Dear Natalie: Week 36

Dear Natalie,

I hesitate to write about this for fear that we’ll jinx ourselves, but you’ve only gotten up once to eat during the past two nights.

[cue Hallelujah Chorus]

Exactly two months ago I emailed our doula and lactation consultant because I was completely at my wits’ end. You were eating three times a night, and I was on duty every single time. I was exhausted and broken from getting no more than 3 consecutive hours of sleep, and I dreaded the nighttime.

I’m telling you this not to make you feel guilty, because none of this is your fault and I certainly don’t hold it against you. We chose to let you nightwean more-or-less at your own pace, and although it hasn’t been easy, I don’t regret the decision. Am I envious of our friends who have babies your age who sleep for 12 hours straight? Of course! But I know we’ll get there, and it seems like I can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. No, I’m telling you this so that you will have a frame of reference should you ever decide to have babies of your own in the future. It does get easier.

(Pause for one moment while I have a heart attack thinking about my baby having a baby.)

Our doula gave us a few suggestions and a hearty dose of “chin up!” We followed her advice, and I think it helped a little bit — but I think what made the biggest difference was simply the passage of time. Within weeks of sending her that email you dropped the third feeding. All signs pointed to you being soooooo close to dropping the second.

And now? Well, I’m not ready to declare victory yet, but two nights in a row of only waking up once is simply astounding. The greatest part, however, is that I didn’t have to see you for 12 hours.

I would do anything for you. I would go to the ends of the earth, complete the 12 labors of Hercules, and kill for you. I would die for you. But being able to stay in bed all night long while your dad got up to feed you a bottle was heavenly.

Assuming this continues (and I never want to assume anything when it comes to babies, because that’s a dangerous thing to do), your dad and I can take turns giving you a bottle with less and less in it until eventually you decide it’s just not worth waking up for. That means we each have a shot at getting a full night’s sleep on a regular basis.

I don’t even know what that would feel like, but I’m guessing it would be right up there with getting a foot massage from Chris Pine (do you even know who that is? He’ll probably be irrelevant by the time you read this) while cherubs feed me grapes and cheese.


This is all a very long-winded way of saying that only eight weeks ago I despaired of ever sleeping more than three hours in a row, and now I’m off the mom-clock for twelve hours at a time. It’s liberating, it’s exhilarating, and, I can only assume (there it is again!) is better for you, since you’re sleeping peacefully and not waking up with a rumbly tumbly several times a night.

And then in the morning, whether we’ve had a tough night or whether everyone is well-rested, this is the face that greets me.

This is the face that makes it all worthwhile.

Love always,


One Response to Dear Natalie: Week 36

  1. Kim April 11, 2014 at 9:48 am #

    It has passed so quickly! It’s hard to believe that she has been with us now almost as long as you were pregnant with her.
    What a grin. It is definitely the smile that keeps the mom in us going!

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