Monday, January 9, 2012

Death by Deprivation

I know I am not the only one... but I swear I could fall down and die from sleep deprivation... any second... now.

When I was about four months pregnant with Little I began suffering from gestational insomnia.  It is a rare side effect of pregnancy, but a doozie for sure.  I would be awake all night - my body feeling like it was noon at midnight.  During the day I felt like a zombie and at night - no matter how exhausted I could be, my body still surged all night long. 

People would ask how I was feeling and I would say "tired" or "I can't/don't sleep" and they would laugh - like what pregnant lady isn't tired? Or say, "of course you have trouble getting comfortable- you are pregnant."  People would feel the need to remind me that once the baby arrived I wouldn't be getting any sleep either, "He is preparing you" they would say all bubbly.  By mid-January, I was pretty well ready to SLAP the crap out of anyone who mocked my sleeplessness.  I wasn't due until March.

What people fail to understand is that insomnia isn't just staying up late or getting up out of bed - it is the inability to actually fall asleep.  It is very taxing on the mind, body and spirit to not get restorative rest - especially for months & months & months.

Before being pregnant with Little - I was a napper, I could close my eyes for 15-20 minutes and actually rest.  I could go to bed and be out cold in five minutes or less.  This up-all night (against my will!) was uncharted and frustrating territory for me.  My doctor assured me that as soon as the baby was out and the hormones dropped off - I would sleep.  He was right, the first night (aside from feedings) I was able to sleep...aahhhhaaaa... and it was awesome, while it lasted.

Getting up for feedings was a breeze because when we were done - I could go back to sleep.  My body was back to a normal (normal for a mom with a newborn) sleep cycle and then it happened--------
Little's body decided, at about three months of age, that he requires very little sleep to function (could it be that we got the wrong baby when we left the hospital?) and I was back to up all night against my will.

He is a DEEP sleeper (when he sleeps). It is as if he is maximizing the zzz's so he can be awake more minutes of the day (and night).  He naps a solid 90 minutes each morning and then is off to the races - & stunting - the rest of the day.  We have tried it all -  the cry it out technique (which I hated & against my better judgement), the early bedtime, the later bedtime, the meal before bed, a warm drink, teething gel, is that a cough I hear?, Dad responds, Mom responds, Big responds, more blankets, less blankets, pillow swaps, reading, singing, rocking to sleep... to no avail.  I really believe he just needs less sleep than - anyone I know - especially me.

Les is very sweet about it. He is thankful to me that I am willing to be up with Little so much, so Les can function at his 830-5 job.  He also jumps in when he is home to let me go to be early or nap on the weekends.  The one problem with sleeping in or naps is that it gives my body a taste of rest and makes the next early morning (230 or 3AM) that much harder on me.

I KNOW that this won't last forever (I mean once I am sure he won't burn the house down - he can get up at 230AM all by himself) and I also know how quickly life swings by us and every moment is really a blink in the grand scheme... I try to practice gratitude for my life and all of the love and opportunity around me everyday, I just can't wait for the day that I can do it without purple bags under my eyes and a pot (or two) of coffee.

**This is not a comparison -they are different humans and therefore have different cycles, needs and souls- but more of an interesting fact.
Big has been a sleeper all of his life. A minimum of 10 hours per night, two naps a day until K3 and then an afternoon hour of rest until all-day K5.  He still goes to bed by 830PM and has enough self awareness to know when he needs to take a rest and that he needs 10 hours of sleep a night to get by.**

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