Tiredness can kill

I would like to be able to tell you how much sleep I got last night but it is difficult to quantify. Thirty seconds here, 5 minutes there. If I was lucky I may have got a 30 minute stretch but its all just a blur. In-between my attempts to sleep were the interludes of a screaming snotty, teethy, coughy baby. I tried everything known to desperate sleep deprived mums around the world…short of chucking him out of the window (I did very briefly consider it). As the night wore on I was like a Zombie trying to measure out 5  mil spoonfuls of Calpol in half light and spilling the contents of teetha sachets everywhere (It looks remarkably like cocaine but judging by my baby’s reaction, doesn’t have the same effect).

“For the love of God” I cried to no-one in particular APART FROM MY HUSBAND SLEEPING BLISSFULLY NEXT TO ME. It doesn’t help to wake him up though. Unless you want to repeat everything you have just tried but with a critique of how you performed it  (grrrr). “Just leave him” says my  husband and rolls over again. My husband has very bad hearing, he has had it since a child. He wears a hearing aid during the day and then when he needs to shut out the world he just takes it out – simples. I have slightly wonky hearing too, but not as bad. My right ear can only hear loud bangs and explosions. So If I lie on my left side I can muffle my left ear, which is almost as good as putting ear plugs in. When the ENT specialist talked about my right ear’s capabilities, he didn’t say that it would still be possible to hear a crying baby when I cover my left ear. For the first time ever I envied my husband’s hearing loss.

You can’t just leave him to cry. The rule is leave a crying baby for no more than 15 minutes and if the crying persists then go in and check. Well my son was just warming up in those 15 minutes. So I take him out of the cot convinced he is dying of something excruciatingly painful given the noise he is making. Once in my arms he instantly stops, makes a few big heavy sighs and hiccups and then gives me the biggest gappy toothy grin, aka Elton John. Almost all is forgiven. I rock him in the chair a while and then he finally waves the white flag. I glance at the clock – 3am.

Then I hear another noise, little voices whispering. Lack of sleep can do funny things to you. However it turned out to be my daughter and her sleepover buddy. “Girls be quiet” I hiss. They quite wisely obey. I then go back to bed fall to sleep immediately and then awake again to my baby boy’s cries – its still dark, still night and as I glance at the clock I realise its only 3:05. Then it all started again. When morning came I was like a vampire shying away from the light. Hubby was up feeding the little monster and fending off cries of “We’re hungry” from my daughter and her friend. I just about managed to get myself upright out of bed but then I was out of sorts the whole day. At breakfast I dropped my spoon and then hit my head on the table as I stooped to pick it up. At the toddler group I was in a corner being as anti-social as a hermit necking back espressos. I managed to grab an hour and a half’s nap in the afternoon while my daughter played and trashed the place and my baby boy FINALLY slept.

I am glad I have written this because I can read it if I ever get broody again. I would kill to have a good night’s sleep – so it’s right to say tiredness can kill!!!    The best night’s sleep I had was last weekend when I slept on the sofa after a couple of glasses of wine. Maybe I will try that again………

I am blogging every day for Unicef – please visit my fundraising page if you are able to support me. I am aiming for £1 a day.

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Sleep deprived by baby? Jump on a motorbike

Yes I haven’t slept for 2 nights courtesy of my cold filled bambino boy. Karvol, Calpol and lots of steam filled bathrooms trips are only a temporary fix for a bad case of man flue and teething. Recognising the lack of sleep I am getting, my husband suggests it might be an idea to go out on my motorbike to ‘let my hair down’.

Why not? I say to myself but am stroppy when I put my biking stuff on as it takes so long to get ready just to whizz round the block (about a 6 mile round trip) which includes a fabulous straight road that I think has been there since Roman times (I wonder if the Romans were thinking about us bikers when they built them all those centuries ago). The wind was buffeting my helmet rather than blowing through my hair but it felt good and was convinced I was breaking the land speed record but when I glanced down at the speedometer it only said 80! I was insulted!

As I approached the last 2 miles tiredness hit me like a train and I knew I had to turn back from home. My body was willing but my tired brain waved the white flag. My trainer once told me how he nearly feel asleep on the bike once on his way home. He only woke up when his left hand slipped off the handlebar. I don’t know how that is possible. I don’t think I could ever be that relaxed on a bike. At every corner you have to think about the right line to take, while minding out for kamikaze drivers T-boning you and 6 foot deep pot-holes.

But boy did it feel good and strangely made me approach my 3rd night of no sleep with a little bit more zest. I thoroughly recommend it.

My husband is now talking about chopping my bike in and upgrading it to something with a little bit more ‘poke’ for him. But a) While my moments on a bike are rare, they are very very important to me when I do snatch a few moments away from work, home and family ….and b) Once you know how to ride a bike you don’t ever want to ride pillion again. I remember when I was struggling to manoeuvre the bike for the Mod 1 test when you have to push it from one coned off area to another. One of my instructors could see I was struggling so he said ‘give up and ride pillion’ and I told him to fuck off – he smiled and that’s what made me pass.

A bit of a short one today and I missed yesterday because I rode on my bike instead of blogging so another pound in the pot for Unicef. If you enjoyed reading this short but (I hope) sweet post please could drop £1 to Unicef.

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How long can you go without sleep?

Well, I’m knackered – first post since weekend of ‘Tree Festing’ and have a tiredness that won’t go away – feels like a cloud hovering over my head. No matter how hard I try to encourage the cloud away – positive energising thoughts, exercise, caffeine, more caffeine…. – it just won’t go away. A bit like the clouds we have experienced in the UK this ‘Summer’.

This tiredness can best be described as a fog of sleep deprivation accumulated through the months and years of being a parent. If I had known that 8am would be a luxury lie-in, then I would have relished the 12 noon wake-ups when I was a student a whole lot more. Back then my boyfriend and I knew we were being self-indulgent (stir at 12, watch a bit of TV in bed, maybe a bit of sex, followed by an all-day breakfast at Goodbodys in Plymouth)

But of course we didn’t have a clue that we would experience the complete opposite in our 30’s ( woken up at 5am by baby, settle baby, up again at 6am, settle baby, up again at 7am, feed baby milk, fix breakfast for 6 year old, put washing on, feed dogs, do dishes, prepare baby’s porridge, glance at clock…8am time for coffee to keep going for at least next 2 hours) …….Apparently the caffeine kick only lasts 20 minutes.

I just don’t look at the back of my eyelids enough any more so guess my over indulgent days as a student were simply preparation for sleep deprivation in later life.

It is sod’s law that once you finally get into a situation where you could potentially have a good sleep it just don’t happen. Like this weekend in a gorgeous hotel room – both children fast asleep – some blokes across the street have an all-night conversation at the top of their voices and the hotel bed, while fabulous to look at, is one up from sleeping on a bed of nails. Either that or my princess tendencies detected several pea like lumps under the mattress.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of our stay in Gloucestershire, but I could have done with a bit more energy before embarking on the beautiful Westonbirt Arboretum trails and the Tree Fest – highlights were the Bateleurs performing in the Big Top and the chainsaw carving. Best of all was standing under the mighty and majestic trees in the arboretum. Some huuuuoooge Douglas Firs – their presence in the UK made all the more amazing an admirable because of the fate of the man who introduced them, David Douglas, who came a cropper when looking for rare tree samples in Hawaii at the tender age of 35 and was trampled to death when a wild bull landed on top of him after falling into a cattle pit. I will never look at a Douglas Fir in the same way again……..or cattle pits….if I ever come across one….which I hope I don’t.

A few more quid donated to Unicef during my downtime over the weekend. Back to you now – if you like reading this post please donate £1 to Unicef – see my fundraising page.

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