Only just recently, the weeks of getting 5 or 6 hours of sleep a night in two hour chunks finally caught up with me. Somehow, the following scene was wildly hilarious at the time and when recounting the experience to friends, I realized you really, really, really had to be there.
For posterity, here is Leslie’s brain on sleep deprivation:
Figure B: FLYING BABIES!
So we got desperate and started walking the baby at midnight. Then? We drag the stroller up the three flights to our room and leave him there.
(I may be witty in another three months. Or! Maybe I’ll even be thoughtful! OR! DRUNK! OR! OOOEEYYIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEE. I miss sleeping.)
I know I posted a little about Baby O’s birth story. But what you don’t know is that I left out one very ironic and very ME piece of information. It’s the kind of information that rivals walking around the mall with toilet paper stuck to your shoe or your skirt tucked in to the back of your pantyhose. It’s the kind of information that is only horrific if you DON’T tell people and if you do, well, it’s downright hilarious. It becomes an inside joke. It makes you more real. And people, if there’s one thing I am, it’s real.
So there I am, on the operating table, legs spread-eagle, spinal-tap in place vaguely aware of the nurse putting the cathedar in and my doctor turns to his partner and asks him to step up to the table. “Leslie,” he says, “have you met my associate Dr. Needlepoint?” “Uh, no, I don’t believe I have. Usually I like to romance a man first….” I say as I glance down at my precarious position.
My doctor laughs. Dr. Needlepoint, not so much.
I then recounted this story, loudly, with my three friends during our Mom Night Out. I had already told them this story twice, I believe, but did so for the benefit of the very old stuffy looking man at the table next to us who so obviously was trying to listen in on our conversation. He shortly thereafter moved to the other side of the table.
So? What’s your story? I’m sure you’ve never EVER walked through a pile of dog crap just before a job interview completely unable to wipe the entire sole off and end up having to explain it to a room of very important people because someone actually said something about a dog in the middle of his question, that you can’t even remember at this time but are pretty sure had something to do with your good qualities, namely that you don’t smell like crap on a regular basis. (breathe here) No. That only happens to those other people. People like me.
Despite being raised Catholic, I do not believe in Angels. At least, not in the “people in the sky with wings and halos” sense of the word. Much to my Mother’s dismay, I don’t even believe in God. At least not in the traditional “bearded man sipping gin and tonic in the clouds” sort of way. (Doesn’t everyone’s God sip G&T? Or is that just me?)
Maybe I believe in miracles. Maybe I believe good will always triumph over evil in the end. And maybe I believe God uses Starbucks baristas with moppy blond hair and a dopey grin just when you need it most.
We received a stack of discharge instructions about Baby O’s homecoming, most of which scare the ever-living-shit out of me making me a germ-a-phobe hypochondriac, specifically stating that HE CAN NOT GET SICK OR IT’S YOUR HEAD ON A PLATTER AT THE MOM-OF-THE-YEAR AWARD. At least, that’s the “cliff’s notes” version. So Friday night when I hear our little
8lb 9oz tiny bald man grunting and struggling to breathe, I did what any rational mom of a four week old would do: I lost my shit, totally. Three hours and two phone calls to Children’s Hospital later, I lightly slept the only hour and a half with Baby O on my chest. We were instructed to watch him closely and go directly to the ER should he dvelope a fever or show signs of distress when breathing, so closely watch, I did.
Seven sleepless hours later I arrived at the doctor with my stuffy infant and was declared officially paranoid. We were sent home with the same ER instructions, patted on the back back with a “he looks ok for now, just watch him closely” as we were shoved out of the door. Obviously treatment like that calls for a strong coffee.
We stopped at the local drive thru Starbucks to order my usual Grande White Chocolate Americano (light ice, half calf with a splash of nonfat milk, if you must know). The girl at the window tried to make small talk. I started with a “we’re doing well, thank you” and tried to ignore her staring gaze. She asked what we were up to. She asked if we had plans and was having a lovely day. At this point I almost started crying from sheer exhaustion and the fact that where-the-hell-is-my-coffee-and-why-are-you-being-so-inquisitive-and-nice. (I was in a wonderful mood, what with the hour of sleep and hours of worry.) I told her my baby is sick, he was born early, and I’m scared. She looked at me, muttered something and went to go find the drinks. A few minutes later, the blonde nice boy who’s helped our family before walked over to see if we were waiting on a drink. As the girl hands me the Americano, he peaks around her out the window and in the most sincere way I’ve ever heard a stranger say, “it’s going to be ok.” I smiled at him, took my drink, drove around the corner and bawled.
Maybe I don’t believe in people flying around with harps and wings, but I do believe in community. I believe heaven and hell are what you create in your life by the choices you make. I believe we can be angels to each other or daemons to the people we encounter. I believe we posses the power to change, not only ourselves but the lives of people around us, even those we encounter for three minutes or less.
I believe people encourage us with just the right words when we need them most. I believe in the power of the Internet and found your comments during Baby O’s birth and NICU stay repeating in my brain during the long nights away from him and the hours watching his Oxygen monitor.* I believe that just by uttering the words, you can pray through intention and I believe the barista prayed “it will all be ok.”
And the biggest miracle of all, is that I believe him.
You know how when you’re young and agile, you sit around with your friends discussing the latest episode of Boston Common? And then you know how you hit thirty and you sit around with your friends at your only Mom Night Out in year that you’ve had single drink and you play, “Would you rather?” And you know how you discuss for a good hour or more the merits of carrying around a colostomy bag verses having your foot cutoff?
Because seriously? A colostomy bag? Or a missing foot?
I’d take the foot. You?
Note, it’s not required that you drink before answering this question. But if you have the opportunity, say, whilst sitting around a table with three of your friends and this topic comes up, be sure to remind your friend choosing the colostomy bag that it will STINK and they have prosthetic feet, for godsake.
Baby O is one month old. My son, my last born child, the tiny 5 pound little man, is one month old. And I can already picture him walking out of the house in 18 years, loading his car, heading off to college and watching with both pride and tears of remembering the time he was one month old.
We’ve come a long way, Baby O, from people joking about the beach ball under my shirt to those gawking at the beautiful boy I hold. For whatever reason, yours or my body’s, you blessed us almost a month early because you knew we couldn’t wait to love on you. You grew strong quickly in the NICU and dozens upon dozens of people prayed for you and cheered you on. They cheered us all on as we sat by your side every day stroking your arm and whispering words of love and encouragement in your very tiny ears. The first time I held you, I cried. The second time I held you, I cried. The third time I held you I fell asleep thanking the world for bringing in such a lovely little man and trusting me with this very tiny life, knowing we would grow together. And we have.
We brought you home and you blossomed. You’ve gained nearly two ounces a day each day you’ve been here. You’re a strong little guy now and you pick up your head as you lay on my chest to stare in to my eyes. You’re curious about the world around you and you grunt and talk to everyone. Your sister has a run for her money in the talking department. You get that from me.
You’re working on learning the difference between day and night. I don’t mind that I get hours to hold you while you snore lightly. I’m never sorry to hear your noises as you wake up to feed. instead, I think briefly how insanely tired I am, how I’d love to keep sleeping, but then you remind me there are bigger things in the world and I am needed and loved. It makes it ok because I know it’s not going to last that long and one day you’ll grumble as I lean in to kiss your cheek and I’ll remember the hours we sat and rocked in the middle of the night. I’ll be proud of how grown up you are, but I will miss my tiny man.
I can’t promise that I’ll be great at doing these monthly updates. But I don’t want to forget your newborn-hood. I don’t want to forget how amazing it is when you gaze at me, when you snuggle between my breasts and sleep the most soundly you have all day. I don’t want to forget the smell of your head or the suck-suck-suck rhythm of your soothie. I know this time goes fast, so insanely fast, that even when the nights feel long or the days feel longer, one day I’ll look back and wonder when you grew up.
For now, though, I’m thankful you’re one month old. We’re enjoying you, little man. And we love you so.
We’ve reached the point in Baby O’s life were his eye-lids don’t seem to work if he’s laying down on his own. That is to say, the minute you lay a completely sleeping baby down, his eyes pop open and he starts fussing and crying. Girlhood doesn’t prepare you for this day, what with the dolls that ALWAYS closed their eyes when they laid flat in the pretend crib.
Dolls should come with reflux.
I believe it’s some sort of Karmac payback for uttering the words, “I might want another one…” And now? I’m so [enter every four letter word you can think of here which is probably more than I can think of right now on three hours of sleep] tired.
This post brought to you by the makers of condoms.
Last week we talked to another pediatrician about Baby O’s increased crying. Armed with a healthy knowledge of reflux and colic from our previous experience raising a baby, we took fantastic notes for four days before calling with an irrefutable list of evidence. Dr. McYummy agreed and he handed us the flux-juice that promised to make our lives as near normal as parents with a newborn can expect. Life will still suck, he tells us, but it’ll suck a lot less.
We’ve been pushing the flux-juice on Baby O for four days. Life is indeed improving. Baby O cries in an almost predictable pattern and follows all “normal newborn” fussiness. How do I possibly know what normal newborn fussiness is when my last child screamed 5 hours a day for 4 months? Dr. McGoogle.
See, there is scientific evidence that babies peak fussy at 6 weeks. They cry more often at night and there may be no real reason for their inconsolable whine. But there’s hope! Dr. McGoogle offers a lot of ways to soothe your crying infant.
But, there’s more.
Mrs. Flinger offers an alternative that may calm you, if not your infant. We call it MaiTai and it’s revolutionary.
By the third drink, you won’t notice your infant’s wails. In fact, you won’t notice the neighbor’s dog or the car alarm from the cranky old woman three doors down that can’t find third gear when she drives (you know this because you’re always behind her when you leave for preschool) let alone the deactivation for the alarm. And by You, I mean Me.
We here at Mrs. Flinger take in to account those of you working hard to provide boob-juice for your young. We’ve taken note of methods provided by Dr. Google for the pump-n-dump and have collected some information to help during your morning hangover fog.
Our favorite advice says, “By the time you are no longer feeling “tipsy” it is okay to feed your baby. Alcohol does not go into your milk and stay there. It goes in and comes out. If you feel ok, then most of the alcohol is out of your milk. If you have any doubt, pump and dump one time and that should be fine.”
But the La Leche League’s THE BREASTFEEDING ANSWER BOOK (pp. 597-598) says, “Alcohol passes freely into mother’s milk and has been found to peak about 30 to 60 minutes after consumption, 60 to 90 minutes when taken with food. Alcohol also freely passes out of a mother’s milk and her system. It takes a 120 pound woman about two to three hours to eliminate from her body the alcohol in one serving of beer or wine…the more alcohol that is consumed, the longer it takes for it to be eliminated. It takes up to 13 hours for a 120 pound woman to eliminate the alcohol from one high-alcohol drink. The effects of alcohol on the breastfeeding baby are directly related to the amount the mother consumes.”
And experts like Dr. Jack Newman, author of The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers: “Reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged at all ... Prohibiting alcohol is another way we make life unnecessarily restrictive for nursing mothers.”
That’s right, Internet, I’m here to displace your guilt and tell you that I did, in fact, enjoy my time out last night. I’d have to say that a mom of a newborn shouldn’t deny herself. In fact, a night out with the girls is probably exactly what the Doctor ordered. And if Dr. Google didn’t order it, Dr. Flinger will.
I’ll drink to that.
Mrs. “Holy hell my nipples are rock hard.”
Mr. “Pumping is the Mom’s Viagra?”
Mrs. “I think I’ve reached the six hour limit and should call a doctor. I’ve had a boob erection for days.”
12 guests here now.