Saturday, December 25, 2010

OK, it's getting hard now

Mom is dealing with:
-Lower parts that are still sore and swollen and results in her walking like an old lady
-Anti-fungal medications for thrush
-Breasts that are functioning, but sensitive due to overuse, milk flow and possible thrush
-An underarm abscess
-Lack of sleep

Then River wakes up with a 104 degree fever for the past two mornings – the first time he has ever been truly sick.

After virtually not seeing the pediatrician for about a year, we are probably their most frequent patients this week.

We are utilizing divide and conquer, with Mark taking charge of River and me in full charge of the baby. We were trying to keep the baby away from River, and now I have to keep her away from Mark as well.

It is horrible to watch River with this fever. I can’t imagine the effect of a one-week old getting it. So I spend most of my time in the bedroom, breastfeeding, drinking liquids, doing a little reading, sleeping when I can. It is so painful to hear my child sick for the first time and to not be there for him. Last night he screamed out “No more! No more!” as Mark and his mom applied cold cloths to him to reduce his fever. I cried at not being there to hold and to comfort him. Talk about abandonment. Not only is mom less available with the arrival of the new baby, but now she’s virtually disappeared, and just as he’s going through an experience where he really needs love and comfort.

The in-laws have been lifesavers and Mark’s mom was a soothing presence to him. They left this morning, so we are now on our own.

The good thing is that the baby is still easy. She doesn’t cry without cause. Silly as it sounds, I’m trying to acclimate her to sleep at night by using a tight swaddle only at night and letting her move freely the rest of the time. She slept from somewhere around 1 a.m. until I woke up from River’s screaming and woke her around 4:30. Then she slept again from 5:15 until after 8 a.m. I felt terrible going back to sleep while everyone else in the house was up helping River, but I knew I couldn’t go near him and figured I was of better use rested. Those two chunks of three-hours of sleep really made a difference. I’m crossing my fingers that she continues not having prolonged periods of wakefulness at night. It makes the whole newborn stage so much more manageable.

And I’m still enjoying watching her and being with her. Looking at the variety of facial expressions she can make can keep me occupied for hours. I marvel at the shape of her body and how she swims in her 0-9 month My First Christmas sleepsack. She has little smiles, which I know are probably just gas, but heartwarming nonetheless. And I feel like she is recognizing my touch and voice, which is comforting.

The one challenge is that, like River, Willow** wants to be in someone’s arms at all times. That makes it hard to leave both the kids with anyone. But I’m hoping when River gets better, I can leave Willow with someone and take River with me on my daily stroll around the block, getting in some one-on-one time with him.

**I wish I could share her name, because I really love it. But I change everyone's identity on my blog to protect their privacy. So I'll call her Willow here.

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