Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Living Dead (Bug)

You have no idea how much I appreciate all of the commiseration and advice on the sleeplessness. I have spent the last week or two trying to incorporate bits and pieces here and there, as time and my sanity would allow. The first step we took, though obvious and not at all traumatic in hindsight, was to supplement with formula during the night. One 3:00 a.m. last week, according to my sobbed instructions two hours earlier, Jeff got up with her for the first feeding, took her into the other room and gave her four ounces of formula. She cried the whole time, but she drank it. I covered my ears and tried not to feel like I was shirking my responsibility (I am so aware that this is not the case, but in the middle of the sleepless night when I'm near-hallucinatory and in tears, I will feel bitterly and personally responsible for everything from the dry rot in our kitchen wall to the global rise in ocean temperatures). Two hours later, she woke again and demanded more. Breasts exploding, I fed her. Two hours later, she was awake and making piteous little mewling sounds. I whimpered in response, then Jeff took her away and I found them a short while later asleep on the couch, an assortment of cushions pushed against the side in case she launched herself off the edge. (She did this, on my watch, just the other day. It is a low couch and there's an area rug beneath it, but it scared the everloving crap out of me nonetheless.) She looked like an angel, one thin ray of light, cleverly skirting the edge of the curtain, illuminating her wee face like an epiphany.

Long story short, later that day I suddenly got a lot more milk when I pumped, and not just at the first session. It was like that one missed feeding was all I needed to replenish the reservoir. There is now a sufficiency of breastmilk lining the door of our freezer, ready for Jeff to use in the night when I just can't deal. So no need for more formula for now, though we have it on hand just in case.

At the last feeding before bed each night, we are giving her the greyish glop that Farmer Joe's would have us believe is an organic rice cereal but I think is actually sawdust, Elmer's glue and a small quantity of the nutritious aged ash from Mt. Saint Helens. It dries like concrete in the corners of her mouth. She is not amused by it, except when rubbing it on her favorite plush toys, but we persist.

So, I've gained an hour here and an hour there, with Jeff losing hours in equal measure. Olivia is growing in leaps and bounds, and I have resigned myself to the fact that there's nothing I can do about it--she just needs to eat at two-hour intervals throughout both the day and night, and I can't accommodate. It's just the way it is.

There's something that does still get to me about it, though: feeding her in the night when she cried was the one thing I--and only I--could do well, up to this point. Now, in addition to being her favorite playmate/diaper-changer/Bjorn-toter, Jeff is also her nighttime comfort.

Oh, well. He's my nighttime comfort as well, so how can I begrudge her?

...


On a totally separate topic: Exactly how long till I can expect some tiny shred of my libido to return? I am as Saharan as a barren can be. Ouch.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Tine said...

Glad you're finding your way through this rough patch. We're here for ya. Just a couple more pieces of assvice, FWIW...

Re: cereal... My son (now 3yo) never liked it much either. Since then I've done a lot of research on rice cereal, and I'm convinced it's pretty much useless (at best) and maybe even a little harmful (at worst), especially for breastfed babes. With my daughter (who's a week or two older than Olivia), I've decided to start with other foods instead. Avocado, sweet potato, banana, etc. Things that taste good and are nutrient-dense and easy to prepare/feed. At this stage solids are mainly for practice anyway...it might as well be pleasant for everyone, right?

Re: libido.... I'm right there with you. I have, like, none. And, to quote Jo (or maybe it was one of her commenters) over at the Leery Polyp: Death Valley Cooter. It's the breastfeeding hormones. Ouch is right. Lots of foreplay (and lots of patience) is the only thing that helps for us.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous deborah said...

Huh? What is this libido you speak of?

3:58 PM  
Blogger Suz said...

I'm of the sinking suspicion that the libido will return when a good night's sleep does which means we're in for a looooong dry spell.

5:08 PM  
Anonymous leslie said...

Try lots of foreplay and lube - hard to feel sexy if it hurts! Breast feeding hormones are tough on producing lubrication or interest.

My kids are older now but I remember those sleepless times without fondness. I second Tine's suggestions of other foods than cereal - banana or sweet potato or the like is much more appealing.

5:15 PM  
Anonymous Carla Hinkle said...

A lactation consultant once told me that avocado is the only thing that is as much (or more) nutritionally dense than breast milk. It was my daughter's 1st food and a big hit ... you might try it, watered down with some breast milk/formulat/etc. Fill that little sucker right up!

9:13 PM  
Blogger HomeFireBlue said...

I'm happy the rough patch it coming to an end as well!

I only do rice cereal for the week or so it takes to make sure of no allergies, then I go right to porridge(start with the baby oat cereal then right to real oatmeal). My babies HATE rice, LOVE porridge. Must be the Scots blood.

Can't help with the libido thingy. I usually only make it f our weeks past delivery before waylaying (pun intended) Evil Genius Husband. I DO however, breastfeed, and so wield the KY like a seasoned porn actress! LOL!

9:49 AM  
Blogger Ova Girl said...

Oh God Bugs, have just dropped in to see how it is panning out and the 2 hour feed thing day and night is filling me with dread. I'm getting a four hour break here and there but we never know when it will be...and as for libido, well maybe I could have sex with my husband but then I'd have to rip his head off afterwards and eat it.
That would be the sleep deprivation talking...

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Jen said...

Oh, right there with you on the libido thing. I just found out my thyroid's out of whack again, and I'm hoping that's partly to blame--is yours doing ok these days? (Yes, I am totally grasping at straws here!)

Hope things ease up for you soon, sweetie.

8:07 AM  
Blogger Boliath said...

Delurking to say that I echo all the others about the race cereal - can plug babies up on the other end too if they're prone to that. Avocado mixed with mashed banana went down a treat, so did co-sleeping and just letting baby have access to boob whenever but that was our way to deal with it.

Re; Libido, em my son is almost 2, it's back but sporadic, good when it's there though, post baby sex has been a pleasant surprise, lubricatants now part of the deal unfortunately, but they can add to it too.

8:48 PM  

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