Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Great Sleep Deprivation Experiment

I am so tired right now I feel like a zombie. I also suspect I will be coming up with more creative metaphors for feeling tired, especially after I have my baby, or as I like to call it The Great Sleep Deprivation Experiment.

Here's the thing: I don't do well on lack of sleep. I just don't. I've always been like that. I usually get between 8-9 hours of sleep. How you might ask? I make sure to go to bed early or sleep in. Sleep is a priority to me, because I know how I am when I don't get enough. When you have a physically tiring job like massage therapy, it's hell if you haven't gotten enough sleep. 

Now that I've gotten pregnant the hours of sleep have increased, but also sort of not. I wake up in the middle of the night more (but not as much as I will in the coming months). I wake up early in the morning and can't fall back to sleep despite laying there for an hour. Today I just decided I couldn't lay there anymore and got up early. I was going to be tired anyway, I might as well get up. 

The kicker is I know this is nothing compared to having a newborn, but I guess I'll learn how to take a nap, right?

Last night I toured the maternity ward at the hospital. It was great. I got a lot of my questions answered, questions I am having a hard time finding answers to (like, how long am I going to be in the hospital after the delivery? Two days, if I don't need a C section. Will I get to keep the baby in the room with me or not? Yes, but there's also a nursery I can check the baby in if I need to sleep or take a shower. It's like a baby library.). I know I can Google stuff, but it all depends on the hospital and polices and then you find this website where people are sharing their horrible labor stories and it makes me want to pull all my hair out. So I have been wary of the Internets and their awesome power of information. 

But still, there are all these nagging questions I somehow must find answers to. Did you ever just not study for a big test? You were lazy and didn't bother. You forgot. Whatever the reason, you're sitting with a huge test in front of you and you are totally unprepared.

That's sort of how I feel right now. A lot of these baby questions have no clear answers to them. Like the pacifier thing. I don't want to shove a pacifier in my kid's mouth every time s/he gets fussy. I don't want a crutch. But on the other hand, I've read in books they reduce the risk of SIDS. How, I don't know. They are just supposed to. 

There's also the drugs during labor thing. I have a very high pain threshold. Very high. My jaw was locked open for three days and I didn't take any of the Percocet they gave me because I took one at the hospital and started hallucinating. I got a second hole pierced in my ears, and one side got infected badly enough to engulf the earring stud. That was a fun conversation. I come home from school and Mom says I've lost an earring. I say no, touching the two earring backs, I haven't. We check my earlobe more closely, and presto! The magic disappearing earring! The doctor had to cut it out of my head, and didn't give me an anesthetic beforehand (he was a swell guy). 

But I so don't want to test this pain threshold thing with natural childbirth. I want something to take the edge off labor pains. I am not on board with a completely natural childbirth. Nothing against those brave souls who have done natural childbirth, but yeah I'd rather not test that pain endurance.

However, I would really rather not have an epidural. I don't like the idea of being numb from the waist down, and the midwife has to tell me when to push. I don't like the possibility of low back pain for the rest of my life. An epidural can also make the baby really sluggish. I want to experience the birth at least a little bit.

See, these are sort of important questions. And they aren't half of the decisions you never realize you have to make. Let the baby sleep in the room in a bassinet with you or not? Circumcision or not? Should I take a breastfeeding class or will the support from the Lactation consultants at the hospital be enough? Also, my best friend's mom was a Lactation consultant for year, so I can get extra help from her.

And our living space! We thought about trying to get a house, but might wait until my husband gets further into training. We have a two bedroom apartment, but the second bedroom is full. My desk, my husband's desk, we have a daybed, two bookshelves and a filing cabinet. We can either put things in storage/consolidate, or check and see how much more a three bedroom apartment would be. 

I actually felt sort of like this when I really got into writing. There were so many agents! Genres! Publishing considerations! Suddenly the entire publishing world opened up it's yawning maw and I was swallowed whole. I am trying to avoid this with the baby. Because this stuff might feel like a big deal, but I know it's not. I'm not going to know what I want to do until I get to that situation most of the time. 

It's very much like writing that first rough draft. There's a lot of trial and error, a lot of doing what seems like a good idea and what feels right.

I just hope the baby turns out better than my first rough draft.

I also hope this post makes sense, because I think I have fallen asleep.

What events have you experienced that you didn't feel completely prepared for?


  1. Hm... I think I was more prepared for childbirth than childrearing. Infancy was exhausting (really, really exhausting - right now, you have the option to nap but later, it will be harder. Though your sleep needs will return to more your pre-pregnant state, you won't get that.) But there are issues you just do NOT expect to have to deal with. And parenting, trust me, will bring up a lot of them. Keep a notebook for things you say that you never in a million years thought you would say. Things like, "No, we don't put peanut butter in the air vent." (Yes, I said that, and just prevented that from happening.)

    There are other things I've had to deal with that I wasn't expecting. Infertility. We thought we did such a great job with contraception. I might never have conceived anyway on our own. That has a host of baggage that you have to deal with, and even reading all the books out there on the topic doesn't prepare you for everything.

    There are other issues I've dealt with feeling totally unprepared, but some I am not going to get into.

    And of course, health issues often surprise us, both our own and those of people close to us.

    And, of course, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

  2. YES! The sneaky Spanish Inquisition is always unexpected!

    Yeah, I am sort of dreading all of the unexpected parent stuff. I like to be prepared. In control. But no matter how many book I read I will never be completely prepared so I should just accept that now.

  3. It's a great life lesson, though, learning to go with the flow.