Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The center of the universe

I remember saying to more than one person on more than one occasion that I didn't want to be the center of anyone's universe -- that it was too much responsibility. Yet here I am, the center of an infant's universe. It's a lot of responsibility, but more than that, it's stressful. Taking care of a baby 24/7, no matter how much I adore him, is wearing. It finally occurred to me during a long awaited shower that the terrible heartburn and acid reflux I've been suffering might be stress-related. I'm very good at sublimating stress and just pushing forward -- it's how I got through all the sickness and death from years 2008 through 2010 -- but at some point I have to wake up to the fact that some levels of stress, or stressful situations, are not sustainable.

I am used to copious amounts of me-time. I'm an introvert who has worked hard to balance-out my introversion with a tolerance/appreciation for extraverted activities, but I'm an introvert all the same. One of the great benefits of the Information Age is the ability to maintain contacts with friends and family wherever they, or I, am. But one of the drawbacks is that this ease of remaining in close contact with people far away is that I've neglected developing much in the way of local relationships. I am developing some good relations with my neighbors, one of whom is great with Alex, but with my family all living 3+ hours away, and my best friends all living 500+ miles away, I don't have anyone to help out with Little Man. So I had a talk with his father about needing him to spot me with the baby more.

I do my best to make sure that M gets his full quota of sleep, so I take care of the baby at night as well as during the day. M usually spends 10 or 20 minutes with him her and there throughout the evenings, but usually hands the baby off to me when he starts to fuss. Given that the only time I have to get much done for myself or around the house is when M is entertaining Little Man, I'm always feeling rushed and stressed trying to get things accomplished during those mini-breaks. It's just not sustainable. So we talked, and he acknowledged that I do make things awfully easy on him, and that taking care of the baby 24/7 is a lot of effort. We both know that right now Little Man is completely dependent on me, and that he will slowly outgrow it, but for the next 6 months or so, it's mostly all on me. But there are still things he can do. This weekend he took care of the baby for a couple of hours while I got a much-needed massage. Yesterday he stayed home from work and helped take care of the baby and drove me to the doctor because I'd basically been up for 3 nights with acid-reflux and night coughing and was too exhausted to drive myself.

The good news is that my weight-loss is at a much more sustainable rate of 1-2 pounds a week (I've dropped 12# the past two months). The bad news is I need an upper GI test to try to figure out what is going on with my stomach and the acid reflux. Hopefully it is not my LES valve or I may need surgery. Yesterday I ate 1 cup of rice and a protein shake with bananas and blueberries. Not enough protein (14g) to sustain lean muscle mass -- but at least I slept through the night (minus baby interruptions) without coughing up the contents of my stomach. I wish I could eat more of my protein bars but I only have one type that isn't covered in chocolate. And chocolate, like coffee and tomatoes and many other fruits, are big no-nos for GERD. *whine*

So, I'm trying to eat a careful, bland diet with lots of protein and extra calories for breastmilk production, and trying to find ways to get myself baby-breaks. I love the Little Man beyond description, but being the center of his universe these past 3 months is starting to take it's toll.

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