Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Touched out.

Sometimes you can feel your blood pressure rising. Your heart beats unevenly, and your limbs start to ache; your stomach starts to hurt, but in a dull way that's hard to describe. It's alarming enough when this happens pre-child, but with children it seems even worse because you know they're depending on you to take care of them, both short- and long-term, and you know that feeling this way cannot be a sign of good health.

So it happened tonight. Waffling from lying down in bed to lying down on the couch in the other room to sitting here at the computer, and back again. Interrupted by a feeding. Interrupted by a husband who hands off a baby, calling you not-so-nice-name upon leaving the room, after you pissed him off one too many times. And what are you supposed to do? This is the life, partner, self you now have. The life that spills out over the edges and bursts at the seams, with love, yes, but also with chaos and the heightened stress that come with two new babies.

My husband went out last night. He'd never been out since the babies were born. I encouraged him to go. The only problem is that what he thought was going to be two hours out turned into four. The babies were fussy yesterday. They never slept for more than a half hour at a time, and usually that was not at the same time. I took care of them alone from 7AM to 8:45PM. It really wore me down. Not only was it physically demanding, but it was mentally draining to spend that many hours figuring out what might appease each baby and trying it, failing, and trying something else. It's like a constant experiment. I admit I was bitchy when he arrived home. He, of course, was in a good mood. I did not want to be hugged, less because I was actually mad and more because I'd been "touched out," as they say, often to describe nursing women. I nurse two. How touched out do you imagine I am? He just doesn't know what that's like, and so it's not a reality to him even if I say it is to me. I think he just assumed I was refusing his affection to hold a grudge. I do admit I felt pissed, although it was mostly because I was worn out from a whole 13+ hours with two fussy infants, less because he was gone. But unfortunately the two cannot be separated in consideration of the problem at hand.

When we said goodnight, I just gave him a really quick peck and told him I loved him. This is less than our usual, more caring good-night. It is no wonder that he was irritated and resentful that I would act this way upon him returning from his first night out. When we had to get up with the babies he was colder than usual. When I told him he was being a jerk to me, he said it was because it was the middle of the night, what did I expect? I said I knew him better than that, so there. He called me a name and handed off a baby to me to be nursed. It seemed mean and ugly. It seemed like two people who shouldn't be us.

It is not easy taking care of two. Some days it's twice the joy, laughs and thrills, but others it's twice the crying, worrying, and physical demands on the parents. Though I resent people saying to me, "Wow, I could never do that!" (wtf? you would do it if you conceived twins because you'd have to!), I do admit that sometimes the very good job we do is at the cost of other things in our life. I always had one of the strongest relationships I knew of, as far as I could tell, and I never thought that we would become distant like I'd seen others do after having a baby.

All I can say is that we have had other rough patches and have come out stronger and more loving, and I trust that this will be no exception. We will find some way to work on it. It's just the lack of energy that is so challenging. We're gonna need a lot of coffee to get this one solved.


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