Friday, October 22, 2010

To Sleep, Perchance To Dream . . .

must. . . sleep
When I was pregnant with Violet I tried to educate myself on all things baby. I read every book I could get my hands on. I quizzed every mom I came in contact with on labor, delivery, breast feeding, diapering, traveling, and mostly: sleep. Not when the baby would sleep. When would I sleep? From everything I'd learned, as soon as I gave birth, I was never going to sleep again. And to say that I enjoy my sleep is a vast, horrible understatement. Plus, as any pregnant woman will tell you, the later it got in my pregnancy the more I craved sleep and yet the less able I was to sleep! Between all the pillows I needed, the hot flashes, the heart burn, the constant need to urinate, the thirst, the hunger, the baby kicking my ribs, my bladder, my husband, or taking up residence in my lungs some nights, sleep seemed to be a long ago memory. And the baby wasn't even out yet.

My dear friend, Micki, who is a labor and delivery nurse and mom of two, got tired of me asking her repeatedly to describe how tired she was. Finally she told me there was no way she could describe it. It's just so all encompassing, she said. It's a tired that you've never felt before -- not in college when you've pulled an all nighter studying for a final, or stayed up partying then gone to class or work. It can't be described. But I wanted, needed a description!

Finally, the day arrived and Violet and was born. We made it home and through those first crazy days of motherhood. I'll admit it. I was heard to say, "When does it get hard?" *ducks flying objects* Because nobody had explained the adrenaline rush to me, or how long it would last. So I had no idea that for like, nine days, I was all hopped up on natural endorphins from the birth. (and a medicated birth at that!) Then reality hit. And I got tired. Tired. Really, really tired. Allow me to tell you how tired I got. Listen carefully. If you are expecting a child, pay attention. I am going to tell you just how tired you will be after your baby is born.

You will be so tired you will be stupid. You will in fact, be a complete and utter moron. I have a pretty darn good college degree. I am quite well educated. I can hold my own in  conversations with attorneys, judges, even a Senator, a former Governor and two Congressmen. But after Violet was born? I forgot her name. 

Really. I was in Target, standing in line and this woman smiled at Violet. She asked me what my baby's name was. I totally blanked. I stared at that woman for a good 15 seconds before I glanced back at Violet and saw that she was wrapped in a blanket that had her name on it. I literally yelled, "Violet! Her name is Violet!" The woman started to laugh and said, "Ahh, new mom. I remember."

I forgot when she was born. Two weeks after she was born. Uh huh.  I was in Target (I'm seeing a theme here) with my sister in law and I saw a friend that I hadn't seen since I gave birth. She saw me with a baby and asked when Violet was born. Again, I totally blanked. I just blinked at her. My sister in law jumped in with the birth date when it was obvious that I was not going to answer. My friend did not have any kids at the time so I can only imagine what she thought.

I forgot who was on the phone, as I was talking to them. And I knew them. They asked a question. I answered. The said something. I said OK. Then said, Uh, wait, who is this again? Even though I already knew who it was. I think I may have even called them.

I took a message for my husband, hung up the phone, turned to give it to him, and forgot what it was.  That is all. That fast.

I had to make people call back and leave messages on the answering machine if they needed my husband to know something. Because I might write it down. But I might not know what I did with the piece of paper.

My husband was mowing the lawn and spilled some gasoline on his clothes and arms. He came inside, dumped the clothes on the floor and jumped in the shower. I wrinkled my nose at the obnoxious smell. Tossed the clothes in the hamper and began lighting candles to get rid of the smell of gasoline. I'm surprised that I survived. No, the house didn't blow up, but my husband sure did. (As was his right!)

The UPS man rang the doorbell and I answered the door with my breast hanging out. Because I'd forgotten to put it away after nursing, that's why. And I was tired. When he left, and I realized what I'd done, and I was annoyed with him.

Any questions?

I was happy to discover that I was a bit more prepared for the tiredness when the next two kids came along. Not that I was less tired. Not at all. I was definately more tired. But I think as we gain experience as moms we learn to function with less sleep. We somehow are able to cope, make dinner, change diapers, do laundry, clean, rock babies, drive kids around and arrange play dates all on less sleep then when we were only parenting one child. That's because we're women. And we rock. 

How tired have you been?