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Sleep deprivation: How many hours a night do you get?

Sleep has never been our problem. For all the issues we’ve faced with Alex -- MRSA, his severe allergies, his eczema, the fact that he now climbs out of his crib constantly and says F---! a lot -- sleep has never been one of them. He started going through the night on his own at about seven weeks and we haven’t looked back. Now bedtime is around 8 and he wakes up at around 7 and we rarely hear a peep out of him in between--and he’s never, ever slept in our bed. Needless to say, I get plenty of sleep. But something tells me that’s going to change very soon….

First, Alex woke up at around 11 p.m. last night saying there was a black monster in his room. “Mommy? Mommy?” he said. Then he stopped. Nick and I held our breath and two minutes later he was snoring again. But I just have a feeling we’re going to be in for it with him, especially when we move him to his big boy bed, which is imminent (he crawled out of his crib this morning and slammed his door, telling us not to come in, that he was reading books).

Oh, and I am already struggling through the night right now. I’m staying up later than I like (I’m reading a good book -- The Help -- and don’t want to put it down) and I’m waking up constantly. I can’t get comfortable. Probably because I’m nervous about the whole sleeping on my back thing so I wake with a start (on my back) and then think, did I cut off blood supply to the baby? Is she moving? (God I love the paranoia that comes with pregnancy…). Or I lie there thinking about deadlines or what photo I’m going to use for Christmas cards or baby names.

I remember this happening when I was pregnant with Alex and I thought of it as practice for when the baby arrived. But this time it just feels cruel. The past week I’ve been feeling a bit zombie-like during the day -- yesterday I actually took a little nap, which is so not like me -- and craving caffeinated coffee like it’s nobody’s business. And I still have two months to go before the real sleep deprivation sets in.

All this sleep anxiety has gotten me a bit worried about how things are going to play out when number two arrives. Obviously I know the beginning will be a blur but what about after that? Am I destined to have a bad sleeper since Alex was such a good one? Is Alex suddenly going to stop sleeping? Is it going to be easier to deal with the sleepless nights this time or, as I suspect, harder? I don’t mean to be such a whiner about this but I do like my sleep and I feel like it’s super important to our overall health and well-being (i.e., I’m kind of cranky and miserable without it). Thoughts?