I knew that bringing home a newborn into a house with a 10 month-old would be a test of our stamina. Actually, I’m putting it kindly. We knew it would be a torturous hell of nonstop work, aches and pains from delivery and nursing, and no sleep. Regardless of how much we loved our new bundle (and we love Grady tons), the key to surviving the first few weeks was to be honest with ourselves about how bad it would be.
Before Cade was born, well-meaning folks would say tidbits to us like, “Better sleep now!” or “Enjoy sleep while you can!” or “You’ll never sleep again!” I hated those comments. Of course I knew that a baby would change the dynamics in the house. Of course I would sleep less. Now I have to admit–the lack of sleep that comes with a new baby is, ahem, shocking.
During the daylight hours, I still had a 10-month old to entertain, feed, clothe, bathe, and love in between everything I needed to do for my newborn. During the evening hours, Grady needed to be fed and changed every two hours. It was like being under house arrest, only I wasn’t allowed to sleep in my own bed. I could see the bed. I could sit on it. I could feel the lush cushiony goodness of the blankets and the pillows. I could even close my eyes for a few tantalizing minutes, but I could not, must not sleep. Somebody needed me. He was little, and loud, and fragile, and could not be without me. So I got my ass up.
Exhaustion, really extreme exhaustion, makes everything harder. Tying your shoes is an insurmountable task. Getting off the couch requires a pep talk. Taking a shower needs more energy than sitting in clothes covered in spit up, so you choose the spit up. In the middle of the first month, a friend asked me if I had started hallucinating. I was so relieved to hear her say that, because it meant that I wasn’t losing my mind. There was a sisterhood to this crazy. All of the blood had been drained from my body and replaced by glue, but at least I wasn’t the only woman to have this transfusion.
It’s three months later, and Grady is peacefully swaddled and down for the night. I won’t have to get up again until 4am, and that feels downright luxurious. Until then, I’ll be enjoying my fluffy blanket.