Where I'm At

We're in the throes of baby days. We are at the apex of misery.

The baby adrenaline is long gone.

The help is long gone (ack! I owe my mom her very own blog post for the amazing service she gave our family, and I just remembered right this very minute).

The fatigue is intense. I know a lot of folk go without sleep. Or have insomnia. Or work a job that deprives them of sleep on a regular basis. I've experienced all three of those things. Nothing and I mean, emphatically, NOTHING is like newborn sleep deprivation. The fragmented nature of life with a newborn eats away at your soul, and leaves you with nothing but the Id (that's your basic function, the core of who you are, the filter is gone, you are a walking being because of electrical impulses, you are sub-human). Your ability to process emotions is depleted. Your desire to please others goes to zero. Forget about forming complete or coherent sentences.

I'm so sick of my body. Weight wise, I'm not embarrassed; I'm not that far from my pre-pregnancy weight. Shape wise, I feel ashamed. I don't care that I grew a person. I don't care that I've created a beautiful life. I don't care if "they aren't stretch marks, they are badges of honor". I don't need no stinkin' badges!!!! Nothing fits. Oh, sure, my clothes go on and button and what not. But I look like pieces of loose meat shoved into a bulging a canvas sack.

The baby hates the car seat. And by hate I don't mean whimpers or fusses. I mean all out, I'm going to die, I hope you all die, blood curdling screams. They kind where she runs out of air and goes into that pinched, next octave scream that only a newborn can muster. It's like I'm killing baby rabbits every time we go for a drive.

And, do you know how often we go for a drive? Lexi has school every day. Addie has school twice a week. Emmy has speech therapy twice a week, on the off days from Addie's preschool. Lexi has gym. Addie has gym. Emmy has gym. Lexi has to be picked up from school. Addie has to be picked up from school. Emmy and Addie have to be picked up from gym. Lexi has to be picked up from gym. We have to go to school. And the dentist. And the doctor. And heaven forbid, the store to get something necessary like food or diapers.

The kids don't all get more quiet while she's screaming, either. Rather, they all start yelling too. It's like the world championships of screaming in the car. EVERY. TIME. WE. GO. SOMEWHERE.

I did switch car seats hoping it would improve. And is has, by 80%, it's improved. But, she still screams a lot, and I still want to crawl up the sides of the car. In fact, as we pulled into the parking lot at gymnastics today, she happened to be screaming. One mommy said, "Yeah, we could hear her as you drove up." Dudes. They heard us as we pulled in. I drive a diesel.

Having to drive around with a screeching baby causes me great angst. It also increases my anxiety. Increased angst and anxiety decreases my patience and tolerance. With children and a husband, a woman needs more than the average allotment of patience and tolerance just to end each day without having threatened someone's life. Right now, I'm in the red on both of those.

My house is completely trashed. I want to clean it so bad, but I find myself having to make choices. Do I take a shower (it is day 2), or clean? Do I put in a load of laundry or clean? Do I acknowledge my living children or clean? Do I continue to hold in this turd for another day or clean?

I decided yesterday that I've very much over having a baby. Sure, I love my kid. But, I'll love her when she can walk to the car by herself, too. I love her when she can get her own snack. I don't love the newborn phase. I'm greatly satisfied by knowing I've fulfilled my mission to have four kids and I don't have to do this again.  I know that over time, life will become sort of bearable again. That doesn't change that in this moment, I'm totally over having a baby.

My other kids have started disintegrating in their own special ways.

Lexi has begun to tune us out. She's capable of surviving on her own and she's increasingly indifferent to the rest of us.

Addison has developed extreme anxiety. She runs in a fit of tears to the window to watch as people drive away. There is a quiz, "When you are you leaving? Which way are you going to drive? This way? Or that way? Are you coming home?" Once you answer, she cries even harder, often achieving decibel levels that only dolphins can appreciate, and begins to drool on herself.  If she was a dog, she'd eat our blinds, and scratch a hole in the door.

Emily either puddles into a fit of tears on the floor, or backs herself into a corner spitting and growling at us like she's a rabid raccoon when she's breathing frustrated. She becomes utterly inconsolable. As a three year old girl, she is prone to this type of behavior independent from our just having a baby. But, put the two together? She's a freakin' hot mess.

I mean, we're pretty much normal. I think if you check in with any mommy at 2 1/2 months out from having a baby, she's all sorts of miserable. You're a far way from back to your old self, too. The only thing, as I say, that gets you through it is waking up every day and gettin' 'em grown. You just gotta let time pass. It really does get better as they get just a bit older. Your uterus gets just a bit smaller. Your hormones get just a little more consistent. Time does all of those for you.

So I just keep waking up (every 3 hours, that is) and let time work it's magic so that I can maybe find some joy in this journey.


Lynne Millar said...

Oh, Traci, I have been there... those sleep-deprived, screaming, no amount of rational adult talk will stop the madness around you days/months just seem endless. It is so hard but it will get better. It will. Hang in there, you are doing great. You know, I think all of that insanity (the kind where you worry - actually worry, just not write that in a blog comment to creatively emphasize your point - that your neighbors with only one child will call CPS about your household) is actually really healthy for the older kids because guess what, life is not and NEVER will be all about just them, right? It's a blessing for them to learn that when they are little even though you as a parent feel like NO ONE is getting what they need from you. I don't know if that makes sense (I don't think I have recovered cognitively yet even after 3 years from baby 4!) but the point I'm trying to make is that you are an amazing woman and I look up to you and I know you can do this and most importantly, it will get easier. Sometimes, we ALL sleep through the night now!!! ;)

Leslie said...

I feel your pain on so many levels. Before Blake I had lost 50lbs...I gained it all back. I struggle with the newborn phase took and love when they become independent. Cleaning is so hard when you are completely exhausted. Breathe and remember to pray a lot. You can do it!!!

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What started as a way to communicate with far away friends and family has become a place for this horse trainer/HR manager turned stay at home mom of 3 girls to hold on to a bit of her own identity. It's my take on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the thoughts and feelings, the mistakes and triumphs of this family as we bumble our way to eternity.