25 April, 2015

V is for Very Tired.

I've been Very Tired for a long time.  It's a thing people are nowadays, I know, so I don't expect anyone to feel particularly sympathetic or anything about the fact that I'm Very Tired.  But today is "V" day and I could be writing about all the Volkswagens I've ever owned or Vaseline (and how handy it is when you're dying your hair) or Vegemite or even, as Milo suggested on the way to Aikido this morning (that wasn't even on because of ANZAC Day), that I might like to write about words starting and ending with V (?!)... but I'm not.  

Instead, I'm just going to tell you how tired I am. Or for the sake of the exercise, how Very Tired.

Pluto manifesting the canine equivalent of Very Tired, that is Daarg Taard.

This bout of Very Tired started in March 2006 when due to a lack of foresight and planning – the way I've embarked on quite a few major ventures in my life – I found myself pregnant while addicted to (the medical profession says "dependent on") some rather heavy duty opiates and using other prescribed pharmaceuticals to manage a chronic medical condition.

The combination of growing a baby and taking drugs isn't really a sustainable practice so I was immediately pretty "strongly incentivised" to begin a program of withdrawal.  Cold turkey was dangerous and therefore out of the question, but because of the high doses of meds I was taking, the schedule was somewhat more severe than usually recommended, and steeper than a Disneyland rollercoaster.  

Anyway off I went…

The combination of morning sickness (stupidly misnamed) and drug withdrawal was Very Tiring.  I can't remember which bit I most resented: if it was the vomiting, the restless leg syndrome, the flu symptoms, the non-stop migraines.  Perhaps it was the anxiety, the insomnia or the blood curdling chills.  Not sure.  Whatever. By the time I was clean, which was well into my third trimester, I hadn't had more than a couple of hours consecutive sleep for a good 30 weeks, and I was Very Tired.  

The baby, bless him, had also not stopped kicking since he gave his leg its first mighty swing at about week 22 or thereabouts, so that had added another welcome element into the mix.  Come to think on it, by the time he was born at 37 weeks, he was probably quite tired too.

The birth didn't go well and we had ten days in hospital.  Tiring.  Milo couldn't feed, or sleep and I couldn't hold him properly because my neurosurgeon mismanaged the chronic medical condition and there were lots of complications.  You know, I'm too tired to go into details now.  Suffice to say, we were so happy to go home.  Happy and tired.

Happy to come home.  Happy and tired. Ten days old.

Because we had trouble feeding I had to express and bottle feed so there wasn't a lot of resting.  We did this for 12 weeks until I finally managed to get Milo to feed naturally.  That was very tiring.  And it drove me bonkers that the Child & Maternal Health Nurses would come 'round and talk about how babies feed and play for a bit and then sleep for hours...  

You see, unless he was being held, Milo NEVER SLEPT.  And it's not as if I didn't try every strategy under the sun to get him to sleep, because I did.  It's just that not a damn thing worked.  Nothing.

My sweet, sunny, lovely, bright, happy, shiny boy just WOULD NOT SLEEP. And the rigours of trying, and meeting with the disapproval of all the professionals ... that especially made me Very Tired.

For the next five years, until Milo went to school, he didn't sleep very well or very much.  And when he did he had the most awful, graphic night terrors.  Have you ever seen a small child in a waking sleep, hurling themselves about, fighting off invisible assailants, shouting and crying in the worst kind of unimaginable distress?  It leaves such an awful impression. Unforgettable.  

The next morning, though, he had no recollection, which is a terrific boon.  A licence, in fact, for me as a parent to let it go too. But the truth was I was so damned tired from the trauma of watching that it was hard to wipe the memory away… 

And when it wasn't the night terrors, Milo had croup.  Endless, endless coughing, hacking, choking, going blue in the middle of the night, croup.  Why oh why is it always worse in the middle of the night?  

He'd always eventually bounce through like it never happened…  He did.  And I'd see him off to kinder or school full of beans and vigour, and I'd collapse in a heap on the floor, shaking and shuddering at what felt like such a close shave.  

God I was glad to see the back of croup when he was sixish.  Gosh it left me tired. Very tired.

So now Milo's eight and at school. He gets bronchitis instead of croup but he actually sleeps quite well. He's an early riser:  five, five-thirty, six?  I don't think he's ever slept past seven.  Never.  He says he doesn't want to miss anything.  I mean, after all, there's a cat and fish: there might be juggling or chess while the humans are sleeping…  

Besides this, Milo's a sharer.  And a carer.  And certainly not a loner.  It would never occur to him for one solitary moment not to come and share every waking moment or passing thought, no matter how trivial (because none of them are trivial), with me.  So if he's awake at 5.30, then Lord give me strength, so am I awake.  This makes me very tired, because unlike him, I do not go to bed at 8.30pm.

And now of course we have a puppy who sleeps through the night but needs to "use the restroom" first thing in the morning.  So I'm out in the backyard, at 5.30am in a cardie and woolly hat, rain, hail or shine (well, in the dark), keeping the puppy company while he does his business and making sure he doesn't terrorise the cat…

(Sorry Pluto, payback for all the times you scared Bongo.)

So I'm tired, ok?  Very Tired.  Have been since 2006.


  1. Hey LOVE the new happy squiggly look here at your blog... gorgeous...

    Oh Snowf... I don't know whether to laugh or cry ( except for the Pluto payback , that's hilarious) Well Love, you have only about another 7 years to go until he starts sleeping in... but by then you'll be not getting to sleep till even later becoz you'll be panicking about when he's coming home from socialising with his mates and hoping they're not being stupid boys... sigh...
    I think the whole 8-hour sleep thing is a myth once you get past your twenties... until your in your sixties, then it can kick in again... but by then you've forgotten how to do it... ( or you may still be in menopause and getting the night sweats...)
    But my what a gorgeous little man that anti-sleep machine is.

    1. So much to look forward to. I think I might just take it one day at a time, if that's ok. ... But first I'll take a nap.

  2. That's what naps are all about!

    Stephen Tremp
    A-Z Co-host
    V is for Vortex (of the paranormal nature)

  3. And thanks for your continued participation in the A to Z Challenge!