I’ve never been an especially sound sleeper. I keep earplugs by the bed, an eye mask under my pillow. I fall asleep well after Dave does, because after my head hits the pillow I have to find the right position, tune out all the sounds and stop the parade of thoughts/worries/plans marching through my mind. Some time after all that I fall asleep. And even then, the sound of a phone ringing of a toilet flushing or the earthquake caused by Dave changing position always wakes me back up, and the process starts all over again.
For most of my life, this system of sleeping worked fine. And then I had the baby. For the first few weeks my arduous falling asleep process seemed like a practice in toture because I knew it was robbing me of precious minutes of sleep. Secure the silence, get comfortable, turn off my internal voice and then suddenly POW, awake again, feeding a tiny human and changing a diaper.
In the weeks that followed the intervals between waking grew longer, and now I can say I sleep a decent amount for a new mother. I’ve even fine tuned my process and learned to sleep with the closet light on and the Sleep Sheep humming away. This light sleeper is retraining herself to sleep for survival. But maybe I’m just a bit too good.
You see Dave travels a lot for hockey. And as daunting as being alone for days on end with baby seemed at first, I’m now getting used to it. I don’t like it, mind you, but I can do it and thinking of a weekend on my own with her doesn’t make me feel nauseous like it used to. So last night, after all the bedtime routines for baby and myeslf, I called Dave to say goodnight. He didn’t answer, but he texted back saying he’d call after the movie was over on the bus. So I set the phone by my head and lay down to rest.
The next moments I remember are a bit of a blur. Dogs barking, baby stirring, is someone knocking on the door? The alarm clock says 1:15am, and when I pick up my phone to confirm, I see I have 6 missed calls and several text messages. And as I’m stumbling towards the door, shooshing the dogs and reading the messages, I realize what’s happening.
Sometime after I fell asleep, I slipped into a coma. A coma caused by the exhaustion of spending a day with an extremely alert newborn and two emotionally manipulative dogs. And that coma was too deep to be disrupted by my phone’s ringer and text message alert tone.
After one call, Dave figured I was asleep. After a text to say goodnight, he started to wonder why I didn’t reply as I usually would. After a follow up text he let his mind go to those awful scenarios we all try to forget after watching Law & Order, and that’s when all hell broke loose. While I slept the deepest I’ve slept in months, Dave sat awake on a bus somewhere in west Texas or eastern New Mexico, worrying. Until he finally couldn’t take it anymore, called his dad who is staying in an apartment nearby, and had a well-being check done on his little family. After I shook my head and figured out what was happening, I’ve never felt so badly. Poor man.
I’ll keep my ringer a little louder next time (not too much louder mind you, I’m trying to keep a baby sleeping here), and I’ll make sure I send Dave a message when things are locked down and I’m drifting off. But as sorry as I am that he was so worried and probably lost a couple years of his life over this…I’ve never been happier to sleep like a baby.