If I already said it, I'll say it again. There are so many things about being a mother I was completely unprepared for. And let me tell you (for those who don't know me), I'm a planner. I research, read, google, and otherwise obsess about anything and everything in an effort to prepare for even those things in life you can't prepare for. Motherhood is one of those things. They print book after book, and there is an endless amount of Internet based resources for mothers. But nothing prepares you for the nights where you get 2.5 hours of sleep, and that isn't even in a row. Nothing prepares you for the days/afternoons when they just cry and cry and cry.
E has been having a tough day today. Went to bed last night and everything seemed fine. Didn't go down with much of a fight. But the day technically starts at midnight, and starting at midnight... she started having a tough time. Unfortunately, and not her fault, Mommy hadn't been able to fall asleep. So when the baby monitor started buzzing a little after midnight, Mommy had already failed to get even a wink of sleep. So our night began. Try the pacifier and hope she soothes herself to sleep. E does this sometimes. And when it works, Mommy feels like she has hit the lottery! But tonight, it didn't work. So around 12:30, back up the stairs Mommy is trudging to nurse. A little before 1, E is snug back in her crib ready to get some more Zzzs. And back downstairs Mommy goes. I have a lot of trouble sleeping, so getting E into bed by 1 meant that I was probably asleep by 1:30. Not so bad, plenty of hours left in the night. Unfortunately, the next time the baby monitor started to buzz, it was only 3ish. So trudging BACK up the stairs Mommy goes. Change her diaper, at this point it's soaked, seems only fair, and cuddle into our rocking chair for a nurse. Only she won't nurse. She has gas. She doesn't want to nurse. She wants to wave her arms and legs around and try to get it out. She managed to pass some of it... but then I had to settle into the attempt of getting her back down to sleep. A little before 4, she's back in her crib again, and AGAIN Mommy is trudging back down the stairs. At this point, Mommy is FREEZING. It is after all the middle of January. And jumping in and out of bed all night does not keep one cozy. So I resort to the only thing that a freezing cold Mommy can do, warm her toes on Daddy's warm feet. And for some reason I get a sense of revenge when he surfaces from the cold contact on his otherwise cozy body. GOOD. He doesn't get up. It's the smallest pieces of revenge that somehow keep Mommy going. Somehow Mommy warms up and falls back asleep, probably sometime between 4 and 4:30. As I think I've mentioned before, 6 AM is the start of our day, so E only has to stay asleep for another hour and a half and we're good...
Well apparently she didn't get THAT memo! A little after 5, the baby monitor starts up again. Mommy runs up the stairs, pops the pacifier into E's mouth, and then runs back downstairs, hops back into bed, and prays that she'll go back to bed until 6. HA HA HA. E has a sense of humour. Not even 5 mins later she's screaming. So out of the warm cozy bed Mommy goes, and back through the house, up the stairs, into the nursery. E decides to nurse this time. And then drifts back off to sleep about quarter of 6. At this point Mommy has no strength left to do anything but sit there and wait, and HOPE that when Daddy wakes up, he'll come find us. He does. And when he carries E downstairs and Mommy crawls back into the nice warm bed... she lays there and gives nasty glares across the bed at the little, beautiful girl that she brought into this world, and for some reason won't let her sleep. E is now laying in the big bed, cooing, and laughing and smiling. Doesn't SHE know we didn't get enough sleep last night? Apparently not!
It should end there. But of course it doesn't. The morning passed with little to speak of, but as we started the battle for our PM nap, the cranky started. I don't know how people have babies without a support network around them. I read in a book, today actually, that babies were never intended to be raised solely by the mother, and this is why it's so challenging today, without a good support network (historically of family) it can be incredibly difficult, especially with a cranky (READ COLIC) baby. At any rate, I still live near my parents, and my mother was eager to come down and help me. What a relief, I could lay down, while she tries to get E to nap. Unfortunately, there is nothing programmed into Mommy about ignoring a hysterically crying baby even if baby is under the good supervision of another loving family member. Since I could not drift off to visit the sandman, I opted to get the entire experience off my chest.
There are days I lay here and I hear her cry, and there is nothing I can do but cry myself. I wonder what I need to do differently to ease her pain. Her cries aren't just of general fussiness, but E really does struggle with gas. Painful gas. That makes her cry for hours, bring her little tiny knees up to her chest, flail her arms around, and cry with big tears rolling down her cheeks. And being Mommy makes you just feel so endlessly responsible and somehow completely insufficient to fulfill her needs, that you can not make it go away. And even after days like today, where the entire days running total of sleep has gotten as high as 5.5 hours (again definately NOT in a row)... When she finally returns to my arms, and curls into my body, starts to let her sobs ease and then falls asleep, somehow, all of my own emotional pain and exhaustion, is just worth it. She's E, and I'm Mommy. And that's just the way it is.
So for today, it's just got to be enough to find the good in what has otherwise been difficult, and as always, I hope all the mommies find the strength to keep going, the peace to know sometimes we can't fix everything, and as always... does anyone know... WHO DROPPED THE PACIFIER????