I stood in the kitchen deciding among three less-than-optimal choices: (1) get a snack, (2) plop on the couch and watch an infomercial for some product hawked by Suzanne Somers, or (3) wake Jeff who was sleeping in the basement. I mulled over those three choices like an MCAT question, except I had to keep reminding myself what choice #1 was, because I was so fucking tired my eyes were bleeding, which was practically poetic since my left nipple was too.
What had become of me? Eight weeks into motherhood, and I was utterly flummoxed by the prospect of assembling a simple midnight snack. How did I forget inviolate rule #1 in Christie world: If you are standing in the kitchen in the middle of the night, stop what you are doing and eat a snack.
It was my night to be “on” and Sadie was nursing every 2 hours. In a moment of fleeting clarity, I grabbed 3 energy bars from our Costco snack bin and went back to bed. I felt no remorse dusting the crumbs to Jeff’s side of the bed. It may have been his turn to sleep, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t leave flaxseed bits on his pillow.
I resented that Sadie always slept better for him. I resented stuffing sore breasts into the pump so he could have a bottle to feed her on his nights. I resented my new 10-centimeter scar, compliments of that last-minute C-section. (His body remained unscathed like Michael-fucking-angelo’s David.)
Perhaps things were getting a little tense.
After my snack, I still couldn’t relax, because I was sure Sadie was about to cry. I scoured Facebook to see if any West Coast friends were online.
I asked my depleted new-mommy self, “Why don’t you have friends in Guam who would still be up right now?” She answered back, “Where the fuck is Guam? And why didn’t you put ice cream on those disgusting snack bars?” (She’d been pissed ever since I made her wear Liz Lange maternity clothes from Target during pregnancy.)
I put my cheek on the cold side of the pillow, but couldn’t get comfortable. I tried to punch my pillow to release emotions. Then I beat the crap out of Jeff’s pillow.
Around 3:15 AM, it dawned on me that I needed Jeff’s help.
I descended to the basement.
I didn’t turn on the light.
I sat on the edge of the bed where I heard Jeff snoring not-so-softly, which sent seismic waves of tenderness and murderous envy through me.
“Jeff, I need some help.”
He sat up, startled.
“I hate you. I hate you for sleeping. I hate you for being steady while I am a mess,” I whispered, letting each thought tumble out between us.
He held me close.
“Do you hate me too?” I asked, desperately hoping he would say yes to release my shame.
“Sometimes,” he admitted.
Thank God. And I felt myself finally ready to drift to sleep.