Saturday, November 22, 2008

I haven't slept with my husband in 19 days.

KayTar used to be a great sleeper. A champion sleeper, in fact. She used to put herself to sleep in her own bed and stay there, peacefully, throughout the night. She used to be averse to cuddling at bedtime, even. During her 48 hour inpatient EEG last summer, she wanted me to lay with her as she fell asleep and it was a surprising and magnificent treat. I was allowed to cuddle with her, the heavens parted and the angels sang! She was big on personal space and routine, and sleeping any place other than her own bed or all alone were contrary to her established routines. Please note that this paragraph is largely in the past-tense. This post should be alternately titled, "How to Ruin Your Perfect Sleeper in a Few Easy Steps!"

It started months ago, just before her hospital stay this summer. We found her in her bed in the morning, covered with vomit. She hadn't cried out to notify us and must have been too tired to do so. This did not sit well with us. Dangerous. In the hospital, I witnessed this phenomenon, this still-sleeping vomit, and it bother me even more. She didn't wake up or sit up to vomit. I heard the noise and sprang into action (my clothing was an unfortunate causality of this action), but she didn't wake up for it, not for the puking, not for the cleaning, not for the bed switching. It was very, very unsettling, because as you all know, she has a habit of puking. She pukes when she has throat infections, when she has respiratory infections, when she has stomach viruses, when she has sinus infections, when she has episodes. She PUKES. Now we worry about it a bit more, puke plus an unconscious kiddo just seems like a recipe for disaster. When she is sick, she sleeps with me now (Josh goes to sleep in her room, usually). If she vomits in the middle of the night, at least one of us will be waking appropriately.

She came home from the hospital this summer, still under the weather, and was my bunk mate for a few more days. Once she moved back to her room, we had to lay with her at bedtime so she could sleep. Then she got sick again. Back to our bed. Then, back to her bed. She got sick AGAIN. Back to our bed. Then the hurricane happened. We roomed with her at the hotel, then at my parents' house for nearly two weeks. Then BubTar had to room with her, because of his broken window. Then she was sick yet again. Back to our bed. Then we finally, finally got her back into her own bed just before surgery. It was not easy, and she still ended up in our bed in the middle of the night quite a bit, but she was at least starting the night in her own bed.

Then she and I left for the hospital and that was the last time I've slept in the same bed with my husband. November 3rd. It made sense to keep her in our bed for recovery, narcotics plus three surgical sites needed nighttime supervision. It was a good decision. The problem is, well, it seems as though we will never-ever-ever get her back into her own bed. We bravely and optimistically put her to bed in her own bed one night with the promise that if she woke up, she could some to our bed. Two hours later, she was in our bed. Then, we made a second attempt. I mentioned two voluntary vomits in my previous post, the second was at the suggestion that she was going to be laying down in her own bed again that night, not ours. We stuck to our guns initially, she had to lay down in her own bed that night...but she worked VERY VERY hard at staying awake and at midnight, we brought her into our bed so we could get some sleep. She had school the next day, Josh had work. We haven't tried again yet. (We're a little afraid of the vomit, if I'm being honest...)

But I miss my husband. I miss laying in bed at night and watching TV or a movie with him. I miss arguing over what we're going to watch, for that matter, or whose turn it is to be in charge of fast forwarding the DVR. I miss rolling over next to him when I get cold in the night or when I'm spooked for no real reason. I miss putting my hand on his chest to feel his heartbeat when I can't fall asleep. I miss listening to his boring science shows as I fall asleep at night. I miss lazy back rubs and laying my head on his chest. I miss telling him the little things that pop into my head after the lights go out, "Today BubTar....", "Oh, KayTar's teacher said...", "The funniest thing happened in class tonight...". I even miss his advances, both the ones that are accepted and those that are denied. I miss being in convenient proximity to him. I miss the ease with which we could find each other in the night, his dark form always within reach.

We go in our separate directions all day, every day. He is at work, then I am at school. We brush past each other and in that moment, I pass the baton, briefing him on the day in nearly a single breath. Who needs a bath, who needs to eat, who needs medication, who has homework to do. Coworkers handing off a common file. But in the night, somehow the coworkers become friends, the friends become lovers. The demands of the day are suspended just long enough to allow us the freedom to breathe each other in deeply, to become we, who we once were, who we still are, who we one day might be. Simply, we.



That isn't to say we haven't been--AHEM--finding each other in the night...it just feels a bit like summer camp, rowing across the lake from the girls' bunk to steal moments with your lover in the night, hoping the counselors won't find you with their roaming flashlights. Except that I never went to summer camp or rowed a boat for that matter, and the counselors in the scenario are small, lightly sleeping children.

26 comments:

womaninawindow said...

You guys are TOO cute and so young it hurts my heart.

Rewards for weaning her? Are you old enough to remember those two way kid's telephones that you can actually call each other on? Or what about a monitoring system? We used one with my son 'til he was three 'cause he was way, way, way down our short hall at the other end.

And your writing is bursting, too. Maybe abstinence is a forge for your writing and photography?

Lisa b said...

you two are SO CUTE.

I know how you feel. We will all sleep again one day right?

natalie said...

Quite actually, I'm a little too amused to compose an appropriate response. Because I SO feel your pain...uh...frustration...um, well, just trust me, I understand.

Mad said...

By this gold standard, I would have to declare that I have never once slept with my husband in our 15 or so years of marriage. He has always gone to bed 3 hours after me and I am always up a couple of hours before him. I kinda envy what you have (had!) except that, lordy, it sure is easy to fall asleep when you're alone in a bed.

Now insert THE GIRL. Ours ends up in bed with us almost every single night--always has. It's part of her "live by fear" maxim. We're used to it now, but it was a tough adjustment. Might I note, though, that she has only puked twice in her life and only once while in bed with me so I HAVE NO COMPLAINTS WHATSOEVER. She also does (for now) go to sleep in her own bed and let's me have my evening.

When that last bit is on the fritz as it routinely is, I go ballistic crazy. So, uh ya, I feel for you on that count. There's nothing like having your personal time snatched out from underneath you. It can make you feel as if you're drowning.

crazymumma said...

You two kill me with your lack of cynicism. i think you two really have found that most elusive of creatures. True Love.

and it makes me want to choke up a bit because. well. just because.

and I am truly and honestly happy for you.

motherbumper said...

That must be so hard. For us, it's our time of relaxation, b/c everything and everyone has been tucked away and we can relax. I hope that the need to row over to the other camp ends soon.

Cori said...

Could you maybe bring in a toddler bed in your room?
Slowly wean her from your bed.... then slowly make the move to her room? That way yall could still be together but keep an eye on her? Or maybe get a video monitor by Summer. That way you could check on her through out the night. I would have had my kids in my bed too if all that was going on. I am sorry you miss your hubby. I love the pic. Yall are adorable.

Hetha said...

This was a beautiful post Kyla. I got a little teary eyed because I've never put it into those terms exactly (more self preservation tricks), but I haven't slept with my husband since June 3, 2006. Someday.

sheree said...

that was pretty cute!

I am right there with ya too! One day, we'll get our beds to ourselves...I think. ;)

flutter said...

seriously now, time for a sleep-over

slouching mom said...

awww. your love for him here is a beautiful thing.

InTheFastLane said...

I understand exactly, well not exactly because I do not have KayTar. But, the Mr. & I have similar bedtime routines and I miss it if it is not there. And we have have a certain three year old that went from being a GREAT sleeper to a not so great sleeper in the last few months. And in fact, that is why I am up because he joined us at 5 and sat there tapping at me until I gave up on sleep.

Gwen said...

The good news, I suppose, as others have pointed out, is that you *miss* sleeping with your husband (please do not take this as any commentary on my own life; for once, my persistent narcissism is leashed.)

It will get better, with KT, it will. It may not be next week or next month, but she will get back into her own bed, her own routine. But damn, doesn't the waiting for this, too, to pass kinda suck?

(oh yeah, you already answered that.)

Ben and Bennie said...

Joan and I know this routine very well. In our strange "special" world this is the kind of stuff that makes or breaks marriages. I'm glad you guys are choosing to make it work. And you all are so very cute...AND YOUNG!!!!

Aliki2006 said...

I do think she'll go back to her good sleeping ways. When T. had her major surgery at 6 months old it took months and months before she'd go back to oany semblance of normal patterns. I think a surgery can do that to anyone. And since she was such a good sleeper before all this, she will no doubt find her way back again--with a little guidance.

And T. vomits in her sleep when she has an episode--I remember her doctor told us something comforting about how he body instinctively turns the right way in sleep, so that they won't choke on their own vomit.

Katie said...

The great thing about summer camp is it doesn't last forever. Hang in there guys!

Redneck Mommy said...

Gah.

I prefer to sleep alone. Boo hogs the bed.

Don't tell him I said that though. Wink.

Mimi said...

This is a gorgeous ... love letter, Kyla. You and Josh are lucky to have each other.

You never got to go to summer camp because you got married when you were, like, 11 :-)

Chaotic Joy said...

Oh my goodness Kyla, this post is some GORGEOUS writing. But I get it, and I hope you find a way back together soon.

KATHLEEN . . . said...

You poor young lovers. Do you have a mom or grandma that could keep the children once or twice a week at night perhaps? I wish I lived close. I would volunteer to help. I bet she would love having me and my three dogs in the bedroom to sleep at night.

Dr. Cason said...

You're my hero.

Lori at Spinning Yellow said...

You young things, 19 days? how about 19 weeks? Seriously, you two are so adorable. I am giggling at mimi's comment about camp.

Jaden Paige said...

Aw, I love this post. So much.

I, too, enjoy those last fleeting moments at night with the hubster... Stealing his warmth, watching our shows, fighting over blankets and getting accidentally elbowed in the head. It makes me smile and draws us closer and I can imagine how much you must miss it right now.

Good luck with weaning KayTar. If she loved her own bed that much to begin with, I can't imagine she won't be back into her old routine fairly soon. Keep rowing till then, hun! ;)

~aj~ said...

You guys may have young love, but it is no doubt true love. The fact that you are even keeping track of the # of days is proof enough of that.

Katie is right, summer camp doesn't last foreveer. In the meantime, enjoy your rendezvous in other parts of the house. ;)

carrie said...

I know it's hard Kyla - but my god, those were powerful, beautiful words.

It's going to take some time, but I have a feeling that you're going to be just fine, and one of these days - you'll have those nights alone with your husband.

painted maypole said...

as I catch up i see why you might be writing privately about your first -AHEM - night meeting