I remember when I was in college thinking on occasion that pulling an all-nighter would be a good idea in order to finish a paper or study for an exam. It always seemed like a good idea before-hand. I still seemed like a good idea at 11pm when you made a burger run. But at 3am, it stopped seeming like a good idea. At 3am, it seemed like a downright bad idea, but it was too late to do anything about it. If I went to sleep, I’d get only 2 or 3 hours which often seemed worse than none at all. Each time at 3am, I’d curse the sleep gods and say, “Never again!” Each time.
Having a baby is no a dissimilar experience. The first time, you really don’t know what to expect from those first few nights, despite the countless warnings you receive from friends and family. Like most things in life, experience, not advice, is the best teacher. That said, I looked forward to being up with the Little Miss last night, and letting Kelly get some well-deserved rest.
Those feelings melted away pretty quickly as the night drew on. The Little Miss was generally quiet. I changed a few diapers, burped her a few times, cleaned up some spit-up. I held her and rocked her. And in between, I found it very difficult to get any sleep at all.
You build up some wisdom the second time around. I tried catching snipets of sleep during the day yesterday, 20 minutes here and there. I tried getting some sleep around 9:30pm while Kelly was nursing. But the universe was working against me. Despite having a bed, I wasn’t comfortable. Then, too, I like a dark, quiet room when I sleep and our hospital room is neither. Each time it seemed as if I was finally on the verge of sleep, some device in the room would start beeping or whirring; some nurse would come in to check Kelly’s vital signs, or ask how the baby was doing. It wasn’t until sometime well after 4am that I finally fell into some semblance of sleep.
I sleep fitfully until about 8am and felt pretty bad when I finally woke up. Some food, caffeine and Advil finally helped with that; but seeing and holding the Little Miss helped the most. And so it goes, wash, rinse repeat. Hopefully it will be better tonight. Come on, stop laughing. One can hope.
* Bonus points for science fiction fans who can identify the story from which the title of the post comes. Hint: I’m pretty sure it is the last line of the story.