When it came time to bring home a baby, there were really just two needs I had: a sleeper and a non-bleeder. I could handle vomit. I could handle poop. I could handle food allergies, a crier, and anything else just so long as the kid slept and didn’t bleed. You see, I am serious about my sleep which is not to say that I was the teenage kid who stayed in bed until noon. I am more the systematic sleeper: the diagonally in the bed, doesn’t move until morning, please don’t try to wake me because it won’t work out for you, sleeper. I take my sleep seriously. The room has to be pitch black. I can only sleep with my special pillow. And there has to be air circulating. Sleep, for me, is like a tango. It is choreographed, and I have it down to a perfect little rhythm. In fact, last weekend, one of my best friends from childhood was in town for the Circle de Luz run and someone asked if I was staying with her in her one-bed hotel room. “Oh no,” she said. “Rosie sleeps diagonally in the bed.” She remembers this from when we were six. So, yeah, sleep is a fairly serious thing for me.
In the months leading up to Happy coming home, I read all sorts of books on babies and sleep thinking that within three weeks, our baby would be sleeping 12 hours at night followed by 2 two hour naps during the day. And then Life with her sense of humor struck and, as we all know, pulled a fast one on me. Not only did my baby not sleep twelve hours a night. He didn’t sleep. Here’s what I learned last year, and I want all prospective new parents to take note: Whatever you are most scared of as a new parent, never say it out loud. Because Life has a funny sense of humor, and she’ll give you exactly what you think you can’t handle. So, don’t tell her. Make it your own little secret. When my college roommate found out that I had the world’s worst sleeper, she said, “Oh, that is so what you get!” Yeah, yeah.
Well, the other deal breaker for me was a bleeding baby. See, I am a fainter. A medical fainter to be exact. And there is nothing that will drop my blood pressure and make me check out like some blood. And checking out seems to be the thing that a mother should most NOT do when her child is bleeding and so I decided that the only way for us to get through this was to have a non-bleeding baby. That way, I could remain checked in as a mom at all times. Fortunately for us, the kid did not bleed in his first year home. But, inevitably, the first bleeding event had to come. It was a mouth wound– a busted lip after a tumble– and, boy, did it gush. Yet I am happy to report that I stayed upright the whole time. I called BF in the midst of it because there was a flood going on and I was envisioning stitches in our future, and BF later told me that he expected to arrive home with me passed out in the hallway and the baby looking at me, confused. Instead, I was gamely holding the baby, applying both pressure and ice, singing away his tears without any thought of checking out when BF arrived. Today, we had our second blood loss– a cut finger– and I stayed upright and fully present, too. That’s the amazing thing about motherhood. You rise to the occassion, even when you are absolutely convinced that you don’t have it in you. Yes, I’d rather sleep 12 hours a night and never see blood again but the good news is that I know that neither sleep loss or blood loss will break me. How about you? What have you been far more prepapred to handle than you thought you would be?