March 26, 2013

safe and sound

One night last week I was rocking Elsie to sleep.  She had been fighting sleep ALL DAY, barely giving me a minute to spend on anything else, let alone myself.  I stared down at my clothes.  Honestly?  I couldn't remember the last time I'd changed them.  I'm pretty sure I had worn them, slept in them, and worn them yet another day.  There was a pile of laundry in the corner that needed to be put away.  Curtain rods sitting on the floor waiting to be hung.  A dirty diaper that needed to make its way to the trash.  And that was just in Elsie's room.


I was beyond frustrated.  Angry that I didn't have the time to do the things that I needed and wanted to do.  I thrive on schedule, routine, order.  I get anxiety when I'm not in control.   Babies and toddlers?  They don't care.  While Elsie drifted in and out I googled 'getting your baby to sleep', 'how to get a six week old to sleep', 'getting your baby on a schedule'.  Desperately seeking some information I might not have read before.  Ignoring what I knew to be true, that this is a phase and sleep and schedules and routine will come.  And then my phone moved on to the next song in my playlist...

Can't believe you're here now
Tiny dream come true
The answer to a prayer now
I'm so in love with you
Couldn't wait to meet you
Hope you like your name
I get the funny feeling
Life will never be the same

Safe and sound
You're here with me now
Like I'd hoped you'd be
Safe and sound
You're here with me now
And that's all I'll ever need...
'Safe and Sound', Matthew West 

Tears welled up in my eyes.  A year ago I would have done anything to trade places with my sleep deprived self.  I was aching to be pregnant.  So badly wanting a newborn baby to hold.  To add another piece to our family puzzle.  For a moment I completely forgot how much I wanted to be right there in that chair, rocking my sweet baby.  Those clothes would still be there in the morning.  Elsie doesn't care if her curtains aren't hung.  But Elsie?  Will never be this old again.  She is going to grow much faster than I want her to.

Of course it is hard to see the bright side, the big picture, when I'm running on fumes, my house is in shambles and I can't remember if I've even brushed my teeth today.  But the truth is life is exactly what it is supposed to be right now.  Snuggling Elsie is really such a treat, I can't wish it away.  I need to savor it.


Jumping to a different but similar topic... I've been lucky, this time around breastfeeding has been incredibly easy in regards to pain on my end.  And Elsie took to it like a champ, gaining nearly three pounds in a month.  Yet, even though it has been easy, it really hasn't been enjoyable.  We're still on the fence about whether or not Elsie has reflux, every feeding comes with tears and spit up from her and frustration from me.  It is hard to feel like it is a positive experience when it is by no means comforting to her.  She often seems frantic at every feeding.  She'll choke and seem frustrated.  I know that a strong let down could be causing the issues, and I'm doing my best to combat that, but overall it seems like nearly every feeding is a pathetic circus.  But I have no excuse to give up.  Like I said.  Overall it has been easy for me, and Elsie is very healthy.

The one thing I am grateful for about breastfeeding?  (Besides of course the lack of bottle cleaning, I don't miss that one bit.)  It has forced me to sit down and spend time with Elsie.  Had we opted to go the bottle and formula route, I have no doubt that I often would have passed her off to someone else for a feeding so that I could play with Ryann or get something done.  It would have been so easy to do.  So even though nursing doesn't give me the warm fuzzies by any means, it is indeed a time for Elsie and I to bond in its own way.


Being a parent is incredibly hard.  You don't have to give up who you are, but you definitely have to give up a lot of your self.  Sometimes every day I feel like I'm failing. But when I really stop and take it in, the feel of Elsie's head nuzzled under my chin, the weight of Ryann's hand resting on my leg while I read a story, it is all worth it.  I love my babies.  I thank God they are here.  I will keep them safe and sound.  And that is all we need.


Mrs. Betz Fritz said...

Lurker here coming out of the woodwork! First congrats on your sweet baby girl!

The last paragraph so hit home for me and has me crying in my office because IT IS SO TRUE and exactly what I needed to tell myself today. Probably everyday!

Thank you for sharing, makes me feel like I'm not alone in the crazy mama world!

- Betsy

Anonymous said...

Hang in there! Breastfeeding can sometimes "feel" like a chore, my "baby" is 3 now and is it crazy that I miss nursing?? When my baby was brand new she didn't latch on well at all so I strictly pumped for weeks and hated it. I was determined to keep trying and it seemed like the older she got the better things went and she eventually got comfortable as did I. In the end I was one of those mommas that sobbed when I quit nursing at 14 months. Hopefully things will get easier for you, but just remember that you are doing the best that you can!

Kristin said...

Such sweet words. The newborn days are SO hard!

I had a very strong letdown and block feeding really helped it. I would just feed from the same side for several feedings in a row before switching. It doesn't work for everyone, but it worked for me.

Good luck!

Kelly said...

This is by far my favorite post you have written xoxo

Ashley@MarriedLane said...

Such a sweet encouraging reminder! Motherhood is hard but worth every chaotic minute.

Caitlin MidAtlantic said...

Breastfeeding is SO hard, even when things are going smoothly. I know with my two, having a pattern really helped form routine. We went with eat, play, sleep. Even if the baby only "plays" for a few minutes, it helps form a pattern. Patterns in turn help with routine. Hope you find your pattern and routine soon!

Nicole said...

Been following your blog for a while but haven't commented. This post really connected to me. I have an almost 3 yr old and an almost 1 yr. old. It's hard, but worth it! Thank you for sharing the truth, and helping me remember to slow down and enjoy it before it flies by!

The Bignon Family said...

I needed to read this tonight. I feel exactly the same way. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

From another follower who's never before, love this post. I definitely remember googling similar things with my own six-week-old baby when I was desperate for her to nap better during the day, so I empathize with you! I wish I would have slowed down more with my own newborn and really savored that period, so I think it's awesome you've recognized how truly special this time is before it's too late. Enjoy these precious days with your two beauties!

Erin said...

Loved this post! Nursing was not pleasant for me either time until nearly the 6 month mark (but the good times started getting more frequent far sooner than that) and now I'm approaching the end and I KNOW I will miss it. I really treasure those times. We have about a month left and I don't want to even leave for a single night to miss that bedtime feeding.

Nikki said...

I remember how hard those first few months were and I didn't breastfeed. You hang in there! You have a great perspective on things especially how quickly Elsie will grow. You're doing a great job!

Ashley and Matt Sheehan said...

beautiful beautiful post. I have a 4 yr old daughter and a 2 yr old daughter and it seems like yesterday I was in your exact same shoes. When my youngest was about Elsie's age, I remember many of days of all 3 of us just crying and not knowing what to do. It's normal, it's a phase, and it passes so very quickly

Christene aka MommaBird said...

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait til tomorrow,
for babies grow up we've learned to our sorrow,
so quiet down cobwebs; dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

This is one of my favorite poems/mantras in those first few months.

You are an amazing and a great momma to those two special girls. Breastfeeding is hard, it was probably one of the hardest things to do but that time is so precious. and short. I am so happy for you that breastfeeding this time around has been going better and hang in there!

maria said...

This is so beautiful! You're doing a great job!

Amber said...

It's important we let ourselves feel the anger, the disappointment, the pain. Even if we meet a moment of reflection and can healthily step away it is so important to feel the bad. The first few months are hard, especially with a toddler. Let yourself feel it and then, let yourself come back around to the gratitude. It's all a process of coming to terms, dealing, surviving. And I think you're doing beautifully. Most especially because you have a sense of humor about your mistakes as you make them. That's so necessary. I'm here anytime you need to vent. Been there and survived. One day I'll get you the t shirt!

tracy said...

loved this. you are so right, they get big so fast and we should savor the moments and not wish them away. from a person who also thrives with routine and a schedule, i totally understand what you are saying. some days it takes real effort for me to slow down and let go and just enjoy my kiddos while they are small. thanks for the reminder!

Ali said...

I've read for awhile and never commented before. But I am a sleep-deprived, first-time Mama to a four-week old baby boy, and I really needed this today. Thanks for sharing. Now I'm going to go snuggle my little man and try to enjoy for a few moments that he will only sleep when I am holding him...