Just F**king Sleep

Just Fucking Sleep…

  

If there’s one thing I learnt very quickly as a new Mam, it was that babies repel sleep. 
It’s just something I physically can’t bring my self to understand. Sleep is awesome. Sleep is incredible! It’s the difference between feeling grand and feeling like utter shit. It’s warm and cosy, comforting and seductive. Sleep wraps you up, cradles you and reassures you that life will be fine…so long as you bag 7 undisturbed blissful hours.

7 undisturbed blissful hours? Holy crap, I can’t remember it. Sleep and me, well we broke up two years ago. 

It’s been the hardest break-up I’ve ever endured. With most splits, time heals wounds and repairs scars but not this time, the longer we’re apart, the shittier I feel. 

It all started the day my son was born (well there’s my first lie, it probably started about 7 weeks before he was born). He entered this world allergic to sleep and let’s face it, after 15 hours of straight unintoxicated labour, I needed sleep. Our 1st night together was unbearable, he cried so much that the midwives made the decision to give us a side room ‘I think we’ll give the other new Mothers a rest’ they said. A rest? A fucking rest? What about me? 

  
It didn’t take me long to figure out that my needs really didn’t matter. I didn’t have a doll to look after, I had an actual human being…and this one hadn’t yet learnt the value of sleep.

In fact, Tristan despised sleep to begin. Our first six weeks consisted of blasting Beyonce’s ‘Drunk In Love’ on repeat until he’d settle (at least I can thank him for my extraordinary karaoke rendition). As soon as the track would end, he’d stir and wake. Our Health Visitor told us that it was likely he had his day and night confused but this just wasn’t the case. Tristan would be awake for at least 17 hours straight each day. It was hell! I bet you’ve heard that age-old tip of ‘sleep when the baby is sleeping’? It was everyone’s top tip of the day every time I moaned about being tired but how can one manage that when one’s sprog never fucking sleeps?! I had no chance.

  
I’d love to say that this phase didn’t last forever and well, I suppose it didn’t. At 8 weeks, he eventually decided that he’d attempt to sleep at night. So, having actually managed at least 4 solid hours in a row, my Husband and I celebrated in a very ‘Husband and Wife’ kind of way…and accidentally conceived our Daughter. 

Sleep was my only immediate concern. I didn’t know if I’d ever be ready to part with its soft, inviting embrace again. ‘Please let us get a sleeper’ I prayed. 

  
When Siena was unexpectedly born at 31 weeks, sleep became less of a priority. Once I was released from Hospital, Siena was still in NICU. I effectively had 5 weeks to try and catch up on sleep before she came home but I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t settle knowing a nurse was doing my duty for me. So, I set my alarm (for those times I did manage to stop fretting) and expressed every four hours. She came home sleep trained. She’d only wake every four hours for a feed then she’d slump straight back into blissful slumber, she was a dream. 

Just as I thought my love affair with sleep was about to be rekindled, teething came along and boshed all over my bloody good mood! Here I was again, pacing the floor for three hours in the middle of the night cursing my daughter to ‘just fucking sleep’. To make matters worse, her stirring would wake her Brother – just as I’d manage to settle one, the other would rear their head in a tantrum-y fashion. 

My only saving grace was ‘nap time’. If I was lucky, they’d each have at least an hour throughout the course of the day. If I was luckier, this would happen simultaneously. Yes, an opportunity to crawl into bed and hide underneath the duvet! Sometimes, it was my only chance of survival.

  
There were times, amongst the chaos, I’d wonder if I’d ever sleep peacefully again.

Now, at two-year-old, my son is actually amazing. He takes himself to bed at 7pm and very rarely stirs until 6am. His naps are lessening though – he’s a mix between wanting to nap anywhere/everywhere or refusing to sleep even though he’s ridiculously tired. My Daughter, is still a different story. 

She’s become a snuggler! This means, she’ll settle so long as she’s in my arms. Yes, I managed to untrained my sleep trained baby. How do you actually manage to do that? It has to be a colossal failure on my behalf. 

Oh well, I guess I’ll be chanting ‘just fucking sleep’ for a little while longer. 

Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

  

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