The last time I left you, I’d just got home from leaving Liv and Jasper at the maternity unit for their first night there. I was ecstatic with the baby and the birth and how perfect everything had gone. Well, that didn’t last long.
Some people did warn us this would be difficult. Throughout the pregnancy, my delightfully cynical friend Lawrence kept saying things like, “PREPARE FOR THE HORROR”, and other such words of encouragement. Well, he has twins, so I figured things must just have been hard for him and his wife. We’ll be fine, I thought. We’re always fine! Things are pretty easy for us! But then reality sets in and I think, actually this is kinda crap. When does it get fun?
Don’t get me wrong – I love the little guy and think he’s great, and I know we’re only three weeks in, but so far it hasn’t always been a barrel of laughs. For some people this is a wonderful time. But do people look back on this time with rose-tinted glasses? Do they forget how hard newborn babies are? Do they forget how stressful it is being up many, many times in the night with no way to settle their baby? I can only assume that kids become really fun, and that that joy drowns out the negative experiences of having a newborn. Or maybe other babies are just easier than ours.
In any case, I’ve been putting on a brave face. People at work ask me, How is Jasper and Liv? And I say, Oh they’re fine, just fine, he’s a bit unsettled but he’s OK, really. It’s too hard. It’s easier to just say Yup, we’re all good, thanks.
The first two weeks are a lie.
Jasper slept really well when we brought him home. He would feed about 9:30pm, sleep til about 1am, feed again, then sleep for another three hours, feed, then back to sleep. He was so easy to settle. We thought we’d nailed it. Yes! This is easy! What is everyone complaining about?!
This last week is when Jasper started to get nuts. He’s awake a lot – not always crying, but just awake, and often unsettled. He sleeps for half-hour bursts, but then wakes up crying. It’s worst in the early hours of the morning, because nothing seems to settle him. He’ll go down for a few hours in the evening but then from three am on, he’s a restless mess. Nothing seems to calm him. Is it colic? Wind? Is he cold? Is he still hungry? Is he lonely? Does he need a cuddle? We try all the settling techniques, and often nothing seems to work. We just have no idea.
Eventually, some time mid-morning, he has a good sleep. But this guy is awake for hours at a time. Aren’t babies meant to sleep lots? The internet says babies should sleep about 16-18 hours a day at this stage. Yesterday we recorded his sleep schedule. He got eight hours. Just.He’s only three weeks old and still probably pretty freaked out about the world, so I understand why he might be a bit difficult right now. But it still makes it a bit hard for us.
The worst part is that when people come over to visit, he’s pretty good! They say things like, Is he always this chill? And we laugh. It’s like he knows, the little bastard.
I went back to work this week and the plan was for Liv to tend to him during the night because there’s no sense in both of us being tired. The working person may as well have some rest and actually be able to perform at their job. Ha, yeah right.
It’s hard for me to sleep knowing Liv’s out there struggling to get J to sleep. So I’m helping out a bit, trying to settle him when I can. Usually this is very early in the morning, about 5 o’clock. I figure if I can calm him for a couple of hours, that’s a good bit of sleep Liv can get before I go to work and she has to put up with him all day.
Anyway, it kinda sucks right now. He’s cute but we don’t get anything back from him. Smiling is probably still a while away, and it seems like if he’s not sleeping or eating, he’s whinging.
This probably sounds far worse than it really is. Everyone’s healthy and we’re just losing sleep, that’s all. But that’s stressful. It’s such a hard adjustment to go from a life of extended sleep with no responsibilities. I’ve been tired before – I used to work shifts when I worked in radio – but this is different. It’s like, I feel OK and in control, but I’m forgetting things and doing strange things. Like, this morning I almost put raw quinoa in my breakfast smoothie because I was doing two things at once. Just now, proof-reading this blog post, I’m correcting the most atrocious spelling errors. Goodness knows if im making mistakes at work without realising. Good thing I’m not a surgeon!
The point is, this is way harder than I expected. I feel like the joyful moments are far and few between and we’re just putting up with J, and him with us, probably. Maybe this plays into my impatient nature, and I know things will get easier and more fun, but right now I’m just so tired.
But I shouldn’t complain. I don’t want to be one of those people that misses out on their children because they’re always thinking of the future, looking forward to those more fun stages of development, like laughing and talking. I do want to experience it all and that means taking the good with the bad, but I hope something fun comes along soon. And maybe this is where evolution has it all worked out, because I know that first real smile is probably only days away, and then I know J will have my heart forever.
Listening to: An Imaginary Country by Tim Hecker
Reading: Meet Me In The Bathroom by Lizzy Goodman
Hours of sleep: 5 (at a stretch!)