Thursday, October 01, 2009

For the Love of Sleep

For ten days in a row, I got fewer than 90 minutes of consecutive sleep. For ten weeks before this, I was getting between two and three hours in a row a few times each day. This took a toll on my body such that I did not feel safe operating a car. I was a walking, weeping mess. A disaster. I spent the days sobbing and feeling like there would be no tomorrow, that I would surely die of some unknown cause. Perhaps I would fall into the bags under my eyes and suffocate?

Anyway, it reached a tipping point where I simply had to sleep. Corey and I fabricated a plan. I made pumping breast milk a priority--it is hard to pump when your baby still sometimes eats every hour OR is in constant need of being held or soothed. Not much spare energy for extra milk production...but that day, we made it happen. I pumped and I pumped and I pumped until I had a spare bottle.

Then, I nursed Miles at bedtime. I immediately retreated to a cave we made in the basement. On the cement floor, on a camping pad, in a sleeping bag with ocean waves playing on the ipod, I hid from the rousing sounds of my baby's wails. I went in there at 830pm, scared I might not sleep through the disaster I was sure would happen above my head.

The plan was that Corey would pacify Miles until he got hungry again, give him the bottle, then pacify him until he got hungry AGAIN. We figured this would buy me 5 consecutive hours of rest--the most I would have had since Miles' birth. I couldn't allow myself to believe it was possible. Five hours of sleep? It might as well be 14. I had to use a Benadryl to get to sleep.

So my head hit the concrete at 830 and, apart from a few brief wakings up for no apparent reason, I slept like a lichen until Corey shook me 5am.

Miles slept from 830 until 1130 (that alone would have made me a new woman) and then drank his bottle and then slept until 5am. Let's take a minute and appreciate the enormity of this. Miles slept for 5 hours. In a row. Without drugs. I swear.

There are not words to describe the difference the cave has made in my life. I have never known such exhaustion as motherhood brings. I know that new parents are supposed to complain of tiredness, but I never could have imagined the weariness of ten weeks without delta sleep, without a second of restorative rest. Wee little catnaps and then full days of constant seemed unbearable. It IS unbearable.

But I have slept down there about four times now and each time, Miles sleeps for most of the night. This morning, he slept until 6am! I had to wake Corey up for work when I crawled out of the cave on my own. You see, we had stopped setting alarm clocks because what's the freaking point? Miles would make sure we were up in a half hour even if we drifted off, right? Not with the cave!

I don't know what it is about the cave situation, whether it's that Miles can't smell/sense me and thus stays asleep or whether the full bottles knock him out better than breast alone or whether the fates are just effing with me. But by God, I am sleeping in my cave until this kid works out how to get himself asleep. I will take a sore back over a slow death by exhaustion any day.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

yeah for the cave!