So on Tuesday night I had my first proper night’s sleep for weeks. I had been getting desperate – not being able to get to sleep with too much stuff in my head and then waking several times a night and not being able to get back to sleep again. Sometimes the kiddies woke me up, but most of the time, it was just me just sort of being rubbish at a rather basic human function
I never got the whole ‘new baby = sleep deprivation’ thing first time round, because DD was an utter angel, sleeping through from 10pm dream feed to 7am from nine weeks old, and then from 7pm bedtime to 7am wakeup since she was about seven months old. Her recent half-waking after a bad dream – which I gather is pretty common (she’s 3) – is the first time I’ve had to get up in the night with her apart from early breastfeeding and three illnesses. I know, I was extraordinarily lucky. I thought it was my brilliance and being a Baby Whisperer worshipper, until DD came along.
OMG, what a contrast my darling boy is. He’s been bit of a dodgy sleeper since he was tiny, and even though now he is pretty predictable – a long post-lunch snooze, very happy to go to bed at 7, awake at between 6 and 7am, he does cry out in his sleep, and moans in the morning for some time even before he is actually awake.
The results of this enormous shock to my system are many and varied. My body clock is now utterly f***ed, so my ‘sleep window’ – the point where you really do just have to lie down – regularly occurs at inconvenient times like mid afternoon or early evening or midnight. I have aged – for the first time at 36 I think I look my age or older. My skin is grey, the bags under my eyes are not unlike the giant ones you get when you’ve bought something random from Argos, and let’s just say being knackered all the time hasn’t helped my libido. I’ve also been getting increasingly regular palpitations – the skipped beat kind that makes you feel really jittery.
As a former sufferer of bog-standard depression and the particularly crap New Mummy kind first time round, the cumulative lack of sleep since DS was born was again having a rather negative effect on my general ability to be cheery and positive and capable. Mary Poppins and I have not been soul mates recently.
So after a particularly bad couple of weeks when I just hadn’t slept, the palpitations were very close together and constant, and on one occasion I was only asleep from 4am to 6am, I booked an appointment with the doc. Now, my first port of call is usually the health food shop or the alternative therapy clinic, but after trying Nytol and all the usual ‘sleep hygiene’ stuff (milky drink or Valerian tea, warm bath, lavender, clean sheets, early night etc etc), I was desperate, and considering desperate measures. Eye-ee, Big Drugs.
I got a bit tearful telling the doc that I just couldn’t sleep and my heart beats were going mental. He muttered some stuff about anxiety and handed me a scrip for 28 Temazepam. Mother’s Little Helper. I got them from the chemist and scared the living daylights out of myself reading the bit of paper – no wonder they don’t hand them out willy-nilly, they are seriously addictive and the side-effects sound ghastly. I took one 10mg pill on Tuesday night, with trepidation, and guess what? I slept the sleep of a sleepy person. Eight. Full. Hours. Oh yes. The kids didn’t wake, luckily, AND they had a lie in till 7.30
Yesterday I was a different person. The old me. Lots of energy and enthusiasm. Plenty to smile about. Patient and loving. Sociable.
I’m looking forward to another few good nights, and then I think I may be back on track. Either that or turning up on Phil and Holly’s sofa to talk about ‘my prescription drugs hell’…