Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The lessons of sleep deprivation

Every night I wake up every 2 hours like clockwork, and then I'm up for an hour...I have to pump to get milk for my sweet baby, and then that sweet baby wakes up after I've been awake about 1o minutes, we go through our usual dance of seeing if she will latch (and she doesn't) and then I give her a bottle, burp her till all the gas is out of her little belly and finish pumping. This dance usually takes about an hour every time it happens...

Let's just say I'm not getting much sleep.

I try to sleep when she does, really I do, but the unfortunate truth is that life is still moving on around me, and I hate feeling like a lump on a log laying in bed all day doing nothing. So, my goal has been to try to take at least an hour nap every doesn't always happen but its a nice goal.

I am starting to get used to feeling like a walking zombie, but I have to admit that it is definitely taking its toll. This morning I was reduced to a wet, sobbing mess and my poor husband tried desperately to pick up the pieces and put them back together. He reminded me that I can wake him up to get help if I need it...

Believe me, I think about it every night, but I never wake least not until 5 or 6 when that last feeding comes and I'm getting to the end of my sleep deprived rope. I feel bad waking him up. He has school, he has to drive, I feel like things are better and safer if I'm the only one suffering from this zombie-ish state...


I am learning that maybe I am not super woman.


But, wait- there are more conclusions I've been able to come to, conclusions that inevitably follow realizing you're not super woman....

I think, after last night, I have decided that I am giving up on breast feeding. Faith just doesn't want to do it, and I frankly am sick of trying to force her...This wasn't what I'd planned on...I had wanted to badly to be earth mamma- I wanted a natural child birth free from drugs and I end up in the hospital 4 weeks before I'm supposed to be on Pitocin because the universe had other plans...I wanted to breast feed until my baby was at least 9 months, but of course, when man makes plans God laughs...I didn't get to try to have my baby latch right after she was born, she was whisked away to the NICU- I didn't even get to hold her until 6 hours after she was born for goodness sake! My milk didn't come in because my body wasn't prepared and had been through trauma due to me hemorrhaging a bit after birth...I wasn't even getting colostrum out...I was dry as a bone. Since my milk came in on Monday last week, I'm still playing catch up. I produce anywhere from 1 to 1.5 oz (sometimes 2 if I'm lucky) in a single sitting, my baby eats 2 to 3.5 oz in any giving feeding. I'm always behind, my body just can't do what I am asking of it...

I will admit that I felt a bit of a weight lift off my shoulders when I finally came to this conclusion this morning. Part of me feels guilty...the reasons I'm giving up seem so selfish...but when I think about it, I recognize that my baby also needs a FUNCTIONING mother, and living in this sleep deprived state, I know that I am not being the best mommy I can be.

The next decision I'm weighing now is figuring out if I want to pump until my insufficient milk supply dries itself up or if I want to just dry up and move to formula and be done all the way. I figure that I will discuss both options with her pediatrician at her 2 week check up tomorrow. Her pediatrician has been great through all this. While he is normally a strong advocate for breast feeding, he has recognized and acknowledged the tough hand me and baby have been dealt. From day one he has said that in my given circumstance there is no shame in throwing in the towel when it comes to breast feeding. He made it clear at our first appointment outside the hospital that some premature babies never can get the hang of breast feeding because they miss out on those crucial first hours when term babies are given opportunities to latch right away and follow their instincts.

If my pediatrician encourages me to continue to pump until I'm out of milk, then I will try to follow his suggestion...what it will eventually boil down to is my sanity and whether or not I want to continue the regimen of waking up every 2 hours to pump when milk comes in. Right now, for me, its become about survival and I know for certain is I can't survive on 1-2 hours of sleep a night for much longer.

However, with all these hard pills that I've had to swallow, I've come to some more conclusions that are wonderful and sweet.

I am even more in love with my husband now than I ever thought would be possible. This deeper love started the first time I got to hold Faith and looked up to see tears streaming down his face. Jeff is generally a pretty solid, stoic character. He is hilarious, but I've only ever seen him cry once before this, it was after he gave me a blessing once when we were first married. Seeing him cry at this moment, and feeling the spirit that was in the NICU as we held our baby for the first time are a feeling and a sight that I won't soon forget. I. Love. That. Man.

The whole time I was in labor in the hospital Jeff was a pillar of strength. He worked so hard to encourage me and make me feel safe and comfortable. I know it was killing him that he couldn't do anything to take my pain away, but he tried to do what he could to alleviate what he could. I wish that the bed I had labored in was a bit bigger. The whole time I was in labor I just wanted to snuggle up with him and bury my face in his chest. I think he knew that, and he stayed close by. He hated that he had to leave the room for a phone interview for a job that he had scheduled the week before- but he was always right where I needed him to be. I would be closing my eyes, crying silent tears and all of a sudden I would feel his hand clasp mine. He didn't leave me alone, he always made sure I had what I needed. He is the most amazing man and I am so lucky that he chose me, as flawed and crazy as I am, to be his eternal companion. I definitely couldn't picture eternity without him- especially now.

Every time he holds Faith he looks down at her and gets this special smile that I've never seen before her entrance into our world. Its Faith's smile, a look he reserves specially for her, and it makes me love him even more because I know he has a special smile just for me too. I know he is completely wrapped around her little finger, and she didn't even have to do anything to make it happen. He is in love with her. He will hold her, look at me, and in his best impression of a 2 year old he will say "MY BABY!" He will then hold her close, breathe her in, and refuse for a time to let anyone else hold her on the grounds that she is his baby. I can't help but love him more in these moments.

Its so funny think back to how nervous he was about being a dad when we first found out that Faith was on her way to our family and see him now. He loves her, he can't get enough. He is awestruck by her. I asked him to give Faith a blessing the other night after my attempt to get more milk in using Blessed Thistle and Fenugreek ended with both of us getting a lovely red rash all over. He was quick to respond. He didn't even hesitate. When he is in the room, you can feel the love he has for both me and his little girl radiate off of him.

He thinks he is just doing what any guy would do...but I know plenty of friends who would say that their husbands wouldn't be this way, they wouldn't be as helpful, as kind, or as loving. Again, I am truly blessed.

Another conclusion I have come baby wants to grow up WAAAAY to fast.

She already rolls up onto her side, lifts her head, and the other day when I was feeding her I tried to take the bottle out of her mouth to burp her only to have her grab the bottle, put it back in her mouth and hold it there all by herself for the rest of the feeding...

People definitely don't lie when they say time goes by and before you know it they aren't babies more reason I have to get out of my current zombie-fied state...I feel like I'm missing it, like I can't fully take it in because all I want to do is sleep.

She will only be this little once. Every day she experiences some sort of first and I often don't even think about it, but when I do it makes me want to cry. Its so strange how fast we're exposed to the world, its strange how quickly the firsts start to hit us like a 2x4 in the face.

Well darlings, all I can say is, the moral for today is to allow yourself to take everything in. Drink life in, and don't take it for granted. You never realize what you've missed until you look back and realize that its passed you by.

Hugs and sleep until next time darlings.

1 comment:

The Winbergs said...

Your amazing Brittany! Faith loves you no matter if you can nurse or not she just wants to be with you and Jeff. She is a little miracle in herself. Jeff, WAY TO GO! Sometimes doing the little things are heard way louder then the small things :D I am so happy to hear things are going well for you and Faith and that you are recovering well. All our love :D