Friday, September 04, 2009

My sweet tender little bamboo shoot

I know I have been all lalala! Baby! Birthdays! Squarch bottles! Babybabybaby!

It's not fake. But it's not the whole picture.

But before I launch into it, I want to say that once again, you all have been so remarkably supportive and excited for us and lovely. I can't tell you how much I appreciate you reading and commenting.

I'm sorry I don't comment back, and I'm not reading your blogs regularly, but this is the state of my life at the moment.

At this point, when I blog, I'm choosing the pleasure of writing and reaching out over precious minutes of sleep. You all are my window to the outside world, to which I often feel I'm clinging by my fingernails.

Ah, the drama. I know.

So little J really is spectacular in so many ways. We wanted him so much and we love him like crazy.

But this is the fucking hardest thing I've ever done.

There is a lot of melting going on. I alternate between having my heart and soul melted into a big bowl of chocolate fondue sweetness, and being so upset and exhausted that my brain melts to the point where I cannot do much besides cry.

And oh, I've cried. A lot. A lot lot lot.

And Nick and I have fought, not a lot, but ugly. Uglier than any fight we've ever had. Much worse than the washer-dryer yelling stomping sobbing on the street corner.

I know that sleep deprivation is a method of torture, and although I don't know many torture methods or how levels of effectiveness compare, I believe it must be up there with being strapped to a cot over a fast-growing stalk of bamboo.

Honestly. Apparently it grows like an inch a day, right through you.

Basically we walk around like zombies with bamboo shoots growing through us.

I feel like a terrible person saying this, but there have been a couple points at which, if given the opportunity, I probably would've handed Jordan to a passer-by and said, "Here. Take him. Take my tender green little stalk of bamboo far, far away."

Good thing there are no strangers passing through our bedroom. Or really, our house, for that matter.

I feel like such an asshole for this, because for one, he's my baby! And, in the scheme of things, he's a really good baby.

But I am exhausted. And so tired of being one big lactating breast - and being scared that maybe I don't make enough milk and he won't grow fast enough (the pressure! he must gain an ounce a day!) which will ultimately lead to dropping out of high school and taking drugs and eventually joining the French Foreign Legion, never to be seen again - and pair of poo-diaper changing hands.

I called Nick the other day when I'd hit the thin, sharp, chartreuse edge of utter hysteria.

"I can't do this! I cannot do this! I cannot change on more fucking diaper in a row! And now! Now! Now he is finally asleep! After hours and hours and shit and pee and shit and more shit! And I just checked and his diaper is completely fucking soaking! And so I have to wake him up and we're going to start all fucking over again!"

I might not have it verbatim, but it was along those lines, and veryvery shrill. And I was crying hard and maybe hyperventilating.

Nick was home within the hour.

I know people all over the world get through this. And many of them have very good attitudes about it. And it's not that I don't love my boy, because I do, I really do. I love him more than I'd ever have imagined.

I'm just so very tired.


  1. I read your blog all the time and don't comment that often. I totally understand about the sleep deprivation, although ours was with a puppy if you can believe that. The poor thing whined ALL THE TIME, chewed EVERYTHING, would not sleep, and had to piss every 20 minutes (or so it seemed).
    My husband and I nearly divorced, and when told how cute she was, the response was, "Do you want to keep her?" from both of us. Operating on no sleep isn't good for you or anyone else. Can't you get someone to help for just a few hours so you can get a break?
    Luckily, she wound up being a great dog and best friend to our first dog. Maybe people should have to have a dog before a baby to see how they do...?
    Good luck to you & Jordan (which happens to be my brother's name).

  2. I think there is no way to fully prepare someone for what it's like to be a parent. By far the most encouraging thing has to be that lots of people choose to have more than one, which means that there's got to be something that balances it out.

    Have I mentioned how spectacularly adorable Jordan is?

    I think that part of what sleep deprivation does, is it makes you forget that it's not always going to be like this. Things will get easier, by tiny fits and starts, and you'll be okay. Maybe even a little less tired.


  3. You are not a bad person for feeling anything that you are feeling. I'm going to send you an e-mail because if I write everything here, first, I'll get flamed, and second, it will be a novel. Just know that you are totally, totally normal!

  4. Hang in there! You're doing great, I'm sure, and it will get better. As someone w/out kids, I feel like I don't really know what to say (because what the hell do I know), but I just wanted to let you know that I'm wishing you the best. Also, that pic is beyond adorable.

  5. You are doing amazing and this is completely normal. You have been through such absolute hell this year, I'm often in awe of you and your ability to continue being so amazing. That, combined with no sleep and the sudden all-consuming dependency that Jordan has on you is enough to throw anyone for a loop. I know you know this, but it WILL get better. So much better. Hang in there.

  6. You are definitely going to get through this. There is no doubt about that.

    And that picture...I'm at an age where everyone has baby pictures, and that may be the cutest.

  7. I'm not a parent (nor have I ever been), but from what I know from friends, it is EXHAUSTING so don't beat yourself up about all the feelings you're having. Perfectly normal.

    Take it day by day and before you know it, you'll get into a regular schedule with the little guy. You can do this and you are an awesome mom!

    That picture made me melt due to the amount of cuteness your kid oozes.

  8. That child is so beautiful!

  9. That is one awesomely swaddled and super cute baby.

    What you're feeling is perfectly normal. Every new mom I know goes threw cycles of complete love and adoration immediately followed by weepy, angry exhaustion. Ask for help when/where you can get it. Talk to your doctor. Kiss the baby's head.


  10. The bamboo shoot = what a perfect way to describe it. I know EXACTLY what you're going through, I think, being 6 weeks ahead of you. Already for me it is so much easier, and will be the same for you soon. It sounds crazy how something so perfect and so adorable that just eats your heart up can, well, eat your heart a different way!

    You are not alone and it is so so so so fine and normal to feel as you do. Hang in there, we're all behind you.

  11. The early days and weeks are so, so hard. Sleep deprivation, hormone surges, the general feeling of being overwhelmed by the experience that no one is ever truly prepared for -- it messes with you in a big way. The first few weeks after Zeke was born, I was a mess of tears and exhaustion and felt like I was flailing. All I can tell you is that it absolutely, positively gets better. I promise. In the meantime, accept all offers of help and don't be afraid to ask for it as well: lean on your mom, lean on your friends, let them take Jordan for an hour or two while you nap or shower or go for a walk.

    It will get better.

  12. I do not know a thing about babies or parenting or sleep deprivation so I won't offer any words on that. I understand your despair to a certain degree (I'm not a parent so I don't think I've experienced true despair and/or helplessness yet) and I know that nothing anyone says or does can really pull you out of it but I will say that Jordan is gorgeous and I can see chubby cheeks in that photo so I don't think he's starving. Hang in there, lady. You've got a bunch of strangers on the internet rooting for you :)

  13. You know what's funny? I read the title of this post and I knew exactly what you were talking about. Yes, I read all the wrong books growing up. Not a parent myself, but if some of the people I know can get through it, I'm sure you can...since they're idiots. I really, truly wonder how they actually figured out how to make a baby in the first place.

  14. oh girlfriend, hang in there!

    what you really have to do, like, religiously, i kid you not, is sleep when the baby sleeps. give up all attempts at making his schedule fit yours and switch yours onto his. the biggest stres i remember during the basic babydom is the trying to get shit done when the baby isn't cooperating and you are already on the brink of exhaustion. you will feel so much smoother around the edges. i mean, don't even get out of your pj's or sweat pants and t-shirt if you don't have to, not for a few more weeks.

    and stress does not help with the milk making, of course, so make sure you rent a bunch of movies to watch while you nurse and stuff. get your mind off things while you sit in the gilder and relax.

    do absolutely nothing *required* don't clean your house, don't do laundry, don't do dishes - Nick can do all that side of things for awhile. just stay 100% off duty on everything except for chill baby time for awhile and you will see that bit by bit he sleeps longer hours and you have more energy and positivity. it's a slooow climb, but all babies do eventually grow up and you will eventually sleep more hours in a row. :)


  15. You're wonderful. And you're doing a great job. And this to shall pass.

    Love you!


  16. Yep.

    I just looked at Sugarplum and said "I'm glad I didn't give you to a random passing stranger."

    "Me too," she said.

  17. This is a brand-new, full-time, 24-hour, non-stop job. I think you're doing great, and even if you have moments that get you down, they'll pass. Good luck!

  18. Hang in there :( He is way too cute to give away.

  19. I wish I lived near you, I would come snorgle that adorable little face and give you a break for a while. Or at least give you some adult company.

  20. Oh, Lisa, I know what you're going through. No one ever really talks about how hard it is, do they? It's got to be the biggest challenge I've ever faced in my entire life! My husband and I kept reminding each other that if 15 year old single moms could do it, so could we. But man, it's not easy.

    I've heard wonderful things about the book "The Happiest Baby on the Block." Lots of techniques on how to soothe a crying baby (I read some of it sitting on the floor in a Borders Books while my mom watched the baby, and it looked really good).

    Anyway, I send you lots of strength from someone who's been there. If it's any consolation, my guy is almost 10 weeks old, and he doesn't cry nearly as much these days, and when he does, we usually can calm him quickly. I credit baby Zantac for a lot of that (he's a refluxer - diagnosed at 6 weeks), but a lot has to do with age, too.

    Good luck!

  21. You know Lisa, I agree with WHAT xuxE said. Everthing. For such an active person, I'm sure you do feel trapped at home and like you might be rotting from the lack of people interaction. (I sure felt that way.) I have only one tiny suggestion: if you possibly can, let J continue sleeping in his wet diaper; don't wake him. If the wetness bothers him he'll wake up, and I'm sure you put enough Butt Paste on to protect him until he does wake up. I remember getting up several times in the middle of the night to pump to help encourage milk production because I felt I wasn't producing enough. THAT got old real quick; it just pooped me out. Remind yourself that is only the 3rd week...this is a small adjustment period. You can do this.

  22. Lisa, anyone who has had a newborn can relate. It is very hard that first few weeks and months - especially when you've had a c-section and your body is attempting to recover. It will get better. Believe it and hang on to that thought. Will Jordan take a bottle? Maybe if you can pump enough for a bottle or two on the weekend, Nick could get up and let you sleep through? Just a thought...Anyway, hang in there! You're doing great.

  23. I remember the exact same feeling about wanting to give my kid away. On the first day my husband had gone back to work and I had oh so foolishly put my daughter down in her crib so I could take a shower (it will just be for a few minutes, she's perfectly safe, she'll be fine! ha ha) and then I spent the next 1.5 hours trying to console an extremely upset child. By the time the postpartum doula we had (I highly recommend one! worth weight in gold!) came at 2pm I almost handed her my daughter and said, yeah, well this has been real interesting and she's sweet and all, but you can take her now, I'm pretty much done. I felt like someone had cut off my nerves and they were all floating around in the breeze. But, it does pass. Thank god.

  24. So normal, Lisa! Damn hormones! And how about a shower and some sleep! No matter how well you prepare or read about it, it's like the rug was pulled out from under you. And the year you've had? I think you're amazing! If a friend or family member stops by, jump in the shower! Snuggle into bed! Take a walk. Whatever feels good. And don't be so hard on yourself. Welcome to the Mommy club-we're so happy to have you with us! And that Jordan-he's a keeper!

  25. My dad recently FINALLY admitted that when I was born, he seriously contemplated throwing me out the window. I was colicky, so I'm not shocked. In any case, it's completely normal. Don't beat yourself up, you're doing great.

    And, for what it's worth, you always make me feel better about my own pregnancy - we're due to give birth fairly soon and having someone out there actually be honest and eloquent about everything is a huge benefit. You're helping people. And your little boy loves you. Now, if you get some sleep, you'll have hit the trifecta

  26. I cannot imagine having a baby. Not for one second. Because really? I hit the "the thin, sharp, chartreuse edge of utter hysteria" all on my own, thank you.

    You're doing great, lady.

  27. He's adorable! I almost want to have another baby:) Almost, having kids is the hardest thing I have ever done and the best all at the same time. Hang in there, things will get better:)

  28. Parenting rule #1 - NEVER wake a sleeping baby!

    If he is soaking through that many diapers - #1 - he is getting enough to eat
    #2 - The pee can't possibly be that strong that you need to worry
    Get some rest - ASK for HELP - no extra brownie points for perfection - it doesn't exist.

  29. I'm sure it is SUPER hard. But look at that picture!! He's soooooooo cute!

  30. Two tips:

    1. I second the comment on "Happiest Baby on the Block" book. (Swear to god, the technique is like baby crack.) ... and for new parents who don't have time to read an actual book, there's a short DVD.

    2. Buy diapers one size bigger than you think you need. The bigger sizes hold more pee.

  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

  32. I spent hours and hours preparing for childbirth, and hardly gave a thought to anything that would come after it.

    I never expected to struggle so much with nursing. I never understood how sore and tired and beat up (and foreign) my body would feel. I never realized I'd be so exhausted. And I never anticipated how those horrible, raging hormones would make me feel such complete despair and sadness during what was also one of the most amazing of my life. I often sobbed- horrible, ugly sobs- even while holding my son and marveling over how much I loved him.

    My mother told me it would get better, and I couldn't imagine it.

    But it did.

    It will.

    That said, I am so, so impressed you went out to a nice restaurant with the baby, looking wonderful to boot. There's no WAY I could have accomplished that at 2 weeks post-partum. Well done, you.

  33. i've been away - as it happens, handing off my child to strangers (college), so haven't posted lately. jordan is, as you know, lovely, but, at this stage, extremely needy. i remember the sleep deprivation very well . . . do all you can to get rest, and that means doing *nothing* except caring for the baby and yourself. got it? and remember, free babysitting on the shore whenever you like.

  34. Oh Lisa, I'm sorry to hear about the hard times. And I hope the good times come in greater frequency. I'm always amazed by any new mother... the work is beyond my imagination.

  35. Oh my god, Lisa, he is so fucking CUTE. And you are amazing. And your commenters here, so wonderful! Great advice coming from so many. Hang in there!

  36. Hey, while we're on the book recommendations, I'm not sure if you can get this in the States but Baby Sense is a FANTASTIC book and really really helped me. Its a slim volume, thank goodness, but basically outlines how much stimulation babies can handle (for each 'segment' - 0-2 weeks, 6-12 weeks etc), how to look out for warning signs that they're getting over-stimulated, how to put them to sleep etc. A friend gave it to me and it's been a godsend

  37. Hi Lisa,

    although our son is already 2 1/2, I am glad someone is finally talking about how hard it is, if only for the folks who do not have children yet.

    Becoming a mother (or a parent)..It's an incredible, amazing experience, nothing can compare to it and you will never be the same afterward. Everyone talks about birth, nursing, diapers, teething, sleeping...but no one seems to mention how very very hard and tiring and exhausting and scary it is during the first weeks and months.

    I had such a hard time after our little one was born, also had a c-section under generel anaesthesia and had the feeling I did not really give birth to our boy, was not able to nurse, got home without anyone being there (our boy had to stay in the hospital for 10 days after birth because of a newborn infection) and was so tired, so sad, so weepy. The first weeks were so hard, always the same, milk, diapers, diapers, trying to get him to sleep, him screaming and crying from flatulence and not being able to do anything. At six weeks, I almost had a breakdown one morning when he was not drinking his bottle, screaming for apparently no reason, not being able to tell you what's wrong...

    In Germany, there is this expression that you "want to throw him against the wall", a bit harsh, but that's how I felt at that point. I cried, said I was such a bad mother for having these thoughts because I just wanted a good night's sleep back, handed him to my boyfriend and cried in bed the whole day.

    And then, miraculously after three months, everything got better. He slept more, had a rhythm, I could read the signs, knew when he would poop, sleep, want get's better! Really, it does! It's the hardest job you will ever have, but it's so rewarding when it gets easier.

    He is 2 1/2 now and sometimes, I sit there and my heart nearly explodes from love for him. Just last week he hugged me so tight, said "ich hab Dich lieb" and I cried right then and there. Just watching him makes you love them so much. When they start smiling, giggling, sitting, crawling, walking, talking... it rewards you for all the crap times you have now.

    No matter what, you love them the whole time through, the sleep deprivation gets "normal" at some point, you get used to being tired and still getting everything done, watching this little person you made grow bigger, taller, better...and you grow with them, to be real actual parents. It's amazing.

    Hang in there, really, take time for you when you can, have Betty watch him while you take a bubble bath (or a long shower? I remember a post about a bubble bath gone wrong...), for a walk, for coffee around the block. That's what saved me in the beginning, remembering that I was still me after giving birth and now being a mother, if only for a few minutes a day, it gives you strength to go on. Nick is lovely, I am sure he will support you in any way he can, you are lucky to have someone like him and little J to have a dad like him.

    Hang in there, everyone supports you, you are a trooper, it gets better. Promise.

    Need more Niederegger Marziapan and Lakritz?


  38. Oh honey.. hang in there! I know a hundred people have probably told you by now, but the first month or so is the hardest. Nothing in this world can prepare you for motherhood.

    You sound like you may even be a itsy bitsy bit depressed. As someone who went through that, I seriously encourage you to explain to your doctor how you have been feeling. They know and they understand. If there is anything they can do for you, they will!

    Little J is absolutely precious by the way. :)

  39. I can only imagine. Just know that we're here, we love you, we so appreciate your words and taking the time to reach out. Obviously I don't know from experience, but I have to assume this is like learning a new job... at first it seems so overwhelming, but then you start to figure out new systems and ways to multitask and eventually, it just gets fracking easier. Our thoughts are with you.


  40. Oh honey! Hang in there - you WILL get through this and everything you're feeling/thinking is 100% normal. Give yourself grace, don't be afraid to ask for help, and know that this is just one period that you just knuckle down and get through so you can get to the really fun stuff! I remember when my bro and sister in law were slogging through sleepless nights, conversations and fights had in the middle that they couldn't even remember the next day (what were we fighting about? Oh ya, poop). Now they have a three year old who keeps us in stitches and sleeps. This morning we were talking about his new preschool teacher and he suddenly says, "I like her too. She's cute." There's so much good stuff ahead! You might be crying now but you'll be giggling a lot more soon enough :)

  41. I remember walking a crying baby up and down our upstairs hallway and pausing at a railing where you could look down onto the room below. I felt a nearly overwhelming urge to toss that child over the rail. (I think I felt that with all 3 kids, but by the 3rd I may have learned just not to go too close to the rail.) It was at that moment that I really understood how someone could shake a baby to death.

    This is HARD.

    BTW, I agree with Anon above. If he's asleep with a wet diaper, leave it. He'll wake up when it bothers him, and in the meantime you'll have saved yourself 5 minutes or 10 minutes or an hour of quiet sanity time. Stop checking his diaper when he's asleep! :)

    I firmly believe the first 6-8 weeks is the hardest part of this. You're almost half-way there!

  42. This is way normal. you're at that point that everyone gets to. I did it twice. it's only easier the second time b/c you know it will pass. this is all scary, just like being pregnant b/c of the great unknown.

    my suggestion (what worked for me) get Betty or Nick or a seemingly capabale stranger, give them J, lock yourself in a room and cry and sleep for the whole day and night.

    you will feel horribly guilty, but you'll feel that way forever about everything now that you're a mom. But you'll be rested. and you'll have perspective with rest.

    and lisa, you don't have to be perfect at this. you don't HAVE to breastfeed if it kills you, you don't HAVE to be with J 24/7, etc. You do HAVE to be the best you can. that means taking care of your health - physical and mental.

    Work out a deal with Nick or friends or someone where you get a "Lisa" hour once a day - sleep, go for a walk, get a manicure, whatever. but do this.

    I should have written this to you before. now I'm feeling guilty I didn't warn you... :)
    - Carrie

  43. I know you dont have time to read great long screeds of advice so I will make it short.

    You will get through this!
    Learn to catnap when J sleeps.
    He will not grow up to smoke drugs and join the foreign legion I promise you this.
    Hug Nick and tell him you really do still love him.
    Now go get some sleep girl!

  44. The lack of sleep, the hormones, the breastfeeding, ugh, yes, the hardest thing I've ever done. The process changes you, a force of nature. My kids have shown me how little control I have over anything. Just myself.

  45. Hoping you are getting some rest. It is beyond fucking exhausting to have a baby (plus c-section, ugh, been there). Please talk to your dr. about how you are feeling. Been there too and that makes it all more exhausting. Even though the minutes & hours seem never ending, it does pass. Quickly.
    Good luck.

  46. oh my gosh, that picture is so cute! it looks like even in his sleep he's raising his arms with a victorious "YAY!"

  47. leave me a bottle and that kickass stroller and i'll take the little bugger on a long walk and a trip to the coffeeshop. seriously. i'm offering - take advantage. you can shower, sleep, have an uninterrupted phone call...whatever you want. i think you'll find that a 90 minute break here and there makes all the difference.

  48. lis, just want you to know that I am thinking about you! And I will come visit, and bring Kaysha, and we will bring you however many cupcakes you want. heck, I'll make them for you! Miss you!

  49. (((hugs)))

    i wish i could come give you guys a break!

  50. I feel your pain. Even though my daughter is almost 7 years old, I remember the newborn times. I cried everyday for WEEKS, enough to scare my husband because I'm not a crier. I cried because she was healthy and beautiful, I cried because I was afraid I wasn't pumping enough milk, I cried because I was exhausted. It will get better once you get in your routine. Which I am sure will be very and Jordan are just still getting to know each other and pretty soon everything will click! Just eat and get rest whenever you can!

  51. You it is serious?

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