Monday, November 9, 2009

Almost 3 months

Human babies are born about 3 months too early. They are extraordinarily helpless, particularly compared to other primates. The evolutionary narrowing of our pelvises for bipedal walking necessitates giving birth to a small and underdeveloped fetus, and this is further complicated by the evolutionary expansion of our brains, which leads to a big ol’ head. Astute observers, such as Dr. Harvey Karp, have termed the first three months as the “fourth trimester.” A lot of babies’ crying and fussing during their first three months in the world isn’t really because of things like “colic” or “acid reflux,” but rather, because they are just not ready to be out of the womb yet. Unfortunately for babies (and those of us who take care of them), the locomotor patterns and brain size of our species makes it necessary for them to get evicted early. If they stayed in there long enough to actually be ready to be born, they just wouldn’t fit through.

I have high hopes for this next milestone—Fig’s 3 month birthday. Many people assured me that from personal experience it would get better by 6 weeks, but that date came and went. Weeks 9 and 10 were amazingly, sublimely perfect though, and I thought that the worst was behind us. Then weeks 11 and 12 hit with a vengeance. The crying never ends. It is so frustrating because Fig’s behavior really hasn’t changed much since the beginning. He cries, so I feed him. He falls asleep while nursing. Eventually he drinks all the milk but continues to non-nutritively suck. When I finally need to get up to do something, I take him off. He wakes with a start and begins to fuss, then gives way to all-out howling within a few seconds or minutes. We’ve had him to the doctor a million times. First they told me I had a low milk supply, that the crying was because of hunger. So I did a million things and eventually got more milk. “At last,” I thought. “The baby will be happy.” Not so. Then they told me that he had acid reflux. So we tried Zantac, then Prevacid. There were some good times, but then the crying returned. All that’s left to hope is that Will is still in the limbo of the fourth trimester and this is all about to end soon.

It’s just that it reminds me of the morning sickness. That was supposed to get better around 12 weeks. But 12 weeks, then 13 and 14 came and went. I had a few friends who said their nausea had persisted to 16 or 18. Those came and went. In fact, the whole damn pregnancy came and went, but the nausea remained. And just like the remedies I tried for increasing my milk supply and soothing Will’s crying, I tried everything for morning sickness to no avail. Finally the Zofran worked just enough (much like the Domperidone works “just enough” for my milk supply) that I could get through the day without thinking that I might be better off dead.

Last week one morning I went for a run while Rob watched Will, and I listed to a back-episode of the “New Moms New Babies” podcast. They had a “sleep expert” on the show, who explained that babies of Will’s age need about 16-18 hours of sleep per day, and they need to go to bed by 6:00pm. If they’re not getting enough sleep, they can be fussy and crying, etc. I thought, aha! This is it. Will is not getting enough sleep. He goes to bed at 10pm and gets up at 6am and only takes a rare catnap or two during the day. It suddenly all made sense. The night before, he had been crying at the top of his lungs after I fed him around 7pm. Nothing would calm him down—not rocking, swinging, swaying, singing, bouncing, soothing, etc. Then all of a sudden in mid cry, he fell fast asleep in my arms. I didn’t know what to do. I kept holding him for a while and finally put him down in his bed-- where he slept soundly until about 3am, had a diaper change and a bite to eat, then fell back to sleep for another 3 hours. When I listened to the podcast I felt certain that he was crying because he was tired, so I decided to institute an earlier bedtime and more naps from then on.

He’s been going to bed much earlier, around 6 or 7pm, but unfortunately, I haven’t noticed much of a reduction in his crying during the day. On the plus side, he is getting more sleep, but on the downside, he isn’t “sleeping through the night” anymore when he goes to bed at 6pm. Usually he wakes up around 3 or 4 and then sleeps a couple more hours until he wakes up ready to go at 6am. Then the rest of the day is spent eating, crying, eating, crying, with a few naps interspersed in there when I can get him to take one. Rob says Will is still getting adjusted to this new sleep routine and he will settle down once he gets used to it. I hope so. We’re only a few days away from the 3 month mark here, and if that comes and goes with no end to the crying, I will go off the deep end.

In other news. I’ve had recurrent pelvic pain since Will was born. It felt like my pubic symphysis was separated, probably because it was. It started feeling a little bit better last week, and I decided to celebrate this by running a 5K on Saturday. It was a bit of a logistical challenge, but the planning phase was more difficult than the actual race. I had pumped milk to take in a bottle for him, but we ended up not using it. The race was at Crystal Lake Park, which is near our house. We drove over there and I picked up my race number, then I went back to the car and fed him until just before the start of the race. The whole thing would not have been possible without Rob, who was probably skipping a bike ride just so that I could do this. Rob and Will positioned themselves at several locations throughout the course to cheer for me, which was really nice. Will looked utterly uninterested and kind of peeved, but at least he wasn’t crying any of the times that I ran past him. Running the race was actually pretty tough. This is partially because my pelvic bones haven’t completely realigned, and partially because I haven’t run more than 2 miles consecutively since Will was born (because of pelvis and lack of time). It was also difficult for me because I am like 500 pounds overweight. And because it was pretty windy that day, and there was one large hill. I started the race with my only goal being to finish it in one piece, and I thought that maybe an outside goal could be 30 minutes. At the start line I met up with my old running buddy, Norm, who wanted to finish it in 24. As we took off, I thought that maybe I’d be able to keep up with him, but less than a quarter of a mile into it, I realized that 8 minutes miles were way beyond my grasp at this point and Norm was so far in front of me that he was out of sight. In the end, I finished in 27:43, feeling like I was going to vomit, but happy under the circumstances. I think I just needed to do this to prove to myself that I still could, despite having had a baby and despite being 500 pounds overweight. It was really nice of Rob and Will to organize their schedules so that I could do the race.

Melissa's first race since Will was born


Melissa in mile 3

Mile 3

At any rate, Will is taking an impromptu nap that may end at any second, and I’ve got laundry to fold and 10,000 other things to do. Thanks for reading.

Grins & giggles

Between the tears, William smiles


Jodi said...

I am so proud of you!!! (However, one more "I weigh 500 pounds" comment, and I'm getting in my car and driving the 13 hours to Urbana just to bop you on the head.)

Big hugs: OOOO

Melissa said...

Okay, Bugaboo... "I weigh 500 pounds." See you in 13 hours!! :)

Seriously, I only put the pictures on that made me look skinny :)

Anonymous said...

I LOVED JODI's COMMENT<<<<< MEET you in URbana, JODI and I will HELP you BOP her over the head!!!!!!>:) OK so you're NOT your PRE PREGNANCY SIZE<<<<<<< it will COME BACK< hang on, dearie, listen to your BODY>>>>> DO YOU THINK THE COVERED WAGON LADIES WORRIED WHAT SIZE THEIR BUTT WAS?????????? they just gathered their FLOURSACK dresses around them and TRUDGED WESTWARD!!!!! You are SOOOOOO funny, and even BETTER, WILL is such a BEAUTIFUL BABY , ENJOY 'and RELAX,, he will soon be going off to the SCARY WORLD OF SCHOOL , and if he's like his MAMA , will remain for the next 25 years!!!!!.>:)WE LOVE YOU---- rest, relax and ENJOY that precious baby.... hugs to all, foxy mama

Anonymous said...

If weighing 500 pounds could make me look as good as you do and run all those many miles as you did, i want your recipes!!!!!!!! AND Will is such an adorable adorable adorable little guy -- keep the pictures coming!!!
lots of love to you all, auntie

Anonymous said...

We are all blessed more than we deserve, none more than you, Rob and Will.

grandma Barb

Anonymous said...

Wanted to let you know I have been following Will's growing process through your pictures. He is just darling, try to enjoy every minute, they grow up way to fast. You will look back and say ( where did the time go)! People tried to tell me that also!!! Now I know how true it is!