I was a sleepy baby, or so I'm told. While I can't vouch for the accuracy of the legends, I've been told that my mother went as far as to wake me up as an infant for visitors who swore that all I did was sleep. I've always enjoyed sleeping, and it was not uncommon for me to get 10 hours of sleep a night before I got pregnant.
Lord how the world changes.
I went into labor in the evening and despite the best efforts of my nurse, I didn't sleep a wink that night. Despite sending the kid to the nursery during our hospital stay, I never got more than 15 minutes of sleep in a row, and our first night home was completely awful, especially since we had to be back at the pediatrician the net morning. I don't believe I slept a wink. That meant from Monday - Friday I was operating on less than 5 hours of sleep, TOTAL. On the way home from the doctor, while sitting in the back seat next to the carseat, I had a conversation that didn't exist, and not just talking to a baby who couldn't talk back, I was hallucinating.
I completely understand how sleep deprivation is an effective torture technique.
The Cupcake is 3 1/2 months old, and this is a delightful age. It's a hopeful age. For me, I feel hopeful. I feel so much better than I did in those first two months, when everything was hard and frustrating and potentially impossible, when I was so entirely exhausted that I wondered each and every day if the lack of sleep would just erode my sanity completely like water carving canyons and valleys out of rock.
When The Cupcake sleeps, everything seems possible again. The night before last, she slept from 5:30pm until 8 the next morning with just a few sleepy bottles in between. At first I held her and watched TV, checked my email. Then as the hours added up I started to poke her and study her, feel her temperature, contemplate what was surely wrong...but she was just very peaceful. At 11 the hubby and I woke her up completely to re dress and swaddle her for the night, and she cooed and sang and smiled like never before. She was utterly delightful, and then went right back to sleep. And I did the same. And it was wonderful.
And it made all the difference in the world.
Yesterday all things seemed achievable. I must have slept for 7-8 hours, not straight through the night but with short enough breaks that I felt almost rested in the morning. And the idea of feeling rested was energizing in itself. I awoke re-calibrated to my life, and somehow, the kid was STILL in a great mood. She lounged in her swing while I loaded the dishwasher, watched and cooed as I cleaned the bathroom, listened to the dishwasher swish while I folded laundry...
It may have been a very isolated incident, and indeed last night TC was much more fitful, fighting sleep until she melted down in tears and frustration sometime after 10, and she woke up three times between midnight and 4am, but just the idea...the experience...the light up ahead...
It's the same feeling I had when I attempted my first post-partum craft project. Cupcake was snoozing in her swing, and I attempted to cut out pieces for some paper crafted invitations. When I had finished, she was still asleep, so I started to assemble one...two...forty-three...and then I jumped for joy because for a while there I thought I might never get to finish another project again, heck, I might never clean off the dining room table again, and here I had sat down and done crafts. Awesome ones that I can't wait to share next month after the bridal shower, so I don't ruin any surprises.
So much has happened in the past 3 1/2 months. Every time I bend over I get excited at how easy it is to squat and reach my feet now, compared with the chore of late pregnancy. I can put away groceries and not have to be helped back up from the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. That's not the only thing that has gotten easier. Not only did I lose all of the limited baby weight I gained, but I'm down nearly 20lbs more (thank you breastpumping) and all of my clothes are falling off, including my wedding ring. What a delightful problem to have, one to be solved with a shopping spree eventually. Speaking of pumping (long story short: Cupcake wouldn't play along with breastfeeding, and after listening to everyone and their mother tell me what I "HAD" to do in order to raise a happy healthy daughter, I did what MY mom told me - "whatever works for you." So Cupcake is getting breastmilk, just not from the tap), operations at the dairy are almost old hat. I'm only chained to THE MACHINE 5 times a day now, and at work it's even a nice break - I look forward to sitting down in solitude with my Kindle for those two 20 minute stretches. My emotions are still slightly wacky, and I may have teared up this week while reading cards at Walgreens AND Tina Fey excerpts on Facebook, and let's not even discuss how I react to diaper commercials like the Pampers one about new moms...but I'm starting to get it.
Or at least believe that I will, eventually.
We even packed up our bags and went out to LUNCH yesterday with Dad/Grandpa, and babies + restaurants = MAJOR ANXIETY for me, so that was a HUGE step, my first time taking her to a restaurant all by myself and on purpose, and she was a perfect peach the entire time.
I have stories to share. I've probably forgotten more of them than I'll remember already, but I'll get back to it.
Someday she'll sleep through the night for real. Someday she'll even do it in her crib, and maybe I'll go back to sleeping in my own bed. And she will continue to smile and coo and laugh, and one day she'll talk and tell me what a great job I'm doing and thank you so much for all of the effort...
Or maybe not.
But she will sleep. And I will sleep. And that will heal so many things.