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.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I could be another Lincoln

If I only had a brain.

Olivia has stopped sleeping through the night. After a six week honeymoon in which she went down at midnight and up at 6:30 or 7:00 a.m., making my schedule workable if not exactly good, she has stopped sleeping. And not just at night: she has also stopped napping during the day. I am on the verge of collapse. On Saturday, she went 18 hours without any sleep at all. I got an hour and five minutes in total last night, including three nursing sessions between 1:50 and 5:30. It's been getting progressively worse for the last month. Finally, I couldn't make it to work today. I cannot function. End of tether.

It seems like the more I feed, the less milk I make. She's going through the frozen stash at an alarming pace when I'm at work, and I seem to get less and less when I pump.

She isn't fussy, exactly, just awake and hungry.

She is so active, never wanting to sit still, scooting around on her back like a demented caterpillar, jumping up and down while holding onto our hands, flipping off her Boppy, sitting up and testing her balance, banging her little toys around, grabbing and kicking and watching all the time. Perhaps she's burning up the calories at a mad pace and needs to carbo-load like a swimmer? We've given her tastes of things--mushed bananas, applesauce, root beer floats (yes, we did)--but she doesn't seem to want anything in quantity (except for the float). Just scrunches up her little face in a perfect caricature of disdain after about six miniature spoonfuls.

For the love of Mike, what can I do? Domperidone? Formula? Earplugs? Vodka? Please help me. I am nearly incoherent, my head full of nolthing but stuffing.

Monday, September 04, 2006

So fast

Time is flowing away from me in a swift stream. Olivia is five months old today. Five months.

As I type, she is playing on her gym, pulling hard on the blue feet of the stuffed lion above her head. She can pull it off now on occasion, and it ends up--as does everything else--crammed in her gummy mouth, her small face a study in primal satisfaction.

She has become a very different person from the unhappy newborn who rarely slept. She loves to laugh--big, crinkle-eyed laughs. Today, she spent an hour jumping on my lap, grinning at me. She is generally calm, especially when Jeff and I are both with her. For about six weeks, she even let us sleep for a solid five hours each night, though she seems to have hit some sort of growth spurt in the last two weeks and wakes up to feed once or twice.

She propels herself in inches and feet now, half-bridges taking her wherever she is inclined to go. At the same time, she seems to have forgotten how to turn over from her belly to her back, flailing about like a flipped-over turtle when her energetic rolling leaves her with some unwanted tummy time.

Today, she surprised me as I was taking off her shirt, sitting up for a long five minutes as I ciricled my arms in the air around her, fearful of her toppling over and hitting her head on the the rail of her changing table. She seemed so pleased with herself.

I don't seem to be able to write much anymore; the current is moving so quickly and I can't find the energy to swim upstream. But I want to capture this moment. I have to remember this.