I know three people who gave birth this month, and last night my husband and I got to reminiscing about LO’s newborn days: how he hardly slept, how we had to rock him to sleep, and the worst part, how we would only get 1.5 hours of sleep at a time (3 if we’re lucky) because LO kept waking up. It really is true that you don’t know how tiring it is to take care of a newborn until you have one for yourself. Prior to having LO, my definition of sleep deprivation was either: a) you only got four hours of sleep last night and so you’re gosh darn tired the next day, or b) you actually didn’t even sleep at all last night, and oh my you’re a walking zombie.
Well. None of the two will even come close to the sleep deprivation that comes with having a newborn.
First, if you happened to only get four hours of sleep last night—or shoot, even no sleep last night—you have options: you can either take a nap the following day. You can sleep 12 hours the next night. You could take a day off.
But with a newborn, you can’t. You have to wake up over and over and over. Every day. For weeks, or more often, for months.
And it’s the shortness of the sleep that would really get me delirious. Two hours isn’t long enough to get into the deep sleep your body needs to fully rest. So even though I may have clocked in a total of eight hours of sleep a day, the fact that I would wake up every 1.5 or two hours made me feel like I still got no rest. There basically is no deep sleep with a newborn.
So back to last night: my husband and I were shaking our heads in wonderment over how we ever got through it. We’re fortunate now that LO sleeps 12 hours straight. As we turned off the lights, we jokingly said to each other, “See you in two hours when LO wakes up! Hehehe…” That was at 10:45pm.
12:42am—LO cries. I felt so bad but I didn’t even get up to check in. I was so tired. The worst part was that it took me a while to fall asleep, so for all I know I was really only asleep for an hour at most when he cried. He eventually settled himself back to sleep. Then,
5:58am—LO cries again. This time I get up to check in. My guilt must have entered my subconscious because I had a vivid dream of entering LO’s room and finding that his crib had been wrecked and he was stuck underneath the pieces of wood. I poked my head in but it was so dark I couldn’t see anything other than a silhouette of his figure standing on the crib. I told him it’s not time to wake up yet and to go back to sleep. He laid down, but once I closed the door, he cried again.
So then my husband goes in and checks to see if his diaper was wet. He also gives him Tylenol because it’s likely that he is teething. He finds that LO also dropped Lovey, and we know how he gets when he drops Lovey. And lastly he turned off the fan because it actually did get pretty cold. Poor baby.
I ended up not falling back asleep and just got up to get ready for work. So of course the rest of the day I’m a zombie. And I can’t believe we jinxed ourselves with our great sleeper. No newborn schedules, please!
So to my friends of newborns, and to all newborn parents out there, cheers to you, because even though I was so tired today, I know you’re ten times more tired than I am!