As I have expressed anxiety about taking care of two babies, I have had pretty much everyone I know tell me "You will be fine" and "You'll do great." I know I will be fine, I will do great, I will get through this. One day. But not today. I am not fine. I am not great. I am on the verge of collapse. I am just not ok.
Here are just a few reasons for my current "not ok" status:
- Jackson has regressed. Big time. Note the previously mentioned screaming. He hasn't done that in weeks before naps and bedtime. He now does it on a regular basis, 2 out of 3 times today. Sometimes, he just won't sleep. Just refuses. He now wakes up in the morning at least an hour earlier than he used to, and he wakes up screaming. He does not calm down. Before Addy was born, and even right after she came home, he woke up happy and babbling and was content to do that for up to an hour in his crib. Now, he screams until I get him up. Then he screams some more if I put him down. Then he screams some more when I feed him his solids for breakfast. Then he continues screaming when his solids are done. It doesn't end until after he has had his bottle. He is grumpy now a pretty good portion of the day, and grumpy for Jax means a lot of screaming.
- During all of Jackson's screaming, Addison also needs to be fed and screams if I don't oblige her immediately (of course, she's a newborn!). Since I am breastfeeding, that also is all my job. And the babies have done a perfect job of waking up at the exact same time and both wanting to be fed right away. The mornings have become a scream-fest, every morning, for at least an hour. The rest of the day is on and off.
- Breastfeeding is really hard. For one, Addison falls asleep constantly on the breast, no matter what I do. So I never know if she is full and satisfied, or is just sleepy and will wake up and want more. After about 45 minutes to an hour, I generally take her off the breast. Sometimes she is content and sometimes not. I find I have NO clue what I am doing with breastfeeding. None. I don't know if she's latched right, if she's getting enough, if she's full, if she's over-full (she spits up at times), if she needs more, etc. All I know is she is peeing and pooping very regularly (like pooping every feeding still!) and gaining weight according to our scale (and she did surpass her birth weight already at her doctor's appointment when she was 10 days old). Then, once she gets tired, it means more work. She has to be swaddled, she has to have her paci, and she has to be held. We've tried the swing and the papasan and she just screams. And then, even being held and bounced, she spits her paci out at least 2 times and screams for a little while. Eventually, she does fall asleep, but not before I second guess myself constantly - is she still hungry? Did she get enough? Should I feed her again? And it is possible she is hitting the growth spurt the lactation consultants told me to expect around 3 weeks, as she is eating more frequently and not sleeping very soundly at all. At least I hope that's what it is. So, feeding her means about an hour and a half of full attention between the feeding and getting her back to sleep. And that is during the day, every 3 hours (which leaves about 1.5 hours at a time that I get a break from her, and remember Jax is also needing me during the day) as well as at night. Which leads me to arguably the hardest part...
- Since the aforementioned feeding/rocking routine is necessary for every feeding, and since Addison still needs to eat very regularly, I am lucky to get 4 or 5 hours of sleep every night, and that is definitely not all at once. It's usually 2-3 hours for the first chunk and then an hour here and there until I am abruptly woken up by one of the babies, or sometimes both, screaming. I am beyond tired. There are no words for my kind of exhaustion right now.
So, those are the biggest reasons for my current state, but certainly not all of them. Life goes on and there are many other things that need to get done that just add to the stress (and I'm not even talking about unimportant things like, say, cleaning). Once my sister leaves tomorrow, I'm convinced I won't be able to even eat a meal a day. The only way I have eaten the last 2 weeks is because my mom and sister were here to put food in front of me. If I had to make it, or sometimes even take the time to put a poptart in the toaster, it wouldn't happen. There is no time, and no energy. Thank God for them the past couple of weeks. I honestly could not have done it without them...but now what?!
Let me be clear, I love my babies more than I can even describe. Even with all of this difficulty, they make me smile and laugh every single day. I know I am blessed beyond words. And probably with some sleep and a few hours of peace, I would be able to have a better perspective. But not today. I just need to be able to say, for the record, I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, "fine." At least not for now.