If you’re looking for me, I’m probably watching the sun come up.
At this point in his young life, I know we can’t expect our newborn to sleep through the night . . . or even for a few solid hours. Especially my 10-week-old preemie, who is actually two weeks old when adjusted for his early arrival.
But is the idea of five hours of unbroken sleep a beautiful fantasy?
Oliver’s schedule can be somewhat flexible, now that he’s getting bigger, but he generally eats every three hours. Spencer and I took turns with the feedings at midnight, 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. when I was home, but I’m strictly on the 3 a.m. shift on our work days.
Sometimes Ollie falls back asleep after that feeding . . . and sometimes he doesn’t.
Sometimes I fall back asleep after that feeding . . . but often? I don’t.
I think it’s a combination of middle-of-the-night overthinking and listening to every whine, gurgle and hiccup our infant is making. Oliver sleeps in a bassinet in the corner of our room, recently moved from right beside the bed. When he first came home, I was up constantly to check his breathing — like every anxious parent — and have since released some of those nerves, but am still on alert for anything that seems amiss.
I’m okay if I fall asleep before Spencer and Ollie. In a quiet, dark room, it doesn’t take long for exhaustion to pull me under. But when I’m roused by his cries for the 3 a.m. feeding and get up for the half hour or more it takes him to finish his milk, I’m finding it harder and harder to go back to bed myself.
How can I be so tired . . . yet unable to rest? It’s torturous. After Ollie finished his bottle around 4 a.m., I should have collapsed immediately. But even with my little guy actually settling himself down, I was staring at the ceiling feeling the minutes tick by.
I’ve quickly realized I can’t do the math. Initially, I became obsessed with the mathematics of sleep: as in, “Well, if I go to bed right now and Ollie sleeps for a few hours, I’ll get three hours now and maybe an hour later, possibly two . . .”
And when that didn’t happen, I would calculate how much I actually got while waiting for the Keurig to spring to life. And the answer was just really depressing.
Spencer is so wonderful, and we really take turns with these nighttime misadventures. Parenting is a shared contact sport at our house. But at the end of the day, if it comes down to Spence or me, I try to let him sneak in some extra shut-eye. I know he’s just as worn out as I am . . . and has to go to work even earlier.
So at 5 a.m. this morning, rather than spend another few restless hours in bed before I had to get up, I decided to try and make the most of that time.
Oliver was fast asleep, of course. Because why wouldn’t he be — then? So I dragged my laptop upstairs with a fresh cup of coffee and settled in.
I wrote this blog post. Answered emails. Placed a Thirty-One order before the party closed. Uploaded some photos, replied to Facebook messages, perused some books on Goodreads.
And away from the digital world? Well, I eventually squeezed another few ounces of milk into Oliver’s reluctant, fussy tummy. Got myself showered, dressed and makeup-ed. Packed my lunch and his bottles. And then, my crowning achievement: I got dinner — this tomato basil chicken stew — in the Crock Pot.
It feels like I’ve lived a full day before I even left for the office.
Better than tossing and turning for hours? Definitely.
But let’s hope for a better night tonight.
Even coffee fanatics have their limits.