It’s 2am. I’m sitting in a rocking chair in the corner of our living room.
My shirt is pulled down, nursing bra exposed. I don’t really care at this point.
It’s Monday night. Bunny is 5 days old. Practically to the minute. She’s fast asleep in my lap. We just had another failed nursing session. She really likes to fall asleep while eating.
I’ve been doing everything to keep her awake. EVERYTHING. Nothing is helping.
I haven’t slept for 8 days.
8 days. Not a wink. Ok. One wink.
Not for lack of trying.
In the hospital I was riding the oxytocin high. I stared at her face for hours. I would just hold her endlessly. I didn’t care about sleep. Sleep meant she would go to the nursery. Sleep meant I would miss out on a moment with this miracle.
When day 4 came around the hormone crash kicked in.
The bliss was still there.
But reality had re-entered my radar like a mac truck.
I need some sleep.
When we go to bed for the night, I’m too afraid. Her bassinet is right next to me. Yes – the movement monitor is on. But it’s not enough. I stick my hand through the bars and put it on hers. I need to feel her movement. The monitor is not enough.
Shmerson takes her to the living room. Maybe if she’s not in the same room I can block out my constant need to see her breathing.
I lay in bed, and my body begs to succomb to a few hours of blissful darkness. But as my eyelids droop – I jump up – startled.
Maybe it’s because I still hear her gurgling. The headphones come on. Once again – I drift. Only to jump up second later in a panic.
Something is not letting me sleep. It’s no longer in my control. It’s animalistic. It’s a never ending chemical loop.
I’ve managed to get half an hour total – between 4am and 4:30 am on Sunday night using the following configuration: Bunny is on one cushion on the couch. I’m curled up on the other. One hand on her chest to feel her breathing.
Half and hour of blissful sleep. Until she woke up, and my neck hurt.
Day 5. And it’s 2am. And I know I’m in an endless chemical loop and only one thing will save me: Xan.ax. But I can’t. I’m breastfeeding. Failing miserably. But breastfeeding. I’ll be a horrible mother if I can’t feed my child.
I’ll be a horrible mother.
I look at Shmerson and I burst into tears. Not the sad tears. The kind that are tinged with panic. That can spiral into terror at any moment. He tries to help me gain control.
I just need to sleep. I need to sleep.
I need to sleep.
I go on twitter. He goes on google. We look desperately for a solution. Finally we hit on it – alcohol. I can breastfeed, have a drink, and by the time Bunny feeds again it won’t be a big deal. I’m a lightweight anyway.
I get excited. Yes! Alcohol will do it! Alcohol will make the panic loop stop!
I rouse bunny for another pathetic feeding session – filled with moist towels and foot tickling - begging her to stay awake.
Back to sleep she goes. My glass of cognac awaits.
A blessed glass of cognac.
I hate cognac.
But this will make the loop stop.
I hand Bunny over to Shmerson and drink the entire glass in a minute flat. Then I head to bed.
My eyes droop – my body longs to succumb to the darkness.
And I jump up with a start.
The loop didn’t stop.
Maybe I’ll be able to get another half an hour on the couch.
If my neck can take it.