Sunday, May 3, 2009

Can You Die From Lack of Sleep?

Last week was the worst week of my life with Thursday taking top billing as Worst Day of My Life. I'm talking nervous breakdown, bust-out-the-straight-jacket bad.

Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating...sort of. Let me clarify. It was worst week/day of my nocturnal life. The Evil No-Sleep Baby (technically a toddler now) struck again Monday-Saturday. Thursday we felt the worst of his wrath when he literally did not sleep for more than a half-hour stretch at a time.

Teething. Allergies. Congestion. Gas. All of the above? Whatever the culprit was, he was not a happy camper. By Thursday, I had lost my mind.

It was 3 a.m. that fateful night and No-Sleep hadn't slept since 10:30 p.m. He went down as usual at 8 p.m., but awoke two hours later. That was it. After getting up for the fifth time that night(and the umpteenth time that week), I found myself in the family bathroom screaming to the heavens, "Why? Why? Why?" My husband rubbed my back as I rubbed my poor puffy allergy-ridden and sleep-deprived eyes. "I can't do it anymore! I just can't," I sobbed. I had lost all perspective and had turned into an exhausted, angry, frustrated mess.

"I haven't slept in four fucking years!!!" I screamed maniacally.

On a related note, if there is any advice I can give to people contemplating having kids, it's this: Enjoy. Your. Sleep. I had no idea about the alarming degree of sleep deprivation that parents of young children go through while still having to maintain the guise of being good, productive mommies and daddies. I mean, I knew there was going to be no sleep early on, but I had no idea about the amount and duration of said sleep deprivation. Or, that it would unglue, unhinge and destroy me in such a methodical and dramatic fashion.

"Go lie down, honey," my husband said calmly. "I'll deal with him for the night."

"I'm just not cut out for THIS," I yelled.

"I'm not strong enough for THIS," I sobbed.

"I'm not going to make it through THIS," I howled.

He shuffled me off to our bedroom/makeshift psych ward where I went back to bed in a zombie-like state. I lay there for several minutes and listened to my husband whispering to our 16-month-old in a calm, hushed tone. Finally, my eyes shut.

They stayed sealed shut for several hours. I woke up groggy, but sane. The temper-tantrum I threw the night before seemed like a hazy dream. I found my husband in my son's room, asleep in the rocking chair. Jack, passed out in his arms, was creating a pool of drool on my husband's forearm.

I smiled and went back to bed. I'd made it. I. Was. Alive. Lack of sleep hadn't killed me after all. Well, at least not yet...

PS -- That's how I found No Sleep the next day in the playroom at 8:30 a.m. It was nowhere near his nap time.


pink and green mama MaryLea said...

Sleep deprivation has been my mommy tipping point every time. It's the thing that makes me crack - I guess that's why they use it to torture people because it works. The one thing I always try to keep in perspective at moments like that (and during the stomach flu) is my mantra "this too shall pass" One day, you will sleep again - in the meantime take naps if you can or trade off with your sweet hubby like when the baby was a new baby. Good luck. Glad to know I'm not the only one who has mental breakdown's during the rough patches of parenting-- I think you would have to be a robot not to!

Tatiana @ said...

Poor little man. It was probably a rough week on him, too.

I am really looking forward to when my husband can "take care" of our daughter during the nights. Right now I cherish our nighttime nursing so much (she's only 11 weeks old), but I can see in a year or so that, you know, MAYBE I want to sleep through a night ;)

It's great that in the morning you had more perspective. We have SUCH a tough job as parents, and the last thing we should be doing is beating up on ourselves -- yet it's often the first thing we do.

Nanny Deprived said...

I can totally relate! Good luck.

Cristie Ritz King said...

I met friend of yours the other night (in New Jersey!)and we made the small world connection of Silver Spring and you guys. Anyway, she told me you had a blog so I came here to find you and tag you in a post that has come to me. At first, (honestly)it was because I am a new blogger and don't know many people to tag. But after reading this, I'm tagging you because you are freakin' hysterical! I only wish I didn't have to move to New Jersey to figure out you were here. I will send everyone I know here because I am still wiping tears away from laughter. Also, maybe a little terror tear because my third (and last) also falls into the "no sleep" category-for 2 and a half years now. So, I feel your pain.
Love, love, love this Blog!