What to do when you run out of sheep to count

by Jackie Ruth

I was exhausted after having my daughter. I was in labor for only 13 hours, but it was very intense. I was progressing very slowly and the doctor said that I would have to be put on an IV medication to speed up progress.

He assigned the nurse to get the medications and left the room. An hour later she returned to check me and to administer the medications. I told her how much pain I was in. She had a bizarre look on her face as she told me that she would be back in a few minutes. The doctor appeared and informed me it was time to push.

After labor, I fell asleep and slept for roughly 6 hours. I woke up to nurses wanting to do blood tests and to my daughter wanting to eat. For the rest of my hospital stay, I was being woken up every hour or two for tests, to feed my daughter, or to eat. I was more exhausted when I left the hospital than I was directly after labor.

As soon as I got home, I told my husband that I wanted to go sleep and to not disturb me. 90 minutes after falling asleep, I woke up. I assumed it was due to being woken up so much at the hospital and tried to fall back asleep but couldn’t. I went to the living room and held my daughter. When we went to bed that night, I couldn’t sleep. I blamed it on my afternoon nap and went to play on the computer.

After weeks of not sleeping at night and only having an hour or two nap during the day, I decided to research it. It appeared that postpartum insomnia was a very popular thing. I wasn’t alone.

I wrote down a list of natural remedies and decided to try them one by one. My husband saw what I was doing and declared that he was thrilled. I had not realized how much stress my lack of sleep was putting on my marriage. I was crabby and irritable.

It took 2 months, but I finally trained my body to sleep at night. I made a night time routine out of a hot bath, hot tea or cocoa, and I read a chapter from a book before turning the light off.

Always keep in mind that you are not alone if you are experiencing this. It can take a toll on your body and relationships, so it is important for people to have patience with you. If you feel depressed, seek medical attention, otherwise, try natural remedies like tea and reading.

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