Little Miracles

It’s been a while since I’ve written about the two biggest issues to plague me since becoming a mom: breastfeeding and sleep. I thought maybe it was time for an update.

The last time I wrote about breastfeeding, I had thrush, tooth marks on one nipple, C was nursing every hour (at least) 24/7, and I was about 30 seconds away from a nervous breakdown. Here’s how it all went down:

First off, the magic cure for my two month battle with thrush ended up being a combination of monistat and lotrimin creams. I also made sure I was always wearing a freshly laundered nursing tank or bra and that all pump parts, bottle nipples and pacifiers were sanitized every 2 days. I almost quit nursing because of thrush. That’s how painful it was. I’m so glad I won that battle.

The tooth marks mysteriously disappeared at the same time as the thrush. I’m not sure what that was all about, but whatever the cause, I’m grateful it’s no longer an issue.

My lactation consultant suggested that we start solids two weeks before C was 6 months old to try to alleviate some of the constant nursing. It worked. I don’t have to spend my entire weekend sitting on the couch nursing C. We can now usually go totally respectable intervals without nursing. Although Catch did have to give her a bottle while I was out at the grocery store for 45 minutes a few weeks ago, so it’s not totally foolproof. Still, it’s miles better than it was.

For the first time since Charlotte was born, I am not stressing about breastfeeding. I pump at work. I nurse at home. She gets a bit of formula every day to make up for the shortcomings in my supply. I still take the max dose of Dom along with a few other supplements. It’s all become very routine and peaceful. I can’t help feeling proud that I’m still going.

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As I started to write about sleep, I got a text message from Catch that Charlotte doesn’t want to take her afternoon nap. That’s after our nanny posted a joke on Facebook this morning about Charlotte refusing to take her morning nap.

When we left off on sleep, we were in the midst of sleep training via the methods in The Happy Sleeper. I was once again on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Charlotte had been waking up 8-12 times a night. I was so sleep deprived that I was barely functioning.

While naps have started to become a struggle all of a sudden, bedtime is finally working. Most nights, she wakes up 2-3 times, but they’re all in the early hours of the morning. She usually gives us a solid 6 hours on the front end, and then she’s choppy on the back end. Whatever. It is SO MUCH BETTER THAN BEFORE. OMG. I am getting some rest. It’s not perfect, but it’s still AMAZING compared to two months ago.

On Sunday night, she slept for NINE AND A HALF HOURS straight. I didn’t even know that was possible. Seriously.

I have mixed feelings about her sleeping in her room. On one hand, it’s so nice to be able to move around in our bedroom without worrying about making noise or turning on lights. On the other hand, it feels like she’s so far away and I really miss her at night. When I get up to nurse her in the night, I often find myself snuggling her for just a few extra minutes just because. Of course, if I think back two months ago to how I used to cry out of frustration when she would wake (every 45 minutes) to nurse, missing her is actually sort of refreshing. It’s pretty amazing when you can be happy to see your kid at 2 am.

The Happy Sleeper changed my life. I’m not even exaggerating. As hard as it was and as much as I fought with myself about it, it was worth it in the end. I feel like I’m able to be a better mom now, and you can’t put a price on that.

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Charlotte is 7 months old now, but I feel like 6 months was a major turning point for us. Having both parents working full time jobs outside the home is no joke. That’s enough hard all on its own without adding in bonus challenges. Things are so much easier right now, and boy did we need the break.

I don’t think I ever shared her 7 month picture on the blog. Can you believe how she’s grown? I can’t even wrap my head around it.

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Anxiety

Last night, I sat next to Catch on the couch tearfully gripping her leg as we watched (yet another) TV show involving a child who had been killed. She must have calmly reminded me that it wasn’t real a half dozen times.

“Do you ever have these flashes of the most horrible things happening to Charlotte?” I asked.

“Yes—I watched her fall off the bed last week, remember?”

But that wasn’t what I meant.

Every day, I have these moments. Moments where I’m going about my business and something will trigger a horrible sequence of pictures inside my head. Horrible things happen to Charlotte in my imagination. I don’t even want to write them down.

I tried to explain it to Catch and she just sort of stared at me and then went back to watching TV.

I feel like my skin is so thin now that I’m a mother. I can’t handle fictional violence against children. I really can’t handle real violence against children. Dog save me if something pops into my Facebook feed about parents who have somehow lost their baby. It’s just too much. It’s too hard.

I’m torn between burying my head in the sand to get away from it all or putting my daughter in a bubble.

Is it just me?

Speaking of Friends

A friend of ours posted something about us on Facebook last night. Before I share what was written, allow me to give you some back story:

We met this friend when we moved in next door to her about 8-ish years ago. For a number of years, we were REALLY close. Catch plays softball with her. We lived so close for so long (until we bought our house) that we saw each other frequently and often had wine nights together. She was one of our best friends.

Things started to change when Catch and I started trying to get pregnant. This friend of ours is older (mid-40s) and we think she was a bit jealous. She had considered insemination once upon a time, but right as they were set to start, her relationship ended and she’s been single and fairly financially unstable ever since. I think our trying was kind of a slap in the face for her, and I tried to be very understanding.

As we progressed down the rabbit hole of failed IUIs and emotional difficulty, I grew more and more depressed and found myself pulling away from many of our friends. I felt like I couldn’t talk to them about our fertility issues. At least not in a way that gave me any sort of comfort or satisfaction. I’m sure many of you will understand that. I tried to explain to this friend how hard it was, but I think you can only really understand when you’ve been there.

In fact, one night we went out for dinner when I was pretty entrenched in the IVF process. I think I was around the time that I’d found out that I couldn’t do a fresh transfer because of that polyp and I was waiting to have the polyp removed before we could start an FET cycle. After we caught up and I explained to her what was going on and how I was feeling, she pulled out her phone to show me the pictures of her teenage niece’s gender revel photo shoot. I was floored. It hurt.

Shortly after we started our journey to Charlotte, this friend decided that she was going to go through the foster/adopt process. She put her all into it. She really did. It’s been about 18 months since she was approved, and she still doesn’t have a placement. I don’t really know why, but I suspect there’s some back story. She wasn’t looking for an infant–she was going for young school age and the LA County has something like 30,000 kids in the system. I just can’t imagine that the wait is for organic reasons.

In the meantime, she stopped taking her antidepressants (a decision she made without medical consult) and started drinking quite a bit.

After Charlotte was born, I was a wreck. You all witnessed that firsthand. This friend texted us wanting to see the baby, but when we told her that she was welcome to come by but that we’d appreciate if she could keep the visit to two hours, she pitched a fit and said that she’d wait until Charlotte was older so she could stay longer because she needed more than two hours. UM… what now? I was pretty peeved.

She did visit eventually. She stayed for 2 hours. Since then, she’s texted a few times and comments on a lot of C’s photos on Facebook, but I’ve been keeping my distance. She’s just gotten really weird. Even her texts have been weird. They’re all novel-length and they sound like they’re sent after half a bottle of tequila.

I want to be understanding. I want to be a good friend and help her out of this hole she’s in, but I just can’t. I don’t have it in me. I’m barely holding my own life together.

Still, you can probably imagine my surprise when she posts this on Facebook last night for all the world to see. I think I’ve mentioned that we’re the only ones in our circle who have a kid, so it’s pretty obvious to our mutual friends who she’s talking about.

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There’s a part of me that wants to respond to her and just blast her out of the water. There’s also a part of me that wants to just unfriend her and call it a day. Then there’s another part of me that wants to ignore it and ignore her and carry on with my life as I have been.

I have no idea what to do. No idea what to say. I’m totally gobsmacked that she would post something like this for all the world to see (Catch and I included).

What would you do?