I feel like I spend the majority of my life in a dark room. The blackout curtains are closed, white noise is blasted, the baby is swaddled tightly and fed and I'm trying to get him to sleep.
Or, it's the middle of the night, I sleepily wake up and I hear the familiar squawks and sighs which escalate into 'I'm hungry!' cries. I switch on the very dimmed light, look at my phone and sigh and want to cry- he's only been asleep 1 or 2 hours and he's hungry AGAIN.
It's daytime again and it's time for his nap but because I was distracted with the toddler (the other small child has needs too), he is overtired. I am rocking and shh-ing in the dark room, all the while the toddler is running in and out wanting attention too.
Friends tell me their babies woke 2 hourly until they were one or two. I inwardly shudder and feel sick at the thought of that long without sleep. Other friends with babies the same age share that their baby 'slept through!' or 'slept 7-3am!' I am happy for them and wistfully remember that one time he slept 6 hours. What a dream.
Everything we could try, we have tried. We have got him onto a good daytime routine with the help of a sleep consultant, but that has hardly improved the night wakes. The routine says 'feed at 10pm, then baby will sleep till 4 or 5am.' Yea right!
We've tried to 'resettle between sleep cycles' to the high heavens, I've whispered 'shhhhh' more than I care to remember lately. Dummy, bottle, burping- tried it.
We've seen a lactation consultant who has helped teach me how to get him to feed better, and to get the fattier milk, to help him sleep longer. It hasn't helped much.
Even though I know it's ridiculous, I nostalgically remember when the toddler was a baby. She was tube fed, and my memory takes away all the bad bits, and reminds me how we could feed her in her sleep, make sure she was completely full, and she would sleep through! Oh those days....
I know it's bad when I'm remembering that time fondly.
I'm so tired and focused on the routine that even when I have an opportunity to socialise, I just don't have the mental strength. This just furthers the 'hermit' feeling I have. I can't talk to 'real people' right now- my brain is too fuzzy with sleep routines and tiredness. I wish I had an interest in the wider world but right now I can't comprehend it.
And so, I'm just another sleep deprived mother, writing about sleep deprived woes. I know this will pass, but I also know sleep dep (see, I know it so well I even have a short name for it) is used as a form of torture. And I can see why. Signing off now, time for another coffee.