It’s very interesting how certain patterns form, especially in the wake of dynamic change. I never really expected to be spending half my nights on the couch. These days, it’s half a night if I’m lucky. Most of what takes place after our shift change at 2:00 am is not really categorically sleep, even on the best of nights. But all that aside, trying to make a new baby work in a 2 bedroom living space without majorly disrupting the fragile sleep cycle of the 4 year old, we have had to come up with some creative solutions.
When the older child was born, we’d never have dreamed of sleeping all night on the bachelor pad style recliner sofa we had in the living room. But since we replaced it with a sectional, a decent floofy comforter and a pillow gets the job done. We break off into pairs at 7:00, I take the older kid upstairs for bath, brushing of teeth and jammies before bed. I can usually get him to sleep between 8:00 and 8:30. Then I get my shower and get to bed. I switch with my husband at 2:00 am, who’s been on baby duty. He crashes upstairs and I begin my watch.
Most nights, the baby wakes up once. I can usually get him to go back to sleep so I can try to steal a few more minutes of sleep myself. But it’s never very restful sleep. I find my dreams are super stressful and hyper real. Because it mimics my life so intensely, it becomes difficult to discern what’s real. Coupled with the sleep deprived memory loss, my grip on reality feels weakened.
At night, I sleep with a white noise app, but my mind turns in on itself with the tv like hissing coming from my cell phone. I hallucinate the sound of the baby crying, lying awake, angry at my husband for not picking him up and keeping him quiet. I turn off the app to go downstairs to realize the baby wasn’t crying after all and my brain is an asshole.
There are unicorn nights, like last night, where he slept all the way through the night. It’s restorative but the deficiency is still there. I could sleep for a year and never feel like it was enough. But mostly what I realize is how much further we have to go and how much work it’s going to be to get there. The mountains we have yet to climb seem so daunting that I find myself afraid to even start.