We Can Work It Out

Work.

It was bound to come up sooner or later. K started back to work a month ago, and it’s been brutal. We’ve figured out that it takes at least 3 adults to take care of 1 infant. On the days K is gone for 8 hours, I’ve tried to wrangle friends to hang out with me and Josie. Sometimes it’s great; Josie is all smiles and naps. Other times she acts like these friends (sometimes the same ones!) are there to torture her and cries to look at them (which she can’t help doing over and over). I’ve tried going to “groups” but am often more exhausted from wearing and bouncing her the whole time than if we’d stayed home where I could be worn out in private (and cry if I want to).

I recently had the opportunity to take on a small freelance editing job. It was right up my alley. But then I had one of those days with Josie (actually two in a row); I was a wreck physically and emotionally (there’s nothing quite like when a baby finds her angry scream!). I ended up turning it down even though we could for sure use the money and I need to get back to doing what I like for work, rather than what I’ve been doing for 3 years (teaching online). The person said she’d be happy to work with me in the future, when I’m ready. But, of course, I still felt like a failure for turning down one little job and feel like it’s crazy to imagine there will be a time when Josie will “let” me work.

You see, our daughter will not nap, and now she’s gotten to waking up every, I don’t know, half hour to scream until I put I boob in it. If she could find it on her own and I could sleep through, that’d be great. But she can’t and neither can I. It’s constant waking…to the point of sleep deprivation torture. I know it could just be a stage or teething or who knows what. But it soooks! As I say often to K (it’s my postpartum mantra), this is unsustainable!

We’ve talked books and theories and timing and routines and swaddling and dangling from the ceiling, etc., whatever it would take to get her to sleep for longer stretches (even the old 2-hour ones we used to curse!). Nothing works, and I am sick of trying. We resorted to giving her the dreaded formula last night, thinking it would fill her tummy and help her sleep longer. Oh, no. She was on the boob right after. And on and off as usual throughout the night. So much for corn syrup! My mom being here right now is my only saving grace. And thinking that maybe, some month, Josie will change.

One piece of advice I’ve gotten recently that I do appreciate (however fantastical it is) is to do more self care and that this will somehow via magic unicorns and confetti translate to an easier go. So I got a massage last week. And another today. I’ve been in so much pain (just the regular body pain of having a baby, in addition to, of course, the special sliced and diced down-under kind), I have a hard time sleeping even when she is. Sometimes the pain killers help, but mostly I lie there thinking at the pain, “If I was really tired I could sleep through you!” I’m sure that’s it; I just haven’t hit rock bottom yet. Luckily, the massages have felt really good. The one yesterday was a sliding-scale Thai massage where the practitioner makes you into a pretzel and stretches out the tight spots. Hurts so god — a bit like fighting fire with fire.

Today I went to work on rebuilding my pelvic floor muscles and reconnecting my abdominals. I’ve been going once a week for over a month, and my diastasis has improved quite a bit. It’s still three fingers wide around the belly button area, but it’s much shallower all the way from top to bottom. I was expressing a little frustration to the pilates instructor I’m working with who said that as long as I’m nursing Josie, the relaxin in my system will keep things loose and my body won’t be able to “come back together” all the way. It was kind of good and bad to hear that. At first I thought, “Well, what’s all this working out for? How can I, or anyone, take care of a growing baby without certain muscles intact?” Then I thought, “Phew! I don’t have to get it perfect yet.”

Before I sign off, I want to introduce a new blog feature called FOG (Funny or Gross). When Josie was smaller and K and I were new to sleep deprivation, we thought we were the funniest people in the world. We’d make things up or just say (whisper) them on accident and crack up while trying not to disturb the almost-sleeping baby. As Josie is growing and doing more things with her body, I have to wonder: is that funny or gross? For example, Josie has been getting very good with her hands. I was leaning over and kissing her belly area when she hooked my nostrils with two of her fingers, bowling ball style, and pulled my face up to hers so she could eat it (my face). I thought it was hysterical. Later, when I was in bed, I moved my face muscles and felt my skin crack where the entire day’s saliva had dried. Again, I laughed. Am I still suffering from the sleep deprivation sense of humor? More FOG to come…

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6 Responses to “We Can Work It Out”


  1. 1 julie May 17, 2012 at 12:46 am

    You are Kristy are such amazing mamas! Josie is so lucky to have such exhausted, non-muscular, barely holding it together mamas such as you. You are working so hard to figure out what this little creature needs and how to help her little system work better, and you will all get there as a family and the work will feel very, very worth it. You are people making! I think the story is adorable, so I’m wondering if some stories can be GAorFs of some sort? Lots of love!

  2. 2 Nuclear Mama May 17, 2012 at 3:36 am

    Of course, I’ll be the one to vote FAG: funny and gross. Hee hee.

  3. 3 Rebeccah May 17, 2012 at 5:33 am

    Oh man, I’m so sorry about the sleep thing. The deprivation is totally hellish in the long run, no matter how many times you tell yourself it won’t last forever. Hang in there, and feel free to add us to your list of people Josie can scream at. We’re used to angry baby sounds.
    (I had no idea about the breastfeeding-relaxin connection. Makes me feel better about my weirdly non-functional hip joints.)

  4. 5 Beth May 19, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Magic unicorns and confetti! Your post so wonderfully combines the mixture of emotions- thank you for this peek into your world. I will be sending new mommas I know this way.


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