You know, the phrase “sleep like a baby” never really made a whole lot of sense to me. After all, people tend to complain about babies and sleep more often than not. And since having a baby? The phrase makes even less sense. Sleep like my baby? Briefly and with frequent snacks? Fitfully and with random bouts of crying? Only when being held?
When I was about 8 months pregnant, I listened to a woman go on a full-on tirade about co-sleeping and how dangerous it is, how it’s tantamount to child abuse and there’s all this propaganda in favor of it when really, parents who co-sleep should have their babies taken away for child endangerment. Which, you know, usually propaganda refers to the mainstream option being reinforced, rather than the subversive subculture trying to restore historical norms. But hey, whatever works for your family, right? I figured co-sleeping was just something that would get in the way of me and my adorable husband having our bed back, me getting my body back, and all that great stuff.
So when our little girl showed up, I was pretty surprised at how strongly my instincts screamed don’t put down the baby. All I wanted to do was hold her, and if she wanted to sleep while I was holding her, so much the better. The few times I tried to fall asleep while Ben was holding her, I couldn’t. So many months of sleeping while feeling these tiny little movements, and suddenly I couldn’t sleep without them (not to mention the near-paralyzing fear that at any moment, she might stop breathing for absolutely no reason. Thanks, SIDS-Awareness programs).
So I broke every rule about baby sleep. She slept in our bed, on her stomach against my chest, and with blankets and pillows still in the bed (albeit moved pretty far from her). And every time I tried to do anything different — put her on the bed itself, move her into the bassinet, anything other than holding her against my chest — she woke up instantly and started crying. So I just couldn’t.
Not to mention the fact that she still feeds 3-5 times during the night, and personally, I’m not real crazy about the idea of waking up to a crying baby, getting out of bed, walking down the hall, picking baby up out of a crib, sitting and feeding her in a chair in her room, getting her back to sleep, putting her back in the crib, walking back down the hall, and getting back into bed only to do the same damn thing two hours later. OR I could just roll over and fall asleep while feeding her and wake up when she stirs for the next meal.
I’ve also had well-meaning friends ask when we’re going to get our daughter onto a schedule. I totally get it when it comes to working mothers how a schedule could be the difference between sanity and losing it completely. But see, I don’t have a schedule. I don’t even know how I would put her on a schedule. Not only that, there’s this whole thing about eat-play-sleep cycles which confused me a bit before she was born and now…
Look, this whole parenting thing is a lot more complicated than it looked from the other side (and it didn’t exactly look like a cakewalk). Ben and I have just been trusting our gut instincts and trying to make choices that really felt right for us. That means a lot of our baby decisions have been driven by my hormones. And there are a lot of hormones involved. I’ve really been surprised by just how strong these instinct-level responses are.
And sometimes, it’s hard to listen to your gut when the entire world around you says to do something else. Put the baby in the crib, don’t let her fall asleep while eating, get her into her own room.
I still maintain my pre-baby comments about Dr. Sears. I still disagree with a lot of his philosophies (not to mention his total misuse of the term “attachment”). But yes, we are doing several things he recommends. Not because he recommends them, mind you. Honestly, it’s because that’s how I was raised. Hold your baby, love her, and listen to your gut.
When I was 15 or 16, my best friend and I usually went out shopping after school. We didn’t always buy something. Sometimes, we’d just take three or four laps around the mall before heading home. Sometimes, we’d idly wander the aisles of Target (it was walking distance from the school). Sometimes, we’d even find stuff we wanted to buy. One of the days we were killing time at Target (because, really, what is a middle class suburban teenage existence other than repeatedly killing time until you’re old enough to actually do something useful?), as we wandered through the toy aisle, a stuffed bear caught my eye.
Just a simple little white bear with extra fluffy fur, it didn’t look like anything remarkable at first. There was a little button on the paw that said “Press”. When you press the button, it lit up in soft, warm colors that progressed through the spectrum. A night-light and a bear, all in one. It wasn’t expensive, either — a totally reasonable $10. I knew for a fact I had to have it. Not for me, you understand. I knew, age 16, that one day I was going to have children, and my child needed to have this bear.
Ben and I were over at Dad’s house yesterday, and I spotted the bear in my old room. It’s now sitting in Sprout’s room, waiting for a name and some furniture to sit on.
The furniture is coming. We went shopping with my grandma this week and she bought us a beautiful crib. Of course, Ben and I have clearly procrastinated the actual purchase of baby stuff just a little bit too long; the estimate is that the crib should arrive in… ten to twelve weeks. For those who’ve lost count, we’re at 36 weeks, which means the baby should arrive in one to five weeks. Fortunately, we weren’t planning to put her into the crib immediately. And even if we had been, I guess we wouldn’t be now anyways, would we?
The car seat is similarly behind; we placed the order on Amazon yesterday (a generous gift from Ben’s Dad and Stepmom). That at least should arrive next week. Yesterday, we went through and did the “registry completion” shopping bonanza with the lovely coupons those entailed. We wandered around Target for about four hours with the registry gun (why yes, the toothpaste IS a registry item now, thank you for asking), our shopping list, and a handful of coupons. All told, it was over $300, which is way more money than we usually are comfortable spending, but we also completely filled a shopping cart, almost finished outfitting her room, and even found the vacuum I’d been researching on sale (PLUS the 10% registry discount). According to the bottom of the receipt, we saved $76, but that doesn’t take into consideration the comparison shopping we did between stores, the comparison shopping between products, and the general over-analysis of every purchase we made.
I’m very proud of us, honestly. I think we did good.
We’re taking bets on how much Sprout will weigh at birth! Email Megan or Ben to get in on the action. Winner gets bragging rights and a photo of baby (which they would probably get anyways. Okay, so the prizes are lame. I have no excuse.)
To reserve your square, email either Megan or Ben, or comment on this post!
Studies are starting to show that birth weight tends to follow the father, although not always. Ben was 6 lbs 11 oz at birth. Average weight at birth in the U.S. is 7 lbs 11 oz, or “6 to 10 lbs” which is not so much an average as a cop-out.
At the 20-week ultrasound, she was about one pound (although weight readings by ultrasound are notoriously inaccurate). Since then, her growth has been tracked by fundal height, which is supposed to be roughly 1cm per week of pregnancy. She has been perfectly on track (neither larger than average nor smaller) since then.
|5 lbs||6 lbs||7 lbs||8 lbs||9 lbs||10 lbs|
|1 oz||Stephen T.|
|3 oz||Kristy||Ruth S.|
|6 oz||Mark||Chappell||Lauren K.|
|12 oz||Lauren P.|
We’re taking bets on when Sprout will choose to arrive! Email Megan or Ben, or leave a comment on this post to get in on the action. Winner gets bragging rights and a photo of baby (which they would probably get anyways. Okay, so the prizes are lame. I have no excuse.)
The standard calculators that assume all women have perfectly regular cycles puts her due date at Sept 23. The midwives adjusted calendar, which takes individual cycles into account, puts her due date at Sept 28. Only 5% of babies are born on their due dates, with 80% born between weeks 38 and 42. Babies are full term after week 37, and not actually overdue until after week 42. The majority of first babies are delivered during the 41st week. Women in Megan’s family tend to have their babies two to three weeks early or on the due date.
The calendar is on Google Calendars. If you’d like, you can add it to your own calendar.
Everyone keeps warning us that when the baby comes, we’ll never sleep again. Dire predictions of a sleep deprivation so bad we’ll go out of our minds with exhaustion, clawing our eyes out in a desperate hope to get just one hour of sleep.
Clearly, these people have forgotten what pregnant sleep looks like.
Tomorrow marks the beginning of Week 33. Last night was a pretty typical night:
11:45 pm: Bed time! Ben is off work this week, so our schedule has gotten a little more lax. It took me about 15-20 minutes to actually fall asleep, which has been my pattern my whole life, so nothing new there.
Somewhere between midnight and 2: I woke up to roll onto my other side. See, the belly is now big enough that I can’t just roll over in my sleep anymore. If I try to roll using my ab muscles, I pull something in my side. So I actually have to wake up to roll over at night. Out of sheer determination, I kept my eyes closed and refused to look at the clock.
2:45 am: I have to pee. I lie in bed for about 5 minutes, arguing with myself if I actually do have to get up, because for the first time in a while, I’m actually comfortable. My bladder gets insistent enough that my whole abdomen starts aching. I give up and get up.
3:00 am: I’ve been back in bed for a while, but can’t get back to sleep. I can’t find that comfy position again, and now my nausea/heartburn is acting up, so if I lie wrong, I can feel the stomach acid start crawling up my throat. After tossing and turning to find a comfortable position (and failing), I take a chewable Papaya Enzyme tablet and worry about the damage I’m doing to my teeth. I definitely saw the clock hit 3:15 before I fell back to sleep.
Somewhere between 3 and 6: I roll over again. Same deal as before.
6:45 am: I get a text message from a friend in California who forgot about time zone differences. It’s okay, though because the pic she sends makes me unreasonably happy. Also, I send my reply at 10am here, which totally sounds like revenge to me. After I look at my phone, Lilit sees that I have an eye open, and makes a frog noise followed by rolling on her back. Great. 7am and she wants to play. Yeah, that’s not happening. I take advantage of already being awake to hit the bathroom again, and on my way back to bed, I tell Lilit to go back to sleep. She meows like a normal cat once, then lets me rest.
9:00 am: I had put a reminder in my calendar that library books are due today. Only I set it up as an appointment instead of a reminder, so my phone alerts me. Ben and I give up on the night (as my stomach starts grumbling and growling) and head downstairs to make breakfast.
Look, I’m not saying I don’t realize that I can get more hours in a row now than I will with a three day old infant. But there are a couple of huge differences between now and then. First, when we have a three day old, we will not have a to do list or a schedule of things to accomplish during waking hours. We will be able to take one hour naps at any point during the day that she lets us, so even if it takes 14 hours to do it, we can guarantee a solid 8 hours of sleep a day. (I said solid, not uninterrupted. I’m not a fool, after all). Second, I’ll actually be able to lie down in bed. Or on my side. Or on my back. Third, and this really is the most important part, we’ll have something adorable and new to look at when we’re lying there, exhausted and bored. I mean seriously, it’s going to take a while for “Look at how tiny her hands are!” to get old.
Besides, what choice do we have? It’s a little late to turn back now.
So, I am super excited to have finally transitioned from “Hey, lady, back away from the cookies!” into “Holy crap, are you having a baby?” (Answer: Actually, we’re about five months away from that stage, and the little bugger better stay in there till it’s good and fully cooked!). But with this new-found waistline expansion comes with it a more difficult prospect: feeding the ever-growing beast inside me. Who craves protein. But is nauseated by animal flesh. (Seriously, kid?! Make up your mind. I cannot continue to eat this much peanut butter. It cannot be healthy.)
I am also now living in terror of Pregnancy Brain. This is where the higher orders of thought just cease to exist and are instead replaced by “Oooh, fruit snacks…”. (Also, we are out of granola bars. Wait, I had a point I wanted to make.) Case in point: last night, I decided to turn our three aging bananas into banana bread. (Seriously, if you need a good recipe, we have found The One.) I made it a few weeks back because in addition to the other symptoms, I’ve been having the sort of digestive problems that are best alleviated with rice and bananas (I promise I won’t get more graphic than that. Maybe.), so we tend to keep a lot of bananas on hand (Yay fiber!)*. The first go-round, it turned out amazingly well. I mean, Ben has never praised a banana bread so highly. So when we had three spotty brown bananas sitting on the counter (that I could SMELL as soon as I walked in the ROOM, thank you Super Sniffer), I decided it was time once more for Banana Bread. Ben was home, so I put him in charge of Banana Mashing and Bowl Stirring. No problem.
This is where the Pregger’s Brain comes in. Everything went fine with adding ingredients (well, ok, except I grabbed 1/4 tsp instead of the 1/2 tsp I meant to, so there was less cinnamon, but I don’t actually measure bourbon or vanilla, so it all evens out) until we get to the very last one: flour. I pull out the container, measure out 1 ½ cups, and stir it in. Ben goes to put the container away, and then says, “Did you use the smaller container here for the flour?”
“Yes,” I say with mild annoyance, as that is indeed the one I used, which he should very well know since he picked it up off the counter.
“That’s the pancake mix.”
Oh. Right. Oops.
So our banana bread turned out a little more delicate than planned, although it rose a whole lot more thanks to double leavening. It is instead more of a delicate banana cake than a bread, so I made a peanut butter glaze (because The Beast Within demands protein) and am eating it with a fork, waiting for my brain cells to once again resume functioning.
And we’ve got another four and a half MONTHS of this????
* Have you noticed even more parentheses than I usually add? Me too. I think it’s a symptom of Pregger’s Brain. Mostly in that I have these little side notes to make ALL THE FREAKING TIME.