Sunday, October 20, 2013

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 238

McGee-centric character study/romance. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.

Chapter 238: Sleep

By the time Kelly finished eating, and got burped, it was nine thirty, so, bedtime. Early bedtime, but right now nothing sounds better to either Tim or Abby then a good long sleep.

So, when he finished burping her, Tim got up and started heading toward Kelly’s nursery.

“Where are you going?”

He stopped, looked at Abby, bit surprised. “Putting her in her crib?”

“I thought she’d sleep with us.”


“Yeah. Just. I know we didn't talk about it, but getting in and out of bed is awfully hard right now, and if she’s right next to me, that’ll make nursing easier.”

“Good point.” So he turns around and lays Kelly in the middle of their bed, she’s all swaddled up, and her eyes are pretty droopy, so he’s hopeful she’ll fall asleep soon. And then stops. Normally, he’d go brush his teeth, strip off, and go to sleep. He looks back at Abby. “Is this really okay?”

“People have been sleeping with their kids since before there were beds.”

“Okay, yeah, I know that, but… They’ve got to sleep on their backs, and they can’t have any blankets or stuffed animals or pillows in there because they can get trapped in little CO2 pockets and SIDS and… And in our bed she’ll between us, and we’re a lot bigger than stuffed animals, and…” he points to their bed, “blankets, lots of blankets, and we’ve got five pillows.”

Abby thought about that while very slowly twisting around and getting out of bed, going to join him on the whole brushing teeth getting ready to sleep thing. She pointed to the bathroom, so they could talk while Kelly drifted off.

He joined her in there, half closing the door, like that would cut down on the noise some.

“I think SIDS rates are supposed to be lower for babies who co-sleep,” she said, reaching for her toothbrush.

“How does that work?”

“I have no idea. But you’ve got several computers less than a hundred feet away, so I’m sure you could go find out if you’re really curious.”

“Fine.” Brush, rinse, swish, spit.

“Are you going to?”

“Not tonight. I got online, and it took me three tries to successfully upload pictures. Brain’s not exactly firing on all cylinders today. Probably a good thing Jethro’s sticking around during the day, because I know I wasn’t aware of how fried I was until I tried to do something more complicated that mix water with formula.”

Abby laughed a little at that, then winced, laughing still really hurts, and said, “Leon’s don’t hack NCIS thing making more sense.”

“Oh, God. I wrote the damn firewall,left a path for myself, and I couldn’t get through it right now.”

She smiled and made herself not laugh at that.

He headed off, giving her some alone time in the bathroom, and began to get ready for bed, namely taking off his clothing. He makes a quick mental note that laundry needs to be done, and that since she’s the one who usually does laundry, and there’s no way in Hell she’s doing laundry tomorrow, that he needs to take care of it.

And having taken note of that, and divested himself of his clothing, another thought hits, Kelly’s in their bed. He’s naked.

Is it okay to sleep naked with your baby daughter?

“You’re glaring at the bed,” Abby said as she got out of the bathroom.

“Do I need pajamas?”

“Why would you need pajamas?”

“’Cause it’s not just you in our bed?”

“I don’t think Kelly will mind.”

He flashes her a could you miss my point more completely look. “You’re wearing pajamas.” Sort of. She’s got on soft, cotton drawstring pants (his) and one of his button downs, as well.

“I’m bleeding, my boobs are leaking, and one of the more endearing bits of just having had a baby is night sweats.”

“Good points.”

“Yeah.” She looked down at her feet, realized she still can’t see them when standing up, but she remembers how swollen they are, and how each individual toe looks like a little sausage, and how if she pokes herself in the leg, it’ll leave a dent. “All of that fluid has to come back out of me again.”

“Okay. Just… we’re pretty casual about being dressed, you know?” In that either of them is likely to be naked at any given time assuming it’s warm enough, that’s true.

“Yes.” She’s standing next to the side of the bed, and once again he gives her a hand into their bed. When he’s done, she’s sitting up, and staring at the place on the bed where her torso would go if she was lying down with something of a scowl.

“What is it?”

“Psyching myself up to try to lie down.”

“Can I help?”

“Nah. Gotta do it on my own.”

“Not today you don’t, not if you don’t want to.”

“The less I move the more it’ll hurt and the less functional the scar will be.” She planted her hands behind her, rested as much of her weight as she could onto her arms, and slowly lowered herself down, and yes, even with that it hurt. A full, pulling, burning near rip sensation that doing anything that involved her abs these days produced.

“At least let me help you get up.”

“I like that plan.” She stared up at the ceiling while saying. “That last two months I would have given my eye teeth to lay on my back. Now I really wish I could lay on my side again.” Because right now, laying on her side involves her insides feeling like they’re going to fall out, and that’s not precisely a comfortable.


“Yep.” She looked away from the ceiling and back to him. “So, it’s not so much sleeping naked with her, as you’re looking for what are our we’ve got-a-kid-now naked rules?”

“Yes. You want blankets?” She nodded, and he pulled them up over her. He sat down on his side of the bed, got under the covers, made sure they were up over him, and Abby, but pushed down in the middle so they weren’t over Kelly, and rolled to face Abby, Kelly laying between them, snoozing away.

“I think as long as you’re in your own room, you can wear whatever you want and as much or as little of it,”Abby said.

“Sounds good. And our bed is in our room, so this is a clothing optional spot.”

“I think so. I mean, I don’t want Kelly thinking there’s something weird or icky about bodies. And I don’t want her thinking we’re sexless buddies who just share a home.”

He smiled at her, a hint of sexual heat, tired heat, but it's there, in the look. “We’re not going to be those people.”

“But, yeah, the days of sex on the living room floor and naked breakfast in front of the fireplace are probably over.”

He very gently touches Kelly. “You better be worth that. I really liked naked breakfast.”

Abby tried not to laugh, and he smiled at her, trying to figure out how to kiss her over Kelly without moving so much as to wake her up. He settled for squeezing Abby’s shoulder.

So, if you tied him up and tortured him, Tim would admit that he wasn’t exactly excited about Kelly sleeping in their bed.

Yes, there is a good practical reason for having the kid two inches away from you if you are nursing, because that way you don’t have to get up and wake all the way up.

Fine, that's true.

But he’s not exactly enthusiastic about the idea.

Part of it’s the fact that he’s not good at sleeping with other people. The first few times he slept with Abby it took him a good three hours to fall asleep. And he’s certainly noticed from three nights in the hospital that anytime Kelly makes any noise or moves he’s just about ready to leap up and do whatever it is needs to be done. Basically, he can’t relax much past doze stage with her right next to him.

Part of it’s the fact that he wants primary snuggle position with Abby. And even though Kelly cannot roll over, there is absolutely no shot she’d be sleeping on either side of the bed. No, because if there was a massive earthquake or something, she might fall out of the bed if she was on a side (and yes, he feels that just as strongly as Abby does, and no, it’s not going away, and yes, it is awfully stupid, Virginia not precisely being a hotbed of tectonic activity, but he’s been a dad for three days and is awfully tired so cut him a little slack) so Kelly would be sleeping smack dab in the middle of the bed, between him and Abby, which means in addition to limited daytime cuddle time, all night time cuddle time would also be cut off.

Part of it is the fact that she’s smaller than the challah loaves Ziva bakes for Shabbos and he’s terrified that if he lies down in bed he might actually fall all the way asleep, roll over, and smoosh her. Yes, the Lamaze teacher said something about that basically being an urban legend, but he knows how hard he can sleep when he’s really tired, and he knows he moves around in his sleep, so it makes him nervous.

Part of it is that he’s not entirely sure he wants to share his bed with a tiny, incontinent poop machine that spits up all the time.

And part of it is that she’s got a perfectly good, hand-crafted, made-specifically-for-her-with-lots-of-love crib and it’d be nice if she got to see the inside of it more than once.

But even with all of those things being true, he’s trying to support Abby on this, because really, brand new c-section and nursing wins out over him being nervous.

Whoever came up with the phrase sleep like a baby, has never, ever slept with a baby.

First of all, babies make a lot of noise. Somehow he hadn’t really noticed that the first three nights. Tim thought he had. He thought he’d been on edge and aware of all the little chirps and snuffles and grunts, but nope, he hadn’t been. Probably because the bassinette had been on the far side of Abby’s bed  and he’d been on the sofa, thus, about eight feet away, and right now he’s about ten inches away from Kelly, so he’s aware of everything.

Secondly, because he’s ten inches away, he’s very aware of the fact that she sleeps in little stretches, then fusses a tiny bit, a few chirps, a little wriggling, and goes back to sleep. But because she’s been on the outside for three days and he’s never spent this much time this close to her, every time she makes a sound or moves he jerks from dozing to full on awake.

And then, on top of it, he’s terrified that if he moves, he’ll wake her up. Yes, if the rational part of his mind was functional, it would remind him that she’s spent the last nine months inside another person who was moving all the time, and that in fact, moving is generally what lulls babies to sleep and they tend to wake up when things go still, but the rational part of his mind is currently in a sleep-deprived coma and not reporting in for duty right now.

And while it’s true that the whole nursing thing, in general, may indeed be easier if the baby is in the bed next to you, first off, Abby can’t just roll over and stick a boob in Kelly’s mouth right now. Secondly, as an incontinent poop machine, every time Kelly does, actually, wake up (as opposed to that little chirpy, wriggling, not really awake thing) she’s in need of a new diaper, so someone (in this case Tim) actually has to get all the way up, take her to the changing table, remove poop and apply a new diaper. Which from the looks of it, takes about as long as it does for Abby to go from asleep to propped up and nursing.

Then post nursing, someone (in this case Abby, because while Kelly was nursing Tim was able to drift all the way to asleep) has to stay in a somewhat upright position to burp her, and then deal with the resulting spit up (Thank you Jimmy, cloth diapers are a blessing.) and then finally, Kelly and Abby and Tim were all in one bed, asleep.

For about nineteen seconds, because as soon as she hit the mattress, Tim jerked out of asleep and back into hyper-vigilant mode.

He’s had worse nights of sleep. But never when he was this tired, let alone in his own bed.

Morning doesn’t really mean anything when you were more or less awake around the clock. Sky went dark, it got lighter.

Kelly ate at nine, midnight, three and now, again at six.

Tim had just gotten back into bed from taking her for yet another diaper change. He’s lying down, begging for sleep, but thinking he’s got to say something about this because he’s exhausted and Abby’s exhausted and both of them exhausted is a really bad plan.

So he rolls onto his side while she nurses and says, “I can’t sleep with her in the same bed. Just can’t.”

Abby’s so tired, and is looking at him like he just added an extra fifty pounds to the already much too heavy back pack she’s lugging around, and he feels like a jerk for saying it.

She doesn’t say anything to him. Doesn’t even cry, and he’s got the feeling she’s past crying, and now he’s feeling like an even bigger jerk, but the only other alternative he can think of is him sleeping on the sofa, and if he does that he really will sleep and she’ll be on her own for all of it, and that’s just not cool, at all.

“I will go get her when she cries, bring her to you, and bring her back to the crib to sleep, you won’t have to get up any more than you would if you were nursing in bed… will that work?”

Abby thought about that for a moment and nodded.

He nodded too, closed his eyes, and said, “I’m going to nap while she eats. Just poke me when it’s time for her to go back to her crib, and I’ll get it.”

“Tim, it’s morning. After she eats, we want her up a bit.”

“Then poke me then, and I’ll be up with her, we’ll make breakfast or something, and you’ll sleep.”


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