Monday, January 28, 2013

Turning a Corner

After I wrote the last post, I had a breakthrough moment.

That day, I spent the entire morning trying to get Little Fab to nap. After all, everything I read said that newborns should be sleeping A LOT. However, LF does not sleep A LOT. (Although he has teased us with a few 3 hour stretches in the last few days. Trying not to jinx it.) But, being the rookie I am, I really, really thought that I needed to enforce a nap. I shushed, rocked, fed, changed, and swaddled him. Then, I begged and pleaded with him. Through it all, LF fussed, cried, and generally expressed how pissed off he was at my trying to get him to do something he was not willing to do. By the time my mom arrived at my house (she was here visiting from California for 2 weeks), I was in tears.

"Newborns are supposed to sleep a lot!"
"I should be able to get my son to sleep!"
"I'm a terrible mother!"
"I can't handle this!"
"I haven't slept for a month!"

After calming me down, she gently took LF out of my arms and sent me to take a shower. After sobbing in the shower as well, and reflecting on how many days I had ended up in tears for one reason or another, I decided to actually listen to some of the advice my mom offered.

It sounds so simple when I write it here, but somehow it took all that strife for this to sink in. She said that no matter how much I want LF to be on my schedule, I'm really on his. I can set up conditions for him to sleep: holding him, feeding him, changing him, swaddling him, and providing white noise and a dimly lit room. But, if he doesn't want to sleep, he isn't going to sleep. Spending hours and hours driving myself nuts wasn't worth it, because he still wasn't sleeping and I was a mess. Instead, she said, I need to go with his flow and follow his lead. If he won't sleep, play or put him in the car and go somewhere. She promised I would feel better and things would go more smoothly if I didn't try so hard to impose control on the situation.

Anyone who knows me knows what a difficult pill that was for me to swallow. I crave predictability, routine, and control over my life. I research EVERYTHING. I plan out nearly every move I make in both my personal and professional life in a deliberate manner. This is my go-to coping mechanism. In fact, the hardest part of my adjustment to parenthood has been the unpredictability of each day. Hell, of each hour.

Now, I don't always listen to my mother's advice. I'm sure she would say I poo-poo it often. But, what she said made sense. It dawned on me that maybe part of the point of this whole experience is for me to start letting go of needing so much control and go for the ride a bit.

I won't lie - that scares the shit out of me. But really, I have no choice. I have to change the way I approach my days with LF, or else both of us will be miserable. So, I've made an effort over the last several days to let Little Fab lead. When he's awake, I go with it. When he naps, I usually use the time to be productive, but sometimes rest. (Damn, I wish I could nap during the day.) As a result, I've been crying less, he's been napping a little bit more, and life is generally more pleasant. I've also noticed that I enjoy my time with him more - we do tummy time, "play," and hang out together while we figure each other out. Although he continues to have fussy periods throughout the day and night, I do feel like I know him a little better, which also helps me soothe him.

I've also been considering the name of this blog. I was talking to KG about how I wasn't sure if the name "Waiting for Little Feet" was appropriate anymore, considering we were successful in bringing Little Fab into the world. But, he thought otherwise. He said, "Now it just means something different. Instead of waiting for those feet to arrive, now we are waiting to see what those feet will do." So, the name remains, as will the blog. I'm not sure how the content will evolve. But, this blog was never completely about infertility, nor will it be completely about parenting. It will just be.


  1. I'm so glad you are viewing things differently, and feeling better. This advice is very true!! I had to do something similar when Everleigh came home and things were not what I imagined. I realized I am on maternity leave and it is my job to care for her. So whatever I could do to make her happy, I did on her schedule. And it has been working. The more comfortable she is, the more progress we make towards finding a good balance.

    Sometimes I worry about feeding her constantly in the evenings, or letting her comfort nurse, or I think we should be on some schedule, but whenever I research what I think my mistakes are, I am reinforced that they need this reassurance to feel more confident, bonded, and secure.

    We are all going to be ok! Your mom is a godsend!

  2. I am so glad you are feeling better. Accepting the unpredictability of newborns is definitely a challenge! But it is so true that it's just not with fighting with them. My pediatrician has said that L is going to do what he's going to do and there's no point in even attempting to set a routine for sleep until 4 months. It took L a good two months to start to eat at somewhat predictable times from day to day. Then we hit twelve weeks, and it all went to hell anyway! Four weeks later, and it feels like we're finally in a groove again. I'm sure it will all blow up again soon. That's just the way it's going to be!

    As for naps, that whole sleep when the baby sleeps thing is impossible! I'm not ever ready to nap until sometime in the afternoon. What works for us is that I take my nap with L in the afternoon. He'll sleep for two hours or so snuggled with me, as opposed to 20-45 minutes in his crib or swing. I bring my laptop into bed, and if I'm done sleeping before him, I'm able to untangle myself and blog a little or something, while he keeps sleeping. When I have to go back to work, I'm going to miss those naps SO much! I know not everyone is a napper, but even if you can't sleep, the snuggle time is nice.

    Anyway, so glad you have a new outlook on schedule. I'm looking forward to meeting Little Fab soon!

  3. I think your mom gave you some excellent advice, that is most certainly applicable to all of us. With infertility, we have to let go. Sure we can try to control every little detail, but ultimately it just drives us that much crazier. Same thing is true with pregnancy and the adoption process. And it's most certainly true with parenthood.

    I'm glad you're trying and adjusting. It's a hard thing to do!!! But the fact you are already seeing the rewards and benefits is fantastic.

  4. The no schedule period is a hard one, but you can look forward to it getting better! Eventually babies figure out schedules, even my refuses-to-sleep 4 year old has one (that she fights). Glad you've turned that first scary corner.

  5. I love this post. Sleeping is the bane of our existance. I have begun implementing a loose eat, wake, sleep schedule that works sometimes and and doesn't work others. It's especially hard if you need to break the routine to leave the house because the baby always ends up sleeping in the car and wanting to eat when he wakes. I am doing my best to try this system out knowing that it will be a process and it may not work for us. But, maybe it will and I will have a good night sleeper in a few weeks.
    Get this, my mom said I slept through the night (8 hrs) at 4 weeks old! I sat up, said my first words, walked and all that way sooner than most babies. I am SO an overachiever. But it made me think...can Cooper do this too? Mike is practially a narcolept and I learned to sleep quickly...

    Anyway, I guess all our babies are different and we just have to keep trying new things. Your new things is going with the flow. I know how hard that is! Especially when you just want to count on a few hour of sleep at night and a good couple naps during the day to do some things for yourself.
    Call anytime, I am always around. I just may be struggling with C at the time. ;)

  6. Moms, are wonderful. My mother stayed with us for a week and I cried when she left. Your mother gave you some wonderful advice. Its great that you are trying to let go of some of the control. I was a total control freak with my first and it took me having a second to relax. I wish that I had let go with my first, I would have enjoyed those first few months more.

  7. I came across your previous post from another blog, and then read this one as well, and I just had to comment (this is my first visit to your blog). I could have written these posts. My son, E., was born in May 2011. It took me MONTHS to learn what you have so bravely embraced in this post- that I couldn't enforce a routine/schedule and he was going to do what he was going to do. I read the Baby Whisperer before he was born and was convinced that's what we would do. E. hadn't read this book (or any other). I am someone who loves to plan, who lives by her routine, who feels in control of a situation if there's a to-do list, who is never late for anything.

    Having a baby (even a so very wanted IFV/ICSI baby) almost drove me crazy. I literally spent so many moments of his first four months wishing he would get bigger (sit up on his own, eat solid food, etc.) because it would get easier. I wanted to punch anyone who said to me in those first three months, "treasure these moments- they grow up so quickly" because at the time it felt like my life was over and E. would never grow up.

    I had so much guilt as an infertile. I loved my baby so very much, but his totally normal behaviour made me feel like I was failing as a mother, because I made myself believe that a good mother got her baby onto a routine.

    Now I hope so much I get to have a second so I can actually enjoy the craziness of the newborn stage, because I know it DOES get SO MUCH better. For me, it got better at four months, it got FUN at six months, and from the year mark onwards it has been amazing. I am so much more suited to parenting a toddler than a newborn or a young baby.

    Here is the link to my archive from E's second month of life: You can see I was obsessing about everything (mostly sleep).

    I wish I could spare you some of the anxiety/stressing, but I think it is something we all have to figure out for ourselves.

    One last thing- google askmoxie if you haven't come across her already. She and her community of commenters and her archives are the best sanity savers I have ever found. Whenever E. did something nuts I would go and google it on her site and there were always babies who were doing even crazier things (like I would freak out that E. was napping for thirty minutes three times a day and then would read about babies who only napped for twenty minutes total).

    All this to say, I have really truly been there. It really truly does get better. You are an amazing mother, I am certain.

  8. Oh wow, I love this. Letting go is not something I'm good at AT ALL, but with a new little one coming sooner than later, I'm afraid of what this is going to do to my psyche.

    Letting. Go. Good job - I'm going to take your lead.


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