Brad starts his new job on Monday and will be traveling 3 nights a week. Actually 4 nights the first week and 3 after that. It's a great job, but the travel sucks. In this economy, turning down a great job (or really, any job) would be foolish, so despite its major imperfection, it's what we've decided to do. And while I think Brad is kind of dreading being away, he is so excited about this job and ready to be working again. It's been a long haul since November.
Unfortunately, Brad is starting his job before Charlie is really on any kind of schedule, sleeping for any length of time at night or predictable at all. Plus with his gas pains, he really can't sleep long. Here is what our nights/mornings currently look like:
10 or 10:30 - Brad takes Charlie and Kara goes to bed
11:30 or 12 - Brad gives Charlie a bottle Kara pumped and tries to get him down to sleep
1 or 1:30 - Charlie finally goes to sleep in his crib and Brad comes to bed
2:30 or 3 - Charlie is up and upset. Kara goes to feed him and try to get him back to sleep. This is met with limited cooperation and sometimes Charlie is up until 5 or so. If he falls back asleep chances are it's with one of us holding him.
5 or 5:30 - Charlie is up again and upset. Kara goes to feed him and try to get him back to sleep, probably while one of us is holding him.
7 or 7:30 - Kara and Brad question their sanity. Also obtain new understanding as to why the military uses sleep deprivation as a weapon.
7:30 or 8 - Kara feeds Charlie, Brad takes him and Kara goes back to bed
9 or 10 - Charlie falls asleep. Brad and Kara rejoice and try to nap, but have probably consumed too much coffee at this point. Or at least Kara has. Coffee affects Brad very little.
This schedule or some variation of it has been going on for the last two weeks. When I realized last week that I was going to be left alone with him for the next few weeks before this schedule probably changed, panic ensued. I am so tired every day and night - and that's with Brad around! He is tired too! So we decided to get creative and throw some money at the problem.
Enter: The Doula. We called the hospital and they referred us to a nurse practitioner who runs a doula service. They mostly help moms delivering in the hospital, but work post-partum too. The ones we are working with just finished up helping the parents of some twins who were understandably exhausted. I mean, I can't EVEN imagine twins right now. Of course, I also couldn't imagine being alone with my 5 week old and not being so tired I do something stupid. It was a very scary thought.
So the doula is going to take care of Charlie from 10pm to 6am a couple of nights a week and let me get some rest. She'll bring him in to me to nurse him, but other then that I'll get to sleep. Alleluia! I think we will do this for 2 weeks and then re-evaluate if we need more. Hopefully at that point his gas will start to subside and he won't be up so much during the night. The doulas are also available to come during the day, so for the rest of my maternity leave, I think we are going to have them come a couple afternoons a week so I can get out of the house. I'm at a loss as to what to do with myself during that time, but I'm sure I'll find something!
The two doulas that will be rotating helping us came over Wednesday to meet us and fortunately both love poodles. Zoe and Ringo were perfectly obnoxious for their visit, I guess excited to have new people paying attention to them. Poor neglected poodles. They don't realize yet that when Charlie gets older he is going to be their best friend!
So that's the long and short of it. The doula is coming Sunday and Tuesday night this week. MIL Sue is coming to spend Wednesday night so I'll have a break then too. It's going to be a challenging week, but I'll take any kind of week with Charlie as opposed to one without.