Sleep... What sleep?!
There is no shortage of super helpful people who take some sort of pleasure in telling you how little sleep you are going to have once your twins arrive. Sadly they were all correct!
Since the girls came home I think we have had no more than about three hours sleep a night! At first your body and mind cannot cope with this... You simply turn into a walking, talking zombie only able to carry out simple tasks that keep you and the babies alive. You quickly lose the power of speech and start to communicate with grunts and slightly raised eyebrows, but all the while the babies seem just fine - they get lots of sleep.
The old motto of 'if the baby is sleeping then you should be sleeping' is no doubt true, but how do you keep a household running if you are sleeping? I just can't get my head around it all, but that might be because I haven't slept in days!
Unfortunately, due to the girls being in NICU and me being a father, so not qualifying for any sort of paid parental leave, I had to go back to work in this state. I had saved my leave up for most of a year but that still only gave me three weeks off. So it was back to work for me, the thought of trying to operate at an acceptable leave and lead a team while being in such a sleep deprived state was overwhelming. But then I looked at my wife... who was somehow coping with no sleep, taking care of the girls and starting her PhD and that's when I told myself "pull it together and just get on with it!"
The first few weeks back at work were largely a blue, you go into autopilot mode where you just try to make it to the end of the day without falling asleep in a meeting! Luckily my boss had seen this all before and kindly told me that it wouldn't last forever. Of course I couldn't possibly believe that!
But it was true, about six weeks in the cloud lifted! Suddenly it was like your body adapts and starts to be able to operate on anything form three to six hours sleep! A miracle! Of course the irony of this came when I needed to go to Auckland on an overnight trip for work, at last I thought, eight hours of sleep with no babies waking me up! Bliss! But no... The downside of your body adapting to such a lack of sleep turns out to be that you will no longer be able to sleep longer! In fact, it's even worse than that, with no babies crying in the night and no wife poking me in the ribs to get me up to help with feeding, I was completely unable to sleep at all! What sort of cruel joke was this?!
I would love to end this blog by telling you that there was a silver bullet that would help you sleep, or even a bit of golden advice that will help you get through it, but I have nothing. All I can tell you is to hold on tight and ride it out. But most of all, be kind to each other - you are both tired, you are both stressed, but you are in this together.