Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sick Baby

I have written this entry in my head several times, and in a few drafts. Thankfully, I've reread my words before posting, and stopped myself from publishing the last version which sounded like it had been written by a petulant teenager bemoaning the fact that her life is governed by her parents. In reality, I am trying to write about how hard it is to be a parent whose life is now dictated by a baby!

The last couple of nights (and days) have been rough in Gamberland. Our little Stella has been fighting her first cold, which has translated into misery for all. It is really hard to be a parent watching a little one suffer and struggle with unfamiliar aches and pains, and not be able to make things better. In the past, my breasts have been a source of comfort. Whenever Stella was particularly upset, nursing was the perfect bandaid, and the end of tears. This ability to sooth with milkie is now a source of frustration, as Stella can hardly breathe as she tries to feed and has ended up arching her back and crying out. I'm sure she was having problems breathing through her nose, and who knows what kind of throat pain she might have had, or achy feelings in her little body. This discomfort only seemed to intensify at bedtime. She was utterly exhausted, but kept waking EVERY hour throughout the night. I found myself getting so frustrated with my own lack of sleep, that I would temporarily forget that she was helpless and innocent in her suffering. I'd lay in bed, listening to her scream and trying to shut out her cries, just praying she'd eventually find a way to sooth herself back to sleep. Oh the guilt - She needed us, even if it was just to hover above her crib and watch as she rocked herself to and fro.

During the day, Stella's stuffiness has not been much better, and nap time has been seriously disrupted. Dan and I both work out of our home for the same Internet travel company. Our jobs are very flexible about our hours, as long as Dan works 8 hours and I work 6 hours a day. It is up to us to figure out how to fit 14 hours of work into an 11 hour period, while simultaneously taking care of Stella. Let's just say that we rely heavily on her naps, and her ability to independently play and entertain herself. With her being sick, this has been a struggle, and our job related stress has most certainly increased. Our ears have been ringing with Stella's incessant whining, and our arms are aching from cradling a very clingy baby. The worst part about this whole experience has been my own struggle with what it means to be a responsible parent. Just the act of writing down my complaints makes me feel mean and unsympathetic. This is the dilemma. It's like I'm a Dr. Jeckll and Mr. Hyde. One minute I feel nothing but empathy and tenderness toward my baby, and just want to rock her in my arms, and the next minute I am so irritated by her moaning and dependence that I want to lock myself in the bathroom. Obviously, this is not an option. I can't be the teenager who screams vitriol at her mother and storms off to slam her bedroom door. I have to take a deep breath, let go of work, let go of 'I', turn to my helpless baby, lift her into my arms, and smother her with all the immense love that I feel. I must commiserate with this little being and take care of her needs, afterall, I am Mother.

Is this how she got sick?!


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