Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Goodbye Darkness, My Old Friend

I've read and been informed repeatedly that, once my son is born, my wife and I will pine for the days where we slept even four hours at a time. 

I've been told by desperate, haggard, young parents how "You have no idea what tired is" and "You never imagined you could be this tired." 

When relaying their testimonials, these people are typically wearing expressions of immense pain, as if they're describing an excruciating surgery of some kind. There's wincing, deep breathing and eyes that alternate between bulging and squinting. I have, quite literally, heard veterans speak of war zones with less panic in their voices. 

Sleep is easier once they're a little older. Right? 
So, when our little guy is born, the inevitable hits and our sleep starts to fall by the wayside, neither Mrs. Blackwell nor I can say we weren't warned. And, as a person who truly loves, loves, loves his sleep, this is going to be a particularly tough new reality.

Fortunately, Mrs. Blackwell and I are already getting acquainted with less continuous sleep. As of the past four weeks, we are far too frequently settling for interrupted, fragmented states that fall somewhere in the netherworld between sleep and semi-consciousness.

We knew that the third trimester (today is week 31 by the way) would be tougher for her to sleep. But, somewhere along the way, my body took that to heart and decided "To hell with this, I'm waking up too."

There doesn't seem to be any pattern nor any justification for this shift. In the middle of the night, the house can be pin-drop quiet and, for some unknown reason, I wake up. It's one of life's cruelest ironies that getting back to sleep is most difficult when that's all you want to do. 

Now, that's not to say I haven't had company. Mrs. Blackwell is frequently awake when I find myself unable to sleep at 3:30 a.m. I've interrogated her with regard to the possibility that she is, some how, some way,  waking me up to share her sleepless misery. 

She swears she is not, and I believe her    for now.
I'm told babies can, on occasion, be loud.

This trend has forced me to look within for ways to tap into calmness, find a happy place and slip back to sleep. 

Counting down from 100 in increments of three or seven. Trying to think of the U.S. states I've been in, naming state capitals or tracing back Stanley Cup winners as far as I can.

These have been, on occasion, successful tactics but, hardly reliable. 

I am sure there are Zen Buddhists, Kabbalah practitioners or pharmacists who could offer their recommendations on how to train you to sleep whenever you so chose. That said, if my body wants to be awake, maybe it's right.  

And if I can't enjoy the sleep, I can certainly enjoy the quiet    for now. 

1 comment:

dadinlaw said...

Blackwell, suggestion for returning to sleep quickly.
When you wake up in the middle of the night, DON'T look at the clock. After all what difference does it make what time it is? Once you realize this and discipline yourself not to look at the clock you'll find yourself returning to a state of peaceful bliss much more quickly.