Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Last night I hit the wall.

We had a busy day, probably too busy. And little Calliope wasn't particularly unhappy, it's just that she hadn't slept for several hours, and kept rooting, and then would fuss with the nipple in her mouth. I figured she was tired, and at one point we went out for a very, very, very slow walk up our block and back (my first official walk!) with her in the Moby.

She sacked out immediately, which I was happy about... but woke up soon afterwards when I put her in the bassinet so I could eat dinner. Sleep issues were on my mind because my friend Catherine had just posted about her son not sleeping, and how she needs to remember to start putting him back to sleep after an hour of being awake.

I had gone to bed after midnight the night before, what with pumping my aching and rock hard breasts, then having, oops, just one more dirty diaper, and oh, hey mom, since we're up, how about one more feeding before bed? She only got up one more time during the night, at 3:30, before I had to get up at 6:30 am to get ready for the pediatrician visit. After the pediatrician, the trip to HR, the visit with the boss on the playground, the quick stop at the health food store, and then the incredibly intense visit from the doulas... it's probably not surprising that I was beyond exhausted. I haven't gotten a long night's sleep, even disturbed, since she was born. And this hemorrhaging thing is no joke.

I had texted my sister a photo of Calliope in the Moby, with the caption, "note the haggard face." I meant it as a joke, but she called me back, concerned, and I melted into tears on the phone with her. She gave me strict instructions to hand the baby to my mom and to get some rest, then repeated them to my mom, who was happy to comply.

It was hard to abandon my baby, but after an hour of diaper changes, pacifier attempts, and unsuccessful nursing, she was still wide awake. My mom very politely asked for permission to take her for a walk in the stroller. I showed her the glass bottle, the frozen breast milk, and gave about a million other instructions, then gratefully fell into bed, a little tearful and a lot grateful.

Five hours later, I woke up... with the apartment in darkness. My mom heard me stumbling around, and got up to explain that Calliope was still asleep in her car seat (which attaches to the stroller... but my mom had obediently removed the car seat from the stroller when they got back, because the angle of her head with the car seat in the stroller makes me nervous). We both went back to sleep, me somewhat nervously.

An hour later I woke up with aching breasts, and got out the breast pump and got about two ounces from each breast! Then Calliope started to open her eyes, so we nursed... practicing our lying down hold. It's a work in progress.... but pretty revolutionary, all things considered!

We had another feeding around 5:30, and then she slept until about 9 am.

I feel worlds better today. I mean, I'm not recovered or anything, and it was surprising to me how much trouble I had falling asleep after the first stretch -- I've already gotten used to so much less sleep, I guess, or else to the hypervigilance of motherhood? -- but it was great.

So now the question is... should I go back to MA with my mother?

The pros:

  • someone to feed me
  • someone to do my dishes and laundry, and otherwise clean up after me
  • someone who dotes on Calliope and thinks she is fabulous in every respect
  • someone who is incredibly patient and generous with me, also!
  • not being home alone
  • someone who will take the baby and let me sleep
  • not needing to run my own errands

The cons:

  • being in someone else's home (*** my mother's house)
  • maternal commentary (my favorite being, "now you just need to work on getting rid of that belly" -- THREE days after I gave birth!)
  • not getting to see my friends and be a part of our world here in Brooklyn
  • being far away, and needing to be back here in a week to go into work for two days (which I committed to, but can always back out of if need be... but wouldn't be ideal)... and thus, most likely needing to make the four and a half hour trip back by myself with the baby in my sister's car (which my mom says rattles around a bit more than she is comfortable with)


And also, THANK YOU all so much for the commentary on yesterday's post. You have no idea how much it has helped me. I don't know how to respond to each comment in a way in which you will see that I responded... but please know, they were enormously helpful! So keep on sharing, if you have more thoughts.


  1. I would go and be mothered. Its always odd to be in someone else's home and asking for help (at least for me anyway) but after J, I wasn't even supposed to walk much. Having people there who were itching to do things for me was nice. Put your feet up and do nothing kind of nice and I don't usually like people doing for me.
    If she wants to do everything for you and little miss, let her. You probably wont regret it if you don't but it will be a load off to not have to worry about much more than making yourself and your baby happy and adjusted.
    Besides that, I miss our Moby. J is way too big and heavy for it now. I loved feeling productive with him in it and me running errands or doing chores. He loved it too. Yeah, I miss it.

  2. Go! My baby is 3 weeks old, and I was left on my own for the first time today (I just sent my mom away for the day, she's still going to be here another 3 weeks), and today is hard! Not impossible, and I'm sure I'll be okay, but it is so nice to be spoiled at first. Your body is still recovering from birth, and breastfeeding is tiring work - let someone else do the laundry and cooking and baby burping for a while. And I've never gotten along better with my mom than I do in this postpartum period, and other friends have said the same. They are just so damn useful, all the little annoyances melt away. Meg

  3. If you decide not to go to your mom's house, do you think she would take me?!

    Another vote for going to mom's. And for getting out of the work gig. Seriously, you'll have a 2-week old baby!