You Are Not Alone

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

C'mon and Get Down With the Sickness

Colin has had a cold since last week.

A snuffly, sniffly, miserable cold...for over a week.

My poor little Snuffalupagus, (if that's how you spell it) has not wanted to sleep on his own...for a week.

I love him, but I want, NAY, NEED to have at least one night when the amount of people sleeping in our Queen sized bed is only two.

Several months ago, Colin came down with his first, official cold. He ran a temperature of 100.6, though when I communicated this to my husband over the phone, it somehow came over as one-hundred and six, or 106 (I caused a red flag of needless alarm, and have since adjusted my medical vernacular to correctly convey the increase of temperature in my little boy's body).

My Husband rushed home, even after I assured him that I did not mean one hundred and six, but one hundred point six, (which, to me, was still cause for alarm) and still donning his dirty work garb, rushed us to the pediatrician's office for an emergency visit.

After total hour of waiting, our happy boy was given the OK by our doc, (who is young, but a Father and so fabulous) and we were given instructions on how to make Colin more comfortable, what to expect and when to bring him back in, if we needed to. Luckily, Colin's cold passed easily, without the feared, "worse before better" stage, and life continued. I thought to myself, "well, if this is the WORST, then I am one lucky, lucky mommy".


Several months later, Colin woke up with the sniffles. I have no idea where he got them, there are various culprits, (visitors, his daddy's job, going outside, etc) that I can't pinpoint the offender, but it doesn't matter anymore. Why? Oh, ho, ho! Let me TELL you why.

My darling little boy, who has been SO easy about sleeping has needed to be with his momma when he sleeps. There is no nursing him to sleep while I watch daytime television, only to later slip him gently into his crib for a long nap. There is no rocking him, patting him, rubbing his back until he drifts off. I have only been able to get my little guy to sleep by climbing into MY bed, snuggling down and cuddling while he's nursing and finally drifting off into sleep myself, sleep I don't think I need. We wake, a couple of hours later, him rosy cheeked and smiling while snuffling through his congested nose, me blinking away hours of guilty napping while the dishes are piled high in the sink, plaque fuzzing my unbrushed teeth, hair getting lank and dull from a day's worth of oil, the scent of my unwashed body making it's way to my nose when I move. I imagine my sheets being saturated with my sweat and uncleanliness. My hour or two of quiet/chore/ME time gone, slept away.

I tried putting him in his own bed for naps, for bedtime, to no avail. Days passed by, nights passed by, showers were skipped, teeth went unbrushed and I began to itch.

By day seven, I felt like I had Stockholm Syndrome. Enraptured captive, feeling an underlying sense of unease, discomfort and frustration that just couldn't be addressed. I began to lash out at my husband with all the pent up, negative emotion I was feeling.

At one point, I lost my *hit and took it out on my Husband. He forgave me, and understood, but I still feel guilty and ashamed of myself.

I kept asking myself, why was this so hard, taking care of my little guy when he was feeling sick? What is WRONG with ME? Why wasn't I being more paitent, calm and soothing? He just wanted his Momma, a person who represents comfort, security, love, warmth and nurturing, and all I could feel and think was frustration.

I elevated his bed, brought out the humidifier, withstood the anguish of his discomfort when I sucked the snot out of his nose with that bulb thing I kept from the hospital after he was born, (the childbirth class lady said the hospital issued bulbs were the best, so I made sure I packed that when I left the hospital) sprayed saline drops in his nose while he wriggled, nursed him often, and yet it wasn't enough. He was still snuffly, still uncomfortable. After day five, I began to worry that laying down with him in my bed was becoming habit, and while we started out as a co-sleeping family, we had become accustomed to sleeping seperate. I didn't force the crib on my child, I want to put that out there. My Husband was not sleeping well with Colin in our bed. He gently guided me to allow Colin to sleep on his own when Colin was four months old, and a part of me didn't want to try it, but another part of me realized Colin was getting heavy and neither me, or my Husband were getting any restful sleep.

After acclimating Colin to the crib during nap times, he took to his crib for nighttime sleep like it was nothing. The first night he slept in his crib alone, he slept so long, I woke up like there was danger, my breasts engorged and thinking he had died. Shamefully, I didn't jump right out of bed and run to his room because I was seriously afraid he was dead, and I thought about this, and dreading walking into his nursery to find him gray, cold and lifeless, but when I went into his room, he was sleeping peacefully, and I found his breathing regular when I stuck my finger under his nose to measure his breaths. I scooped him up, cuddling him against my engorged breasts and carried him back to my bed to nurse him, and felt at peace with my child and the world as he latched on greedily and nursed away.

Since then, I never feared bringing him to the family bed. Colin would often wake in the middle of the night for a feeding and sleep until seven, waking cheerfully with a cherubic smile on his face. Looking into his bright, big eyes smiling in the morning sunlight, I always think of how lucky I am that I have such an angelic being who smiles light up my soul brighter than sunshine, as opposed to a glaring alarm clock that had a snooze button I would push gratefully. There is no snooze button on my baby, and I am so glad that there isn't, and have never thought to wish for it, and even though he's been ill, I find myself a different gratitude for his wakefulness.

As frustrated as I may be that I don't get my scheduled, "ME" time, having him close by when his nose is so stuffed, gives me a sense of comfort that he's still breathing and in no real danger. As hard as it is to go about my day with a severe "crick" in my neck from laying with my arm crooked around him, it's a comfort to have him snuggled close by. Knowing that I can provide him a sense of security and comfort such as this, when the window for such service and love is so short, is a blessing to a Mother's heart, but I still felt frustrated and irritated.

A sick baby will test your mettle, your patience. I thought I was a paitent person, I have been proven wrong. I look forward to the day when he is well enough to sleep on his own again, and even as I write, that day may be now.

I thought I would be this super mom, one who wouldn't be bothered by such stress, but it turns out i'm only human.

Possibly, the fact that I was pre-menstruating didn't help matters ANY, but it's all the day in the life of a Mom, isn't it? Mothering doesn't stop for PMS, a run to the store for Tampons, or nursing your baby that has teeth when your nipples are ludicrously sensitive (Scrapping anyone? YEE-OUCH!).

I still can't forgive myself. I still feel guilty, but I understand and even forgive a bit. If my Husband can understand and forgive, well, why can't I?

I understand and feel that, while this cold was bad as it has been this far, there will be times and days that it will be far worse. My mettle is being tested, but not in a final exam, only as a test to allow me to learn, to gain strength, to better handle the rough waters to come. I am NOT looking forward to vomit of any kind, we had a bleeding lip the other day and it was horrid, and there will be liquid poo, Emergency Room visits, stitches, and god forbid, broken limbs. I am being given the opportunity to excercise my Mothering strength, so that when he gets older, and the challenges become more complex, frightening and perplexing, it won't be as hard as it is now.

My little rock will not grow moss, he's moving too fast. He's already pulling himself to stand, so soon after mastering crawling. I'm immensly proud and slighty frightened.

Motherhood is certainly not a study in measured steps, though you may be lead to think so if you read books or listen to sage advice. It seems like the books you read and the advice you hear is about one milestone to another, but there is so much inbetween.

I'm just really, really, really thankful that there is a learning curve, and my sweet boy goes at a steady pace.

I'm down with the sickness.

Huzzah for measurable steps to wellness, sanity and nights when I can be "romantic" with my Husband!


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