Thursday, 18 August 2011

Why Cameron is No Ordinary Kid - Part 39

Life with Cameron was becoming challenging. Initially when we moved in to the infant ward our room was the room the nurses came to escape the noise of crying babies. Now we were the room to avoid.

Cameron was awake but he had his days and nights back to front. Our room was eerily quiet during the day because Cameron was asleep and there was no waking him up. At night as I wanted to go to sleep he woke up and there was no way he was going to sleep. It didn't matter what we did he would not sleep at night.

Because of the constant comings and goings on the ward I couldn't sleep during the day and in the morning I had to be up at 6am to get a shower with any warmth so there were no sleep ins. I would sometimes climb back into bed after I'd had a shower and had my breakfast but I couldn't sleep because the ward was awake. I was becoming more and more tired. Even our doctor started to show concern and threatened to move me into Ronald McDonald House if I didn't get some sleep. You can probably imagine my panicked response to the idea of being moved out of the hospital.

The doctors decided to try and medicate Cameron into the right sleeping cycle but it only seemed to make matters worse. They kept increasing the amount of sedative they were giving him and still Cameron didn't sleep at night.

On nights when the staff weren't run off their feet they would some times come in and take Cameron to the desk so I could get a break. Some mornings I would wake up and find that I had no baby and after a quick search around the ward I would find him in the Nurse Managers office in his pram or in an empty cot somewhere else on the ward. Of course he was asleep now because the sun was up.

Other nights I had to survive on my own and I was becoming quite desperate because not only was Cameron not sleeping but he was crying - ALOT!. It's was the strangest thing for my head to get itself around. I'd been through the scariest experience and almost lost my son and now I found myself getting angry with him because I was so sleep deprived I couldn't cope. I needed sleep.

Some of the nurses added to the stress. One night I sat on my bed desperately trying to keep my eyes open while Cameron screamed because he was due to be fed. I wasn't allowed to prepare Cameron's bottles because parents were not allowed in the kitchen so every feed I would have to wait for a nurse to find the time to bring me a bottle.

When our nurse came in to our room I asked her for a bottle for Cameron and then I waited and waited. I didn't see another nurse or our nurse for close to an hour. We didn't have buttons to call nurses to our rooms you just had to wait till you saw a nurse. Eventually, as I sat fighting my frustration with my screaming baby in my arms, the nurse wandered into our room oblivious to the situation. Again I asked for a bottle for Cameron. She looked at me and said - "Why do you need a bottle - you're breastfeeding!" She said this as she stared at my chest. She'd made this assumption based on the size of my chest. I felt so uncomfortable and didn't want to have a conversation with this stranger about why I wasn't breastfeeding. She finally went and made a bottle for me and then left me to it without any apology. Clearly she'd not read our notes when she'd come onto shift. Needless to say, I didn't get any help that night.

When our physio was on night shift she would sometimes pop in to say hi because she knew I'd be awake and sometimes when the nurses we knew well were on night shift they would come and sit with me and have a chat to keep me company. They didn't know that those chats kept me sane. The TV also kept me sane but this was back in the days when TV stations still closed over night or showed mind numbingly boring shows between midnight and 6am. I learnt to enjoy watching the most boring and ridiculous programs like the aerobics program that was on every morning as the sun came up,

Sleep deprivation is incredibly disabling and I thought I had experienced sleep deprivation when Cameron was born but this was far worse.


  1. Hi I can relate to your post very well ever since Zak aka Gnome was born he has never slept through the night.

    No sleep does make you cranky and uable to concentrate but then you get sort of used to it don't you

  2. Exactly Wendy - you adapt and forget what normal feels like. But - I love sleep and the sanity it brings.