Ugh. Feeding Sam in bed all night last night did not work out like I’d planned. Instead of getting any sleep, I ended up becoming a 24-hour milk bar for a very fussy customer.
We started at 8:30 PM in the glider, where I nursed Sam for an hour. This wasn’t an easy, gentle nursing either, the kind where the baby falls asleep in your lap and just makes the occasional suck for comfort’s sake. This was active, vigorous nursing that started to chafe after the first thirty minutes or so. I tried to let Sam keep going, hoping she’d get her fill and doze off. But when the hour mark hiy and she was still hard at it, I decided it was time to put her down for bed. Not an easy thing to do. I had to wedge a couple fingers into the viselike grip of her tiny jaws and pry them apart. That pissed her off of course, and she instantly went from a hungry but drowsy infant to a flailing, fussy, farting fireball.
It was 9:30 PM at this point, still early enough for me to get a good night’s sleep. Since Sam was only fussing but not actually screaming, I put her in the bouncy chair and left the room. I had this delusion that if I went downstairs for a little while and watched TV, when I came back up she’d be sound asleep. Big mistake. She was quiet up until she heard me enter the upstairs hallway. Then she started to howl. Being too tired to strap her into the front carrier and wear her out downstairs, I just gave in and pulled her into bed with me to nurse.
That was at 10:30 PM. A half hour later at 11, Sam was still nursing. The right side of my body was numb from lying still for so long. Sam, of course, was going full blast, just like earlier and once again I had to pry her off. She immediately started crying and grunting and hyperventilating, so I rolled over and let her have the other breast. Another half hour went by. By midnight, Sam was quiet but still sucking pretty strong. I pried her off anyway. My nipples were raw. She flailed for a bit, then finally calmed down and went to sleep. At 12:30 AM, I very carefully picked her up and strapped her into the bouncy chair, then went to sleep myself.
I woke up to a lot of grunting and hyperventilating. It was Sam again, of course. Her eyes were closed, but she was going nuts in the bouncy chair. I checked my clock. It was only 1:30 AM. I’d expected her to sleep until at least 2:30. How could she be hungry again that soon? Her eyes weren’t open though, so I thought maybe she was just fussing in her sleep and it would pass. I laid there for an hour listening to her thrash around in the chair. Finally, I gave up and pulled her back in bed again. My nipples still hurt, so I tried pulling her close to me and patting her on the back to lull her back into sleep. She dozed off after a while and I put her back in the bouncy chair.
Thirty minutes later, she was back in bed with me, this time nursing again. I swear, I thought she was going to suck my toenails out through my nipples. We went 40 minutes on one side and then another 20 on the other. My neck and back ached from lying curled around her. I wanted to lie flat on my back, but couldn’t do that and nurse Sam too. After another hour, I pulled her off and put her back in the bouncy chair. She raised a fuss. Then her hiccoughs kicked in. Sam has the loudest, most violent hiccoughs I have ever heard. They sound like large balloons exploding right in your ear. I tried to wait it out, but the noise was too much. I grabbed my pillow and went into the guest room. Even in there, I could still hear her hyperventilating and hiccupping. If an adult hyperventilated like that, they’d have passed out long before. Why couldn’t Sam do the same, I wondered as I pressed my pillow over my head.
At some point, I dozed off. Then I woke up again to the sound of crying. I stumbled into the bedroom and found Michael changing Sam’s diaper. It was 4 AM. He held her and rocked her for a while as I tried to get a little more sleep. Sam wouldn’t calm down. By 4:30, she ended up back in bed with me. Only this time, she was so agitated she wouldn’t latch on. She kept taking the nipple and spitting it back out. Then she’d wail each time I put it back into my bra. It took her a good fifteen minutes to finally hook up to the milk bar.
My usual wake up time of 5:30 AM came and went. Sam kept nursing. At around 6, she finally detached herself and went to sleep. I thought briefly about trying to put her back in the bouncy chair but by this time my back, neck and shoulders had seized up so that I resembled a giant question mark. Being unable to unlock my stiffened spine, I laid there and suffered before finally drifting off myself.
We woke up just before 8 AM, when Cassie came in looking for us. What a sweet child. What a loveable darling. No matter how bad her temper tantrums are at times, she does sleep through the night. How can you not love a child who does that?
Meanwhile, the human piranha dozed peacefully with her face tucked into my armpit. Michael took Cassie downstairs. I spent half an hour straightening my spine until I could finally get out of bed. Sam snoozed peacefully as I transferred her back to the bouncy chair. I took a shower and brushed my teeth. She never so much as sighed.
So Sam binged on milk all night long. Now I am dead tired, which means I will be facing my own feeding frenzy today, stuffing my face to sate my fatigue-induced craving for sugar and carbs. The only good thing about this is that I now weigh three pounds less today than I did yesterday. How much do you want to bet that Sam weighs three pounds more?