Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Motherhood-Induced Insomnia

When I was pregnant, it seemed like everyone had some advice they just had to share with me. They were sure to offer tips on everything from diaper rash cream to breastfeeding in public.

The biggest topic of advice usually centered around sleep. Sleep now, while you still can. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Sleep with the baby. Don't sleep with the baby. If you do sleep with the baby, don't sleep on the baby.

But there was one piece of advice about sleep that somehow everyone seemed to leave out. People somehow failed to mention that once you become a mother, you won't sleep the same again. Ever.

I remember being about seven months pregnant with Alec when the motherhood-induced insomnia began. I would wake up somewhere between 2-3am and be ready to go. I would just lie in bed for a few hours until I would finally fall back to sleep around 5am. I got to know every crease in our ceiling in the dark pretty well. Now, five years later, it seems not much has changed. Here is what happened to me last night.

11pm: Fall asleep
2:29am: Wake up to Chase yelling, "Mommy, Mommy" because he wants me to go cover him back up. Lie very still in hopes that Chad might get up first.
2:32am: Chad has not gotten up yet. He is lying very still too. Hmmmm.
2:33am: Sigh loudly as I drag myself out of bed and half sleep walk over to Chase's room.
2:34am: Change Chase's diaper and tuck him back in.
2:37am: Head back to my room, sneak back under the covers and roll over to go back to sleep.
2:38am: Realize that I am now wide awake and there is no sign of sleep in my near future. Attempt to sleep anyway.
2:48am: Get frustrated because trying to sleep is not working. Check facebook on my phone to see if anyone else is up at this hour. Nope. Roll back over to try to go to sleep again.
3:03am: More frustration. Start thinking about all the dishes and laundry that I didn't get to. Consider going to do them since I am wide awake. Almost laugh out loud because there is no way that is going to happen.
3:05am: Roll to my other side. Maybe that's the trick.
3:29am: Still wide awake. Extra frustration because I have hit the 1-hour mark. Begin calculating how much sleep I could get if I fall asleep right now.
3:31am: Roll on to my stomach to try to sleep.
3:42am: Realize that my mind is on overload thinking of pretty much everything from the permission slip that I need to fill out for Alec's preschool field trip to the lady who almost ran her cart in to me at the grocery store. And those damn dishes. And laundry.
3:43am: Decide that I will blog about this tomorrow. Realize that tomorrow is really today. More frustration.
3:44am: Time to try sleeping on my back as a last resort.
3:55am: Still awake. Maybe someone has posted something interesting on facebook in the last hour. Nope.
3:57am: Realize I am starting to get hungry. Is it too early for breakfast?
3:58am: Practice some sort of deep breathing technique that seems like it should make me tired. It does not.
4:29am: Still wide awake at the 2-hour mark. If I fall asleep now, I can still get two more full hours of sleep. If I add that to the three-and-a-half I got at the beginning of the night, that's almost six hours.
4:55am: So much for six hours of sleep.
4:56am: More unproductive thinking followed by several more attempts to find the magical sleep position.
5:17am: Start debating whether I should just get up for the day. While debating, I drift off to sleep after nearly three hours of motherhood-induced insomnia. Debate solved.
6:45am: I hear the toilet flush and find it unusual that Alec has gotten up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.
6:46am: Reality sets in. It is not the middle of the night. It is almost time to get up.

Sadly this is not an uncommon kind of night for me. Ever since that last trimester of my first pregnancy, I have developed a complete inability to fall asleep once I'm awake at night. So no, sleep will never be the same for me now that I have children.

I'm not sure why people felt the need to leave this one piece of crucial advice out. Not that it would have changed my mind about having children. But it sure would have been nice for someone to tell me that once children enter the picture, sleep pretty much leaves the picture for good. Or at least it really changes for good. That tip would have been much more useful than the one about not sleeping on my baby. I mean, how can I sleep on my baby when I'm not even sleeping?

Chad must have taken this picture of me after a night of motherhood-induced insomnia.

Side note: Speaking of Chad, I feel that I would be a terrible wife if I didn't own up to the fact that Chad is often the one to deal with the middle-of-the-night kid wake up. Fortunately we have two pretty good sleepers, so we don't have to deal with this often. But when they do wake up, Chad is frequently the first to get out of bed. I'd say I'm just better at fake sleeping, but in reality I just have an awesome husband!