500, 499, 498, 497 - “Please, just go to sleep.” Chris’s voice comes through the darkness. He must have heard me moving, trying to find comfort in this new and unfamiliar hour of wakening. How many nights have I been up past last call? Too many to count.
The faint smell of spit-up lingers everywhere around me. My nose is on high alert these days, even more than usual. Another sense to assault me and make me think. What’s too much spit-up? Too little? Next feeding time will undoubtedly turn into a research session on my Nook, which has an Internet history that reads like a woman obsessed. Five weeks postpartum and I am running out of places online and in print to find information to ease the ever-changing round robin of questions and concerns.
“I’m doing everything I can here. It’s not working.” My voice doesn’t even sound like me anymore. Just some tortured version of myself that’s worn down and lost.
“Just keep counting. It always worked for me. It will work this time, it has to.” He is so upbeat, so hopeful, but there is a just a hint of terror. What if it doesn’t work? What, then? Partners in crime, we always called ourselves, now partners in insomnia.
496, 495, 494 - If only it were that easy. Why did no one tell me this could happen after I had a baby?
493, 492 - “Please, I don’t understand this. How can you not be sleeping yet?”
491, 490, 489 - This night will never end. How am I going to function with no sleep again? It’s been at least five days so far with less than the minimum 5 hours I know I’m supposed to get. Mom’s down the hall, thankfully, so we’ve got backup. Still, though, I am sure she can hear this latest plea.
488, 487, 486, 485 - “What can I do for you? Are you hungry, thirsty? Hot, cold? Tell me, I’ll do it. Anything, just please sleep. Please.”
484, 483, 482, 481 - I don’t even know the answers to those questions. Heart racing, stomach queasy in depths of my body I never knew existed until a few weeks ago. When will this end? I’ve never wanted to feel the sense of my body relaxing into a pillow quite so much. I used to love this bed; it’s become the place I dread.
480, 479, 478 - “Please, Amanda, you’ve got to try. Please.”
The worst part of all is that our baby sleep soundly, at least for a few more hours, while I cannot. The counting is for me, just as the worries, the questions, and the concerns are for me. Guilt would overwhelm me if I could even think past right now, past this time that is unending, and will never end, I am convinced. And when that sweet little boy wakes up, I will go to him, if I can, and eventually the sun will come up, bringing what I know will be another day of the walls closing in. Of not eating, or sleeping, or worse yet, living within a body that is not mine. My body has been replaced with something completely alien, which starts in the pit of my stomach and rushes out to my fingers and toes. It makes my thoughts cloudy and the tears come.
“I’m sorry,” I barely manage to say the words. All I do is apologize lately. For what, I can’t even begin to describe.
477, 476, 475 - It’s going to be a long night.