Where we’re at

Thanks, everyone, for sharing your stories and kind words. As always, it means so much to me. I’ve been re-reading your comments a lot these past few days.

I am not miraculously better but I am in a better state. I’m still not getting as much sleep as we’d like, but we’re doing OK. I’m trying to be more mindful of napping when she naps, but it’s tough as we’re simultaneously trying to get her to sleep less on us and more on her own. I can hear the eyes rolling from here on some of you, but it’s a choice we’re making. Having her on me so much is just as mentally taxing as anything else, and it’s the battle we’re choosing.

(That said, I was really licked last night and opted to do a four-hour stint in the glider with her, rather than go through the production of swaddling her, bouncing her and using the white noise track for 35 minutes only to get about 2.5-3 hours of sleep.)

Tomorrow my dad is coming to visit, and Wednesday my sister is coming over. I’m getting my hair done in the afternoon, and Scott and I are going out to dinner for my birthday. Thursday two of my in-laws (father and stepmother-in-law) are coming and on Friday my mother-in-law will be here.

We are blessed and well taken care of, I know. Though I know that this sort of help was absolutely necessary and vital to me getting better, it feels excessive. Do I really need daily intervention? Deep down, I know the answer is “Yes, right now,  yes.” A colicky, refluxy baby and a mother with postpartum depression make it so. We’re lucky to have this sort of support, so I’m trying to keep my hands off the wheel and let them all steer for a while.

Thursday is my first appointment with a therapist. My midwife found me someone local, who has worked with patients with the midwife group before. I’m not looking forward to this visit as much as I am the family members who are all coming by to so I can sleep, but I know they go hand in hand right now.

Yesterday I read all of Brooke Shields’ postpartum memoir. So much of her experience rang eerily true, down to the things she told herself and thought. I was worried that reading it would set me off somehow – after days of not a negative thought crossing through my brain – but it didn’t. It gave me hope and, like so many things of its nature, helped me to feel less alone.

The appointment with the midwives went fine – I had to take the same postpartum screening and I scored five points higher on Friday than I did on Tuesday but it was still in the “fail” zone. Everything else checked out fine, though I’m still not allowed to do much more in the way of exercising than fast walking and yoga. I’m going to give this until the end of the month, but there is no way in heck I’m going to manage this whole depression thing if I can’t at least begin to jog a little bit.

The good news is that Abigail is taking naps during the day in her swing, which has given me some breathing room. And when she wakes up? I’m so excited to see her and play with her, though I’m careful to let her explore things on her own, which basically means not hovering over her when she’s lying on her playmat. I’ve gotten much better at putting her down, but it’s a challenge at night.

With the colic, she won’t just fall asleep. Colicky babies don’t work like that, at least ours doesn’t. Around 6 p.m. – the infamous witching hour – it’s like a switch goes off in her and I could be sitting with her, like I was tonight, feeding her 5 oz of the formula with a rice thickening agent in it, and have her pass the hell out in my arms. If it was 2:30 p.m.? I could move her to the swing and there she’d stay sleeping. At this time of night? Holy hell. The screaming. It’s blood-curdling. And there is nothing else wrong – she’s been rocked, burped, changed, cuddled and fed. Tonight we just left her up there for 20 minutes. We had to or we’d lose our minds.

Scott is up there with her now, presumably getting her down for the rest of the night. It’s now 9 p.m., and no matter routine we do, it always ends like this and will until she gets older and grows out of it. It’s this 3- to 4-hour slog every night just to get her to settle down and sleep at all that led us to just put her in her crib and not on us. Those of you who have been there know what I’m talking about. It’s soul-sucking, and it pretty much goes on until the next morning.

And we’re lucky. At least Abigail will settle down by 8 a.m., and the blood-curdling screaming stops and she acts like a normal baby. Others, I know, aren’t so lucky.

So yeah. I guess I need to take all of the help I can get right now.

She giggles and smiles and coos now. And she’s learning so much every day, and holy smacks is she a chatty girl. Honest to Pete, the girl is a talker. It’s making our days together a lot brighter. Our nights are still something akin to using a toilet in a crack den but our days are getting better. According to you all, the nights will come soon.

Things are getting better. I’m not sure what we’d do without all of these wonderful people in our lives, but I’m grateful.

And now it’s 9:21 p.m. and the baby is asleep in her crib. Since I don’t know how long it’ll last, I’m off to bed.