Wow. What a difference a week makes.
The fog of sickness has lifted from our household and we seem to be on the other side of that mess. And people, may I say, the other side is lovely.
Relief. I feel like myself again.
Gus slept like a dream last night. I woke up to him babbling to himself on the monitor in the middle of the night, and almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked at the clock. A quarter to two! What what?! I know, some of you who have good sleeping babies are amazed that I would be happy with being woken up at 2:00 AM, but honestly, that is HUGE for us. Gus is usually up around 10:30 PM, which corresponds to when we’re going to bed, at which time he refuses to go back in his crib.
When that becomes the norm, when there are too many nights in a row where I just finally go to bed at 10:00 PM because Gus won’t go back down by himself, I start to feel like I’m suffocating under the weight of the mass amount of nighttime parenting he seems to require. I resent him for not being able to snuggle up with my husband at the end of the night, laughing and talking about whatever it is we talk about as we fall asleep. I resent him as I lie in bed, starting at the clock, afraid to fall asleep because hearing him cry out right as I’m drifting off is just about the worst thing ever. I resent him on Saturday nights when we are hesitant to start a movie at 8:30 because it’s so unlikely that we will actually be able to get through it before he wakes up.
On Monday night, Dan and I started an episode of How I Met Your Mother at like 9:45, and when Gus woke up about 10 minutes into it, I released my inner five-year old, outwardly groaning as I whined, “He ruins EVERYTHING!” (I did not stomp your feet, in case you're picturing that.) To which my level-headed and wonderful husband replied, “No he doesn’t, you don’t mean that. It’s really not a big deal, we’ll watch it tomorrow.”
And he’s so right. This too, shall pass. I need to constantly remind myself of that, and of the fact that I am committed to this kind of parenting, because it is what I believe in. I believe that Gus will benefit from a secure attachment to his parents. He will be a better child, a healthier, more emotionally developed kid, because he has parents who were steadfast in responding to his needs, who didn’t leave him to cry-it-out, alone in the dark, hurt that no one is coming to his aid, confused by the fact that his only way of communicating is being out-right ignored.
When we decided to become parents, we knew it wouldn’t be easy, there would be sacrifices, and this first year (plus) of parenting? Well, I’m realizing it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
It’s hard to have that kind of perspective in those moments of frustration, but I’m working on it. Dan is better at it than I am. He makes me smile on those difficult nights when I am feeling bitter and annoyed, when he kisses Gus’s little head as he lies between us nursing, whispering to me about how sweet and cute our little boy is, legs all curled up into me, his arm reaching up to touch the hairs on the back of my neck.
So last night I was almost joyful as I stumbled into his room, scooped up my baby, and climbed back into bed with him in my arms. He promptly fell back asleep after a short nursing session and barely stirred the rest of the night. Maybe once or twice more I nursed him. I don’t even know, but it was a great night. And when I snuck out of bed this morning and watched his little perfect eyelashes flutter while he slept, I remembered that this was all worth it. When I had to wake him up this morning to get dressed for Grandma’s house, and he proceeded to wrap his arms around my neck and burrow his head into me, smelling of apple-scented baby shampoo and just pure deliciousness, yeah. I remembered then.
This life is good. Not always easy. But really, really good.
We had our first appointment with our new pediatrician on Monday. Since he was about 6 months old, I've complained ad naseum about the fact that I hate Gus's doctor, and this week, we finally moved on.
I knew it was time, when I realized that I had continued to put off making his 12 month appointment because I dreaded seeing her so much, dreaded her judgement, dreaded the way she talked to you without making eye contact, or the way she would answer my questions with lectures about something else entirely. It was definitely time.
I am so relieved. This new pediatrician is so perfect for us.
Perfect example... Gus has been having constipation issues for a while now, the dirty details of which I will spare you , and we're sort of at our wit's end about it. We're constantly worrying about everything he eats, when the last time he "went", trying to get him to drink more fluids, it's exhausting. And Dan and I, being really adverse to using medications when there are more natural ways of approaching things like this, were both at the point where we were ready to medicate away, if it would solve this problem. Poor guy, it kills us.
Anyway, our doctor is not ready or willing to resort to that, and I took that as a really good sign. We discussed a lot of different methods of attacking the darn pooping issue, and I feel so much better about it.
Then there's the weight thing. Our old doctor gave me an insane complex about his weight, I swear she was "this" close to suggesting we supplement with formula on multiple occasions, all because Gus was dropping percentiles very slightly at each visit. New pediatrician didn't even say a word about it until I mentioned it, at which point she looked at the growth chart and said, "Looks pretty normal for a breast-fed baby, especially one that had such a high birth weight, they have a way of self-correcting for being born big. Slim is better! Considering the high rates of obesity in children, I prefer that they're in the lower percentile range. He is perfectly healthy, perfectly normal."
I was practically grinning from ear to ear. While my instincts had told me to ignore the stupid comments my mis-informed doctor had made, that hasn't always been easy. For a majority of his baby-hood, spurred by her comments, the thoughts were constantly in the back of my head, that I didn't produce enough milk for my son. That I wasn't enough for him, that I was going to fail at this breast-feeding thing. That by continuing, I was somehow not doing the right thing for him. Ugh. I wish I could make it so that no breast-feeding mother ever has to feel that way, it is such an isolating place to be.
I am so happy to have found this new pediatrician, all thanks to Dan's mom and Aunt. And as if I need any more examples of how much we jive with her, on the sleep front she recommended a book that I have already read, cover to cover, and loved, Elizabeth Pantly's "The No Cry Sleep Solution". I openly shared that we co-sleep, and there was no judgement, no pushiness, and instead she presented a relatively good case for why we might not want to wait for Gus to just magically start to sleep better, especially since it is causing us some issues during the week with napping when he's not with us. And she didn't simply present a good case for change, she gave us ideas for how to attack the issue, gently. Without crying. All while reiterating that if we're fine with how things are going, and aren't ready for a change, that we don't need to, and shouldn't push it.
So yeah, like I said, what a difference a week makes.