Monday, February 6, 2012

Night Terrors

For the last four nights in a row we have been woken at least once by a small person demanding attention. The first night J woke up screaming, twice. It was so unusual that we were both awake instantly, and J did get our full attention. A few nights later and we're a little more relaxed, but no less perplexed about the cause of J's nighttime angst. D has better hearing than me, he sleeps closest to the door and he isn't attempting to grow another human being at the moment so he's usually the first out of bed, but on Saturday night I was on my own. At approximately 11.45pm I was woken by a shout - "Mummy!?" It wasn't frightened or frantic, and there were no tears, but it was persistent, as if he just needed to be sure I was there. Dragging my 36 + weeks pregnant body out of bed takes some serious effort at the best of times, but after being woken from a deep and dreamy sleep it's almost impossible. I lumbered my way into J's room and found him sitting up in bed as if it was first thing in the morning. He turned to me and said, "hop in Mummy's bed?" hopefully. "No," I replied, wearily. "Mummy hop in the cot?" Again, full of hope and optimism. "No," I replied, wearily and emphatically, "not even if I wanted to."

In his entire life J has only slept in our bed a handful of times, and only when he's been sick or we've been on holidays and had no other option. Anytime we've ever had to have him in our bed none of us have had what you might call "quality sleep" so it's been easy to not make a habit out of it. I figured he might want to get into bed with us in a few weeks time when he realises that the new baby is sleeping with Mummy and Daddy, but this recent and sudden departure from "sleeping through" has taken me completely by surprise. 

On Saturday night I was determined not to give in. I pictured myself and my husband living separate lives for the next 5 years as we each took turns to sleep with one or more of the children, and I stayed resolutely outside of the cot, and kept J safely inside of it. I rubbed his back, tickled his face and tried not to nod off with my head resting on the side of the cot. Any time he sensed that I was about to leave, or fall asleep standing up, J would call out, "Mummy?" again and attempt to strike up a conversation. Eventually I realised that neither of us were getting any sleep anyway, and carried him into my bed, along with Dorothy the Dinosaur, and J's constant companion Bottomley Potts, a long-limbed stuffed dalmatian. After an hour of having him toss and turn beside me, bumping his head on the bedhead, chatting to Dorothy and attempting to sleep horizontally, I realised that he was actually, despite what he believed, going to be more comfortable in his own bed and I carried him back in there. He surrendered pretty easily and I didn't hear from him again, but I still woke up the next morning feeling like crap, and angry at the world in that way that only parents of small children can comprehend.

As I said, it's only been four nights but to add insult to injury my husband has recently started snoring... In our 8 years of living together he has never been a snorer and I have no idea why he's started now but it's making me think separate bedrooms for married couples aren't such a bad idea. It's not just the snoring that is the issue - It's the fact that I can't wake him to get him to stop snoring without sending him into cardiac arrest. Even in the deepest sleep he is poised and ready for D-Day. The slightest movement from my side of the bed has him reaching for the car keys and the hospital bag. It usually takes him a minute or two to absorb what I'm telling him when I say, "I'm not in labour, I just want you to shut the f**k up and sleep on your side, or I'm going to smother you with this pillow." Try getting back to sleep after that.

So J might only wake once or twice but when you add at least one episode of snoring, a few trips to the bathroom and one or two dog-related disturbances to the mix every night, there's not a lot of restful and restorative sleeping going on. I have to wonder just what it would take to sleep soundly for 10 hours, and I mean really soundly? And do you hand in your rights to a full night's sleep the minute you decide to start a family? I don't want to know the answer to this, but will I ever sleep well again? I started this blog all that time ago with a post about sleep deprivation. It was an obsession for such a long time, and no doubt will be again as we throw ourselves into life with a newborn. But we've had it pretty good for a while now and I had forgotten just how very bad it could be. I don't know if J is entering a new phase, if the universe is trying to prepare me for what lies ahead, or if I simply bragged one too many times that my child was a brilliant sleeper, but I am longing for the day when I will again wake up when my body has decided I have had enough sleep, and not when someone else does.

1 comment:

  1. I will be hoping that everything works out and you get a good night sleep! Good luck!