Wednesday, June 30, 2010

5w 3d routine

I've failed so far to properly put into words the dichotomy caused by this new routine.

How can you explain being the happiest and most content you've ever been in your life, and simultaneously anxious, agitated, needy...? So full, yet so void.

In writing about the heartache, I feel like I've under-emphasized the power of the love, the good, the happy, the peace. If I wasn't so wrapped in this love, it wouldn't hurt so much to be separated.

As everyone has said, it will "just" take time. How can you successfully adjust to something when you don't want to?

In one way, it is better today. The pain of separation isn't any less, but a routine is taking hold. Part of me is beating my fists against such a routine, but having one serves as a reminder -- surviving yesterday means surviving today.

P.S. I just found out that late last night was the first time Fletcher managed to roll from his stomach to his back all by himself!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

5w 2d grief

Shocked disbelief has turned to anger. This has brought to mind the stages of grief. It's quite melodramatic, isn't it, considering how lucky I am to be with my baby for a short while during my lunch hour (most days) and then all night? No one has died. No one has left me.

But I am angry. Punch-something, pull-out-my-hair angry. I cried a little less today, but I can't say it's because "things are getting better." I wish I could.

I want something to blame, something to be mad at other than "circumstance." But there's nothing. I keep asking why this is the way it is, but there's no answer.

If it is a kind of grief, when will I reach acceptance rather than just bearing it quietly? I keep thinking that if this were temporary -- if it were a day spent away from him, or even a week -- this would be easy. The fact that this schedule is forever makes it impossible to accept. (Am I at the bargaining stage already?)

Fletcher, our baby, so dependent on us... and now I, so dependent on him...

Of course, four hours of sleep and an empty stomach do little to mollify this new pissed-at-the-world temperament. I'll find a snack, get to work, and return to the quiet enduring.

Monday, June 28, 2010

5w 1d work

I have nothing against work. I like my job. I'm happy to be here. Coming here isn't the problem; it's leaving there.

Once here and focused on work, I experienced small stretches of time where I did not think of Fletcher. When thoughts of him did come rushing back, my guilt at blocking him out was minimal.

But this distance... this space... it is a living thing. Each inch separating us is physical, defined, solid and terrible.

I fed Fletcher at 5:00 a.m., and then pumped until 6:00 a.m. Then I showered and got ready, and fed Fletcher again at 7:00 a.m. Every minute of that feeding I was intensely aware that this is it, after this I'm leaving, driving away, putting more time and distance between us than there has ever been from the moment that he first existed.

Stepping backward away from the cradle was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I tried to get it under control on the drive to work. Thankfully, I was one of the first to arrive, so I didn't have to put on an act and hide the wound left behind when my heart was ripped from my chest. But the quiet and stillness of the office lay coldly on me, and in my mind I hear my baby crying.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

one month old

To celebrate Fletcher's first month, I did a little photo shoot.

I can't believe my baby is a month old... I can't believe how much he's changed already. He's getting so long that he doesn't fit right on the boppy nursing pillow anymore. According to our Wii, Fletcher weighs around 10.7 pounds, and I'm definitely feeling the extra weight every time I pick him up.

In the last week, he has really begun to feel less like a "newborn" and more like a "baby" to me, mostly because there are real stretches of wakefulness now. With the help of the pacifier, bouncer, and front-carrier, I can manage to get a few things done when he's awake and demanding, but mostly I'm at his beck-and-call. Although this whole parenting gig isn't easy, it's the best. He's like an angel.

My daydreams about the future aren't any less just because Fletcher has been born. I continue to wonder about him... what will he look like as a little boy? What will his voice sound like? What kind of man will he be? But the more I think about the future, the more I want to pause time indefinitely. Can he just stay my baby?

Happy month-day, baby Fletch. You've wrapped us all around your tiny little finger.

Monday, June 21, 2010

29 days schedule

What I'm looking at now...

How much has happened in four weeks? Instantly, my life changed. Fletcher is what matters more than anything. Every day has been a blur that flies by with feedings and diaper changes and feedings and baths and feedings... I blink and 8:00 a.m. becomes 4:00 p.m. There is no time for anything at all except Fletcher, and that's fine with me.

I'm stealing one more week home with my baby who, unbelievably, is almost a month old. The days disappear.

My goal this week is to get (or almost get) a routine going that will fit with my work schedule. Fletch is still insisting on eating every two hours, though, and he's recently become just a little fussy -- not colic, just awake for a five-hour period where no amount of eating will satisfy his appetite (I think it's because he simply has nothing else to entertain him during this wakeful period, just milk, fuss, milk, fuss, milk, fuss). So far, this high maintenance wakeful period has been in the morning, with him sleeping fairly well in the afternoon.

The schedule I'd like to achieve...
1:00 a.m. Feed Fletch
4:00 a.m. Feed Fletch
6:00 a.m. Get ready for work
7:00 a.m. Feed Fletch
7:30 a.m. Pump
8:00 a.m. Go to work, pump mid-morning & mid-afternoon
9:00 a.m. Bottle feed
11:00 a.m. Bottle feed
1:00 p.m. Feed Fletch on lunch hour
3:30 p.m. Bottle feed
6:00 p.m. Feed Fletch
8:00 p.m. Feed Fletch
9:40 p.m. Bathe Fletch
10:00 p.m. Feed Fletch

With this schedule, I would be looking at a manageable six hours of sleep if Fletch eats quickly, but I don't know how to make this schedule a reality. Come next week, I will have no choice but to leave for work at 8:00 a.m., and Andy will get stuck with whatever schedule the little dude is on. Today, Fletch needed constant attention from 8:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., as in I couldn't take the time to eat, shower, or do anything for myself unless I wanted to hear him scream. (This afternoon, he's back to eating every two hours and sleeping between.)

If this keeps up, poor Andy will be getting no sleep. With his new schedule, he'll be working all night on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, plus a little afternoon on Wednesday and a day shift on Friday. It sounds like Grandma Patty might help out on Wednesday and Friday.

I can't help feeling like if I work out a schedule and practice it this week, maybe it will help me deal with next week. Or maybe I'm kidding myself.

I know we'll be okay, all three of us. I told Andy this week, I have everything I want. Everything. A husband I love like crazy, a son that I can't live without.

I'll see Fletch every night and every weekend. I'll see Andy every weekend. It will have to be enough.

"Innocence" by Avril Lavigne
Waking up I see that everything is okay
The first time in my life and now it's so great
Slowing down I look around and I am so amazed
I think about the little things that make life great

I wouldn't change a thing about it
This is the best feeling

This innocence is brilliant, I hope that it will stay
This moment is perfect, please don't go away
I need you now, and I'll hold on to it
Don't you let it pass you by

I found a place so safe, not a single tear
The first time in my life and now it's so clear
Feel calm I belong, I'm so happy here
It's so strong and now I let myself be sincere

I wouldn't change a thing about it
This is the best feeling

This innocence is brilliant, I hope that it will stay
This moment is perfect, please don't go away
I need you now, and I'll hold on to it
Don't you let it pass you by

It's a state of bliss, you think you're dreaming
It's the happiness inside that you're feeling
It's so beautiful it makes you want to cry

It's so beautiful it makes you wanna cry
This innocence is brilliant, it makes you wanna cry
This innocence is brilliant, please don't go away
'Cause I need you now
And I'll hold on to it, don't you let it pass you by

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

17 days milk

Fletcher is starting to make a lot more noises. He's holding his head up more than ever. He's awake and antsy more than he used to be. And his cheeks are filling out...

Breast milk has taken over my life. I'm feeding the little man 12 hours out of the day, and spending the other 12 hours pumping with mediocre results.

The baptism is four days away and I'm indebted to all the folks who are taking the party work out of my hands. Thank God for family!

As of Monday's doctor appointment, Fletcher is a healthy little guy. He's now 8 pounds 13 ounces (average weight for his age), and 21 3/4 inches (80th percentile for his age). His next appointment isn't until he's 2 months old.

I've been letting stress get the better of me. What I should be doing is enjoying Fletcher as much as possible while I can and putting off all the things that need to be done and decisions that need to be made. I'm just not good at taking the it'll-all-work-out-in-the-end road, and I feel guilty when I'm not carrying my weight around the house.

an Andy-supervised nap

Friday, June 4, 2010

12 days old stud

Here's what I'm looking at right now.

a Fletcher Burrito

I remember what life was like before Fletcher, but it's with a distance of more than just "days." This is my new life. He is at the heart of every moment of it.

The way he eats every two hours for about 25 minutes might seem like the reason he's the sun in my solar system, but that's just semantics... just our new, exhausting schedule. Just physical ties.

I am emotionally tied to him in ways I didn't know possible. Also interesting, I feel new, more powerful ties to Andy. I am rooted here to these two people, and I'm truly beginning to know the meaning of family. Of motherhood. Of love.

These 12 days have been the most draining of my entire life. Even if the hours that I sleep add up to six or seven, it feels more like three. I have a headache that has no beginning or end. My back hurts, arms hurt, stitches hurt, breasts hurt. Every time I start breastfeeding, my eyes roll painfully into the back of my head out of pure exhaustion.

Scary questions keep cropping up in my head. Who is going to watch Fletcher when I'm at work? How am I going to handle this when Andy is at work? Will I be able to pump enough breast milk to satisfy Fletch when I'm not there to take care of him? How will I stand to be separated from him for nine plus hours at a time every day?

I can barely handle it when we're in separate rooms.

I hope everyone can be patient with me. I'm not so chipper and easy going as I might have once been. A combination of many things has made me quieter, a little more serious, a little less interested in chatting about myself. Emotionally, I'm in a good place as long as I'm with my son. When we're apart, I'm not in a very good place. But that's life and I have to suck it up. Just don't expect me to be perky.I can't be with Fletcher enough, can't hold him enough, and our moments apart just remind me of that. I don't own him. I can't be with him all day every day. I can only hope that it gets easier.

Even now, when I've been home for two weeks and have another two weeks left, it feels like I haven't had a chance to relax. I don't get to sit and hold Fletcher all day. During any moment that he isn't eating, there are things I need to be doing -- trying to sleep, trying to pump, showering, eating, laundry, shopping, driving to grandparents', visiting with visitors. It's why I haven't made a blog post for 12 days. It feels like there is no down time, even though it's all down time. Even now, I should be trying to nap instead of typing all this out.

But I suck at napping. So instead I'm listening to Fletcher's deep breaths, watching all the expressions he makes in sleep, trying to file him away in my memory because every day he changes and my minutes with him always feel numbered.

He laughs and smiles now, though it's just muscle practice. He still has a habit of opening his eyes when he sleeps, which looks like something out of The Exorcist. He was amazingly strong right after being born and continues to get stronger, moving his head around, and kicking and punching. His nails have a tendency to scratch on sensitive skin, but neither of us wants to cut them. It doesn't look like he's lost any of his thick, dark hair. His circumcision has healed beautifully and his belly button is almost normal.

Everyone agrees he's a stud.