Sunday, January 27, 2008

Running on Empty

Prior to becoming parents people delude themselves into thinking that the whole sleep deprivation thing is overblown. Take me for example. I figured that I had gotten through college, law school, and my first two years as an associate at a law firm with plenty of sleepless nights so this baby thing would really not be that big a deal. I used to think that after being a sales manager with the entire western third of the state of Tennessee that I knew what it was like to be running on empty. Hours of travel in a lovely Ford Taurus across back country roads leading to podunk towns and then having to be charming and vivacious at each stop along the way, eventually getting home after dark and collapsing at the kitchen table - now that was hard, right? What a fool I was.

As much as I hate to say it, I have a helluva time recalling with any detail the first three months of Cora's life. As I've mentioned 110 other times, Cora was EXTREMELY fussy - she had colic. On top of that she had reflux and milk protein intolerance. If she wasn't sleeping, she was screaming (and sometimes she'd even cry out in her sleep). Getting her to sleep was a chore in and of itself. Even once she was asleep there was no peace. Apart from checking every 15 minutes to make sure she was still breathing (neurotic new mom), I lived in constant fear of every small noise that came from the monitor - sure that she was waking up and the cycle of screaming would start all over again. God made our children cute only so we would not harm them at 3:00am.

Those three months finally passed, the colic eased, we got her on a hypoallergenic (aka freakin expensive) formula and apart from a few wake-ups to be plugged back in each night (paci please mom) we've been doin alright. Or had been.... Last night, I had my monthly MNO (or Mom's Night Out for those of you not in the know). I stayed out "late" - until almost 10:30 (woah) since I figured it was time to let go of my ideas that my child simply could not survive for more than 2 hours without me. My friend dropped me off at my house and I silently crept in the back door. Once I got inside I noticed every light in the house was on, the TV was blaring, hubby was nowhere to be found and I could hear Cora screaming upstairs. As I was hurriedly taking off my coat an exasperated hubby peeked around the upstairs corner. He let me know she had gone down at 6:30, slept about 2 hours and had been up fussing and crying since. He had, after two hours, a bottle, a changed diaper, and infinite rocking, given up and was letting her cry in her crib. I ran upstairs, changed out of my going out clothes into some PJs and ran to scoop her up out of her crib simply overwhelmed with guilt that I had hadn't been there when she needed me.

I held and rocked Cora (ok and yes gave her some Tylenol - hey I'm not above better living through modern chemistry) for an hour. I finally got to bed for the night around midnight. She woke up four times overnight and twice needed to be rocked back to sleep (which hubby thankfully took care of). By 4:30 she was trying to get up for the day. I coaxed her back down for another hour but by 5:45 she was done playing nice. Since it was my "morning" I crawled out of bed, stumbled around for my sweats in the dark and plodded down the hall to get little Coco wondering how far I'd get on 5 hours of broken sleep. Once I got into her room I realized what had been wrong - her nose was plugged solid and as soon as I picked her up she started into a coughing fit. A cold. *sigh* Great. Apart from feeling overwhelmingly bad for her I couldn't help feel bad for me too. This was gonna be a long day on top of a sleepless night with a cranky baby.

For the most part today hasn't been as bad as it could have been, and I have to admit that Cora is a pretty good 'sick baby' - I've heard horror stories of much worse. But I'm back in that maternity leave "fog" that I was so overjoyed to have left behind. I haven't gone out in mismatched shoes, or tried to call someone using the TV remote, or walked into the men's restroom in a public place (all of which were post newborn events) so that's a plus. But lets just say I'm not at the top of my game nor am I looking exactly adorable (screw the shower - that takes time and energy). Thank God it was Sunday and I didn't have to try and get through a work day.

Tonight Cora went down pretty easily after being miserable and fighting naps all day (I guess its a little hard to rest when you can't breathe) so I am praying with every tired fiber of my being that this is a precursor to a quiet and happy night but reality tells me otherwise. So if tomorrow morning you happen to see a news story about a crazy woman who tried to park her car inside the front foyer of Allied Insurance just quietly turn the channel and think "there but for the grace of sleep go I."


NETT said...

Hope Cora feels better soon. I know all about "the fog." The other day I tried to make it to a movie and dinner and got the ETA text.

FlippyHolz said...

Thanks! Its only 10:00 and we've been up with her 4x now rocking her back to sleep. Poor thing just can't breathe laying down. We've got the Vicks on her feet and in her warm mist vaporizer. Her room smells like a Eucalptus forest. Its gonna be a long night and another foggy day tomorrow. :)

Copper Dog said...

What you don't understand is that not all of us were this misguided. You wonder why your not that much older sister doesn't yet have kids (apart from the not having a husband thing) - I know better. No sleep. Lots of crying and diapers. And that's all before the terrible teen aged years. I'd never make it through.