I have not had a full nights sleep in three hundred and twenty three days, or ten months and nineteen days, or forty three weeks and one day which ever way you prefer to think about it, I have had lots of waking hours to calculate the time in.
I am not living in a horrible house where I ma kept awake by neighbours, I live in a peaceful house (most of the time), I never struggled to sleep before I gave birth to my son. Lovely boyfriend is an expert sleeper, he sleeps through the loudest, screamiest nights, I was hoping that with our combined awesome power of sleeping that our offspring would have inherited some of our skills.
This hope is dashed on a nightly basis. In his short little life he has only slept through the night a handful of times. The sick and twisted part of this is that even when he does sleep all of the way through the night, my brain wakes me when he would usually be awake and I lie in bed freaking out that he must have died as there is no vicious nipple attack happening to me. I don’t know if you have ever tried to tiptoe around your house at three in the morning like a silent ninja to check the breathing of a baby. It becomes and impossible task. The floorboards all suddenly become the squeakiest things on earth, especially the one next to the cot. You WILL stand on at least one of your dogs. Expect to stub your toe, head butt a door frame (have never done that before in my life but now in my effort to be quiet and look out for dogs, I seem to forget that they exist until my face makes loud and heavy contact with them) You will get cold so you will need to try and have a silent wee (obviously you have been storing up a thunderous waterfall of urine that can be heard gushing forth from your body for miles around).
Once you make it into the nursery you see your baby and hold your own breath. Can you see his tummy going up and down? Obviously not, these days your lovely baby sleeps on his face with his bum sticking unfeasibly high in the air. So you must place a hand on his back. This is the danger zone, I think he can smell my boobs, he is like a bloodhound, but with breast milk. He is alive. Massive waves of relief wash over you.
You are now WIDE AWAKE.
You make the ninja trip back to your own bed much more effectively. Then you lie there trying to turn off your brain and get back to sleep. Really what you should do is just read a chapter of your book, because as soon as you have fallen back into a deep sleep, he will wake up, furious and you have to rush back so that the whole house is not woken by his angry cries.
What I know I should be doing is soothing him in his own cot. He eats three meals a day, he shouldn’t be hungry in theory. He could not disagree more with me on this point. I should have a strong will and persevere with helping him to self sooth back to sleep according to all the books I have read. I wonder if any of the people that have written these books have
A. ever had a baby.
B. had to work in this period of their baby’s life
C. are sat at home laughing wickedly into a glass of wine at how much of a failure they make parents feel.
D. would like to come and stay at my house and be in charge of doing that so that I can get some rest.
So instead in my sleepy haze I end up taking the baby to my bed, attaching him to my breast and going back to sleep. Sometimes I do it without realising and am really surprised to be woken up with a baby finger in my nostril to the loud chorus of dadadad.
Our bed had reached the point where the springs were sticking into me and making my arms go dead. So even when the baby is safely tucked up in his cot and I am sensibly trying to get an early night when he goes to bed so that I can pretend to feel like a normal person who gets to sleep, the bed has had other plans. I had gotten used to it in a way. Then we went on holiday. Lovely boyfriend and I were treated to a super king size memory foam wonder bed of joy. It was bliss. When we came home and got back into our own bed it seemed all the worse.
So we got a new bed. It is beautiful, it has an orthopedic mattress which I have treated to a mattress topper of extra comfort and I even bought new pillows. I don’t really want to be anywhere that is not our new bed right now.
I am a fool.
At least when our bed was uncomfortable I didn’t miss it all that much. Now being separated from our bed feels like someone else finishing the coffee when you have to go to work in ten minutes on three hours sleep and you have baby snot all over your shoulder so you have to get changed instead of buying more coffee. (or something as equally frustrating and saddening)
So my advice to new parents is DO NOT BUY A LOVELY NEW BED. You are going to be torturing yourself. Wait until your little one has learnt how to sleep so that you can sleep too. I can sense it now in all of its comfy, pillowy goodness, calling to me like a wicked temptress. Don’t worry my duvet clad beauty, nap time is not too far away, I shall pay you a visit then.