I had been lying awake for almost eight hours. I could hear Daniel downstairs trying to keep the babies quiet so I could sleep. It was useless. I couldn't sleep and hadn't slept in weeks. Endless nights staring at the ceiling doing the math of 'if I go to sleep now, I'll get this many hours of sleep.' Desperate for my mind to shut off because I needed rest. Panic setting in because no matter what time I fell asleep it would now not be enough.
I picked myself up out of bed and walked downstairs. I collapsed on the couch, and fighting back tears, I told Daniel I couldn't take it anymore. I told him I thought I was going to die from not sleeping. It sounds silly now, but when you've had two hours of sleep every night for almost a month, your thoughts aren't always logical. I was terrified of nightime. I knew that's when my mind would start going. I felt guilty because I knew that I wasn't the best mom. I would snap on Leo over small things. I would get so frustrated with Blake for eating too slowly or crying. Then I would cry because what kind of mom gets frustrated with a baby for crying? Why couldn't I be happy in what should be one of the happiest times of my life?
Blake was one-month-old. I had been struggling to sleep since she was born. Daniel had started getting up with her in the middle of the night so I could sleep. But, I couldn't. I tried tea, melatonin, a hot bath ... anything to help me go to sleep. Nothing worked.
Daniel encouraged me to make an appointment with my doctor. When I got to her office I told her that I felt hopeless. No matter what I did, I couldn't sleep. I was desperate for anything that could help me be a good mother. So, I could feel normal again. She told me this was a symptom of postpartum depression. Huh? No. I just couldn't sleep. She told me the change in hormones can interrupt your sleep patterns and that can leave you with feelings of hopelessness and desperation. She told me she was happy I came in because feeling like that is not something I should deal with on my own. She prescribed Trazadone for sleep and told me I could email or call anytime. We also set up a telephone appointment for two weeks later to make sure the medicine was working.
That night, I was very apprehensive about taking the medicine because I was so scared it wouldn't work and then what? I took one pill around 7:30 that night. I refused to let myself lie down until I literally couldn't hold my head up anymore. I climbed in bed and thought 'oh gosh, here it comes.' But before I knew it, I was fast asleep. I slept for 12 hours straight. That morning I felt like a new woman. I was so happy! It felt like years since I had that feeling. I enjoyed being with both my kids and just wanted to play with them, hold them, and kiss them. I couldn't get enough of them. From that day on, I was back to my old self and getting the sleep I needed.
I'm writing this hoping that anyone who just had a baby and feels hopeless will find encouragement to talk to your doctor, and know there is life on the other side of postpartum. The pictures we see on Instagram of happy mothers with newborns don't always tell the full truth. Don't be ashamed if you have feelings of hopelessness or desperation. You're not a bad mom. You're a rockstar whose body just performed a miracle!