|Not one of our cats, but looks like one|
If I have a leg up in any way with this parenting thing (and that's debatable), it's that I've spent most of my life being sleep deprived. Seriously, I think my sleep study revealed that I was getting intermittent sleep totaling, at most, around five hours. That is how I lived my life for probably fifteen to twenty years.
Being sleep deprived is brutal. People talk about not getting much sleep without really knowing what they're talking about. I literally felt like I was going to fall asleep on the drive to work every single day of my life. Sleep deprivation is brutal physically, but it's even worse mentally and emotionally. It's like a gateway drug for ADD and depression.
My problem was twofold: I had insomnia and I have sleep apnea. The sleep apnea is really bizarre for someone of my physical traits. The insomnia is pretty common for someone with my neurosis. I would lie in bed for hours before falling asleep, and then I would wake up multiple times over the course of the night because I couldn't breath properly. I think my sleep study recorded that I woke up every 40 minutes, which means the most amount of sleep I ever got at one time was less than an hour. Because of all this, I'm also a light sleeper.
For the longest time, Nicole and I joked that I would be the one to get up in the middle of the night to handle
The cats were something of a case study -- there was many a night that one of them would puke in the middle of the night and the sound would wake me up. So I'd get up and clean it up and go back to sleep, with Nicole none the wiser.
About a year or so go, I went to the aforementioned sleep study and discovered my ailment. I also learned some ways to deal with my insomnia. That was actually fairly easy to overcome for the first few months, as my body associated my CPAP mask with "time for sleep" and responded accordingly. It's not as automatic as it was back in the beginning, but it's still much better than it used to be. There are still other factors at work that can make it better or worse.
But I'm up to right around seven total hours of sleep most nights, although I still wake up a half dozen times or so. I have an amazing ability to wake up and be completely awake, which often makes it hard for me to get back to sleep. Nearly every day, I wake up an hour or two before my alarm and consider just staying awake and having a leisurely morning. I almost always opt for more sleep.
I can all but guarantee that I will be woken up an hour before my alarm goes off because one of our cats starts meowing his fool head off. He does this nearly every morning. He does it because he wants food,
|Yeah, that's me...but skinnier.|
Clearly, he's trying to prepare us for parenthood. I'm not sure how well the spray bottle will work out in that case, though.
I'm not so far removed from my pre-sleep study life that I don't remember what it was like to live sleep deprived. It's funny, because a few months after I got the CPAP, I had a bought of insomnia, and went to work the next day on, at most, 4 hours of sleep. And I remember walking around, dead tired, and feeling a strange sense of comfort. It was like seeing an old friend. Being that tired tends to slow everything down. In some ways, it's actually kind of nice.
So I'm prepared for the lack of sleep. Waking up multiple times, being forced to stay awake, never getting more than an hour or two at a time -- I'm prepared for all of this. It is the one way in which my ridiculous life (and our cats) has prepared me.
Changing diapers, trying to placate a crying baby, trying to stay healthy, finding time for normal things like showering and eating -- that's going to be a different story all together.
But I think I'm up for the challenge. At the very least, I'll be awake.