I’ve been feelin’ a wee bit tired of late but I really shouldn’t be.
Wanda sleeps beautifully. She eats beautifully. Most nights she sleeps around 14 hours with only one feeding in the middle. The problem is scheduling. She goes to sleep at about seven. I then stay up until around ten…er… eleven… er… twelvish? (If you thought you caught a niner in there as I was trailing off, you were correct) So I go to sleep after she’s been down for about 5 hours. Then she wakes up a couple of hours later to eat and it takes about an hour to feed and change her and put her down. “Put her down” sounds gruesome. Put her to sleep? Also very dire. Put her to bed? So then I get back to sleep at 3 or 4 AM and have to wake up at 7:30 if I’m being a very good mommy to get Laylee and Magoo ready for school while Wanda continues to sleep. I’m just not maximizing her sleeping hours so I end up averaging 5-6 hours of sleep each night with a 1 hour break in the middle. I’m tired.
I find that I am also sore. You may remember Magoo’s hugeness and the number he did on my body. I healed physically within a few months of his birth and expected the same or better this time. Wanda was normal-sized. My body was more fit. The delivery was easy. But here we sit at 4 months postpartum and I’m still in pain. My hips and pelvis aren’t doing so well. I have pain when I lie on my side or lift my leg to put on pants. Stepping over toys on the floor, if anyone ever left toys on the floor of my totally immaculate house which they never would because we are in all ways PERFECT, is a chore that requires careful planning and foot placement. It is uncomfortable to play on the floor with my babies.
The physical therapist says that if I continue doing my exercises twice daily, I’ll likely be feeling good in a year or so. That means 9 months of pretty intense pain during the pregnancy followed by a year of physical recovery. It’s rough but Wanda’s worth it. She’s more than worth it. She’s amazing.
She’s also likely our last.
I hope the physical therapist’s right. I hope my body is able to bounce back. I’m not sure. I’m really not sure if it could do this again. I’m eyeing my box of maternity clothes in the garage with a desire to say farewell and yet a fear of what that symbolizes.
Because tired, sore or broken, I love my babies. Sometimes when I’m feeding Wanda at night I get such a surge of excitement that I choke a little and catch my breath as I hear her little sucking noises and see her tiny fist clinging to my nursing bra like a handle. I always get baby hungry when my kids are around 3 months old and Wanda’s no exception. When she wakes up in the night crying, I go to her and she is overjoyed to see me. Her whole body grins and gasps and she looks up at me with total dependence and adoration. I am her best friend.
She lights up a room. She makes me hungry for more. And then after I catch my breath and squeeze her almost too hard, I realize that I’m a little broken and that I don’t know how much more broken I’ll be if I have another one.
And yet I’m hungry… for babies. I actually started fantasizing the other night about the smell of Tucks Medicated Pads and that sense memory was pleasant to me, making me think about our first several hours together, holding her and exploring her face, counting her fingers and toes. It didn’t make me think of hobbling to the hospital bathroom with the help of a nurse, in pain and bleeding from my body having recently done something that was both ridiculously hard and completely natural.
When I imagine that scent or look at that box of maternity clothes, all I can think about is my three little rays of sunshine, two of whom I sent marching off to bed with much relief tonight due to their foray into complete obnoxiousness, and how I’d like nothing more than to keep manufacturing them forever.
Does it ever stop? The hunger? Even if you know you’re done? Do you ever stop getting tears in your eyes when you pass by the maternity ward in a hospital, see a baby drooling completely vulnerable in his mother’s arms, or smell your older children’s hair right after a bath? Does the ache ever go away? In a way I hope it doesn’t. It tells me I’m alive, that what I’ve done, that what I’m doing, matters. Can I ever do anything better than making these three people? I’m not so sure.