I look at the red numbers of the clock. 4:52. I rub my eyes and swing my legs out of the warmth of the covers. I try to find my socks in the dark, but only manage to find yesterday’s discarded bra. The insides of my eyelids are gritty with exhaustion.
I walk barefooted into the room next door, where he lies, tossing and turning, in the swaddling blanket I cut the bottom out of – sheer desperaration to hang on to the one thing that seems to help him sleep. Obviously, though, not all the time.
I’ve been here, cold toes and all, three other times tonight. Wait. Four. Three. I can’t remember. A lot. He dropped the pacifier. He was hungry. He turned himself around in the crib and got scared. He doesn’t want to be alone. His diaper was wet.
It’s been three nights of this, of sleeping in ninety minute increments. During the day time, there is a fuzzy blur to my vision. Nothing seems…normal. Real. Solid. It’s a haze of feeding changing playing smiling rocking bathing drooling.
I unwrap his little body from the blanket and hold him close to me. He buries his face in my neck and I can just hear the soft whimper he makes.
I bring him back to bed with me, breaking every rule of every sleep expert that ever existed. I pull him close against me in the bed, smelling his baby scent as he latches on and nurses himself back to sleep in minutes. I feel my eyes close, but I fight it for just another moment.
I look down at this boy, my boy, and I’m filled with so much….life and love and joy and, yes, exhaustion, but oh, it’s the best kind there is. His hand reaches out in his sleep and rests on my face and I let myself, finally, sleep.