Saturday, October 10, 2009

Is he breathing?

I wrote about Cyrus's napping issues a few days ago, but was careful to only hint at his night sleep, because it has been, well, easy. And I am kind of a believer in the ability of one to jinx one's good fortune by talking about it while it is still happening. But I'm going to write about it just a little anyway and hope that the cosmic forces out there don't punish me.

From the beginning, Cy has slept his one long stretch during the night. Now, I use "long" loosely, as it was only three hours in the beginning. But that long stretch has lengthened progressively over the past few months, going from three to four to five hours. Up until two nights ago, his longest stretch ever was 7 hours, and that was the night after he got his vaccinations. He has routinely only slept about 5 to 6 hours at the longest.

On Thursday night, he went to sleep at 7pm, and at 4am Jason woke with a start to ask if I had heard him wake up. I hadn't. We were both suddenly hit with worry. Jason ran into his room to check if he was ok, and at first couldn't feel him breath. So he patted his head. Nothing. He did it again. Still nothing. Finally, Jason kind of jiggled his head, and - ahh releif - he moved. Twenty minutes later he woke up to eat. The next morning, we marvelled that he slept for nine and a half hours, but were sure it was a fluke. But then he did it again last night. And he's working on the same pattern tonight.

We've waited for this moment kind of since he was born. Ahh, to have to wake up only once a night! To get several hours of sleep in a row! Fantastic! And yet, at the risk of sounding like I'm complaining, because I'm really not, I never anticipated the stress that would come from having him essentially sleep through the night. When he wakes up every few hours, you kind of know that things are ok. Although I'm sure it's kind of false, there's a sense of security in that. It's kind of scary to have him sleep so soundly for so long. Just a few minutes ago, I went into his room to check if he was ok, and I too couldn't feel the rise and fall of his stomache. My heart dropped a little, even as I realized that he was probably just fine. I placed my hand in front of his face and sighed again with relief at the warm-cold-warm breath I felt as he breathed ever so softly in and out.

I realize now that the overwhelming fear that something will happen to him will never go away. Add that to the list of things I heard but didn't believe. After Jason and I lost our first pregnancy in the 10th week, we were understandably on edge when we got pregnant with Cy. After a brief scare with him in the 10th week, we saw his heartbeat again, and I remember asking my midwife in a shaky voice to reassure me that seeing the heartbeat at 10 weeks was a good sign. And her response stuck with me. She said: "Yes, that is a good sign. But Amber, that feeling that you're hoping will go away, that worry? It never does. Not even when they're 18." And although I knew she was probably right, I think somewhere in the back of my head I figured that once he was born, I would rest easy. I was wrong. Not only does that worry not go away, it seems to intensify with each passing day. And I'm quite sure that it will grow and stay with me until the day I die. Just a little side affect of loving another human being more than life itself.

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