Thursday, November 01, 2007

The darker side

I've looked back at a few posts and things seem really perfect around here don't they? If you were an outside observer reading this space, you might expect the next post I write to describe sunshine and daffodils growing out of my (or my baby's) ass... If I were a new mom, or a mom who has vivid memories of what new motherhood was like, I might be inclined to feel insecure or think, "This blogger lies, and this blog is a load of heady bullcrap!!!"

Motherhood is intense and mostly wonderful, but let's be real, it gets a little scary and overwhelming, especially when the night falls (which it does early this time of year.) Let me start by saying that 2 nights ago I got approximately 15 minutes of sleep between the hours of midnight and 6am, but last night JB slept 4.5 consecutive hours. Then he slept a full 3 hours. And he is sleeping now. While he was enjoying his longest-night-time-snooze-ever, though, I was awake.

I literally sweat myself awake in the middle of the night waiting for him to need food.

(Side note: There has been a lot of sweating and soaking the bed lately. I wake up and pull myself to a sitting position and sweat balls drip down my torso and down my limbs. My pillow has a ring of sweat twice the size of my head, which is good because that reassures me that the "wet spots" under my body might not be milk pouring out of my breasts. My hair is soaked and I get cold because all the wetness catches every draft when I remove the covers. I am not having nightmares. It is either the hormones of lactation and motherhood, or I am dying from a horrible disease!)

Anyway, this morning I woke up at 2 am (the babester and his moms had gone to bed at 11pm) and expecting JB to stir and cry for some boobie at any moment, I stayed awake and listened to him breathe (snore, moan, groan, and grunt.) At some point, I started to worry about SIDs in a very general way and then katy woke for a few moments to converse with me in a delirious sleepy stupor:
K: Where's the baby?
T: In the bassinet.
K: You put him back?
T: (panicked) He was in the bed?!?
K: Yeah.
T: When?
K: I dont' know. Before.
T: What? Are you sure?
K: (falling back out of "talking sleep" to real sleep) ZZzzzzzzz...
T: (jumping out of bed to check JB was in the bassinet and not somewhere under the covers...)

He was in the bassinet. She dreamt that she had brought him to bed with us. I stuck my hand in front of his face to verify exhalation and wiped my sweaty brow.

Then I laid awake with my heart thumping for the better part of 2 hours convinced that if I fell asleep, he might die (and wouldn't I regret needing to catch those extra few minutes of REM, if that wasn't just a passing worry about SIDS, but a premonition... right?) It was totally insane. I couldn't get my rational self to relax. My imagination overruled all of my good sense, instinct, and Maslow's hierarchy of need (ie- sleep.)

Last night was Halloween, but that's not why the night is a little scary.

I am producing an alarming amount of sheet-staining sweat... but that's not why night is a little scary...

It's a little scary because I have found myself spending quality sleep time "warding off death" by worrying. (Under the somehow hereditary, natural law of illogical parental protection, if you worry about something hard enough, with enough passion and attention to detail, you can prevent it from happening. Weren't you also indoctrinated into that insane line of thinking?)

It is a little scary because night-time safety was essentially destroyed this summer when people we cared about were attacked and tortured and murdered one random night in their home. You can tell yourself over and over that the odds are with you and something bad won't happen, but all logical reasoning gets tossed out the window when that one, pathetic, weak voice inside your head whispers, "but something bad did happen over there, very close to us..." odds don't matter much when you realize intuitively and concretely that someone has to win the lotto of despair.

But without all that drama, night is still a little scary because of the unpredictability of it all. Not the unpredictability of life and death, but the unpredictability of being someone's mommy. Some nights I'm living large and sleeping 2-4 hours at a clip... some nights I'm lucky to catch 30 minutes of shut-eye at a time. I tuck myself in every night, excited for the potential respite. "Here goes nothing," I think, unconvinced that I will be rested or wrapped in dry sheets at daybreak.

It's a little scary to care way more about this defenseless, little child than I care about my own hunger, thirst, fatigue or comfort level. And I still just barely know this kid!!! What happens when we really get close and I like him for who he is??? What kind of over protection will I try to offer him at that point???

Then the morning comes... and thank goodness, other people are awake with you, and things get a little more rational.

1 comment:

Van Dazzle said...

I feel you on the sleep thing. tiger's 10 1/2 months, and as new teeth come in she likes to nurse for hours and hours.

when she was just a little squirt she always slept with us (now it's about half and half), and it gave me great peace of mind to know she was right there next to me. also there's research that shows that they'll moderate their breathing to your breath on their head. since tiger was a december baby i hated getting up in the cold air with her and co-sleeping (hate the word, not the deed (c: ) allowed us to stay nice and toasty.

my 2 cents!

he sure is a cutie.