December 21, 2010

Physically Cleared For Exercise

Ryan is 6 weeks (and some days) old, and my doctor has given me the all clear to return to exercise. The problem is, though my body may have physically healed ... I am not there mentally. Having two kids is challenging. I am having a hard time coping with the change and have had little ability to set a routine or schedule yet for our daily lives. Each day is a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of day, and its getting a bit old. But, I think many parents live each day as it comes, and thats actually not the real issue here. What is?


There are some stark contrasts between Brooke and Ryan. Brooke was a bit of a shock to the system. She was colicky, meaning she cried all the time for no reason at all. It was overwhelming. I spent all my hours trying to comfort a baby that (visibly) had nothing wrong. I couldnt go out in public because she was always screaming bloody murder, and found myself trapped in my home (with said screaming baby) for three months. It was stressful and I cried almost as much as she did. But, I slept. As she was my first child, I had little other responsibility than to cater to her needs. I soothed her when she was awake, but when she finally calmed down and drifted to sleep ... so did I. I spent much of the day taking cat naps. The other huge factor? She was sleeping through the night at 6 weeks old. Every night she would go a good 6 hour stretch, wake up to eat, and then sleep for another 2 hours or so.

Now this little guy is as laid back as can be. He just hangs out and like to cuddle. He cries when he is hungry, has a dirty diaper, or when he is tired. His cries have logic and reason and I can figure out what he is trying to tell me. He is happy just sitting there looking at stuff - a current favorite is the Christmas tree. Daddy holds him and he just stares at the lights :) I have not only been able to leave the house, but we have gone out for breakfast, lunch and dinner. (It was months until we were able to go out for a meal with Brooke) So their temperaments are clearly different, but something major sets them apart. Ryan keeps me up all night, every night. The most sleep I have gotten in the past 7 weeks is 5 hours, and those were not consecutive. An average night gets me 3 hours of sleep - in two 1.5 hour increments. And I cant make up for all of those lost hours because with two kids, I cant just nap when he naps. He is up usually around 5AM and dozes again around 7AM ... when his big sister is waking up. This is good because it allows me time to focus on her, get her fed and ready for the day. But, it doesnt allow me to focus on me.

I'm exhausted and I see no end in sight. I know eventually he will sleep longer, I mean, how many adults take an 1 - 1.5 hours to fall asleep and then wake up 1.5 hours later to eat? Not many :) He will get through this phase, I will survive, we will all live happily ever after.

But for now I am living in a bit of a fog trying to figure out how to navigate life. I contacted my personal trainer about setting up a schedule, have looked into a few post-natal exercise classes and am pondering a New Years Day (which I ran after I had Brooke and it was a huge fiasco) 5K. But can I exercise on 3 hours of sleep? I'm actually doing a whole lot these days on just three hours of sleep (I'm actually amazed at myself) but how safe is it really? On the other hand, do I just keep waiting and waiting and waiting for things to change as I sit on my butt?

I guess that will be the main element of my New Year's Resolution - what type of action plan will I have for 2011 :) I have a few days to stall and think about it ...


Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

i have no babies to compare your complete LACK of sleep to, but do you think even small bouts of exercise would help your energy or ensure you sleep better when you can? I'm sure you don't feel like it at all, but maybe it would help some.

you are a great mom!!

Jess said...

I would put exercise on the back burner until you feel as though your day to day life has some order to it. Unless...the exercise helps restore your sanity. I know it helps me feel less overwhelmed and stressed, but that's not true for everyone.

Good luck with trying to juggle it all! I'll be in your shoes in about 6 months, so I hope you have some advice for me then.