I think a lot of new mom’s are like me, we spend many a day, many an hour dreaming, lusting, wishing and praying for sleep. More sleep, better sleep, less interrupted sleep. Thinking and dreaming about sleep is something I’ve done more of in the last 3 months that what I have in my entire life.
In the first few weeks of A’s life, it consumed my every waking moment, it was ALL I could think about. When will I be able to go to sleep? How long will I be able to sleep for? How many times will I be woken up from sleep? The first couple of weeks were HELL! When A’s digestive system kicked in at around 5 days old, she battled, like most newborns, with terrible stomach cramps and of course her cramps only came at night. Every night, from around 11pm she’d start crying, curl her legs up and writhe around, grab her face, scratch her eyes in pain. This would last for a few hours, sometimes till 5am. This was the hardest time for both W and I. Not only had we been thrust completely by surprise into parenthood, but we were going slowly insane from the sleep deprivation. I could barely function, I could barely be pleasant to anyone except my baby during the day. I was so exhausted I could barely cope with normal every day functions. Of course all new mom’s get the marvelous piece of advice…. sleep when the baby sleeps, but everyone knows that’s completely unrealistic! Who actually does that? In between Christmas and New Year and bottles and sterilizers and decorating a baby room and baby shopping and baby washing, there was barely a moment to sit down, never mind sleep when she slept during the day.
Then one night, when she was about 3 weeks old, in desperation, we called the 24hour pharmacy to ask them if we could give her Bennets or Buscopan for her cramps. We had both at home, but had been loathe to use it as it said from 3 months of age and our baby was only 3 weeks but I seriously could not see us surviving another 2 months, never mind 2 nights of the cramps, the pacing and the complete sleep deprivation. Thankfully they advised us on how to administer the Bennets OR Buscopan safely at her age and instantly her night time cramps were a thing of the past.
We then settled into a two nightly feed routine, 10pm and 2am without fail, little A would wake up for those bottles. Now when you’re a new mom, getting up in the night, all you want to do is get to bed as early as possible in preparation for those night time feeds. And we sure were fortunate with A, at around 4 weeks of age, she dropped her 10 pm feed. It was BLISS! Suddenly I was able to get in a 5 hour stretch of sleep every night if I went to bed early enough and slowly slowly the sleep deprivation started to ease and life started returning to normal. I still wasn’t up for an all night party out on the town, but if I went to bed at a reasonable hour I could function properly the following day.
The months past and soon my dream of sleep started to change…. I started dreaming about going whole nights without having to get up! Every night when I’d hear little A begin to whimper for her 2am bottle I’d get out of bed and remind myself that soon this too would pass. The problem with the 2am bottle is that once it was over, I was so wide awake that sometimes it would take up to 2 hours to get to sleep and I’d land up feeling groggy when it was actually time to start the day. But I kept reminding myself that soon, the interrupted sleep would be a thing of the past, that soon she would sleep through. And she has on occasion slept through. The first time when she was 6 weeks old, then it would happen biweekly to weekly since then and those nights fed into my fantasy about a full nights sleep.
Then came this week, Tuesday evening, I heard the usual call just before 1am, but I have noticed that in the past couple of weeks the crying has changed and started to sound more like calling than crying. So I decided to check to see if this really was crying from hunger or habit. I went into her room, popped in her dummy and climbed back into bed. I woke up again at 6am and realized that little A had slept through the night. She did it again on Wednesday night and Thursday night and Friday night but now she doesn’t even call for her dummy, she just sleeps from 7pm till around 6:30am every night, four nights in a row.
Its exactly what I’ve been dreaming about for 3 months and now that its here I’m unable to enjoy it because I spend the whole night wondering if she will sleep through, waking up to check the time and see if she’s going to sleep through, waking up and worrying that something has happened hence her silence, waking up and wondering if the baby monitor has malfunctioned.
So finally I have what I’ve been dreaming about and I’m still unable to enjoy it. Do Mom’s ever actually sleep an entire night ever again??? I’m starting to think not!
FYI – super proud of my little angel, 4 nights in a row sleeping through, I think that’s pretty damn good for a 3 month old!