Silly Mommy, we can sleep when we're dead!
I’ve tried it all. I’ve tried every different combination of swaddling technique known to man. I’ve kept her active throughout the day. I’ve bathed her right before bed. I’ve smothered her in baby lotion “clinically proven” to help my baby sleep better, while she screamed profanities at me in hysterical baby language for doing it. I’ve tried repositioning her bassinet in our bedroom. I’ve tried using different blankets. Adjusting the thermostat. Playing music. I’ve tried everything short of hiring live sheep to hurdle over her bassinet in the night.
Two weeks ago, I swear I didn’t mind being up half the night. I knew it was just all part of the deal. I woke up sometimes even before she did, ready and waiting calmly for her to stir, because I was adapting to her schedule. I bragged about it. I even lectured her father more than once about how we knew this was coming when we decided to have a baby. I was the world’s most patient mother. After all, I knew it couldn’t last much longer…. Then, week after week, it lasted. And then it lasted some more. And then it lasted right on into the Much Longer period. And for nine entire weeks, this child woke up
And somewhere around the eighth and a half week my body just gave up. I started not waking up until she was going off like an alarm. Pulling myself into an upright position suddenly took what felt like the strength of ten men. I started dozing mid-meal, only waking to catch my nodding head before I keeled over completely. I was a zombie by lunchtime. My body had clearly had enough of this kid’s appetite. My body (not me) was ready to cut her off, whether Scarlett and I were behind the idea or not. I needed to get her on board. For the love of God, I needed to sleep.
Including the last two months of my pregnancy, when I woke up every two hours to pop a leg cramp, eat or pee, I was going on FOUR MONTHS without a single full night’s sleep. FOUR MONTHS.
Then, last night, it happened! I put her to bed in extra fluffy pajamas. I put her in a double swaddle that she wouldn’t be able to kick her way out of. I placed her in the bassinet just so. Then I laid a blanket up to her waist and tucked it under the sides of the mattress pad so that it wouldn’t ride up or down in the night. I turned out the light and I slept for three hours. When I woke up, I realized the room was quiet. Not a shift or a snort or a whine to be heard. I checked her. Yup, still breathing. Well that’s weird, I thought. Good, but weird. I almost turned on Conan and waited, but I opted for a few extra minutes of sleep before she was sure to wake up. When I woke up for the second time, I checked the clock expecting to see that maybe another thirty minutes had passed. 2:45!! That’s almost another 3 hours! In a semi-panic, I checked to make sure she was still breathing. She was. I looked at the clock again. Then, in complete disbelief, I had to check her again, this time taking her head in my hand and stroking her hair with my thumb, hoping for a small reaction. She lifted her eyebrows as if she just might break into a stretch, then as if deciding against it, dropped her head to the side once more, and drifted back to sleep completely.
Easy to say coming from the one who gets to nap through the day.
I let an hour passed before I woke her up myself. Apparently my breasts didn’t get the memo either, and they were backed up two feedings. When the poor child came to enough to latch on, she choked, and when I pulled her off, the milk didn’t stop flowing. It might have been funny if it weren’t 3:30 in the morning.
When Spencer woke up just a few minutes later, I flashed him the kind of smile you would expect to see on a person in my situation. No, not a person covered in their own breastmilk -- A person who might finally be able to sleep for the first time in FOUR MONTHS! But then, no longer did Scarlett slip into a full-bellied coma did a certain two year old came scooting groggily down the steps, trademark ragdoll puppy in tow, into our pitch black bedroom. Oh my God, no. No. No. No. No.
“Mommy, Daddy, I can’t sleep. I’m ready to wake up now.”
“Yeah, buddy, I figured.”