He nursed through the entire night and eventually woke up fully at 4am — restless and uncomfortable.
After giving him a potty break and a fresh diaper, I lay there in the dark with him on my chest, patting his back and praying that it would be enough. Truth be told, I was a wreck. Dehydrated and empty. The best way to describe this feeling would be that "all of the life got sucked out of me”. The image in my head was of a hollow, lifeless version of myself, aching for nourishment of my own.
I couldn’t nurse him anymore. It was too much.
TJ tried rocking him, but he just cried and cried. So I drank a glass of water and took some deep breaths, knowing full-well that Elan wouldn’t rest until he was back in my arms (or on my boob, really). TJ then placed him next to me in bed and he latched with eyes closed.
At 5am this morning, I stroked my baby boy's head while he nursed to sleep for the 20th time in a row.
As we lay there together, I saw myself 10 years from now — sitting outside, watching him run around with a fierce independence that already shines through today. I saw myself missing this moment. I saw myself missing every night that he slept comfortably in the crook of my arm. I missed every morning, when I’d wake up and put my face right next to his. We'd blink and smile at each other and I’d kiss his cheeks a dozen times.
I saw myself missing these moments and that vision was enough to let love pour over my frustration. It filled me up as I exhaled and pulled him closer.
We fit together perfectly.
I kissed his head, whispered I Love You and imagined a soft glowing light holding us safely in that space.
This is how gratitude happens. It’s how I get through sleepless nights and long days.
Sure, it would be easier to stick him in a crib and "sleep-train" him. I could ignore his cries for a few nights. He’d get used to being ignored and then just give up crying altogether. Finally, sweet sleep would kick in and I’d never have to have another night like this one, right? People must think I’m crazy for choosing any other way!
But for now, I lay with him in the dark-- feeling at ease and deeply grateful for every second of this closeness.
I can sleep later.