Tomorrow begins my seventh month growing ‘ Little Brother ‘. This is getting serious. Baby clothes are being organized. Gear is getting pulled up from the basement. We’re in the process of trying to Finally, FINally purchase and settle into a permanent home. One with room for two children, a visiting mother-in-law and at least eight bathrooms. I intend to never share a sink with that man again…
Heavy on my mind lately is the ‘ game plan ‘. I feel like an Olympian who went into the previous games the heavy favorite to win, and then didn’t even medal. I have to do this one better. I’ve trained for it. I’ve learned new tricks, new skills. I’m ready. What will I change and what will I repeat? Here’s what I’m thinking:
I went home from the hospital with Luka to an empty house. I thought I could handle it. I didn’t ask my husband to take time off- this being the man that would stagger into work with a gunshot wound if he needed to- big mistake. I needed help. A lot of help. Not every mother does and not every mother will, but I sure did. This time she’ll be waiting for me in my house the day I return. She’s called a Baby Nurse or a Newborn Nanny and we’ll have her with us for the first month. I haven’t decided yet how we’ll do it exactly. Will she take the baby from me after nighttime feedings and deal with changing and burping and settling down while I go back to sleep? Will she bring the baby to me in the night when he’s ready to eat, then take him again so I can go back to sleep? Will I do nights and then let her take over for a few hours every morning while I sleep? Will she handle nights entirely….while I sleeeeeeep? Notice a theme? To be determined, but I’m fairly confident that this will make an enormous difference in my state of mind and emotions in those beginning weeks.
This is a very deep regret. I gave up with Luka at about the two or three week mark. It was excruciating to do then, despite the fact that I really, really wanted to, and I’ve never quite forgiven myself.
That picture was taken in one of the only pleasant moments of breastfeeding I experienced, so I quickly snapped it. I remember this clearly. Minutes after the picture was taken, the dread settled back over me- the same dread that caused me to run around at dusk every evening and turn on every light in the house, including bathroom lights inside rooms that I wouldn’t even be entering, in a vain attempt to dispel the sadness and gloom I was trapped under. I wrote about all this before, so no need to go into it all again. I wish it had been different. My plan is to try again with baby brother and hopefully succeed. Honestly? I’m kind of becoming a bit uneasy about it and second guessing. Despite my sadness at not breastfeeding Luka, I unapologetically loved formula feeding. Loved it. With a toddler to manage I can’t help musing about the ease of the bottle. I’m holding steady though. Had a really sweet dream about nursing the baby last night, as a matter of fact. Still planning on giving it the ol’ college try.
I did it with Luka, wrote about that too. It worked. Worked very well. Luka was almost seven months, still waking up a few times in the night. He was fooling no one. I’d put the bottle in his mouth and he was asleep again in a matter of moments. It was just habit and a bit of ‘ hey Mama, I want some of your attention’. I had been sleeping in his nursery since he was born, sharing a bed with him about half the night each night. Back in my Awesome Heather* room, a fabulous bed, replete with a new mattress and beautiful headboard AND a husband, was waiting for me. I wanted to be in that bed so bad, to be that Heather again. So I pushed it. The whole sleep training thing. He survived it and is not nor ever was traumatized by it.
However…. I will never do it again. I was traumatized. It was so damn hard. More than that though, since that time, I’ve spent countless nights sleeping with him anyway for various reasons and I love it. We’re currently roommates again- I can’t share a bed when I’m pregnant and the extra bed in his room is so much more comfortable than mine right now. There is no denying that co-sleeping with a baby helps them sleep. Which in turn, allows you to sleep. I’ve pretty much made up my mind that I’ll share a room and sometimes a bed with the two of them for the next few years to come. I’ll do what I need to do to get the little one on a schedule, but I’ll do it slowly and without the sense of urgency and irritation that accompanied my last attempt. The truth is, the time to be so intimate with them is fleeting and I know when it passes completely I’ll miss it so much.
Those are the fundamental changes. Next up, I have to start going through all my gear and decide what was useful, what was utterly unnecessary and what to add…
* New readers: If you are interested you can scroll through my posts and read ” I didn’t breastfeed my baby and here’s why”, ” What I never wanted to say”, ” Oh, for cry it out loud” and ” Wishing and Waiting” to get the backstory on some of the issues I’ve touched on here.