It’s been a long four days since my 36 hour birthing-assist-bender with no sleep. My body and mind really struggled through the last few hours of that period. I had no clue just what sleep deprivation could do to you, or me.
I was curled up in a corner, on the floor of my bedroom at one point, sobbing. For a multitude of reasons, most of them completely irrational and some warranted. My head thumped, probably from the hours of crying but helped along by the my brain shutting down. My heart thumped, palpitations caused by anxiety perhaps or again, my body shutting down from being so sleep deprived. My eyes resembled piss holes in the sand, all red and sore from pushing a tissue into them.
When I think about what my body has been through in my life, I wonder how the fuck I am still here. I’ve endured two natural births of large babies. The first a 25 hour labor birthing a 9lb 6oz baby boy and then 20 months later a 9 and a half hour labor resulting in a 10lb 7oz sack of potatoes aka my baby boy. Either one of those births should have turned me inside out! I’ve been in car accidents where I probably should have been thrown through the windscreen when our car rammed into the side of a 1-tonne tray truck. I even think fear has nearly made my heart pop when a huge windstorm went through Victoria and we were in an exposed area camping, trees snapping like pencils all around us. Of course all these moments don’t seem a lot until you put them all together.
Going back to the sleep deprivation, it’s not hard to understand how one gets to that point. I mean, when you’re so wired and excited about an imminent birth or what ever else is driving the need to stay awake, you begin to understand how benders happen when it’s drug induced. How easy it is to just keep going. My drug was adrenalin. I kept going, so too did my sisters.
Before I got to the fetal position in the corner stage, I went through a whole other series of stages. The weary stage; needing more caffeine because I recognise I’m tired but can’t sleep yet, so you fill up with caffeine which in turn is fueling my coming anxiety. Before you know it you’re in the middle of Wired Stage; running purely on adrenalin and excitement, head buzzing, you forget you’re tired which throws you deep into the Second Wind Stage; the I’m not tired at all now because you’ve passed that point of the ’15 minute power nap could save your life’ campaign. The Second Wind can last a while, it pushes you through to the I Really Need a Nap Stage; where you could either sit down and that’s it, goodnight senorita, but in my case I needed to drive the hour and a bit home yet and sleep wasn’t an option. I loaded myself with a double Maccas espresso and headed the back way home, stopping at my Besties to refuel for the remainder of the trip.
Sitting at her table Thursday morning our chatting kept me lucid. I probably bored the beegeezus out of her with me rattling on. Delirious jabber that I am certain she put up with to make me feel better. See, this is the sort of stuff Besties do… suggest a nanna nap before I head home, another coffee, perhaps one to take if you’re not going to have a nap?? She tried..
I got home and pretty well fell in a hole after my shower. Emotions are one thing but anxiety is another. I suffer from bouts of it, generally I can handle it but my stretch of awakeness had ramped it up a notch and I was really fucking struggling. Even while sitting on the couch trying to doze, my body wouldn’t switch off. I could feel the caffeine coursing through me veins, shudders of tiredness like I was cold, and my heart pounded.
Being tired amplifies EVERYTHING; the cold, the heat, hunger, loss of appetite, thirst, your eyelids scratching across your eyeballs when you blink, sounds begin to aggravate you like a ticking fucking clock or the pigeon cooing out the front. Right in that moment I hated myself, I hated my body, I’m not a contributing member of the family, I don’t work, my husband hates me, my kids think I’m shit, my father hates me and I miss mum why isn’t she here??… blah blah blah. Tragic isn’t it!?
The human body really is miraculous. I eventually shut my eyes and went to sleep… for fourteen hours. I woke up still tired. Eyes like I had gone ten rounds with Mohammad Ali and a head ache I couldn’t jump over. No doubting I was dehydrated and the caffeine would have been wearing off so I was coming down off that too.
I think I’ve learned my lesson… next time there wont be a next time. Going that length of time without looking at the back of my eyelids is clearly no good for me. It’s taken me until today to actually feel like myself again, and that’s being really honest. My hubby does love me, he put up with me and supported me in his own little way, and my kids think I’m fucking awesome, clearly because I am lol. A huge thank you to those who really know me and randomly text me to check on me. Without those little messages of love I’d be in some serious strife. I love you all, and I do love me too xxx
Make sure you turn the teapot twice clockwise and once anticlockwise!