Please help me brain storm about sleep. Please. Please.
For those who want the Reader’s Digest version:I have not gotten chunks of sleep longer than 2.5 hours in weeks. I am going to fall apart or harm someone if this continues. Please help me find a solution to get my baby to sleep longer than 2.5 hour stretches. Thank you.
And now for the stream of consciousness version:
So recently, as in the past two months, I have noticed a few things. Let’s call them symptoms, shall we? They include: exhaustion, weight gain (I am 3 pounds higher than I was one month postpartum), inability to control eating in general, constant irritability with circumstances, life, and children, bursting into tears, never feeling rested, finding almost nothing enjoyable about life
On Monday, after one of those trips to the library that end with zero books checked out, one librarian carrying out a screaming baby, me with a screaming two year old (bootless) slung over my shoulder, followed by a four year old yelling “Dang it! Shut up!” I thought I was going to lose it completely. After shutting the boys in their rooms, sobbing hysterically on the floor, and scrolling through my phone to find someone I could call (Here is the problem with being an emotional introvert – I am no good when I am in the middle of strong emotions and then, when I am able to talk about them I down play like crazy and appear to be overreacting. “So I had kind of a hard day yesterday. A little bit difficult. I’m not sure that I’m going to be able to keep going.”).
But it stuck with me all day, that horrible feeling that my kids deserve better. That I can’t just fall apart like that. That I feel like every day holds interminable regrets. That I look at my daughter these days, as she smiles and coos and interacts and I have to prod myself through the fog of tiredness: Talk to her. Smile at her. And most of the time I just want to tell her that I have absolutely nothing left. All of these symptoms, of course, could be chalked up to postpartum depression, or just regular dear-God-I-live-in-Michigan-in-the-middle-of-winter depression. But before I self-diagnose with a condition that I would refuse to treat with meds anyway (having taken Pharmacology and read far to many memoirs) I thought perhaps I should look at sleep, one of those very basic needs.
And it doesn’t look good, folks, despite the fact that I am exhausted, have no trouble falling asleep once awakened, and (very intentionally) give myself between 8-10 hours in bed. Most nights some combination of people is up during the night. Last night I had the chance to see who is really messing me up though (as Husband, Jonathan, and Isaac stayed quiet and asleep all night), and why I keep waking up exhausted, even after hours in bed.
8:00: put baby to bed
8:30: I go to bed and she immediately hears me and fully wakes up. Not a problem since I’d planned on dream feeding her. We both are out a little after 9.
11:40: Baby wakes up and eats. Back to sleep at midnight.
12-1:45: She tosses and turns and makes snuffly noises and I am woken up constantly (despite ear plugs). Maybe I tried to feed her – I honestly don’t remember.
1:45: Baby wakes up and eats. We get to bed a little after 2.
4:30: Baby wakes up and eats. Has a hard time settling and I basically lay there with my eyes closed until
5:30: alarm goes off
So this is a typical night. I allotted myself 9 hours in bed. I got two 2.5 hour stretches and one 2 hour quasi sleep stretch. I feel absolutely wasted. I wake up with a horrible headache and dreading the day that hasn’t even begun. When it comes to quality sleep and sleep cycles and regenerative sleep I am pretty sure none of that is happening in these small segments of sleep. And weeks of this piled together are taking their toll.
What to do? Neither of the boys have been this bad and were at least doing longer stretches far earlier. Here are the factors that I have to consider that are rattling around in my head like a pin ball machine.
1. We have three bedrooms but the boys cannot share yet as this would lead to even more sleep deprivation (at least short term). All bedrooms are next to each other.
2. Husband gets home from work later than I go to bed multiple days of the week and is often up very early, making it difficult to either put Liliana in the living room in her pack n play (she is very sensitive to light and noise) or for me to sleep on the couch so that I can’t hear Liliana until she is really crying.
3. Preschool pick up is during nap time, which is the only (usually) kid free quiet time. After I get Isaac he (and various circumstances) will usually cooperate so that I can get in a short nap maybe 1-2 times per week. But I really think that the solution is not getting more naps. I need longer chunks of sleep so that my body can function.
4. We cannot pay a babysitter to come while I sleep for four hours. Unfeasible on many levels.
So with this as the typical sleep schedule and the above factors taken into consideration, how do I get sleep in more than 2.5 hour increments? The best I can come up with is sleeping on the couch with her in the bedroom. Can anyone else come up with anything better?
Best suggestion wins a sleepover with the world’s most adorable baby!