Baba to the Rescue
Ever feel like you've hit the lowest point you could possibly go, only to sink a bit further? That was me yesterday.
This week is the first week that my husband, Navin, is travelling since little Ezra was born and therefore also the first week that I'm on my own with both kids. Thank goodness for support systems (and in particular my mother) is all I can say!
The first night started off well. Everyone was tired and went to sleep "so nicely" as my son Ari likes to say, thanks to bedtime help from my mom aka Baba. But it quickly went downhill from there. Not unexpectedly, 5-month-old Ezra woke up to feed. Then Ari woke up and came out of his room. Then Ezra woke up crying. Then Ari started crying. Then Ezra. Then Ari. For 3 hours... 3 hours of putting one child back to sleep, and finally climbing back into bed only to be called by the other. When you're only getting a few hours of sleep at a time, being awake from one feed through to the next is one of the worst feelings. But it didn't stop there. Ezra then woke up every single hour after that. Even after I brought him into our bed (which I hate doing but has been happening every night because who has the energy to keep putting him back at 4am?!) he still woke up frequently. When Ari came into my room in the morning, I tried my best to hide my exhaustion and put on a smile because of course he didn't remember tormenting me all night and was happy as can be. We had a playdate that morning that I almost cancelled because of our night from hell but then I'd be on my own keeping Ari busy and honestly, I needed the time with my friend more than anything in that moment. So we all got dressed, left the night behind us and moved on with our day. Naps were had by all, and a quiet afternoon at the playground let the dog get a walk, baby have a nap and let me sit and rest while Ari played happily.
That night my Dad aka Papa came over and helped get Ari ready for bed while I nursed the baby, and then I managed to get them both to sleep on my own, rocking the baby in my arms while keeping Ari company in his room until he fell asleep. I felt like I was doing so well... but another brutal night. This time, thankfully, only the baby was up. He stayed in my bed the entire night. "We all just have to survive this week", was all I kept thinking.
New day, fresh slate. I got everyone dressed and ready and decided since we were actually ahead of schedule (when does that happen) that I would put on a TV show and take a shower to try to feel human again despite the severe sleep deprivation. And then my mom called and offered to take Ari to daycare. Baba to the rescue again!
In my "how-the-heck-do-I-get-this-baby-to-sleep" desperation I ordered new super cozy crib sheets online and put them to the test. Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles! Ezra actually napped in his own crib! It might have only lasted 15 minutes but at this point I would take anything! We went for a nice walk on a beautiful day and tried to recharge for the night ahead. But my eye started bothering me. It was sore and blurry and I was starting to get a headache. When I came inside and took a look, I realized I had pink eye. Confirmed by Dr. Papa. The headache got worse and I started feeling nauseous. I broke down in tears, complaining to my mom that I felt like I had hit rock bottom. I already felt a sense of dread for the night ahead: what would be the 3rd night in a row with no sleep, but this time I would also be sick.
Baba to the rescue! I arrived at her house (because she was feeding us supper) and she left to pick Ari up from daycare and sent me upstairs to see a present that she had made me in her pottery class and she knew would cheer me up: a purple tea set!
It brought out a big smile even though I felt like a pile of garbage and laid down on the couch. Ari came home, babbling on cheerily about his wonderful day and I couldn't even open my eye to look at him. I couldn't get up off the floor (I had progressed from the couch to the floor at this point) to manage a smile or pretend like I was listening. And I knew then that even though I felt like things couldn't get any worse, they were about to. Stomach viruses have been circulating around like crazy. Breastfeeding while throwing up is one of my worst nightmares. I had been saying to Navin via text that the only thing that could make this week any harder was if I started vomiting. Now it was my turn. Luckily after only a couple of rounds of being sick, it passed. But I was totally out of commission. Baba to the rescue again: she got Ari into his jammies, put Ezra to sleep, and moved into our house for the night. Even though the worst was behind me, I couldn't imagine bouncing that baby back to sleep over and over again every hour through the night.
But amazing things happen when you least expect them. And bad situations always have a turning point. While my mom was putting Ezra to sleep, I attempted to read Ari his bedtime stories. "2 stories," he requested, even though I had explained that I would do my best but promised nothing. I got through one story with one eye open and gave up. "No more stories, Sweetie. Mama is too sick. If you want another story, you'll have to read it to yourself." And read he did. After reading the same stories over and over again, he had completely memorized them. Flipping through the pages, looking at the familiar pictures and reciting ever single phrase word for word, he made his way through the story. And he totally amazed me.
I went to bed (my mom still coaxing Ari to sleep now that the baby was down), and literally prayed for a better night. Maybe it was those very prayers, or maybe it was the ultra comfy crib sheet I bought, or maybe it was just that my mom was sleeping close by in case I needed her, but we had one of the best nights we've had in a month. After the first good stretch, I was so thankful and kept hoping for the best. After the second good stretch, I couldn't believe my luck. And when Ari came into my room in the morning, searching my bed for his brother (who was still sleeping soundly in his own crib), I knew I had hit the jackpot.
Baba has continued to do amazing things since then. She got Ari ready and took him to daycare while I recovered on the couch, went to the grocery store to replenish his milk and beloved yogurt pouches, and made me chicken soup before putting Ezra down for a solid nap in his own crib (which I have still not managed to do myself). I honestly don't know what I would have done these past few days without her.
The funny thing is that after one good night's sleep (I mean, relatively good because let's be honest, I'd rather not be interrupted at all) my perspective has totally changed. My nightmares had come true, and in the moment I felt like I had hit rock bottom, but it passed, just like everything does, and we all survived. And now we're on the other end, with only 2 more days to go until Daddy is home again.
The moral of my story seems like it would be "when you feel like you've hit rock bottom, things have to turn around". But the true moral of my story, in case you didn't pick up on it already, is thank goodness for my mom. If Baba hadn't come to the rescue, I have no idea what would have happened, but I'm sure glad I didn't have to find out!
(Since there weren't a lot of pictures in this post, here is a video of Ezra giggling)