24-Hour Surveillance, Tow Trucks, and Sheer and Utter Exhaustion

My sister-in-law, who is a mom herself, warned me right before I had Ella that following our arrival home, and the influx of friends and relatives that want to see the baby the first week, I will become quite lonely and feel isolated being alone all day, everyday, with a baby and no one to talk to. Clearly my sister-in-law doesn't know how things work in my family. I have not been alone with Ella for the entire nine hour stretch that Rich is at work since the day she was born. And frankly, it's driving me a little crazy.

Now, as you know, I love my family to death. They are the most supportive, loving, and generous group of people, and have helped me in myriad ways with Ella. They've cooked us meals. Done our laundry. Straightened up our house. And I am immensely grateful for this. But they've been around a lot. A LOT. And there's a big part of me that wants to see if I can do this here rearin' of the babe myself. I want to establish a routine with her (I am a creature of habit), and I can't do that if they're here all the time. Much as I love them to pieces, I wish they would come over for an hour, visit with Ella, drop off dinner (they love to cook, so who am I to deny them their life's ambition? And the baby mama's gotta eat, you know), and then take off. I realize this makes me sound like a horribly ungrateful girl. Believe me, I have huge guilt over these feelings. But at the same time, being an introvert at heart, I need my alone time.

Okay. There. I've said it. You can throw the tomatoes now.

In other news, Ella had her very first tow truck ride last week. She enjoyed it so much that she told me later on that once she turns 16, she wants one as her first vehicle. I took her to her second pediatrician visit last Thursday. She's now 7 pounds, 1 ounce, but in only the 10th percentile for weight, and the 25th for length. Her doctor says she's "petite." On the way home, I stopped at the bank to deposit my pitiful short-term disability check via the drive-thru. And when I was through and went to shift my car out of park and into drive...it wouldn't. A very nice girl who had pulled up behind me lent me her cell phone (yes, I am one of the four individuals left on planet Earth without one), and I called a garage to arrange a tow. Strangely enough, I wasn't as paniced as I thought I'd be at the thought of putting my then two-week daughter in the cab of a dirty, stinky tow truck. And the driver was very nice (despite telling me I could nurse her in the cab if I wanted while he hooked up my car, and that he was a father, so it was all good. Um, no. That's okay. While I may be in the habit of flashing the girls to all and sundry, I draw the line at complete strangers covered in motor oil.)

And, as is our luck, Rich's car crapped out on him on the exact same day. Total cost to fix both our cars: almost $1,000. Awesome.

Finally, I am tired. Really tired. I'm getting about 5-6 hours of sleep a night, but in small chunks. I usually try to go to bed around 9 or 10. Ella is up at midnight or 1am to nurse, and then again a few hours later. We're usually up for the day around 6:30 or 7am.

I'm sure this is breaking news to you all but mothering a newborn is seriously exhausting. It's funny. It's very hard to explain how much your life changes once you become a mother. One day you're nine months pregnant, and while uncomfortable, you're still in charge of your life. You get up when you want, you eat when you want, and your time is your own. And then, the very next day, there's this baby in your arms, who completely changes the entire course of your existence, as well as every aspect of your life that you could previously call "your routine." All of a sudden, she dictates when you get up (which is often and at hours no human being should see on a regular basis), when you get to eat (if at all), and the time you previously called "your own"? Well, that's virtually non-existent. And no matter how wonderfully involved your husband is (and mine is, believe me), a man's life doesn't change even half as much as a woman's when a child enters the picture.

But everytime I see this face staring out at me from her bassinett by my bed, be it 1am, 3am, or 6am, I remember that the importance of sleep pales in comparison to the immense joy Isabella has brought to my life. And I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world.

16 Responses to “24-Hour Surveillance, Tow Trucks, and Sheer and Utter Exhaustion”

  1. # Blogger Christine

    Check out that babe's dance moves.

    And also, you poor tired thing. I would probably feel much the same way you do if bombarded with family on a near constant basis. Once they realize you are capable and the newborn joy has worn off, I'm sure they'll back down (even if it's just a bit).

    But if they want to cook, perhaps they can send some my way? Yes?  

  2. # Blogger Beagle

    She's gorgeous. That doesn't make the exhaustion any easier, but she is, well, just gorgeous!  

  3. # Blogger Kross-Eyed Kitty

    LOL! I can only imagine your shock/horror at the thought of breast-feeding in front of the tow-truck driver! You would have made his day though!
    Nice that your meals are being provided for you and that your family is so thrilled...I'm sure it will all settle down in the next little while and you'll be able to get on with a routine.  

  4. # Blogger sunShine

    Ella is adorable, I just wnat to snuggle her up! Motherhood is very exhausting. No matter how many hours of sleep you get, if they are all broken up it you never completely feel rested. Hopefully she will start sleeping in longer stretches soon. I will not throw tomatoes at you about the family thing, my mom came and stayed with us for a few days after my babe was born and I was so ready for her to go home I did a dance of joy after she left. Having people to help is important, but so is alone time and routines.

    As for the tow truck driver, my hubby drove a tow truck for a while after he got laid off from his wonderful management position. his brother owns a towing company and he needed help and hubby needed a job, so he worked for him for a little while. I think people were pleasantly surprised when my hubby with a college degree, clean shaven and not all greasy and dirty looking got there to tow their car. Anyway, glad you had a nice tow truck driver, some of those guys are scary!  

  5. # Blogger kenju

    She is gorgeous! I know how you feel. even after all these years I remember the bone tired feeling that comes with mothering a new born. Wait till you have your second one.

    Send all those people home. Come up with some excuse to have some time just to yourself (and Ella's). They need to cut you some slack.  

  6. # Blogger M

    For the reasons you explained, I'm not letting anyone come to stay with us for the first 2 weeks. Mike is taking the first 2 weeks off and we're coming home to be a family. After that, my mom and grandma will come for a few days- and everyone else I am hoping to fend off until her baptism when she is 6 weeks old. I can see having family around would be a bit irritating and like you- I want to see if I can do this myself. I don't think that makes us ungrateful at all.  

  7. # Blogger The Princess

    You sound so much like me. I absolutely LOVE my family. They were a life savor for me after my delivery. But it did get to a point when I just wanted everyone to leave and let me start my new life. Once I was left alone, I was able to fall into a new schedule and get to know my daughter.

    So my point? Don't feel to bad, you're not the only new Mom who has felt this way!  

  8. # Blogger Marie

    It's hard to set limits when people are just trying to be helpful, isn't it? Especially family. I see the downside of having them in town... though I still think there's more upside. When my m-i-l visits from 5 hours away, she's here round the clock for days, from the moment I open my eyes til the moment I escape to my bedroom at night.

    Go upstairs and nap when they come for extended visits! Seriously. Put on some quiet music & give yourself permission to collapse during the day. The family wants to help... I say let them!  

  9. # Blogger Marie

    PS -- I LOVE that picture!!!  

  10. # Blogger angela

    An observation on the first part; have a second baby in, say, 12 months time and you won't see another person. Everyone will assume you can cope(speaking from experience) so give the helpers all the jobs you really don't want to do and enjoy the time with Isabella.  

  11. # Blogger sher

    Awww--everytime I see beautiful Ella, my heart melts. And I think it's normal to want time to yourself, even though having family help is good. I always tell people, "I need time for me." Well, you need it for you and Ella too.

    Ella is petite? So am I and most clothing companies are phasing out their petite lines, so tell Ella she has to grow! :)

    Thank you for letting us know how you're doing. I think about you and Ella all the time!  

  12. # Blogger L

    Maybe you can suggest that your constant visitors help you in other ways...like running errands for you or organizing bake sales to pay off the car repairs. As far as being Ella petite...good things come in small packages!  

  13. # Anonymous Anonymous

    What a beauty! When you get too tired, you can sleep and dream of that face while one of the loving and ever present family members does your laundry... at least there's a silver lining there somewhere...

    Congrats on your little sweetness!  

  14. # Blogger Dee Dee

    ... and wouldn't you know that I was on my way to visit Kristi and Ella yesterday when my car breaks down, too!!

    I really wanted to talk with you, but we'll reschedule for next week.


  15. # Blogger annelynn

    Your girl looks so awake and alert! She is one incredibly beautiful baby. And again I say - congratulations.

    I don't have kids and I may never - it's far more likely that I'll find some way to become a crazy cat lady. However, I do empathize with your need to have your own space. The fact that you have so much loving help at the ready is awesome, though! Hopefully a balance is on its way in due time.

    I also empathize with you on the tiredness - whenever I feel exhausted, I think about friends of mine who are moms and I feel guilty for feeling tired! What do I have to feel tired about, after all?

    At any rate, my best to you Kristi. It's great to see posts from you despite your busy-ness and tiredness as a new mother!  

  16. # Blogger Kristi

    Christine-I'll send them over to live with you for awhile!

    Beagle-Aww.. thanks. We think so too.

    Ramona-I'm sure it would have. He was a nice guy though!

    Sunshine-Yes, I had a very nice driver. Almost too nice!

    Kenju-I wish it were that easy. They have backed off a bit now, though.

    M-God, I wish I could have done what you're planning. However, my family would probably break down my door. LOL.

    Princess-I'm so glad I'm not the only one to feel this way.

    Marie-Good idea. I'm going to try that.

    Angela-Ha! It will be interesting if that happens. And thanks for stopping by my blog.

    Sher-Oh no! I guess she'll have to go sans clothes. Poor dear will have nothing to wear!

    L-Good idea! And Leslie-I can't post comments on your blog! It shows up in both my browsers as a Blogger Beta blog, and I get a weird security message when I try and comment. I type my comment, and then I get an error message. Yours is the only blog I'm having this problem with. Any ideas?

    Blond Girl-The laundry being done is definitely a huge plus!

    Dianne-You created your own blog! That's great! See you this week, right?

    Annelynn-Nah-it's just different kind of tired. The ever-present kind that doesn't ever go away!  

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