Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sleep Junkie

"Anything else I should know?" asks another angelic nurse as she arrives for shift change.

"No . . . oh, yes, I am due for Percoset in another two hours."

"Okay," she chirps, marking the chart, "I'll be back in two hours! If you need it sooner, we can do that a half-hour sooner, so just let me know."

Off goes the nurse, and into the resultant void comes a husbandly grumble: "I'm not sure I am too thrilled about you asking for painkillers."*

"Well," I sighed, "with the last C-section, I was all trying-to-be-brave and I was absolutely miserable. And since nobody handed me a medal for that, I am taking all my painkillers on schedule this time."**

"That's drug-seeking behavior," declared DH, unmoved.***

But he ain't seen-ed nothing yet. Two months down the road, I am in full-on sleep deprivation mode. Dragon Girl is still taking three (3) night feedings, at three (3) hour intervals. Occasionally we get lucky and stretch to four hours. That is a banner night. We remain, however, nowhere near the blissful five hours that He'en enjoyed like clockwork the moment she got home from the hospital: the ones that had me smugly thinking, "I don't know what everyone's complaining about. This newborn thing isn't so hard." (Isn't it great how the universe rubs your nose in snotty comments like that?)

Enter the sleep addiction. I crave sleep. I seek sleep. I stash sleep. I've fallen asleep on the exam table at the doctor's office. I was actually excited to get a filling because I could lie horizontally in the kid-free dentist's chair for an hour.

I sneak a catnap wherever I can. In classic addict style, I'll even fib about it, "Nope, wasn't sleeping," when DH finds me prone on the couch with the preschooler in a Barbie movie coma and the baby firmly tucked into my armpit.

Likewise classically, I am ruthless in my treatment of those who may interfere with my next fix. Poor He'en has only heard half the words of "If I Ran the Circus" because I skip from couplet to couplet on the fly at bedtime.  Even the baby has suffered, since I gave up pumping breastmilk at night to eke out another hour of sleep in the small darks.

In 30 years, at the request of their therapists, I will let my kids read this entry. Until then, they are stuck with a sleep junkie mama.


* DH is charming this way. He isn't too thrilled about my drinking coffee (caffiene), and he has extracted from me a promise never to give the kids soda (chemicals).  Once, in a strange city, I saw him reduced to steering-wheel-pounding fury by my search for a Starbucks: "An entire nation of people! My God, all of them addicted to this stuff!?" I think he did accept a sip of latte when we got there, however.

** Second best advice I ever got: take all the drugs they give you after a C-section. (The first best advice was, "He is gonna propose and you are gonna say yes. You can always change your mind later.")

*** My sister's response to this story was to ask, with deeply gratifying exasperation, "Did you tell him you were twenty-four hours out of abdominal surgery? Of course you are engaging in drug-seeking behavior! You'd be crazy not to. Man, I would have taken those painkillers and then crawled out of that bed and smacked him one. Next time let's take out his appendix and he can lie there with you and we'll see who's asking for drugs! Pffhht!" (Sister Mine is pleasantly sparky.)

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