Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chronicles of an Overnight Shift

6/22/2011- 3:46AM
Tonight has been tough.
Since the new baby arrived today, I had a few extra chores to take care of. Installing car seats, washing all of her clothes, filling out/organizing paperwork, etc.
One of my roommates came by to help me, which was exceedingly nice of her. But it did make it take a bit longer. We like to talk. I was hoping to finish everything quickly so I could start studying while my mind was still able to function, but by the time she left at 2 o’clock I had already missed by optimal study-time window.
I opened up my psychology book and started reading about behavioral neuroscience. My goal was to read a whole chapter and take the quiz on it by the end of my shift.
At this point in time, things are not looking promising.
After reading approximately 3.2 pages, I lost almost all ability to comprehend the words on the page. It took me about 20 minutes to realize I was just staring at it blankly, so I decided to put my work to the side and take a really quick power nap.
(Don’t tell my boss.)
Unfortunately (but actually fortunately), my maternal instincts seem to kick in during these shifts. I somehow develop the ability to hear every sound in the house, so each time a child so much as sighs in her sleep I am instantly alert. The boy in the farthest room from me could just shift in his bed, and my heart will skip a beat and then immediately start racing.
According to what I just read in my psych book, that’s my sympathetic nervous system’s response to receiving the auditory stimulus of what could possibly be a child in distress.
Literally- I read that right before my brain stopped working.
Anyway, I couldn’t sleep at all- even though I was unbelievably tired. I was too nervous a child would wake up and- for some reason or another- need me.
Which is exactly what happened about 10 minutes in to my attempted power nap.
The baby started whimpering a little bit, so I thought I’d go in and pat her back for a few minutes to help her calm down. Immediately upon entering the bedroom, however, I realized she needed a lot more than a pat on the back. She needed a diaper change.
So I pulled her out of bed- effectively waking her up the rest of the way. I changed her diaper, which was quite difficult given the fact that both of her legs are covered from top to bottom in casts- and started to snap her pjs back up.
It was at this point that I realized she needed a lot more than a diaper change.
Her pjs were soaked. So I had to change them completely.
I managed to do that with relative ease and laid her back down in her crib. At which point- you guessed it- I realized she needed a lot more than a change of clothes. She needed a change of sheets.
This was way more than I bargained for at 3 in the morning.
When I finally got her new sheets situated, I put her back into her crib. Again.
Naturally, she started crying.
A lot.
Worried she’d wake her roommate up, I started patting her back and singing some lullabies. She’d quiet down for a little while, but then she’d remember she didn’t want to be in her bed and start crying again. It was really sad. (And, let’s be honest, a little frustrating at the same time.) I sat there for about 40 minutes trying to calm her, but eventually I had to let her cry it out.
It took all of one minute for her to self-soothe and fall asleep.
Go figure.
She didn’t cry for long, but it was so hard to let it happen! It really is heartbreaking to listen to a crying baby without being able to help. But we both survived, so I decided to go back to the living room to attempt studying once again.
I sat down on the couch and picked up my book, at which point I realized (twist!) the baby was not the only one who needed a change of clothes.
I was covered in everything that leaked out of her diaper and through her pajamas. And I smelled awful.
Really, really awful.
Fortunately, a stack of t-shirts that were donated last week was sitting on the kitchen counter. My roommate forgot to take them home with her- hallelujah!! So, after a quick wardrobe change, I am sitting here now with 1) a dry shirt, 2) only a lingering smell of urine (huge improvement!), and c) a much, much deeper appreciation for Al Roker and the Today Show’s incredible excess of donations.
I am, however, no closer to finishing my homework.
Back to it, I guess….
It’s now 4:25. One and a half hours til bedtime….

1 comment:

  1. Great job, K-bear!!! You're a natural. I love your blog and I love you more.
    Keep up the good work. And then come home when you get the chance.
    I love you!!! TONS!!


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