Sunday, November 04, 2012

The Seed is Strong

Almost every set of expecting parents has a list of traits they'd like to see the baby inherit from each parent. From "I really hope he has my eyes" to "I really hope he didn't get my nose".

My family traits are... highly inheritable, let's put it that way. Gene expressions commonly considered to be recessive tend to pop up in the children of my family line. From the extreme hairiness my middle brother inherited from the last infusion of semitic blood generations ago (which he managed to pass on to his youngest boy) to the color-changing eyes I managed to pass on to my younger daughter, to the either blue, green, or both eyes all of us have, my family genetics are strong.

Anyone who has seen Chris's father knows that the Byrne genes are equally strong, if not overbearing. If you'd seen his uncles you'd also understand that the Cheshire Cat grin is highly inheritable.

So when it comes to the combination of our genetics anything is possible.

We were really, really hoping the baby would inherit my sleeping characteristics, if only for our own sanity.

Chris is an insomniac and needs little sleep, and has since he was born. On top of that he doesn't seem to have a circadian rhythm to speak of. Even with his thyroid meds regulating everything the idea of a natural sleep schedule seems to be lost on his body. He's also a night owl with a distinct preferences for staying up into the AM.

Me? My circadian rhythm is made of steel, and while I can trick it and reset it occasionally I still need at least 8 hours of sleep, preferably at approximately the same time every night. My genetic children and I are also easily reset by sunlight. When the girls were babies in AZ I ended up covering the windows with blankets so they wouldn't keep waking up at 5am and falling asleep at 10pm. I've done the same to myself so I could adjust to a graveyard shift schedule and back again. I could also sleep through a nuclear explosion, which at least means I sleep through Chris's night owl tendencies.

We were really, really hoping the baby would be similarly easy to sleep train.

Evidently we're going to be stuck somewhere in the middle.

Every night for two weeks my sleep schedule has become a steady 4am to noon. This does not make me happy.

I initially blamed the disturbance on Chris, whose schedule has somehow become 4am to 9am. Nope, I had the cause completely wrong.

Last night I fell asleep, in bed, at 8pm while Chris dozed on the couch. I woke up at 10pm to do the nightly head count (Wash still likes to escape the yard so I always check the number of dogs before I go to sleep), stayed up for a few hours, then attempted to go back to sleep at midnight.

The pregnancy is at 18 weeks so not only is the baby moving a lot but I can now feel it hitting the sides of my uterus. Continuously.

Which it likes to do. Every night between midnight and 4am. With no break longer than 15 minutes.

Our baby has a strong internal sleep schedule, which includes being awake and very active in the middle of the night.


I'm really, really hoping that once born the baby will respond to sunlight as a way to reset the sleep schedule.

But I'm not holding my breath.