Waking up these days usually means there are at least three heartbeats in the bed with me. One belongs to me. None belong to my husband. This is mainly because dear Paul has learned that sleeping in our once calm and peaceful martial bed is no longer that.
It typically starts around 12am.
This is when our youngest, currently 7 months old, is starting to stir. He is looking for something to keep him calm. To soothe him. To remind him that he is not alone. He finds what he needs. (Its me). This comes with a little help from me, the person who went to sleep about 30 minutes prior because of laundry or work or chores or simply decompressing. Whatever the reason for my late departure to REM world, it doesn't matter. My child needs me and, well, I need him.
It doesn’t feel long before 3am rolls around and there’s a creaking of a door as our two year old opens his door and speeds into our room like he is being followed by the darkness. With a flash, his larger than life self is snuggled up, practically attached to me. He quickly falls back to sleep. I listen to his breathing pattern and I am soothed back to sleep myself.
...only to wake up abruptly as my 2 year old has begun his star-fishing the bed routine 45 minutes later. (I think I have gotten about 4 bloody noses to date from this child in the middle of the night. He is a bruiser)!
But then, just as I start to lose my cool, my perfect two year old, who has been moving non stop since first foot to my face around 4am, grabs my hand and holds it tight.
For a moment, he is still.
I open my eyes to see that his eyes are shut tight, but he remains holding my hand.
I drift off, again. My last look at the clock showed 4:15am.
Then, it's 5am. My 7 month old needs me again and I wake up to nurse him and notice that my five year old has made his way in without a sound somewhere between 4:15-5am. I hear my husband stirring in the guest room down the hall. His alarm is about to go off since he has an hour commute to work daily. I say a silent prayer that I will get a few moments before the seven year old, the only child we have who has consistently slept by himself, through the night without waking up, energetically arises to greet the day in a way only a child can.
As I turn to try and catch the last bit of shut eye I'll get today, my two year old whispers "Mama." I look at him and he glances back at me and touches my face. I take his hand. He holds it tight.
We stay there. Holding hands. We both "shhhhh" his younger brother who is starting to stir.
For a moment, it is quiet. Still. Peaceful.
The morning dawn peaks through the window, and the new day begins.
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Do you have a similar story? Share you beautiful nights and early mornings with your young children in the comments!
After 4 kids, Cat is excited to share that motherhood is totally crazy, chaotic beautiful exhausting, and perfect. Cat is a cosleeping when necessary, certified doula, certified childbirth educator, and Evidence Based Birth® Instructor. She teaches not only birth classes but also parenting and postpartum classes in the south jersey, collingswood, area. - doula near me, birth class near me, motherhood, sleep -
When teaching a birth class, one of the questions I am asked the most is
To answer this, I think back to a very found doula memory of mine so let me take you on a short journey to the only time I have ever needed to aid in transportation into the hospital with a wheel chair.
*Cue the music you hear when someone goes back to a memory on TV*
I once had to get a wheel chair when I was helping a mama in labor get from her car to the hospital entrance. Describe to me, what's the first image that pops into your head? You likely see this laboring person breathing with her eyes closed, maybe even moaning a little, perhaps even yelling and twisting as she is having a wave hit. However you see her, she is likely sitting on the wheel chair, right? Someone is wheeling her inside so she can be in her birth place and FAST!
This common cultural image that we see in the movies and on TV is probably what you would expect BUT its not accurate in this case!
The reason I had a wheel chair was for the couples luggage! That's right. There were so many bags to carry that I became a bell hop for this couple, using a wheel chair to carry everything, just to get them safely into their birthing place! For me, as their doula, this situation, although comical for me, was not an issue at all since I'm sure any doulas reading this can attest that we wear many, many hats to support our clients, and, at times, do become a vessel to happily transport things for our clients. However, as I learned at this client's postpartum visit, the amount of luggage that this couple had packed with them, that they didn't even need for the most part, became an issue a few times after they had given birth. After getting through check in, triage and to their birth room with me - they needed to move it all, almost all by themselves, from their birth room to the postpartum room and then to the car (in shifts) to get home. Then at home, back into their home! All with a newborn baby in tow.
Let's learn from this! After supporting over 100 births as a doula, most in the hospital setting, and having three hospital births of my own, I have been able to dwindle this answer down to five magic items.
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Have you given birth before? Leave a comment below about the items you felt most helpful to you and ones that could have stayed home.
Cat is the founder of Birth Freely Birth Services. Her passion is empowering women through education and providing them with continuous labor support so they can have the birth they desire!