Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sleep, it's complicated

I hate that feeling of ”is he sleeping or did the worst thing ever happen?”.  We stopped leaving the baby monitor on at night when he was around a year old but we still have it hooked up in his room with units in our bedroom and kitchen. I will grope for the unit in the dark and turn it on, holding it close to my ear waiting for any sounds of breathing or snoring.  Hearing him sleep is the best sound ever.  It is a reassurance of life and peace.

Now that he is older, the fear of SIDS has gone away along with some of my irrational fears.  I remember those nights of “should I go in and check on him or will that wake him up?” and some nights they make a comeback.  I hate that feeling of that the house is way too quite. I can remember going into his room and practically putting my face on his chest to ensure it was still moving up and down at a healthy pace.
If I do hear Orion cry out, cough, or make any other unusual sound in the night it causes me physical pain. I hear it and almost shit myself with worry. The bottom drops out of my stomach and I am on my feet ready for action. This is why I had to shut off the baby monitor, to prevent myself from running to his bedside anytime he made the smallest sound. Granted, the worry has been replaced a bit with a fear of losing sleep.  If he is crying and I hear I cannot sleep, we are not cry it our people. I just want to make it stop as quickly as possible so I can go back to sleep. 

I am way more excited to see my baby after we both enjoy a full night of sleep. Many nights I have gone to bed at 8 or 9 because I know he will be up at some point in the night like he was the night before or because I am just plain exhausted.  Some of those nights end with me waking up at 4am to take a slash only to be unable to fallback asleep.  Regardless of how tired I am, I have always had a hard time falling asleep and falling back asleep.  There are nights when I jealously listen to the sound of my husband and baby snoring happily and soundly.  Patrick has the ability to fall asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow.  He has even fallen asleep while talking or reading me a bedtime story. (Before Orion came along he used to read me bedtime stories. He read me all the Harry Potter books, Snow Crash, and The Once and Future King to name a few) 

It is rare that I am out of bed before Orion.  He usually wakes up between 6 and 7am.  That is when decent human beings should wake up.  4am is for farmers, 5am is cruel, and sleeping in past 10 is for stoners and teenage boys.  The worst is when Orion wakes up at 4am. He is not a farmer and has no business being up that early.  The chance of getting him back to bed is slim but I will try in the hopes of catching some more zzzzs. If he is truly up I know that a 7am naptime is possible and I have to decide to drink coffee and not be able to sleep during that nap but be awake now of stay sleep and miserable until we both get our nap.    
When I am out of bed before baby boy I get filled with this feeling of excitement at seeing him for the first time. He somehow looks cuter and acts sweeter.  My stomach gets filled with the fuzzy buzz of glee that he slept all night and I am recharged and ready for the day ahead.  I want to scoop him up in my arms while he tells me all about his dreams in his secret language.     

Some mornings when I am up before him I know that it will not last long.  I will think “OK, I heard snoring, he is sleeping but he will wake up any second now so I can't really get anything started”.  I don’t want to fold that laundry because he will wake up and throw it all on the floor. I can’t take a shower because he will wake up as soon as the shampoo touches my hair. The great thing is that I actually don’t need to do anything.  This can be a hard thing for a mom to realize and actually do because there are always a million things that need to be done. The luxury of enjoying a hot cup of coffee alone while checking the Facebook without a baby on the loose is an indulgence.  Sometimes you need to do nothing and you will be better for it.

If anyone out there is thinking about becoming a parent but are unsure here is a little trail you can set for yourself.  Set an alarm clock to go off every 2 hours between 7pm and 7am. Once it goes off pace up and down your bedroom or hallway while holding and rocking a 10lb bag of sugar (or whatever) for 20 minutes.  Repeat this for at least 6 weeks and see how you feel.  Bonus points if you repeat this trail 9 months later. Having a newborn is hard but then you start sleeping through the night and you return to the joys of a full night’s sleep and think the worst is behind you.  Then out of nowhere, BAM! Baby is up 2, 3, 4 times a night.  It’s like they want to remind you of how far they have come, and how much it used to suck, and aren’t you glad that doesn’t happen every night.  Really baby, you do not need to remind me.  

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