Monday, November 25, 2013

5 AM

The baby must be going through a growth spurt. She's nursing and nursing and nursing. I thought she was settled for the night at midnight but wound up staying up with her until two. I read Man on the Moon, thinking about the complexities of lunar geology, and patting her back. Poor thing. It's hard to be a baby sometimes. 

At five I awaken, hearing her whimpers which probably started fairly gently but are now to the more insistent stage. I pull her to me, but she won't latch on. Oh, how tired I am! Please, please, baby... Please let Mama lie down to nurse you. It's dark and I can't see to help her. After a few minutes with her growing steadily more frustrated, I finally give up and sit up. She nurses in peace and I sit cross-legged, my head on my own shoulder. The heat comes on and I realize I'm very thirsty, but too tired to get up and do anything about it.We sit together in the darkness.

Finally she's done and I prop her on my shoulder and rub her back. She's usually a good burper but tonight (or rather, this morning), she can't manage it. She fusses and roots around, trying to eat my night shirt. Still hungry? Sigh. I switch sides and she nurses some more. I notice I'm starting to see outlines of things in the room. It must be getting close to dawn.

I'm hoping she'll nurse herself to sleep so I can lie down and at least catch a nap. She finishes nursing, but alas, is still awake. I burp her (*there* she goes!), change her diaper, and lie down with her next to me. I tuck her in and rest my tired head on the pillow. There is faint light coming around the curtains. She wiggles and wiggles and whimpers and I start to realize she probably has a stomach ache. I rub her tummy. I rub her back. I stroke her head. She starts to cry.

I wearily sit up again, pulling her onto my lap. In a moment the baby won't be the only one crying. I can see her fairly clearly now in the pre-light of dawn. She is quiet now in my arms, looking around the room. I am tired and thirsty and the heat has come on again so I'm feeling overheated. She feels a little hot to me so I uncover her too and she lies in my arms, legs gently kicking. I'm feeling exhausted and sorry for myself.

Suddenly it hits me.

So many nights I would have given anything to be sitting up with a fussy baby. I would have given anything to have to change back-to-back diapers. I would have given anything to be exhausted and sore and overwhelmed. I couldn't cradle Innocent and Andrew in my arms, console their crying, change their diapers and wet-through sleepers. I couldn't sit up all hours of the night nursing them. I had to give them back to God before I had a chance to do anything for them, and instead, lie alone in the night with tears on my face, my empty arms aching.

So, sweet baby, this is not only for you, but for them. For the babies I couldn't take care of in this life. This tired, aching body is both yours, and theirs.

Her eyes are closing. I lie down and snuggle her next to me. Mama loves you, I whisper, and kiss her sweet head.

3 comments:

  1. It was so good for me to read this right now...
    Thank you.
    Athena

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  2. What a perspective check that is. When my 2-year-old was a sleep-challenged young infant, I felt such frustration and despair over never being able to get even decent sleep, but would be quickly brought up short when I remembered you and your grieving. So many times I said to my husband, "Here I am, complaining about the challenges of this gift I've been given, when I'm sure Mat. Anna would give anything to be in my bleary-eyed shoes."

    So my prayers for you, as you soak in the sweetness of precious Miss Moppet.

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  3. Athena, I know you're just as tired as I am, with our twins across the globe. :)

    Audora, thank you. This makes me tear up.

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