Life Gets In The Way

My youngest is surging toward a wonder week and driving my husband and I completely batty with lack of sleep; our oldest remains unaffected, as preschoolers often are. I obtained roughly two and a half hours of sleep last night. This is not the worst it’s ever been, but it’s the sixteenth night in a row that I’ve gotten four or less hours of sleep and it’s beginning to make me more than delirious, it’s making me see things and hear things and want to cry for no reason. This is not a big wha-wha post: oh, poor me, I have kids and don’t sleep and my husband left me and took the dog and there’s no beer in the fridge and my geetar broke another string…. It’s just a post to explain that #writeonehour every night is hard on nights like tonight.

Nights like tonight I’m done. I’m so tired I can’t read, I’m so tired I can’t think of a single thing to write about, I’m so tired I don’t even want to zone out in front of Netflix. It’s bad y’all. It’s bad in terms of first world problems though, and I know that, and I try to keep that in perspective. This too shall pass. The youngest will make a huge stride forward and sleeping will return to normal and in ten years I’ll have a hard time remembering just how little sleep I managed to function on. I get that.

This is not bad. What’s bad is laying in a hospital room with your toddler, your newborn at your feet, while you do your best to comfort your child who had to undergo emergency surgery after battling the worst kind of pain over and over again and being sent home each time, told it wouldn’t happen again, only to return. That’s bad. To wake up every two hours, crawl down to the bottom of the bed and contort yourself to fit sideways so you can breastfeed your baby where they sleep so you won’t wake them when you’re done because you want to be able to crawl back up to hold your toddler for another two hours before the baby needs your boob again.

The stress of your child in pain. The stress of not crying while your child is in pain. The stress of worrying your child doesn’t trust you anymore because you’ve been telling him what the doctors have been telling you which is that he won’t be back, yet there he is; over and over again. The stress of your child having to undergo surgery. The stress of not crying when they say your child needs emergency surgery. The stress of being in a hospital. The stress of your child being well enough post surgery that they want your child walking, and the screaming sound of his pain when you tell him he has to stand up. The stress of getting him to stop screaming, by sitting with him in his pain, begging him to take deep breaths before he throws up. The stress of telling him he has to walk, and going through the screaming/breathing/pain thing again. The stress of not crying as your child cries. The stress of your child finally recovering well enough to go outside only to step on a bee.

That was one of our worst moments. A moment that lasted nearly a week; months really if you count all the times we went to the hospital only to listen to our child scream in pain as they treated him, again, for this thing that would “never come back.” If you take into account all the trips leading up to the emergency surgery, it was six months of one of our worst moments. I debate whether or not that was our worst moment, and can’t be sure. The extended period of time that it took makes me think it wins. So much collective stress, and even now anytime I hear that particular scream I worry that the thing that can now officially “never come back” is back…why wouldn’t it be when we’ve been told so many times it can’t come back and then it does…like freaking Jaws.

The other debatable worst moment is when our oldest was jumping on the couch, which we tell him not to do, have always told him not to do, but which he was doing. And then he fell and slammed his chin on the edge of the couch, jolting his head backwards, hard. He began to cry and I rushed to hold him and then…nothing. Literally silence. He was floppy. He wasn’t breathing. I was convinced he was dead. I was convinced I was holding my dead child in my arms. My husband and I were both petrified. He demanded I hand the child over, which I did, but worried that I shouldn’t because we shouldn’t be moving him, because it could be a neck injury. My husband, who knows CPR, didn’t even consider doing CPR, because he was also convinced he was holding his dead child in his arms.

And then: magic. Our oldest came to, but wouldn’t or couldn’t open his eyes. And kept saying “it hurts” but couldn’t define where or what. Off we raced to the emergency room. Halfway there he vomited. Within a couple minutes he could open his eyes. Within a few more minutes he was talking as though nothing had happened. We debated going back home, but we were halfway to emergency and I was still terrified something could be wrong. We continued on our way, they did a scan and revealed no hairline fractures of any kind and sent us back home.

And of course we’ve had our share of minor cuts and scrapes and falls and tears and bandaids. We also have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, and clothes on our backs. We have much to be grateful for. There is really very little to complain about, and is sixteen days in a row of less than four hours sleep really that bad? Yes. And no. Would I rather have eight hours of sleep tonight followed by a trip to the ER tomorrow or less than four hours of sleep tonight? I’ll take door number two, please and thank you.

This is our life right now. I knew coming into this NYR about #writeonehour that life might get in the way. And it has on occasion, like when our entire household had the flu and there were two days where I literally did nothing and writing was so far beyond my abilities that I didn’t even notice not doing it. I thought seriously about not writing tonight, about taking the youngest and going to bed and letting him climb all over me as he’s unable to sleep, because even with him climbing all over me I’d still be getting snippets of sleep. I seriously considered it. But then I thought about how things could be worse, how sixteen days in a row without sleep is not so bad, is not something that I should allow to derail me from my goals.

So here we are. You have a bit more insight into my life. As unexciting as it is. And hopefully tomorrow we’ll be back on track for a better post.

~~~That’s one hour~~~

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