I am perpetually tired. Last year (or was it the year before? good grief, time flies), I chronicled my adventures at the sleep clinic. I went not once but twice, so my sleep could be analysed and they could see why I was never rested. It was determined I have moderate sleep apnea, and so I was given a machine called a CPAP, which is kind of like an oxygen mask but blows pressurized air to help keep me breathing at night, to help me sleep.
I looked forward to getting good nights of sleep and waking up refreshed for the first time in my life. And while my sleep is better, it is certainly not great.
Part of the problem is that I am just not getting enough sleep — because my sleep is so poor, I need more of it than the average bear. But I get up early with Stinkerbelle and so that would mean I need to go to bed earlier — and that means sacrificing the precious few hours of time I have to do my own thing, or to spend with BDH. And I am not sure I want to do that just yet.
Another part of the problem is that I am not fit enough and could stand to lose some pounds. That would definitely help my sleep a bit. But it’s a challenge — I am working on it, but it’s a big challenge. The losing weight part I am working on with improving my eating habits. But getting fit is a bit more difficult, especially in winter. From 6 am until around 10 pm I am on baby alert/duty — so fitting exercise into that time frame, with a child who only catnaps, is tough. I am thinking about possibilities, but will definitely be better equipped when the weather makes taking Her Babyness out for walks more feasible.
But the most annoying part of the problem is stress.
When I was working and I was stressed, or when I was coaching a lot and had lots on the go, I would dream about what was taxing my time and energy. I spent endless nights dreaming about work or volleyball practices or statistics or whatever, and it was as though I had never been to sleep at all. I was exhausted from being mentally “up” all night. And nowadays, I am finding the same problem.
Almost every night, I have variations on the same dream. In my dream, I am asleep in my bed, and someone — usually BDH — comes in and wakes me and asks me to take care of the baby. When we were down east for Christmas, there were nights when the whole family would come in and tell me to take care of the baby. People I barely knew were traipsing in and out and telling me what to do. It was exhausting.
However, most nights it’s BDH saying, “She’s kept me up for hours and I have to get some sleep because I have to work in the morning… could you help me out?” Of course I agree. And then he puts the baby down on the bed and leaves. So then, in the dream, I decide that maybe if I keep her in bed with me, she’ll play quietly and then doze off, and I will get some sleep.
Only, the problem is, in my dream, I may have a plan, but nobody told my conscious self that. So, I will wake up multiple times a night, checking to see that dream-Stinkerbelle is okay, or that she has not fallen out of bed or something. I have woken up and actually been sitting up in bed, reaching around to find her. I have woken up to find myself leaning over the side of the bed, checking on the floor, reaching around on the bedside table… The other night I woke up to find I had actually taken my mask off and had it cradled under my arm on the bed, as though it were the baby.
Worse still are the nights when I dream that she has actually fallen out of bed. Then, I wake up frantic and in a panic, heart pounding, only to find it dark and quiet and that Stinkerbelle is tucked in safe and warm in her crib in her room. But because I woke up in a panic, getting back to a state of deep sleep is a bit of a challenge, if there’s even time before I have to get up. I’m usually just happy if I don’t fall back to sleep and dream the same stinking dream again.
So, yeah, there are nights where, because of this fitful sleeping, it’s as though I am parenting 24 hours a day. I’m sure single parents have some empathy for that, but at least they get some sleep when they DO go to sleep. Me, I’m just parenting in another dimension.