“I don’t think I can do this for much longer…” I told my dad over the phone today, and he was laughing at me before I even finished the sentence. Every parent, he told me, has said that. He then told me if gets better, and I told him that he was a liar. If it didn’t get better, he said, no one would ever have children.
For his first five weeks of life, Soren “slept” in a bassinet next to my side of the bed in our bedroom. During weeks one and a half he slept an hour at a time. He would have slept longer if we let him but some lunatic lactation consultant convinced us to wake him every two hours and shove a syringe and feeding tube into his mouth. Week two we spent in isolation at Seattle Children’s Hospital…not a lot of sleep was happening since he had doctors walking in and prodding him every few hours. Back at home, weeks four and five he slept fitfully, waking often to eat, and when he did manage to sleep I usually woke him up with the loud thrumming of the breast pump or one of my many midnight refrigerator raids. Week six, after a particularly terrible night (he only slept two hours) I finally set him down in his big baby crib in his own room, turned on the baby monitor, and collapsed into bed at 8 in the morning. Four hours later I woke refreshed and amazed. Huzzybee and I made plans to return the bassinet to the lovely lady who lent it to us.
Now it is week eight. Today, after weeks of sleeping soundly from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. in his own big baby crib, my little Crabcake decided to enact a sleep strike. No night sleep, no naps. In tears, I called my husband and begged for an explanation (he had none, of course). Well-meaning, experienced parents assured me that he will grow out of it (they are liars). To women who are pregnant now I am going to echo the advice that I received (and never took): get a lot of sleep now. You cannot comprehend how difficult life will get after your baby arrives.
Soren and I both spent the rest of the day crying and not sleeping together. Finally, this evening at 9 p.m. I placed my drowsy little baby in his crib, shut the door, and listened to the silence. The silence was frightening. “Is he dead?” I asked Huzzybee. Huzzybee peeked into the baby’s room, “nope”, he said. I let out a sigh and sank into the couch. Five minutes later, the baby woke, and the sleep strike continues…