Flashback Friday: One Year Ago

One year ago, I had a four-week-old baby and we took him to a holiday party for Bryan’s department. It’s a no child party, but we were granted an exception for a newborn. And at that time he actually looked like a tiny, skinny newborn. By the next month he was packing on the pounds and looking pretty round. No one would have expected him to be any different from baby Maximus. Looking back, one year ago tonight, I had my first experience of them being different. I was just too tired to realize it.

The party went great, he slept most of the time and we headed home around 10. Bryan stayed because he was celebrating his 30th birthday the next day and we had zero plans because of the newborn. One hour after I got home, and of course just minutes after I went to bed, Quinten was up. I fed him and put him back to sleep. Then he woke up again. I swayed and bounced and fed for over an hour. I finally got him to sleep but was afraid to put him down for fear he’d wake up again. I half sat, half laid down in my bed with him on my chest. I half slept, half stayed awake until Bryan came home at 2 am. In no condition to take care of a baby, he crawled into bed. It was an hour or so later that I woke out of a slight slumber to a confused husband. I of course was 100% sober and way over my consecutive hours awake. I quickly realized that his sense of direction was off and it could be a very bad thing. I quietly tried to wake him enough so he would realize what was going on, while not waking the baby who was still sleeping peacefully on my chest. Making as little movement as possible, I quickly transferred Quinten to the bassinet. {Also known as the super human mommy technique.} I will leave out the details, but I had to be awake for another 45 minutes until I could go to bed and actually fall asleep. This part is a little cloudy, but I know I didn’t get more than 45 minutes of sleep before Quinten was up again. I ended the night with about three hours of broken sleep before Maximus got up. Much later in the afternoon we realized that Bryan was hungover AND had the flu. It wasn’t his best birthday, and to be honest, was not my favorite day. I was exhausted, had a demanding newborn, a demanding toddler, and a sick husband. Of course the baby was on a rotation of eating every two-three hours and sleeping in between. However, the toddler was not on that same routine so I didn’t get to sleep.

That night was the first of many sleepless nights in our house. Quinten hadn’t been sleeping prior to that night, but this was the first time that he had required a lot of extra work to get to sleep. We headed down a solid month or more of swaying, bouncing, feeding, and rocking to try to get him past the 8-10 pm hours of crying. He proved to be very different from his brother. He took part in the common “witching hour” that some babies bless their innocent parents with. It was then that we decided he was going to require work. This night sticks out for many tiring and not happy reasons, but they are so vivid in my brain. I can remember the feeling of despair, the frustrating at my husband, and the sheer exhaustion of trying to get Quinten to sleep when all I wanted to do was sleep myself. I can still feel the heat of his little body laying on my chest, with the dog curled up at my feet. The feeling of being “stuck” in my own bed and not sure exactly what I should do. Wanting to do the “right” thing to keep him sleeping and nervous about him being in our bed. {I’m not a co-sleeper basically out of sheer fright that something bad will happen.} I can still feel the panic in my chest when I realized my husband was going to throw up and I wasn’t sure he would get his bearings to go the other direction out of bed. I’m not sure I can accurately describe this night of exhaustion as there have been so many since. Either way, I know what exhaustion feels like. I know what it feels like to have three hours of broken sleep and then be coherent enough to take care of things or people.

It’s real life, not always sunshine and roses, but we made it through. One year later, I hope most of this story doesn’t unfold again. While Quinten has made great strides in sleeping, he has recently had two molars poke through so he’s back to waking up at night. I expect to see him at some point this evening, after the fun of the party has worn off and I’m in a deep sleep. I fully expect to be tired tomorrow when both my children wake up too early for a weekend. I hope that tomorrow I can put on a smile, take care of my boys, and let my husband sleep in. After all, he has a reason to celebrate. Not only will he be another year older on Sunday, but we made it through a really tough year with a baby who didn’t sleep and a toddler who was finding his way in our new family! I think we all came out for the better and they are both a little more behaved.

Parenting makes you feel like you’re on top of the highest mountain and stuck in the deepest sea all in the same moment. The whole thing really is a miracle.

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