Late Nights

I woke up to feed my baby, teeth chattering uncontrollably.  It was January, after all, but I never remembered being quite this cold in our home, even in the dead of winter.  Cincinnati had a warmer climate than the one we’d grown up in, and my heaviest sweatshirts sat in the back of my closet, too warm for all but the coldest days of our Cincinnati winter.

But the last two nights since getting home from the hospital, I’d wake up freezing.  I was sleeping in my loose, open necked nightgown, to make it easier to scoop my baby out of his bassinet next to me and have him latch on without really waking up.  I’d doze as he nursed, waking up to switch sides and roll us both over in the bed.  I’d already woken up last night an hour later, little Michael blissfully asleep between R and I, my open nightgown the only evidence that I’d fallen asleep while nursing him.

R was actually still awake and working on his computer next to our bed.   He didn’t even look up as I sat up in the bed to scoop Michael out of his bassinet, wriggly and looking for his two am feeding.  I felt terrible; tired and exhausted from the labor and short stay in the hospital.   Both my father and R’s parents were here, and I was trying to stock up on sleep while they played with the baby, but I still felt like I’d hit a brick wall. Maybe it was the fact that I had two other children this time.  Maybe it was the stress of having to constantly fiddle with this or that on the computer at all hours; there was no such thing as a maternity leave from my unpaid gig doing Rick Springfield’s website.  It might even be the contractors that were in and out of our house all the time as we furiously tried to finish the basement before Michael’s arrival.  We didn’t succeed on that point, which meant I was discreetly nursing while Dale and his subcontractors let in cold January air while they finished painting and laying carpet.  Whatever it was, I just was exhausted.

But I could hardly complain since I’d been in this bed for five hours already, while R still was wide awake and crunching numbers for the company’s year end financial report next to me.

He’d stayed with me all of the day little Michael had been born, going home with the grandparents in the evening.  But rather than return to me in the morning, he’d gone to work.  When the doctors had told him I’d likely be discharged the following afternoon anyway, he figured he could squeeze in a few hours at the office, and then travel the rest of the way downtown to Good Samaritan Hospital to retrieve me and the baby.  Even though my labor and delivery had some moments of fear (I’d learned that not only had my blood pressure dipped dangerously low at the end, but so did Michael’s heartrate), all seemed well with my precious little boy.  R seemed to take it all in stride, and went on with his routine the next day.  The days at work were late, but he counted on his parents (my father had since returned to Florida) to pinch hit where he could not.

R looked over at me as I settled back into the bed, my teeth chattering loud enough to attract his attention.  “Everything OK over there?”

“I…can’t…get…warm…” I stuttered between my clenched teeth, reaching for the extra blanket at the end of the bed to cover every exposed bit of me I could.

“It’s not cold in here,” R said testily.  “It’s forty degrees outside.”

“I’m….freezing…” I responded as my baby boy latched on and gurgled away at my breast.

“It must be the after effects of the birth.  Your body is trying to regulate itself, probably.”  R turned back to his screen and rubbed his eyes.

“I…guess….” I responded with a yawn.  I snuggled up to the warm bundle next to me and fell back into a sleepy stupor.

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