Going through labour was tiring enough. You'd think you've earned a break. But alas, life can be cruel sometimes and that's not the way the world works. Unless you have a very understanding and supportive partner or a mother who is an angel, it's going to be a challenging time ahead.
The type of mornings where you wake up asking yourself "Who needs an alarm clock anymore?" lay in wait. For when you have the high-pitched shriek of a baby waking you up every couple of hours, sometimes every hour and sometimes even keeping you up for a midnight party, you'll realize that the droning buzz of your alarm clock waking you up before you're ready has become the least of your worries.
The good news is, baby's sleep in the daytime (although things change of course when there are multiples involved). Sleep when your baby sleeps and don't worry about the housework! If you do, before you know it you'll be hearing the sweet sounds of your stirring baby, wondering where all the time went and you'll regret not stealing that nap.
Now, one would think when you have your second, you'd be more prepared for sleepless nights. But once again, unless you have a partner with innards made of gold (or mechanical parts) you'll be in for some even longer nights and days. Eventually the exhaustion settles into a routine though and your body accepts the limited hours of sleep it receives. Although there is no guarantee you'll be functioning at your most efficient, and there will probably be times when you're so tired you could just break down and cry, just remember...this too shall pass.
A personal story of one tired mama
After 56 hours of labour and a few more days in the hospital, I was finally able to return home. Ecstatic to be in my own comfort zone, away from the glare of the hospital lights, the hustle and bustle of prodding nurses, and the ever-steady flow of traffic, sleep was not the farthest thing from my mind, but it ranked way down on the list of things to do.
A few days later, once the initial chaos had subsided, I was granted a moment to rest my heavy head. Now I don't know if it was the result of not sleeping for nearly a week or the residual effects of all the medication I'd sworn I wouldn't take, but when I awoke, I awoke without all my senses intact.
Feeling frazzled and disoriented, too tired to lift my heavy head, I lifted my eyes only, looked at my boyfriend and asked: "Did we just come home from the hospital?"
The look he shot me was warranted but worrisome, and if I hadn't felt so confused it might have even been amusing.
"Baby you're scaring me," he replied.
"Okay," I said, feeling a little annoyed that he hadn't actually answered my question. "But did we just come home from the hospital?" I demanded.
This time I could see the terror in his eyes before he even spoke. "Baby, you're scaring me," he returned.
"Okay," I shot back, now downright irritated that my question wasn't being answered. Hell-bent and determined on getting some answers, I asked yet again. "Can you please just answer me. Did we just get home from the hospital?" I tried once more.
"Yeess" he answered hesitantly.
"Oh" I replied, my anger completely appeased and my stupid curiosity jumping in to replace it.
"Why were we there?" I asked.
That's right. Not only had I somehow forgotten we'd been at the hospital, but the fog that was surrounding me was so thick I couldn't figure out why we'd been there.
"Uh, we had a baby!" he answered, the full sense of 'Duh!' seeping through his voice, showing in his exclaiming head shake.
Although my initial reaction was a slight annoyance at the fact that he'd said 'we' had a baby, considering when you're talking about labour and childbirth, it's kind of a one woman job. Nonetheless, I shook it off and continued on my search for answers.
"Oh" I replied again, and without thinking asked: "Where is it?"
That's right. I didn't know if I'd had a boy or a girl! My mind was still so fuzzy, left somewhere between the land of dreams and the land of awakening, being held hostage by my exhaustion. Now in all fairness, my daughter's tiny body was hidden by the arm of the couch, if it hadn't been for that perhaps the whole absurd conversation would have never taken place.
At this point, rather than answering me, although I'm sure he threw a few more 'you're really scaring me's' at me, he lifted his arm and showed me our daughter.
The disconcerting fog loosened it's grip on me and darted away, leaving me to chuckle at the silliness of it all as my memories came whooshing back to me.
The moral of my story: Never underestimate the power of exhaustion.