Sleep. Do you? I don’t. Well, not very well. It’s 4am and I’m sitting here with a cuppa and a biscuit (because I’ve been awake so long my stomach is wondering where breakfast is).
Sleep has been an issue in our house for a long, long time. I’ve always been a light sleeper, and I have painful hips and a bad back. I also have trouble switching my brain off at night and it’s when I’m at my most anxious. But my problems really started when I was first pregnant, with Big, almost ten years ago. I suffered with SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction – where the pelvis separates in pregnancy) and lying down was utter agony. I spent the final three months of my pregnancy ‘sleeping’ upright, first propped up in bed, then eventually in a camping chair in the bedroom. Not fun.
Then, once Big arrived, any thoughts of catching up on all that missed sleep went out of the window, as, well, we had a newborn baby, and they are not known for their brilliant night time sleep! This lasted for approximately 5 years, until he started school and was so knackered by bedtime that he did actually start sleeping through the night.
Of course, by this time, I had been pregnant again, once more suffering with SPD, only it started much earlier this time and then there was another newborn baby. Small came with her own set of problems, namely silent reflux. This caused her to have two ‘blue’ episodes, where she stopped breathing, so, naturally, relaxing enough to go to sleep properly became very tricky. My parents bought one of those monitors that has a pad under the mattress to warn you if baby stops breathing, but the bloody thing was super-sensitive and kept going off, making me shoot out of bed, adrenaline pumping, D waking up in a panic shouting “oh God! Oh God!”, when she was actually fine and oblivious to the drama.
Once she outgrew the reflux, we weren’t far off her autism diagnosis. Children on the spectrum are notoriously poor sleepers. Weirdly, Small was a slightly better sleeper than Big had been at her age, but she got into the habit of waking in the night and immediately jumping out of bed to come into ours. This posed a problem in that D and I were already somewhat cosy in our double bed, with us both being rather
fat cuddly. There really wasn’t room for a smallperson too.
Of course we tried everything recommended in the books and on websites; I would do that thing where I put her back to bed every time she got up, but her will is a lot stronger than mine and it just resulted in neither of us getting any sleep and going to work as a zombie is not a good look. I tried a sticker chart, but being autistic, she doesn’t really understand consequences. She likes getting a sticker, but has no real idea of what it’s all about and why she did or didn’t get one.
Eventually, D just started falling asleep on the sofa late at night and staying there. Small would come in to bed with me, we’d both go back to sleep… happy days (or nights!) This has been going on for over a year. However, D’s health has been deteriorating and the sleeping on the too-small sofa situation has not helped it or our relationship.
After much discussion about sleeping arrangements, last week we finally bit the bullet and bought a new, superking-sized bed, meaning there is plenty of room for D and I, but also enough for Small
if when she comes in at night. It’s amazing! It’s so bloody huge! I keep laughing at how ridiculously big it is compared to the old bed (and how much more expensive the bedding is, gah!)
D finally came back to bed last night, for the first time in a long time. How wonderful to finally cuddle up together after all this time! Except I’m used to sleeping on my own/with a smallperson, not a bigperson. And I forgot what a bloody fidget he is! And the snoring! How could I forget that? And the farting, and the talking to me when he wakes up… then Small joined us and although there’s plenty of room, she decided to lie as close as possible to D, so he kept moaning about her kicking him, which made him huff and puff even more, and got even more fidgety.
So I gave up and got up and here I am, writing it all down because there’s not much else to do at this ungodly hour other than listen to D’s snoring, which really doesn’t appeal. Who needs sleep anyway?!