It is safe to say that Michelle and I have a very strong marriage and relationship. We are a great team and can accomplish anything working together. We are like a well oiled machine, however, since July 22nd, we may need an oil change.
The machine that is Mike and Michelle is the equivalent to a German engineered, high-performance and superior quality engine. It ran smooth, quiet, and flawless. But it also wasn’t used to running 24/7. It took breaks. The switch got flicked to off at the end of every day. Now, the engine is getting some wear and tear. It runs constantly, no off switch, no down time. Don’t get alarmed, our relationship and love for each other is as strong as ever, it’s the processes that are breaking down and needing adjustments.
Like any new mommy, Michelle’s stress levels are maxed out. Combine that with sleep deprivation and lingering physical effects from the birth and you got yourself a perfect storm of annoyance and aggravation. I don’t have it as bad as Michelle, however, I still have quite a bit of added stress trying to balance work and wanting to be home to help Michelle, as well as the lack of sleep. So, where we once were on a level that neared a certain sixth sense of communication and teamwork, now you essentially have two zombies walking around the house, ready to snap, and would kill off an endangered species if it meant getting an extra hour of sleep.
It’s weird though. In our zombie like state, we are developing a new type of teamwork and communication, sort of a patchwork. It is most evident in the middle of the night. We get up, get Ava, go downstairs, feed her, Michelle pumps, let Frasier out, burp her, change her, give her some drops, and rock her back to sleep. This nocturnal ballet happens with very few words, if any. Communication has been widdled down to facial expressions and nods. Depending on who is doing what task, the other knows what they will need help with and it just sorta happens, organically. The goal is to get Ava taken care of and to get everyone back to bed as fast as possible. Words would just delay the process.
We are told that it gets easier, and we believe that to be true, it’s just hard to hear at this point. It’s like telling a new amputee patient that he will learn to live with only one leg and life can be normal again one day. While that may be true, at that time he is only thinking, “Holy shit, how am I going to do this?” Ava isn’t making it any easier either. She has good days and bad, just like any other baby. The issue is that she develops these short-lived habits. They only last a week or so, then it will stop and she will develop a new one. For example, her newest trend is that she will only drink an ounce of milk at a time, nod off a bit, then in an hour or so scream and want more. This usually repeats itself until the bottle is gone. Fortunately this seems to be coming to an end as she has been downing whole bottles in one sitting that last couple of days.
The main thing is the sleep. It’s much easier to deal with stressful situations on seven hours rest than three. Once Ava stops waking up multiple times through the night and gives us a nice long stretch, things will fall back into place. Right now it is still all Ava all the time, and though we try to take time for ourselves, when they are this young they need constant care and attention. The house, the yard, the dog, the cats, they are all getting a little neglected these days. That is to be expected. Though we have only had Ava for four weeks, its hard to remember life without her. Things will shift back to normal within the next couple of months however. Each day Ava will become less uber-dependant, giving Michelle and I more time to interact like normal adults and concentrate on other things again.
Michelle and I will adjust just fine, I’m sure. We have done it before, it’s just a matter of retrofitting our engine to be able to perform on the new track we are on at the levels we are accustomed to. We will learn to ‘walk’ with our new appendage and life will be normal, a new type of normal ofcourse…until we have a lapse in judgment and go for number two.