have to prove it. Except to myself.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Life With Baby

Hello there. Have you missed me? I apologize for the silence. It's been a hectic few weeks around here (quietly hectic, of course-- you should never wake a sleeping baby!). Let me catch up...

After celebrating Christmas on Monday, Jay left yesterday to return to Dubai. He was originally given 2 weeks of leave, but was granted an additional 6 days when I ended up with a Cesarean section and wildly high postpartum blood pressure that carried over from the last few weeks of my pregnancy (which is what necessitated the attempted induction that resulted in the Cesarean). I was grateful that Jay was here for Patrick's birth and had nearly three weeks at home even if his command couldn't see fit to give him more leave despite my doctor saying my recovery would be 6 to 8 weeks. (I'll save the eye-rolling and snickering for another post.)

I'm also grateful that I'm recovering more quickly than anticipated. Even my doctor and the nurses were impressed with how well I'm doing. Good thing, eh? Though it wasn't the birth experience I wanted-- and that's something I'm still coming to terms with-- the end result was a very perfect baby. I have no regrets in sticking to my guns and refusing to be induced before Jay came home or for opting to be induced rather than go with a Cesarean section first. The induction was hell on earth and I wouldn't wish that kind of artificially induced pain on anyone, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat if it would work. (Also to be saved for another post: the evils of being induced with Pitocin before a baby is ready to be born.) I'll be analyzing the situation for a long time to come, wondering what I could/should have done differently and whether anything would have made the difference between a natural birth and a Cesarean, but I imagine the disappointment and sense of disconnect will fade in time as I settle into motherhood.

It's hard to believe-- and scary, if I let myself dwell on it-- that I am the sole care provider for a newborn. Me, who had never changed a diaper before this little one came into my life. Even then, I didn't change my first diaper until he was 4 days old. (I spent 4 days in the hospital and was more than willing to let Jay take care of the diaper-changing duties.)

In some ways, the next few months will be worse for Jay. It's hard for me to imagine leaving Patrick for even a day right now, so I can't imagine what this experience is like for Jay. I'm grateful this should (hopefully) be his last deployment. We'll all get through it, somehow. Patrick will do better than either of us, I think-- which is as it should be.

So here I am, a new mother alone with a baby until June (maybe May, but I'm not counting on it), wondering how this all happened and grateful this amazing creature came into my life...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Birth Day

Just a few pictures from Patrick's birth day. More to come...

Big Baby Boy

Proud Papa

Mama and Baby

Monday, December 7, 2009

New Arrival

Patrick Finnegan Henry Wright was born on Friday, December 4, 2009 at 6:32 PM. He weighs 8 pounds, 10.5 ounces and is 20.5 inches long. He is perfect in every way.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

39 Weeks

This is my last pregnancy picture-- I'm being induced tomorrow at 39 weeks 2 days. It's not my preference and I'm still hoping to do it without pain meds (or a Cesarean section), but the baby is measuring over 9 pounds and my blood pressure has crept up enough to be troublesome. I will update as I can. Thanks for all of your good wishes and support!