Well, y'all are just the bee's knees, really. Thank you for all the encouragement after this post. Even though it probably didn't sound earth-shattering to you, I was hugely nervous about sharing my sleep struggles. They've been such an issue with me for so long...I told my husband, after I hit "publish", that I felt like I was standing in the middle of the street in my underwear.
I want to be sure I represented accurately where I am in this little journey I'm on (based on some of your comments and e-mails, I think I may have unintentionally given the wrong impression). Right now, I'm not a raging insomniac, up prowling around at all hours. Ambien works wonderfully for me, and I take it most nights. Like I said, the dose I take is very small, so I feel like it's fairly safe (though I'm NOT crazy about taking it, still). I don't know where I'd be without it: probably a raging insomniac, up prowling around at all hours.
Several of you commented or wrote to me privately about sleep medication, some of you sounding hesitant to try it. There's not much I'm absolutely certain of, but this one thing is for sure--a good doctor should listen carefully to you if you're suffering from chronic insomnia. Be sure you rule out physical causes. I actually did see a sleep specialist once. He told me I was healthy, just a little neurotic (okay, those weren't his exact words, but that was the gist. I'm not offended, since I'm quite aware that I am, in fact, a little neurotic). He recommended this book. At the time, I was in the throes of anxiety disorder, so it wasn't exactly what I needed. But it did sound very helpful (the authors seemed to "get" how an insomniac thinks), and when I'm longer a mommy of a toddler I plan to try it.
And also, in case anyone is interested, Ginger pointed me toward some information about Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome. It may not be a full explanation of what the deal is with us night owls (or is it "we night owls"--now that I've done a grammar post, I'm a little paranoid), but it's worth investigating.
Lastly, Kim left the following comment in my post:
Thought I would mention, too, that in my sleep-deprived, depressed state scriptures about sleep mocked me: "The Lord grants sleep to those He loves..." made me feel very hopeless. I wish I had a better answer for that but just wondered if you had ever had that happen.
Oh yes, Kim, I did. "Lord," I prayed, "if you grant sleep to those that you love, and you're not granting me sleep, do you love me?" As only a Father could, He assured me that He did by reminding me that His scripture speaks of seasons for different life events, and new mercies every morning (even for the sleep-deprived, frantic young mom). He reminded me that David and Job and Samuel and countless others in Scripture faced sleep interuptions when it served His divine purpose. And He reminded me that if this cannot separate me from His love, then surely a few sleepless nights wouldn't do me in.