The Days Are Long…

Things are rough these days.

My mom’s memorial service was a week ago in Vermont. Colette did great on the trip and seeing my family was wonderful, but overall the weekend was both physically and emotionally exhausting.

We got back Sunday and Tim went back to work on Tuesday after being off for six weeks. So it was my first time alone with the baby for longer than an hour or two.

And the week did not go well. Colette didn’t sleep very much at all during the days, maybe 20-30 minutes at a time, if that. She had maybe 20 minutes of happy, alert time after she ate and then she would start crying. The rest of each day was spent trying to soothe her and get her to take those precious aforementioned minutes of sleep. I worked the Happiest Baby On The Block techniques like it was my job (which, I guess, it is), but to no avail. I tried the stroller, but that only worked when I was walking. Even if I sat down somewhere and moved the stroller, she cried. It’s like she knew when we weren’t walking. She’ll go in her swing for Tim, but not so much for me. I think she just wants to be held, which is fine with me, but even then, the kid does not want to sleep.

I’m still breastfeeding, followed by a supplementary bottle. And still pumping after every feeding. You can imagine what it’s like to try and pump with a screaming infant. I tried to stop pumping after every feeding, but then I got a clogged duct again (and it still hasn’t gone away). So now I have to keep up the pumping because if the clogged duct turns into mastitis, there’s no way I can take care of the chub. Even though Colette’s suck still hasn’t improved, I do love our nursing time…but if someone would have told me how hard it would be with the pumping I never would have started. Ever. I pumped in the car on the way to and fro Vermont last weekend. I pumped during my mom’s memorial luncheon. I pumped in the evenings when the rest of my family was spending time together. I feel like my whole life right now is that effing pump. And I feel like I’ll never be able to stop.

By the time Tim got home from work last week, both Colette and I were strung out. Tim was great about taking her as soon as he stepped in the door, but her fussiest time of day is in the evenings. While I usually tried to take a bath and eat my first real meal of the day, I could still hear her crying. So the evenings did not feel like any sort of respite, or at least enough of one. As a matter of fact, as I type this, I am listening to her crying.

Basically this has been the most intense week of my life. And I’ve had no time–not even one second–to grieve. Every once in a while I’m like, “Oh yeah, my mom is dead.” And then I have to push the thought away and pretend like it doesn’t exist. Because what can I do? I can’t spend all day or even a few minutes crying when I’m trying to soothe and take care of a crying baby.

Colette is sleeping longer at night, which is incredibly awesome, but I still have to get up and pump. And I’m having trouble sleeping, I think because that’s when the thoughts about my mom creep in.

I am exhausted. Right now, I can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. Everyone says babies get easier, but when? And when will I ever be able to begin to process the loss of my mom? Because even if Colette gets easier, I still have to deal with the fact that I don’t have a mom anymore. And that fact is there, waiting for me, when I have a second to breathe.


7 thoughts on “The Days Are Long…

  1. Oh, Tanya. The week you described is perhaps the hardest one I can possibly imagine. I have grieved a parent, raised a baby, and battled the friggen breast pump (which is just as terrible as you describe!). But I have never had to do it all at once, which is what you are going through. I am wondering if you have a therapist? I had one that allowed me to take Olive with me to the sessions, for an entire year. It was enormously helpful, and I am wondering if that sounds like a good support for you to reach out to, as well. You are so brave to chronicle this. I am pulling for you, from afar!

    1. I second everything that rheabette says. I cannot imagine the physical and emotional toll that your life is taking on you right now. Please consider seeing a counselor. And I would also recommend a post-partum doula who could give you a break from time to time during the day or night, whenever you most need it. I will keep you in my prayers.

      1. I second the postpartum doula and therapist suggestion and if you need a referral for a pp doula, please let me know. Sending you love.

  2. Oh, sweetie you are doing AWESOME! I’m sorry about your mom. Have you tried applying heat under your arm(s) for the clogged duct? I did that, rested, drank more water and nursed A LOT (didn’t have to pump, though) and it cleared up. I used a heating pad for 15 minutes at a time under my arm and onto the affected breast, and I did this MANY times a day for a few days. Good luck.

  3. Hang in there, mama, you can do it! Things will get better. It may take much time, but eventually it will get much better.

    Have you tried nursing her whenever she cries? Is she interested in that? I would basically have my girls nurse most of the time but it did stave off the crying. If you nurse more it will probably help to resolve the plugged duct and you may not have to pump anymore. Then she may even stop crying more b/c she will be fuller… just ideas!

    Lots of love and as much peace. This is a hard time, and I’m sorry. xoxo

  4. PS- Just want to add that with bfing there is no real schedule like how bottle fed babies are fed every 3 hours, etc. Just feeding on demand, crying or fussing, is the way to go. I’m sure you’ve read that but I remember being confused at first. xoxo

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