There have been a few times in my life when I can recall being utterly exhausted: a number of late-night study sessions in college, a road trip back from Nashville, TN where we left at 5pm and drove through the night so I could teach my class of 3rd graders the next day, traversing many states to recruit for Carnegie Mellon University while 7 months pregnant, and…taking care of a newborn for their first few weeks of life.
Greg and I had a weekend away recently to celebrate our 6th anniversary and spend some time together before Baby Boy arrives in November. As parents tend to do when they’re not with their children, we talked a lot about our babies. Oh goodness was it fun to relive some of the early days with Caroline, especially as we prep for life with a newborn again!
One of the stories that Greg and I always seem to come back to goes like this…
Caroline was exactly 8 lbs when she was born and typically, newborns lose some weight in their first week of life. By about 2 weeks old, babies should be back at or close to their birth weight. Well, this wasn’t the case with Caroline.
I breastfed Caroline and she seemed to be a good eater and sleeper, as far as newborns go. However, by days 10-14 of life, Caroline was not back up to 8 pounds as us rookie parents had hoped she would be. Cue the multiple pediatrician visits! We had many visits to the pediatrician’s office for weight checks and while she was eating well, her weight still wasn’t where it needed to be. At one of the many visits, the pediatrician told us that Caroline needed to be nursed every 2-3 hours during the day and every 3 hours at night. Even if she was sleeping, we were to wake her up and I was to nurse her.
Well, sleep-deprived Allison burst into tears as soon as the pediatrician left the room at the thought of waking up the sleeping newborn (rule #1: don’t wake a sleeping baby.) to nurse her every 3 hours at night. Of course we wanted what was best for our baby, but whoa, were we tired! While I was the one nursing C every three hours at night, Greg was up for the diaper change and/or the post-nursing rock the baby back to sleep. Bottom line...we were both tired and together, we were operating on about half a brain.
A few nights into the “wake the baby every 3 hours during the night to nurse her” Greg was taking the midnight – 3am shift with C so I could get some sleep. I set my cell phone alarm for 3am for the next feeding.
3am came and went. My exhausted self must have hit the snooze button a few too many times. Finally at 4am, Greg called my cell phone from the family room downstairs to wake me up to feed our daughter. I have no idea what was said, but I did wake up enough to get out of bed. The next thing I knew, I was rummaging around on the floor next to our bed. There were many items on the floor, but I chose one, picked it up carefully, yet sleepily, and walked down the dimly lit staircase to my husband and daughter.
Before I had even looked up to see Greg and Caroline, I heard Greg say to me, “What’s up with the shoe?” I then looked down and in my arms, I was cradling my Asics running shoe as if it was our newborn daughter.
Oops…Luckily, Greg was actually the one who was holding Caroline at the time, not this sleep-deprived Mommy!
Greg’s shock and laughter woke me up enough to come to and realize what I had done! I’m pretty sure that that was a night that required a splash of cold water on my face and a DVRed episode of the Food Network's Chopped or American Idol to stay awake.
Thankfully, for Caroline’s health and our sleep walking zombie-like appearances, she returned to her birth weight by day 21 of life. This meant no more waking her up every 3 hours in the middle of the night to feed her. I actually cried in front of the pediatrician when we heard this good news!
We are so excited for Baby Boy’s arrival this fall! Stay tuned for more sleepy parents of a newborn stories coming in early November.
And if you are a parent of a newborn currently, be sure you can tell the difference between your child and your sneaker. Wise words of advice, I know.