“People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one.” -Leo Burke
A lot of experienced parents warned me about how tiring a baby would be. They told me how I should cherish my sleep, and even try to rest up extra in the days before my baby’s arrival. I listened and nodded my head as they told me these things. Now that baby Brooke is here, I have a new appreciation for how tiring babies are. I can see experienced parents nodding, grinning and chuckling as I write this. I expected to be sleep deprived, but I did not realize that babies actually practice sleep terrorism.
Our first night together, Brooke slept in 3 hour chunks. I had signed up for this deal expecting I would essentially get the same chunks of sleep as the wee one. Wrong. Brooke is a sleep terrorist.
We laid down at 1am. I was tired but extremely happy and satisfied. About 15 minutes later just as I was drifting off to neverland: BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. It was a monitor in another room. I drifted back to sleep. 2 minutes later: BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. Apparently, the previous BEEPing was in my room. I didn’t know why there was BEEPing. Back to sleep for 2 minutes, more BEEPing. I would think BEEPing machines in hospitals would draw a crowd. I’m poised to hurl this one out the window and just as I reach to unplug this silly machine a nurse arrives. She tells us that Adrienne’s blood pressure is fine. No more BEEPing, so it’s back to sleep.
Under my warm covers, about 15 minutes go by when: WHA, WHA, WHA, sniffle, sniffle. I bolt upright faster than any man has ever bolted out of bed. A lesser man would most certainly have pulled a muscle getting up so quickly. Baby is crying, must check to make sure she is ok. Baby is fine–never even blinked. I take a few breaths, rearrange my blankets and back to sleep I go.
“Mrs. Sutton, how is your pain?” I hear 20 minutes later as a nurse comes to check on Adrienne. I groggily prop myself up in order to fullfil my role as “support person.” Quickly, it’s back to sleep.
10 minutes this time. A nurse is here, again. My mind is so confused. I thought a nurse was just here. Another nurse? She is asking about pee, poop, feedings, sleep times. I tell her I can’t remember the last time I did any of those things. She reminds me that she is Brooke’s nurse, not mine. Adrienne and I are like drunken sailors trying to answer this nurse’s questions. Finally, someone remembers every action of this sleep terrorist is on the iPad.
My head hits the pillow, and I am out. Until Adrienne needs a drink of water. It couldn’t have been more than 7 minutes. I’m supportive; I get her the water. Back to sleep.
Did I mention that I have 2 of the thinnest blankets ever, and my wife has the thermostat set at “meat locker?” My head is under the blankets.
Crying. Brooke needs to be fed. I’m up fast. What am I suppose to do exactly? I’m dazed and confused. My mind is twisting all over itself trying to figure out what to do to make Brooke stop crying. Finally, I ask myself, “Why are you staring at the wall?” I’m not sure, but it seems to snap me out of my funk.
Brooke is fed; I am to call the Caribbean nurse to have Brooke taken to the nursery to end this torture. I call the nurse’s number–an Irish women picks-up. My mind can’t take this! I figure if I just tell her who I am and my room number, she will figure out how to get my baby back to the nursery. She scolds me that she does not deal with babies. I ask if I dialed the wrong number. She responds with the equivalent of “Duh!” Adrienne encourages me to call the nurse again, but at this point I have had enough of the Twilight Zone and resolve to return Brooke myself. No sooner have I made up my mind than the Caribbean nurse is in the room telling me how she will take Brooke for me. Wait. What? How? I look at the nurse and back at Adrienne. “What is going on here,” is all I can mutter as I cover myself and rush to sleep.
Finally, I lay down for a few minutes to reflect on the craziness of the day. I turn over and suddenly a sharp pain in my abdomen. I flinch and return to my back, which hurts my abdomen even more. I have pulled a muscle. I can’t sleep.
The sleep terrorist is winning.