Testing the Limits of Sleep Deprivation

I really like sleep. Some people sleep because they know their bodies need it, I just really enjoy all aspects of sleep. Getting snuggled up in bed, the chance to dream, waking up feeling rested, possibly snuggled up next to someone you love. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in about 8 months, and never more than 5 hours straight and that hasn’t happened in about 2 months.

You realize when you’re going to be a mother that there are sacrifices you are going to make, and you know sleep is one of them, but nothing can quite prepare you for the effects of months on end of poor sleep.

Like many mothers-to-be, the sleeplessness started before the baby even arrived. Baby needs space to grow and therefore other organs need to make room, most notably the bladder. It gets squished and shoved by the growing baby and by the time I reached about 5 or 6 months pregnant, I was peeing every 2-3 hours, day AND night. Some people say this is to prepare you for the baby, I just say it’s goddamn annoying.

And the sleep you get during your last trimester of pregnancy isn’t that great to start with. You become friends with all the pillows in your house because you need all of them to even attempt to find a position that’s comfortable.

But you make it through and then the big day arrives and suddenly there’s a baby. She’s counting on you 24/7 for all her needs. In the beginning, all babies need to eat every 2-3 hours. Their stomachs are small and that’s all the sustenance they can handle at one time. But as the months pass, most babies start to go longer between feedings and some of them start going longer stretches at night without food.

Bella actually did this when she was 2 months old. I would feed her and put her down at 10 pm and she would sleep until between 2-4 am. She did this for the entire month of December. Then her reflux kicked into gear. New Year’s Day is the last night she went anywhere near 6 hours straight overnight.

Some nights I only get up twice to feed her, then there are nights like last night where between feedings and binkie reinsertions, I was up a LOT. She went to bed around 7:15 (very early for her) because she hadn’t napped well later in the day and she was over tired. I swaddled her and prepared to be up around 10 (since I knew I would be heading to bed around 9 myself). She actually made it through to 11pm, but when I retrieved her I noticed she had snuck one hand out of her swaddle. Many people had suggested I let her keep one hand free so she could maybe try to “self-soothe” during the night, so I released the one arm. Bad idea. She was up and fussing just an hour later around midnight. Then she was up to eat around 1:45am and at that time I put her arm back in the swaddle. She ate again around 3:50am and was up for the day around 6:45am.

Right now she’s fussing on her mat because her favorite trick lately is to roll from her back to her belly and then get angry. She’s capable of rolling from her belly to her back, she actually did that first in her development, but I think she forgets how sometimes. (This is a big reason why she’s swaddled at night, I went through this already with my nephew getting stuck on his belly when he stayed with us). It’s kinda like reverse-turtle syndrome.

Anyway, I think that normally I am a very pleasant, laid-back person… all this sleep deprivation has robbed me of that. I am much quicker to get snippy and get annoyed by simple things (like dogs refusing to go outside until AFTER they get belly rubs). I miss the old me… and sleep. I know someday we’ll meet again. Bella will outgrow the reflux and in one more month she gets to start solid food which might help her sleep longer, but in the meantime, I am one tired, cranky lady, so watch out world!

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About snarkysillysad
A former marketing professional with 15 years of experience in the technology industry. Through her blog she has shared her journey through pregnancy and motherhood as well as her struggle with migraines, depression, and chronic pain

2 Responses to Testing the Limits of Sleep Deprivation

  1. Icanhasdiary says:

    Wow. I honestly don’t know how you do it… I’m the same way about loving sleep, and if I got even less of it than I get now? I’d be a miserable, zombie of a person for sure. I’m very much in awe of mothers. And I don’t know how any mothers manage to work on top of being a mom when they are that young. Talk about Wonder Woman… If I was a mom with a baby, I would be useless at my day job. Absolutely useless.

    You’re very strong, and doing as well as you can. But I still hope she starts sleeping properly really, really soon! For your sake!

  2. Well, there is something to be said for working moms getting a break from the baby vs. SAHM who are on baby-duty 24-7. Yes, I have trouble imagining being creative on demand with the lack of sleep, but a monotonous office job might be easier than playing the “what the heck is gonna make you happy for any particular 5 minutes” game all day, every day. I don’t think either is easier than the other in the end.

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