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The Sleeping Miracle: The Chronicles of Sadie

July 14th, 2009

The first few weeks at home with a newborn are a seismic shift in attitude, emotion, and most noticeably, schedule.  Your “old” life of television-watching, meal-eating, casual talks on the veranda (okay, so we don’t actually have a veranda), and impromptu trips to go fetch ice cream or rent movies happens in very short segments called nap times.  

It’s really quite amusing, but the moment that the delicate space-time continuum is appeased yet again . . . as those little eye lids begrudgingly agree to shut . . . as Mommy and Daddy tiptoe gingerly through her room after laying her down, careful not to inadvertently step on a stuffed animal or toy and thus disrupt the fragile equilibrium of nap time and send “crying arrows” flying from the crib like the first scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark . . . yeah, that’s what your downtime is now like.

Okay, so maybe I exaggerate just a bit . . . there are no arrows; but you get the point.  Nap time is the only semblance left of the old way of living.  And come on, it’s really only a figurehead of what used to exist.  We didn’t have to whisper in the old days . . . or lie down in exhaustion because we hadn’t had a full-night’s sleep in four weeks . . . or clean dried spit-up off the floor.  Truth be told, the nap time return to normalcy is all an illusion . . . a moment of self-deception that tries to relive the glory days.

Of course I jest because these are the best glory days.  For all you would-be parents out there who quiver at the horror stories of babydom, don’t listen to the critics . . . it’s a piece of cake (wink, wink.)  

Okay, so it may not all be simple, but life around the Driver house did experience a sizable emotional upswing in Sadie’s fifth week of life “on the outside.”  Up to that point, we were accustomed to having Sadie down around 8:00 pm.  In the first week or so, you could count on being awakened by about 11:00 pm for a much-needed feeding and then again somewhere around 2:00 or 3:00 am.  Then, you could plan on enjoying three or maybe even four luxurious hours of uninterrupted snoozing before the 6:00 or 7:00 am feeding.  Sounds awesome, doesn’t it.

Enter five-week-old Sadie, stage center . . . the only place on our stage she’s ever been.  Laura and I collapsed . . . I mean lay down to sleep as usual.  By this point, it was not unusual for Sadie to skip the 11:00 pm feeding and sleep on through til about 3:00 or 4:00 am.  This was already feeling like heaven!  If you played your cards right and completely sacrificed your personal and social time, you might snag a whole five hours of sleep.  Anyhoo, so we lay down one night when low and behold, the middle of the night feeding cry never came.  Sadie slept all the way through the night!

Laura and I danced through the hallways like children on Christmas morning.  Sadie was showered with accolades and kisses of thanksgiving . . . to which she responded with a hearty spit-up . . . an obvious gesture of appreciation.  We called everyone we knew to brag on our little “big” girl.  Mostly, we tried not to jinx it for we knew that if the trend did not continue, we had tasted the promised land and returning to the Egypt of sleepless nights would now no longer suffice.  Sadie had either prepared us for new seasons of joy or she had tempted our taste buds and consigned us to utter disappointment.

Time did tell.  The miracle continued.  A family was changed forever.  

For the most part, our little Sadie Bell slept all the way through the night from there on out, pending sickness or extreme circumstances.  I could credit our attempts to regulate her schedule or my sublime skills as a parent.  Mostly, I just credit the mercy of God on our sleepless selves.  Whatever the reason, sleep was restored and the universe took on a slightly more manageable hew.  

A good night’s rest is a reflection of serenity.  In the day and age where millions can’t seem to achieve this most basic human necessity without medication, sleep is nothing less than a prized commodity.  To rest means that one’s mind, body, and consciousness have all collectively agreed to remove the guard-on-duty and let the fields of oneself lie fallow for a short season.  You can’t be productive in sleep.  You can’t get work done.  You can’t guard yourself or your family.  Sleep is a moment of utter vulnerability . . . and yet it is also a moment of complete trust that someone who is awake is taking care of things.

Daddy's Sleeping Beauty

The Psalmist, David, knew some things about sleepless nights.  A man of war.  A man pursued by his enemies who was forced to hide out in caves and run for his life.  Yet, he said this: “In peace I will lie down and sleep,for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.”  (Psalm 4: 8 NLT)

I know that Sadie slept through the night because her little body had grown to the point that she could sustain her own blood sugar levels for that long and that she was eating enough food to not wake up hungry.  But also, she felt safe.  She wasn’t concerned with her safety or whether or not the world would continue spinning if her eyes were to shut.

Sometimes, we tend to think that if our heads ever stop spinning, so will the world.  Maybe it’s time to find rest in the only One who actually holds the world in His hands.  A full-night’s rest may be closer than you think . . . it may be just a matter of filling your mind and spirit with His nutrition and feeling comfortable that He can handle whatever arises as you slumber away.

Just like Sadie, your rest is a big deal to your Father . . . and to the rest of us as well.


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