In what is probably the biggest lesson from motherhood: sometimes things are going wonderfully and you will want to take full credit for your awesomeness and other times things go terribly and you will feel like a miserable failure (even though it’s probably not your fault).
We had a two week weight check for Little Dumpling this past week. Our pediatrician recommended a feeding schedule for the evening to try to shift Little Dumpling’s night and day (hoping to push his 3am party time to daylight hours). The feeding schedule had been going pretty well. Little Dumpling was sleeping good stretches. Luffy and I got confident enough to stop our night shift work and sleep together* with me just waking to nurse on demand. We were both well rested – a damn near miracle with a two week old in the house.
And then…. last night around 7pm the gas pains hit. The dumpling was inconsolable. We tried bicycle kicks and tummy massages, different holds and butt pats. He finally managed to work through most of it and we calmed him down by giving him his first real bath (which he loved!**). I nursed and let him sleep on my chest for his next nap to ensure that he’d get some good sleep (I do happen to know that sleep begets sleep when they’re so young). At 11pm I woke him to nurse before official bedtime. And it just went downhill from there.
I’m pretty sure it was just gas pains, but it is still so hard to listen to your little one scream bloody murder in the middle of the night. For the first few minutes (or more if you’re super patient and/or well rested), your heart breaks over the fact that he’s so uncomfortable and you can’t do anything to make it better immediately. Then, as you get weary and/or your ears go numb from the screaming, you start trying to reason with him. What do you need? What can I get you? You are willing to try anything and everything to make the screaming stop. For me, I tried laying him down on a vibrating pad. I tried gripe water. I tried laying down with him beside me, cuddling him to my chest. I tried skin-to-skin. I tried butt pats and the 5 S’s and bounces and back strokes as the minutes ticked by. We nursed. We walked. He cried and I lost my patience and confidence bit by bit.
He finally went to sleep around 2am, after being up for nearly three hours alternately screaming, grunting, crying, and taking two minute cat naps. I got to bed at 2:30, which felt like an eternity considering I had been exhausted when I originally tried to put him down at 11.
This is par the course for new parents though – the unpredictability with sleep and the seemingly inconsolable crying. Even if you have a relatively good sleeper, there’s always the chance that something – an illness, gas pains, just a bad night – will take away the precious few hours you were counting on. What I wasn’t prepared for was the helplessness you will feel as you watch your little cry and nothing you’re doing is helping. You want to make it better instantly, but you feel like a stranger as he works himself up. I look forward to the day when he knows who I am, when just my touch will be soothing enough to ease the hurt from boo-boos or tummy aches.
Anyway, it was a bit of a rough night over here. We made it through though and I’m only partially sleep deprived. I have hope that tonight will go smoother and I’ll be right back to being blissfully happy.
*Sleeping side by side has always been a huge thing for Luffy and I. We’ve been missing the closeness for several months (a 7+ month pregnant belly makes snuggling a bit challenging!). The huge downside of the night shift work is that we’re not sleeping at the same time, which means that we miss each other. Funny how just sleeping beside someone is so intimate.
**His first bath! I was worried about giving it to him since I know some babies hate bath time and I was worried about him getting himself further worked up, but he seemed to love it. We have an infant tub, of course, and the newborn setting is a sling. We filled the little tub with enough warm water so that his booty was in water. I covered his belly with a wash cloth dipped in warm water to keep his belly warm. Our tub came with a little cup thing that allows us to “shower” him with fresh water – he enjoyed that a lot too.
***Also, because I can’t let the milestone go un-noted, Luffy and I went out to brunch yesterday. We took the dumpling and he actually did not sleep through the outing. That meant we had our first public diaper change! When I carried him through the restaurant on my chest, all of the female employees just squealed over how tiny he is and wanted me to leave him there for cuddles. Then, I got super brave and nursed in public! Look at us go! I was proud of both of us. Luffy and I enjoyed our cinnamon rolls and mimosas and eggs; the dumpling finally conked out on the way home.