When I was expecting Greyson, every parent told me to sleep as much as possible before he was born. They told me that I will never sleep soundly again after having a baby. They said I will get used to sleep deprivation. The problem with getting this advice at eight months pregnant is that it’s impossible to sleep with a nine pound human kicking me in the bladder all night long. Rather than lecturing pregnant ladies, we should really be telling all of the childless people we know to sleep as much as possible. I want to tell my non-mom friends to stop going out every weekend! Stop binge drinking! Stop waking up early to go to the gym. Stay in bed. Sleep as long as you possibly can. And then come over and tell me how amazing it is to get twelve hours of uninterrupted rest so that I can live vicariously through your precious, childless nights.
After all of the sleep-while-you-can advice, I felt prepared. I knew it was going to be hard but I was ready. I went into labor on a Friday evening. By 2:00am, we were headed to the hospital. I had worked nine hours that day, I had been awake since 6:30am, but I was running on adrenaline. I was so excited that I didn’t even consider that I was tired. By Saturday morning, I was only dilated a few centimeters and I was sent home. I was disappointed, but I knew we were close. The nurse told me to go home and get some rest. Ha! Ok, lady. Let me just go home and sleep in between the every-five-minute, gut wrenching contractions.
Somewhere around dinner time on Saturday, I was starting to feel the exhaustion. My mother kept telling me to walk as much as possible to move labor along, but I was too tired to move. I gave in around 9:00pm and marched my way back to the hospital. I demanded that they admit me – I begged for some drugs. I annoyed them into finally giving me a room and a shot of morphine so that I could get a few hours of sleep before delivering Grey the following day. And that morphine-induced night, my friends, was the last night of restful sleep that I can recall.
The first night in the hospital was totally mind-blowing. I woke up Sunday morning just a normal person and by Sunday night, I was somebody’s mother. After our family and friends had left the hospital, we got ready for our first night on duty as parents. I fell asleep without any trouble at all. A few hours later, I remember waking up and thinking, “What the hell is that noise?!” That was the first of hundreds of times I’d wake up to that noise – my son, crying.
It felt like we were up and down every hour that night. Trying to figure out how to breastfeed at 2:00am is a joke. Then, as soon as I’d get Greyson to sleep, he’d make a coughing noise, which terrified me. I called the nurse to ask her opinion. When the nurse came down, she gave me a look – pity, maybe? She said the coughing was normal and that he was clearing out his lungs. She asked if I wanted her to take Greyson to the nursery so that I could rest. I said no, because I felt like I’d be judged as a terrible mother if I sent my baby away so that I could sleep. She looked at me and she knew exactly what I was thinking. She said, “You know what, maybe I should take him to observe that cough. I’ll bring him back in an hour. Don’t worry about a thing. Get some sleep.” I woke up four hours later and the baby was still in the nursery. I knew that he didn’t need to be observed, but I am so thankful that nurse gave me a reason to take a break for a few hours.
The first couple of weeks home were tiring, but I still had hope that in just a few months, Greyson would gift us a full night’s sleep. Here we are, 13 months later. I’d say he sleeps through the night probably 50% of the time. Just when you get into a good routine, he starts cutting a tooth or he gets a cold. Plus, he’s so damn busy now and his naps are shortening out, that I still feel as exhausted as I did that first night. I’m pretty much half asleep all day long. When I wake up, I count the hours until I can go back to bed. Sometimes I consider checking into a hotel so that I can get one full night of uninterrupted sleep, but I’m sure I’d be awake all night worrying how he was doing without me. I’m not even kidding when I say that I’ve daydreamed about when he goes to college because then he will be on his own and I can stop worrying so much. But even then, I know that I’ll lose sleep wondering if he’s out partying too hard or falling in love with girls and forgetting about his mother.
I was walking out of a store today and I heard this little boy tell his dad that I look just like his mommy. What I think he meant was, I look exhausted, just like his mommy looks, too. When you commit to motherhood, you commit to a really long time of tiredness. And yes, it’s all totally worth it, blah blah blah, but honestly, I need some serious sleep.
So, if you are reading this and you don’t have children, savor the hours you have to sleep as long as you like. Turn off your damn computer and take a nap for God’s sake. Then shoot me an email and tell me how amazing it was so that I can at least pretend I remember what it was like to feel rested. And when you are finally deciding if it’s the right time to bring a little bundle of love into your family, sleep on it. After a peaceful night’s rest, you just might decide to wait a little bit longer…..
Thank you for taking the time to read my post! Take one quick second to click below to vote for my blog on Top Mommy Blogs!