Today I lied in bed for 10 hours. I probably would’ve stayed there longer had the window washers not been milling around outside. I wish I could say that I slept that whole time, but I think if I back out the half-conscious feedings, my roundtrip to dreamland probably maxed out around seven hours. I still feel exhausted, but those sweet seven or so hours were enough to make me feel like I can go another day, another week, maybe even a month.
Yesterday I wasn’t so sure.
In the three-plus weeks since Baby P graced this world, I’ve been working off this time schedule:
8am-ish Get up, shove a granola bar and glass of lemonade down my throat, turn on the TV, gather dirty laundry from the night, make the bed, and maybe check e-mail, if time allows.
9am-ish Feed and change baby and once he starts to nod off, put him in his crib and hope to god that he stays asleep for awhile.
10am-ish Shower and get dressed. Maybe try to pump.
11:30am to noon-ish Feed and change baby, sometimes giving him a bottle of expressed milk in hopes that he will stay asleep for the next couple hours so I can throw him in his stroller and get a walk in. If not, I stay home and basically just hold him, maybe watching some TV or working on the computer, while he sleeps.
2pm-ish Feed and change baby. Hope like hell he’ll stay asleep in his crib, so I can finish laundry and maybe get some food–usually pretzel sticks with Heluva Good horseradish and bacon dip and/or a chocolate chip cookie–into me.
4pm-ish Feed and change baby. Basically collapse on the couch with wee one on my chest. Sometimes I don’t sleep but make phone calls, work on the computer, or do housework instead.
7pm-ish Wake up from nap, feed and change baby.
8pm-ish Think about getting some dinner, maybe walk over to my parents’ house in hopes that my mom has made extra food. (Otherwise, it’s a ham and cheese sandwich with some sort of salad, maybe more pretzels and/or a cookie.) She usually tells me baby is hungry, so I give him about 3 ounces by bottle. She then gives him another 2 ounces because she’s convinced he’s still hungry. (He usually throws up on her after that.)
9pm-ish Baby finally conks out. I finish my dinner and the glass of wine I poured sometime between 7pm and 8pm.
10:30pm to 11pm-ish I go back to my quarters. Baby is usually still in a food coma, so I either leave him in his bouncer seat (or even car seat sometimes, depending on what I did that afternoon) or put him in his crib. I spent the next hour or so pumping and washing and sterilizing all the bottles, nipples, and other pumping accoutrement that I have dirtied during the day.
Midnight I collapse into bed.
1:30am to 3am-ish Baby wakes up demanding to be fed and changed and I oblige. (It’s amazing how much can be done with one eye open.)
4:30am to 6am-ish Baby’s up again, so I feed and change him. I usually don’t risk putting him back in his crib again for fear that he’ll be restless, so I let him fall asleep with me for the next couple hours before I’m up again.
So, that’s pretty much the schedule.
But the problems–the ones that can only be fixed with 10 hours of lying in bed–happen when baby doesn’t stay on schedule. What got me finding my wall yesterday was that the the night before last, baby got up at 3am for a feeding as usual. However, getting him back to sleep was a major challenge.
Baby would fall asleep mid gulp, so I’d wait for a few minutes before moving him every so slowly back over to his crib. I’d put him down and jump back into bed, quickly flipping off the light. Not three minutes later, he’d be fussing–the kind of fussing that if you just wait and see what happens it usually ends in screaming. So, on went the light and my glasses, so I could pick him up and start all over again. That went on for an hour and a half (it usually only takes about a half hour to 45 minutes to feed and change), by the end of which I literally was pleading with him to go to sleep. (It didn’t work.) Finally, I tucked him in close to me in the bed and he eventually settled down.
Only to wake up at 6am again, marking the official start to my day.
It’s funny how you can sort of deal with an insane schedule, as long as it stays a schedule. But when baby goes off script, it totally messes you up. I feel much better this morning than I did yesterday evening–boy, was I dragging–but I can definitely tell I’ve got a 4pm nap with my name on it.