Deprivation

RU had her tubes put in this morning; all went well. Grandma stayed with MeToo while the rest of us got up before dawn to make it to the early appointment.

Before. Dawn.

Did the Wife and I go to bed any earlier the night before? We did not. Did RU come in to our bedroom and wake me up at 3 o’clock in the morning (did you know there is a 3 o’clock in the morning?) just so I could carry her to bed and sit beside her while she fell back asleep? She did. As soon as I got back to my bed did MeToo cry out and need me to find her pacifier and pat her back to sleep? She did. Was the Wife awake nursing during the intervals when I was asleep? She was. (And her being awake nursing is pretty much the routine, of course, but she’s usually able to sleep in until 9 or later.)

We are tired.

The whole thing made me think — once I could think properly, a few hours later — of the lack of sleep that accompanies having a baby.

(By the way, I apologize if this post doesn’t make sense. I am writing about lack of sleep while suffering from it, in order to add verisimilitude. I also will probably not change any spelling errors I catch before posting. Though autocorrect is pretty good, so we might not get any hilarious typos.)

The postpartum period following Z’s birth has been the easiest for me yet, and, I think, for the Wife. I was awake for over 36 hours straight when she went into labor with RU — and then up all night two more times because we had some false starts. Her labor with MeToo lasted a week. There was a night when we were sleeping between her contractions which were coming about ten minutes apart.

With both girls, we went into having a newborn with a huge sleep deficit. The Wife would be up nursing, of course, and in our attempt to practice elimination communication, I was up taking the babies potty or changing a diaper after each feeding.

There’s a lot about those time periods that I don’t remember too clearly. I do remember what sleep deprivation feels like. For me, it becomes almost a physical feeling, like a pain that can only be eased by sleep. I know I develop a noticeable lag in how long it takes my brain to understand stimuli and make decisions based on it — when I start to get that way while driving, it’s almost as if I’m effectively blind.

This time around, we haven’t been as tired going into it. So far, Z isn’t fussy unless he is hungry or needs to be changed/taken potty. Even so, we’ve been going to bed about midnight and MeToo awakens promptly at 7:15 — even when she’s been up during the night. Which only makes us relatively well-rested. Today hit hard and will probably take a while to recover from.

Did you know lack of sleep makes you dumb? It hurts your cognitive abilities on pretty much every level, impairing memory, alertness, rational decision making — and all the other things you’d want your brain to get right when you have a newborn baby to take care of. (A little frightening to think that when your little one is most helpless and vulnerable you’re at your least capable, huh?)

It can also make you briefly forget you have said baby in the car with you when you decide the Starbucks drive thru is too long and it’d be quicker to park and go inside. I did manage a pretty spectacular pirouette right at the door.

The real news today is that RU is much improved. The paperwork says she can’t drive for 24 hours, but I think she’ll be fine. Mommy and Daddy need to have a nap on the way home.