July 18, 2012 by Gina
As I mentioned in an earlier post, we are expecting our third child in mid-December. We’re really excited about this (of course!) and a bit shell-shocked and terrified too. These emotions despite this baby being as well planned as the other two.
The one thing I am dreading more than anything else with the birth of another baby is the complete exhaustion that I feel after the baby is born. With our now 13-month-old, Getty, this was also my biggest fear and it was well warranted. I was SO tired after he was born and I feel like I just came out of that newborn fog a few months ago.
Let me explain a bit more. I am not blessed with “good sleepers” for babies. Both my sons didn’t sleep through the night (and I mean a six hour stretch at a time) until they were nine to ten months old. I’m not alone in this. Many newborns and infants do not “sleep like a baby”. This is particularly true if the infant is breastfed. Many mothers will attest to this as well, but new studies also show that breastfed babies wake up more frequently during the night than formula-fed babies and also take longer to sleep through the night. I breastfed both of my boys until they were ten months old. My first started sleeping through the night within days of ending the nursing and my second was within a few weeks.
Getty still wakes up every night at about 10:15 and also 4:30 in the morning. I usually don’t have to and don’t want to go in there, but his squawking wakes me up and I have a really hard time going back to sleep. It doesn’t help that my husband also snores often and is also away with the Army frequently so I am fully responsible for days on end. This can be and is exhausting despite help from my family and friends. Nobody, however, can fully take over that mommy role or the mommy alert in the middle of the night.
I myself am a poor sleeper. I always have been. I remember taking hours to fall asleep as a child and it still takes me a long time to fall asleep. Once I’m finally asleep, I wake very easily and have difficulty going back to sleep. So it is not surprising that my children also don’t sleep all that well. You never fully realize how exhausting motherhood can be until you are a mother. It’s a 24/7 job made harder by a lack of sleep, especially during the newborn phase.
So, I’m dreading the exhaustion, weariness and inevitable crabbiness and illness that usually accompany a new baby for me. But, it’s a phase and will get better over time. Once these kids are teenagers, I’ll wish they were up at 5 or 6 am. They may not even realize there are two 6 o’clocks at that age!