2:40 a.m.

“Goodnight,” I say, kissing him. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

Then a whispered plea. Please sleep.

The chances of him sleeping from this 2:40 a.m. tuck-in until morning are next to none. The chances of him sleeping until 5 a.m. are…okay. I give it even odds. But he’s not likely to get to even 6 a.m. before waking up.

Which means I’m going to be waking up. Again.

I haven’t had more than four hours of sleep in a row since the beginning of October. And that’s rare. Really rare. Sometimes I get three in a row (more often lately – fingers crossed) but too often it’s two hours between wake-ups, or two and a half if I’m lucky.

As we enter this sixth month with Ethan, I now know with much greater certainty that sleep deprivation was a huge contributor to my PPD with Connor. I look back and wish we had done something different, but I honestly don’t know what that would have been. We tried everything.

We tried a night of bottles so I could sleep when Connor was three months old, after which he refused to take a bottle for months as if punishing me for wanting to sleep. It was after that option was taken away—that one thing that would let me sleep sometimes instead of having to feed him—that I started to feel like I was going to die. From exhaustion. From desperation. From despair.

I don’t have that issue this time, thank goodness. I started to feel those same feelings of being desperate for sleep, thinking about it all the time, wondering how long it will last this time, and I asked for help. I can’t do it again, and luckily I have a husband who’s at home and can get up with the kids in the mornings so I can sleep just a little bit more.

So I’m not desperate. I’m not in despair.sleep-quote

I am feeling it, though. I stood in front of a shelf in the grocery store last week for at least 10 minutes before I was able to choose an item and put it in my cart. My brain just wasn’t processing.

I’m clumsy. I walk into things a lot and am always sporting a bruise or three. My synapses just aren’t connecting.

I stood in front of the toaster the other day waiting for it to pop and then realized I hadn’t put any bread in. The next day I managed to make toast for myself, but then without thinking I cut it into four squares the way Connor likes it. My neurons are firing, but perhaps not quite in the right order. (But that’s okay; toast in little squares is actually pretty good.)

I spend a lot of time looking at Ethan these days. I’m soaking him in. Breathing in his smell and imprinting the rolls of his thighs on my fingers. I want to remember what his baby laugh sounds like and appreciate the gift of watching a person learn to navigate the world. He will be our last baby and there are many things about that fact that leave me a bit teary.

But the lack of sleep isn’t one of them. When my brain rebels against wakefulness and my eyelids refuse to stay open I remember: It’s the last time. I won’t have to do this again.

I want it to be over, this quest for sleep over which I have no real control.

But at least I know this: It’s the last time.

 


 

Comments

  1. Well, you read my post about my giant nap on Saturday. :)
    Seriously, my body just gave up on me, after goodness-knows-how-much-lost-sleep.
    If I’m lucky, I get 2 hours of sleep in a row.
    I’m usually not lucky. :)

  2. Rosemary says:

    Hopefully starting solids now will help him sleep in longer stretches. You know there is an end in sight to the sleeplessness. I found that more comforting the second time around too. x

    • I really hope so, but I’m not holding my breath. Honestly, it’s the knowledge that it will end that keeps me going.

  3. I know this. So much. It’s getting better a little at a time, but it’s still not good, and I don’t know when it will be. I can feel my brain having to work too hard on simple tasks, and I know that’s the reason.

  4. I so understand this. I don’t handle sleep deprivation with grace. My house falls apart around me. I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with my second baby. She’s almost 13 months old! But last night was great. She went to bed at a reasonable hour and only woke up occasionally. Heaven. I never appreciated sleep until I didn’t get it.

  5. Oh my Robin. I am right there with you. Cameron started to sleep after much desperation on my part at 9months. It wasn’t until about a week ago that I FINALLY got Gavin to sleep through the night. And even last night he whined every few hours. (At this point though, I am done. NO MORE NIGHT NURSINGS because he keeps falling back into the habit of waking up every hour. YES! EVERY HOUR!) I am just barely crawling my way out of that desperation that you are talking about. And just in time to have to wake up early for work.

    • Every hour is too much. So hard!

      Connor didn’t sleep through until he was 4 and all I can do is hope Ethan doesn’t take that long.

  6. I so know how this feels. It seems like once we get one of the kids to sleep, another one is up, crying for me for some reason or another. But yes, it will get better.

    • Yep. Every once in a while Ethan has a good night and it always seems like it’s those nights that Connor gets up. Sigh.

  7. I’m so sorry. It took Baby Track a year. And now I’m better mostly. Unless someone gets up at 5. Or 12.

    Good luck, my friend. They all sleep eventually. They have to, right?

    • And I had such hope for Baby Track!

      I know what you mean – those 5 (or 12) wakings are especially tough.

  8. Girl, you know I know this feeling. Sleep deprivation is ROUGH! I used to cry in the mornings when the twins were babies because I had been up and down all night and now another day was starting and I was just so tired. It’s rare I get a full night’s sleep since I was pregnant with Zoe, and she’s 3. We have good nights and bad, but there has is definitely no surefire uninterrupted night in front of me.

    But you have the right attitude. It’s not forever. This is the last time. Hang in there.

    • Yep, crying in the morning. I remember that with Connor. WAY too many mornings. That’s why I’m glad to have Rich home this time.

      And twins – I really just can’t imagine.

  9. Thank you for sharing. Like you, I believe the sleep deprivation has played a huge role with my PPD. I have a sleeping 7 month old next to me, and instead of sleeping at 11:00, I’m checking emails and searching the web! HA! When I do fall asleep it will probably be a quick power nap. Then it will be toss and turn, wide awake and more than likely with a sweet baby girl awake as well. I try to think about it as, she is our last, it will go way too fast, and I WILL SLEEP AGAIN (maybe)

    So glad I had a friend recommend following you!

    • Thanks for visiting, Kelly! I totally know how you feel. I’ve been going to bed earlier lately, but for a while there I was up late sitting on the computer too. I think that was how my brain zoned out and how I got some “me” time.

  10. Two years, seven months later and I am still waiting for the ball to drop on sleep glorious sleep. I know that sleep deprivation is a MAJOR trigger for my PPD. So if I feel it starting to raise its ugly head, I go to bed with my Savannah (yes at 7:30) and get as much fragmented sleep as I can. To hell with Laundry, dishes and a social life. Even my husband has come to accept that I need this sometimes as he doesnt want my crazy bitch side running the house. Hugs Robin xoxox

    • Brutal, isn’t it? I totally get why you’d go to bed so early. With Connor I think there were some days I just gave up and went to bed when he did too.

  11. I know how much you want to savour this since he is your last little blessing, but you need to sleep dear. A healthy Momma is more important than anything.
    I hope you get sleep soon xo

    • Oh, I so know that. I think I’ve moved from admiring him and his cute baby chunks during the night to doing it during the day. At night it’s all about getting him back to sleep. :)

  12. Ah, I remember those days!

  13. Sleep deprivation is torture. Pure torture. I don’t think there’s any way to appreciate a screaming kid in the wee hours of the morning.

  14. My heart goes out to you. Sleep deprivation is so brutal. And yes, it definitely makes depression worse. Hugs to you.

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