Sleeping like a baby.

Lisa Birch
4 min readSep 15, 2017


I think Natalie will be asleep by the time I finish this post. I mean, she has it pretty good — warm blankets, a handmade quilt, a children’s heat pack, a vaporizer because she has a cold, nice rain sounds on my phone playing in the background.

I mean, that would make me to go to sleep. Then again, I have almost always struggled to stay awake in a darkened room unless the big screen or boys were involved.

Helping bubbas go to sleep is tiring.

Natalie likes sleeping, but she is a lot like me. She thinks she is going to miss out on something. It’s like she has FOMO without even knowing what it means.

Newborn Natalie was deceptive. She stayed awake longer than most newbies do, but then she had long stretches of sleep during the day. And during one of these long stretches I decided ‘gee, I think I will have plenty of time to finish my writing degree,’ and then applied for uni. How wrong I was.

I have been utterly sleep deprived before, and now, my usual six hours seemed to tide me over, but it isn’t the same. I know this because of one reason: when I have woken up after having a full eight hours rest, I am ready to conquer the day.

The worst sleep deprivation was mostly in the first few months. For some reason, I hadn’t considered that I spend a lot of time in hospital up all hours trying to latch a crying child (the midwife spent several hours with me, but didn’t want to help me with latching because, well, I’d never learn to do it for myself).

After a couple of days home, Natalie went back to hospital and stayed in NICU. I had to stay down the hall from her, but the nurses would phone every four hours for her feed. When I wasn’t with Natalie, I’d be resting on my bed, flicking through the photos of her, or watching the videos I’d made of her doing nothing. It reminded me of my most lovesick young adult life, which was nice, but then I knew she’d be a force to be reckoned with.

The first few weeks after we came home for good, Natalie would go to sleep again after a two am feed and I’d stay awake watching her, or reading, just in case. I was so scared something would happen to her. I’d wake myself up when I dropped my phone or my book, and by that stage, she’d be awake again.Then the dreams started. I’d be in that hazy eyed state of half awake/half asleep and I could hear my dreams happening, but I couldn’t see anything. It was awful.

I don’t know the answers.

Advice I got included to sleep when the baby sleeps — not really practical if you don’t have a house-cleaning-fairy or if you work from home; to sleep when you can — which I was doing, or to change routines — which didn’t really help either.

I checked on Natalie just before, and she’s tucked up with her three dollies and a pink elephant, and happily sleeping.

So, what am I going to do now?

The dubious self care routine, probably. Even though I’ve had major whinges about not getting a lot of time to sleep, the good old husbander usually looks after Natalie while I have a bath (or keeps an ear out for her, or even runs the thing if he’s feeling nice). And then I have to do some work, tidy up the house because of Cold Quarantine (we have been stuck inside all day) and feed the cats. And then maybe it will be time for bed.

I don’t know how I can manage it all.

If I just look after myself and look after Natalie, it’s okay.

But then there’s housework, and uni, and my freelance work, and… man, I feel tired just thinking about it. I miss having time to do stuff, like quilting or sewing or going to Kmart to get photos printed off. But, well, I also kind of don’t, because I love my life as it currently is.

One day I will be able to sleep in a lot more often, or go to bed before 10pm every night. To be honest, even though I don’t like getting out of bed at three in the morning, there’s something kind of nice about giving the toddler (not a baby anymore) a cuddle, and hearing her ask for her lullaby ‘Close Your Eyes’ (much better known as ‘All My Loving’ by the Beatles’).

Everything will change again, sooner than I know it. The way my life was in February was chaotic, but I don’t want to go back there. I don’t want to go back in time to when Natalie was tiny, though she was very cute. I like this moment. I’m happy to stay here just a little bit longer.



Lisa Birch

I like books, rubber ducks, 90s pop music and putting words on paper. Wrote a thesis on romance. Failed roller derby fresh meat 5 times (and counting).