(Photos taken at three weeks of age.
As of yesterday, Forrest is four weeks old)
"I got you, Mama!" His scream says. And then we play the game of checking his diaper, topping him off with some milk, finding that burp and swaddling him up tight all over again. There are days when he takes a few of these fake out naps before passing out into his marathon sized nap.
My personal relationship with sleep has understandably been altered. During my first trimester of pregnancy, sleep was the hero as it offered me a brief escape from nausea. The third trimester arrived only to taint that relationship into a frustrating chore; a sad joke that left me craving labor.
Your precious newborn arrives and it evolves once more into what I've labeled the "Sleeping on Pins and Needles" phase. Mothers everywhere know what I'm talking about. After a nighttime feeding, for example, I return to my bed wondering if he really is sound. With my fingers crossed, I creep back to bed. I debate on whether or not I can answer the call of my heavy eyelids or simply wait for him to call me back. Unable to resist, I settle into the beautiful comfort that is my pillow, and while I force myself to lie as still as possible, I feel that the sound of my stomach will betray me as it is all a flutter. Forrest squeaks! He squirms! My heart begins to beat fast. Does he need to be held another minute? Is he still sucking on his binki? Exhaustion unexpectedly interrupts my train of thought as I'm suddenly rushed back to dreamland.
Will I be pulled from that sweet slumber forty five seconds later or will I be pleasantly surprised when I check the clock a few hours later? Motherhood is such an EXCITING game, right?!?
Lucky for me, I have a dear teammate named Andrew. Unfortunately, he doesn't nurse and since I have a phobia of breast pumps (post traumatic stress, I think), the job of each and every feeding belongs to me. Even so, Andrew is a helper. If I've been up to feed the baby and it's past 5:00 a.m., Andrew will take him downstairs to sleep and cuddle with him on the couch so I can have another hour + to myself where I know for certain that I'm free to sleep.
This morning, Andrew returns Forrest to me. It's nearing 7:00 a.m. And while I'm grateful for each extra minute I was given, I crave more rest. With a restless, yet sleeping, babe next to me, I fall back asleep. It's a painful sleep as he has needs that a binki can only satisfy for a quick moment. In between his grunts and squeaks, I peek open an eye. It feels impossible to open them both.
And as his siblings continually remind me, it passes so fast.