Sleep Irony

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!

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  • Reply monica lemoine

    I’d say yeah – 4 nights in a row is gosh darn good for a 3 month old. Word up!

    I appreciate your musings on sleepless nights – everything related to baby care. All of these are good lessons for myself…giving me some insight into what I have (hopefully) to look forward to (and not look forward to – those sleepless nights don’t sound fun, that’s for sure!!!)

    You’re doing GREAT as a mom, Shaz – I can just tell. Keep up the great updates, even thru those sleepless nights. 🙂

    March 13, 2010 at 7:34 pm
  • Reply Tanya

    Your doing great.
    My eldest daughter only slept through at 20 months and then four months later I had a newborn again but at least Emma was a better sleeper. Yes you will sleep again. Then you will have forgotten how little sleep you had. But your doing great. My motto is you know whats best for A and trust your gutt.

    March 13, 2010 at 10:22 pm
  • Reply Yvonne

    Awww well done little AG – and to you too Shaz!!

    I can honestly say I haven’t had one nights FULL sleeps since Caeli was born (almost) 5 years ago. Even the one time that dh and I went away for 2 nights without children I still slept fitfully – missing them and wondering whether they were okay. BUT I’m so totally used to it by now that it doesn’t bug me at all, and I’m sure onnnneeeee day I’ll sleep again. Hopefully. 🙂

    The worst part is that mark my words, one day you’ll look back and be sad that she is sleeping through. I’ve always bemoaned the fact that I make ‘bad sleepers’ (hehe), but whenever they do sleep I lie awake missing them, and wishing they’d come to me for cuddles.

    March 14, 2010 at 7:20 am
  • Reply WiseGuy

    Well, I think it becomes instinctive to be checking on the baby in the night, even if the baby is not calling or crying.

    I am happy that A is able to sleep through the night.

    March 14, 2010 at 9:37 am
  • Reply Kristin

    You’ve discovered the first of many parenting paradoxes…LOL.

    But, I must say I am a wee bit jealous of her sleeping through already.

    March 14, 2010 at 2:53 pm
  • Reply Taryn

    4 nights in a row!!!!!!!!!!!!

    WOW, I’ld say that A is well on her way to making that a habit, holding thumbs 🙂

    Happy sleeping to you all.

    March 14, 2010 at 5:14 pm
  • Reply Julia

    HAHAHA…You are on the money with this post and so very lucky with A. My boy only started sleeping through at 22 months. Six months later I am still not sleeping and wait for him to wake up.
    You are doing so well as a new Mommy!

    March 14, 2010 at 8:15 pm
  • Reply SCY

    I would think that like most things motherhood it will just take you a while to get used to the new groove of having a full nights sleep for now… Long may it last!

    PS-> What a clever nunu to already be sleeping through – told you she was a genius!


    March 14, 2010 at 9:00 pm
  • Reply Lynese

    Confession time…James will be 10 this year and I still often check on him during the night. Hot or cold? About to fall off the bed? Of course there are also the times when I just sit and stare at my beautiful sleeping child! For me the awesome fact that I have my own child sleeping in my home has never become stale. Exhausting, but such a privilage.
    ps I do realise that this mommy will have to stop this as he gets older, but for now ………

    March 14, 2010 at 9:45 pm
  • Reply Charm

    Well done Ava……clever girl….
    Madison is three now and I still wake in the night to pop in to check on her. Asked my father in law for one of his strong prescription sleeping tablets as I was desperate for a full good nights sleep (as I said I wake even if she hasn’t woken me!!) and can you believe it, I woke up in the night and still managed to make my way to her room to check on her, only to remember that she was sleeping at her grandparents so that I wouldn’t get up to check up on her………..the joys and doff moments of motherhood……love it…

    March 14, 2010 at 10:53 pm
  • Reply Stacey

    I am SO GLAD that everyone is getting more sleep now! I think I can understand your desire to still check on her, though. Btw, I think you are doing a fantastic job, Mom!

    March 15, 2010 at 2:50 am
  • Reply Paula

    Wow that is great! the twins only slept through from 6 months, but I must admit a babied them a bit since they were born so early and were so small! It took me literally about 6 months to get over the sleep deprivation (in order not to teach them to wake up, I got up for each baby seperately instead of waking the second one up when the first wanted milk), but now I am peacefully sleeping again! The twins sleep 6:30pm to 6:30 am, and it is only when they “sleep in” a bit that I get worried! Anyway good for you, hope it becoming a habit already!

    March 15, 2010 at 8:36 am
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