Friday, January 11, 2008

Sleep and the Lack Thereof

Sleep Deprivation. It started when Rhetta was born. She and I got so little sleep. Less than the average new mother and baby, to be honest. She slept at the most 30 minutes, maybe three times in 24 hours. I slept even less. When she would finally go to sleep I couldn't help but stare at her the entire time. She looked so angelic in sleep, don't all babies? If I did sleep it was out of utter exhaustion.

As time crept by at a snail's pace her sleep patterns didn't improve much so neither did mine. I got no breaks. She would bond with no one else. Close to the age of one she started taking real naps, for two and three hours at a stretch! Did I catch some winks then? I had work to do. She and I spelt at night in 2-4 hours lengths with 2-3 hour gaps of wakefulness in between. She seemed fine with that although she had very bad mood swings.

Age two rolled around and along with an autism diagnosis. After that we gradually introduced her GFCF diet. One week after going GFCF she was sleeping 10-12 hours at a time and ours lives changed. I on the other hand remained wakeful, unable to reset my internal clock. Still, I was so used to being deprived of sleep I functioned normally and got a remarkable number of things done that year.

Rhetta had just turned three when we concieved Willon the following Spring. Being pregnant didn't help my sleep patterns anymore than not being pregnant did. If anything they worsened as the pregnancy progressed.

Finally after giving birth to Willon, my sleepy little boy, I started sleeping the sleep of the dead. It was glorious! The baby and I were sleeping 5-7 hours in a row after the first week. I woke up refreshed every time. I had quite forgotten what I was missing in sleep.

Fast forward to the present. I am not sleeping anymore. The baby is teething or feverish or restless and growing or clingy. I am back to getting very little rest and it's affecting me the way sleep deprivation is supposed to affect me. I'm wiped out. My eyes cross. I stumble. My temper is short and I have no energy for my life or my children. I am breastfeeding or I would seriously consider a sleep aid.

What happened to my ability to walk on water? Not very long ago I was Supermomma, able to leap tall compost piles in a single bound. Lately I feel more like Supermomma's nemesis, Lardbutt Lazypants, barely able to keep the children clean and the clothes washed.

I hope like hell I'm not getting old. Although, I have heard the older you get the less sleep you require. How that firgures in to my current situation I have no idea. Yet another symptom of sleep deprivation, confusion. So am I old or tired? Or am I old and tired? Either way I need to find a way to sleep.

Mister Sandman, Bring me a dream... ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ...

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