The calm (probably before a storm).
June 14, 2012

One of the things that I have noticed during this pregnancy is that I am much more relaxed this time around.  When I was pregnant with Charlotte, I was wound tighter than a spring.  Worry was my middle name.

This time, either I’m too tired to care or I’m too stupid to worry or I’m too preoccupied worrying about other things or some haphazard combination of the three.

Whatever it is, this time around?  No worry whatsoever.

The prime example that I keep using to describe this phenomenon to other people is: The Crib.  Or, in our family, the lack thereof.

Regardless of how much of a hippie I might be, when I was pregnant with Charlotte, Donald and I had no intention of having her sleep in our bedroom.  We wanted to fix up the spare bedroom, buy a crib, and set her up there.

Alternatives to this did not appeal to us.  I could no more imagine sleeping with my baby than I could imagine pirating ships.  Maybe that worked for some people, I thought, but NO WAY was that going to be us.  Those people were CRAZY.

Except that we didn’t have the money or the free time to fix up the room.  We couldn’t afford to patch up the random holes in the wall the previous owners drilled straight out into the garden (HOUSE MYSTERY #812) or to buy a non-toxic paint to cover up the lead paint on the walls or or or or or.

We could not afford a crib, either.  With my baby shower looming, it occurred to us that we needed to make a choice: a crib or a car-seat.  We registered for the car-seat and crossed our fingers.

So no room.  And no crib.

The only option left to us was sharing a room – a bed, even – and the prospect horrified me.  I am a firm believer that most situations are safe where an attentive parent is involved, but in this case Donald and I would be asleep.  I didn’t feel comfortable filling a drawer with blankets or leaving the baby in a cradle because both seemed fraught with suffocation danger if the two of us were sleeping.  We could not afford a co-sleeper.  We could not afford the batteries it would cost to run a baby swing or bouncer all night every night.  We had read that leaving the baby in the car-seat for long stretches of time was unsafe.

Nearly every parent we knew had slept with their babies for at least the first year.  We had heard through the grapevine that bed-sharing increased the odds of SIDS (another worry factor), but every pediatrician I interviewed scoffed when I asked about it.  They’d heard the same things, read the same research, but guess what?  The chances were tiny, so they’d slept with their babies too.

Worry.  Worry.  Worry.  Worry.  Worry.  Fret.  Fret.  Fret.  Fret.  Fret.

Call it cavalier, but co-sleeping is no longer something I think about, much less worry about.  It doesn’t seem weird or crazy or dangerous anymore.  I feel pretty confident that bed-sharing can be done safely and furthermore, both Donald and I enjoy having Charlotte in our bed.  Our sex life, our emotional intimacy, and our individual need for private space has never been compromised by her presence.  We both feel that co-sleeping benefited our relationships with Charlotte and with one another.

So the fact that we don’t have a crib doesn’t keep me up at night anymore.  It doesn’t bother me at all.

I really wish I’d found this peace and confidence in our choices during my pregnancy with Charlotte.  It occurs to me now, at the most fatigued I have ever been in my entire life, that I probably could have had a lot more sleep three years ago if I’d just calmed down a bit.  I hope that this trend continues through the postpartum period because if memory serves, in November I’m going to need all the extra winks of sleep I can get.

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  1. By on June 14, 2012

    It’s amazing how things change. My first child had a themed nursery, so adorable. He did nto spend one night in it! My 2nd, came straight home to our bed

  2. By Heather on June 14, 2012

    I was the same way-no was was Baby going to be in MY bed. Or MY room. I have since lost that sense of possession. She has slept in our room from day one, although we were fortunate and his parents bought us a crib and we have a fabulous nursery (which has never been used for more than a closet and diaper change arena.). Will Charlotte continue to co-sleep when the new baby comes, putting you four deep in bed? I ask because we have concerns ourselves as to how this will work. It isn’t like I can kick my baby out for another baby…how rude would that be?

  3. By Lindsey on June 14, 2012

    I’m curious if you’ve heard of the Montessori Method? And if so, what you think of it or if you’ve ever incorporated it in your routines with Charlotte?

    I first heard of it here: Method

    I find it really interesting but still don’t know enough about it to feel like I have an informed opinion yet and I’m curious what your thoughts might be :)

  4. By Sarah on June 14, 2012

    I was the same as you during my first pregnancy. My first babe did sleep in her crib but I wish I wouldn’t have wasted the money! My third one, now 16 months still sleeps in our bed - and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

  5. By on June 14, 2012

    it’s good to read that..

    it reminds you that the little things don’t matter, the “material” that you can’t help but worry about when you’re expecting your first baby. You buy toys and they play with rocks, you buy furniture they don’t need, .. but you’re just trying to do the right thing !

  6. By tara pollard pakosta on June 14, 2012

    we had a beautiful white crib and a gorgeous cradle and we only used the cradle here and there during the day, 5 minutes at a time. our girls NEVER wanted to sleep unless being held. which was fine with me because I always wanted to hold them! we had a crib but never used it. ever. they slept with us from day one and when we had the 2nd one, I put savannah in another room in queen bed with her daddy to get her to fall asleep. some nights he stayed crashed with her the whole night and some nights he snuck out to sleep with me and the newborn….we did that for 4 years. then when we moved to a new house, we thought we could get them into their bedrooms, but they wouldn’t! we now have an extra queen bed in our room that they share together ! they are 12.5 and almost 11 and I love having them in our room still! LOL!

  7. By Ellery on June 14, 2012

    I was the complete opposite with my pregnancies.  With #1, I was never worried about anything.  With this pregnancy, I’ve done nothing but worry since getting a positive.  Of course, this pregnancy hasn’t gone smoothly like the first one.

    Our son has slept in his crib in his room since he came home from the hospital.  He just transitioned into a big boy bed and the baby will go directly in the crib when s/he is born.  I go and check on him, as we don’t have a video monitor (because I’d never stop watching it), but for our family, children with their own rooms works better than having them in our room.

  8. By Courtney on June 14, 2012

    We planned to keep our first son in a bassinet/pack-n-play thing from the get-go, on my side of the bed, but he BARELY ever slept in it.  My supply problems made it basically a requirement that we co-slept, or else I would have been a zombie.  Eventually, we made it to the point where he went to “bed” in his crib, in his room, and then came into our bed around that 11pm feeding and stayed there until morning. 

    With this second one, I’m also fretting far, far less.  I haven’t so much as pulled out newborn clothes to sort, and so far, our only plan is to setup the pack-n-play next to the bed again.  It’s sort of nice being so calm and relaxed about it, but I’m pretty sure it comes from being so busy and not necessarily an overwhelming sense of confidence about anything.

  9. By on June 15, 2012

    I worried way less with our 2nd, Jenson, than I did with our 1st, Isla. I was so excited about having another baby in the house that as soon as we found out the sex, I took out all of Isla’s old clothes we stored away and took everything that could be repurposed for a boy out. I washed everything, folded it and put it away. His room was ready when I was in my 20th week. It was embarrassing. We also got all the clothes we’re ever going to need until he’s 3/4 from my best friend.

    The thing I worried about was having to push another baby out. My labour with Isla was pretty awful, induced and lying down to labour. I was worried it was going to be the same for Jenson. It was totally different, and totally amazing.

    Now that we have one girl and one boy, we’re totally covered for clothes… So I’m pretty sure I’m just going to be worried about having to push out another baby with the next one. And Kegels.

  10. By Sarah Christensen on June 15, 2012

    Cynthia - You know, it’s interesting.  My labor with Charlotte was fast, but awful.  I was administered morphine against permission, I was ridiculed by nurses, was forcibly strapped to the bed, etc.  My experience with hospital birth is the number one reason that I wanted to pursue a midwife-assisted birth this time around; I want to stay as far away from unnecessary intervention as possible, and last time even though I was promised that it was possible to do so with an OB, that wasn’t how things went down.  Still, I’m actually not at all worried about birthing the second one - I’m really looking forward to it.  I thought I’d be panicked because I was last time, but I’m excited to see if birth really can be a positive experience or if that’s just a bunch of crazy hippie propaganda =P

    Right now, we’re operating under the assumption that we will not undertake another pregnancy until we have adopted two children.  So.  Who knows if there will be another?  Four kids is a lot.  We’ll look at five when we’ve had four for awhile!

  11. By Sarah Christensen on June 15, 2012

    Lindsey - I like to say that we’re pretty eclectic when it comes to education.  I believe most strongly in allowing child-lead learning, but I also believe in providing solid structure to ensure that children are: a) exposed to a variety of subjects, activities, and potential interests, b) covering the basics that their peers will know, and c) forced to try new things and hone old skills.

    We’re pretty significantly influenced by a variety of educational philosophies as a result.  We like the interest-lead learning that occurs in unschooling…but we dislike how little structure there is in our unschooler friends’ homeschools.  We appreciate the emphasis on nature, nature stories, handwork, and art in Waldorf…but we dislike the euro-centrism and the emphasis some teachers (not all) place on delaying academics, even if the child is showing interest in pursuing something.  We love the focus on practical life skills as well as the rigid structure in Montessori (classic Montessori - it irritates me that so few Montessori-labeled schools actually practice Montessori principles)...but we dislike how many materials like manipulatives and colored rugs are needed.  We like the hands-on and project emphasis in Reggio, the literature and journalling base in Charlotte Mason, etc.  So I would say that overall there are many things I appreciate about Montessori and a few things I’m not crazy about.  But isn’t that always the case? =)

  12. By on June 15, 2012

    My goodness Sarah… I don’t know your birth story, but I do remember your experience with your first 6 week check. Reading that story was enough for me to realize how hard Charlotte’s birth must have been. I didn’t get sick at my 6 week check after Isla, but I was pretty much there. I felt my stomach tossing and I couldn’t eat anything until it was over. After Jenson, I was doing laundry 3 days later. I wanted a midwife with Isla, but they didn’t have room for me. As soon as I peed that positive with Jenson, I called the midwife and I loved the entire thing. With my midwife, it was like they were just there to assist me only if I needed something from them. I started contracting at 11 pm, we were admitted in the hospital at 7:30 am, Jenson debuted at 8:22 and we were discharged at 11:00 am. In 12 hours it all happened and I had my midwife’s fingers in me twice, once to check my cervix and once to break my water. Sarah, Jenson’s birth was PURE JOY. I cry when I think about how amazing it was, because it was such a contrast to my experience with Isla. I actually feel sorry for Isla, that my labour with her was so awful. I want to lie to her about it. :(

    I think that’s a safe assumption. Good for you, your family and your pelvic floor. :)

    PS - I just saw a metaphor for what my pelvic floor will look like after 4 children, so Kegels and my eventual play doh textured pelvic floor have been on my mind A LOT. After 2 kids, the pelvic floor will still bounce back… after 4 kids it’s like a black hole of death. Awesome.

  13. By elizabeth Mackey on June 16, 2012

    We didn’t have a crib for our oldest, and she slept with us too. At first I tried to do the cradle thing, but that didn’t last, and no one got any sleep it seemed. When the baby is in bed with you, and they start to whimper for food, all you have to do is rollover. I really wasn’t that sleep deprived, since I wasn’t getting up and physically nursing the baby in a rocking chair etc.
    I guess I think about it now, and for some reason I see danger, but then I didn’t and it worked.

    Good luck to your family on this new chapter in life.

  14. By Sarah Christensen on June 17, 2012

    Cynthia - LOL, that poor doctor.  I ruined his iPhone!! =(  I still feel pretty awful about that.

    I don’t think I communicated well before.  After this baby is born, I might be done with pregnancies.  We want to adopt a toddler when this baby turns one…and then we would like to adopt an infant a year or two later.  That will take us to four kids.  If we want to continue adding to our family, we’ll probably consider both adoption and pregnancy and decide which is best for us at that time, but right now, I’m not at all sold on a third pregnancy.  I’m certainly not sold on a fourth!

  15. By Amber on June 19, 2012

    Scott says he would never co-sleep because he’s genuinely afraid I would accidentally suffocate a baby ... lets just say I am a deep sleeper. :P

  16. By on June 20, 2012

    Sarah - I totally understood what you meant by not undertaking another adoption. I’ve just been completely obsessed with Kegels and my pelvic floor ever since I saw that model of what my pelvic floor will look like after 4 children. I’m actually envious of your pelvic floor because you only want two biological babies. We want 4 babies, and hopefully only 4 pregnancies.





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