Yesterday I took Leta to her first appointment with the pediatrician where I learned that she had gained 21 ounces in the 14 days since we’d left the hospital, and this means mama’s milk makes mouths happy! I knew she’d put on some poundage because there are times when she wakes up for the first of four times during the night and I think that her head has gotten bigger in the two hours she’s been asleep. But that’s a whole pound and a half! In TWO WEEKS! This could either mean that Leta will be the valedictorian of her high school because she is developing at such an advanced rate, or that she will weigh over 600 pounds by the time she’s five years old.
Venturing out to the doctor’s office, however, did not prove as easy as my daughter’s weight gain. Neither Jon nor I have slept more than two consecutive hours in the last four days, and when I couldn’t get the car seat to fit into the car, in the snow, as the snow was falling on my baby’s face, as the snow froze my hands, the hands that couldn’t get the back door to the house shut, the door that has become so warped because of all the wet snow that it won’t fit into its frame, after I had to yell at the dog because he wouldn’t get back into the house, after I had to comfort the dog after yelling at the dog because he’s so displaced and he just wanted to go outside in the snow! for crying out loud! I stood there crying in the snow. Not just crying, but bawling in the snow. Not just bawling, but SCREAMING like a maniacal freak, I CAN’T GET THE FUCKING CAR SEAT TO FIT IN THE FUCKING CAR!, in the snow.
At this point I had gone back into the house, picked up the wireless phone, taken it back outside and called Jon to have him walk me through the process of putting the car seat into the car. But once I heard his voice all I could do was stand there and scream, gigantic tears pouring from my eyes and freezing on the side of my face. Somehow he managed to calm me down enough that I noticed I had the goddamn thing in backwards, and once I turned the seat around it clicked in automatically, without any effort whatsoever.
I thanked him, told him I loved him, and apologized for exposing his daughter to such profanity. And then I climbed into the driver’s side of the truck, turned on the heat and cried for another five minutes.
There is just so much crying.
There are really good days, days when I feel strong enough to handle this job, days when I look at the future ahead of us and I get excited about the ride. On good days I can go several hours without crying.
And then there are bad days, days when I can’t see ever leaving the house again, days when I think that by the time I do leave the house again my hair will be past my waistline because how can I ever get my hair cut when the baby needs to be fed every 2.5 hours?? On bad days I think I’ll never be able to walk the dog again, I’ll never go shopping again, I’ll never see a movie in a movie theater again. On bad days I imagine growing old in a dust-covered house surrounded by hundreds of mounds of dirty laundry and piles of 40 year old poopy diapers because I will never again have the strength to clean my house. On bad days I cry all day long.
This is the hardest thing I have ever done. It’s really, really hard. I think they should call postpartum depression what it really is, and that is going certifiably insane from sleep deprivation. It’s nearly impossible to make a single coherent decision when I’m completely beholden to another creature’s sleep schedule, and that creature happens to sleep in random 90 minute spurts. It’s not so much sadness I feel but utter delirium, and by the end of the day when we face another night of will she? or won’t she? sleep, it’s hard not to ask myself, How the hell can I do this another day?
And then when the sun comes up, a full two hours after we’ve tried unsuccessfully to get her back to sleep, and the room fills with delicate new light, I see that her eyebrows have gotten darker overnight. Her cheeks are fuller, her thighs are thicker, and she’s kicking those frog feet like she’s playing hopscotch in a pond full of lilypads. She’s thriving. She’s gaining weight like an honor student. And then I slowly get up and do it another day.