Saturday, January 5, 2008

It's 8:15am and I'm done. Sleeping, cosleeping and not sleeping.

Last night I was all giddy and it was 1:45am. I didn't get to bed until 3am and Allison had a water cup malfunction and her entire bed had to be changed. I did something I've NEVER done before and laid down WITH her in HER bed. And fell asleep. The kids woke up at 730am and of course, since I was in THEIR bunk beds, I got up too.

I must say, 730am was later than normal and they would've gotten me up anyway since Saturdays are MY day to get up with them, but being in their bed was a new experience.

Sleeping. I just totally realized something the other day. Allison has only been sleeping through the night for 4 months. Isn't that crazy? And I'm not joking about not sleeping for the first 2 years. For 730 days on the nose, she woke up multiple times. I think there were ~maybe~ 4 or even 5 days she slept through. The average was 3 times of waking a night. The record was 11 times. (wait. 11? 11 is my record of number of hits it's taken someone to get a vein on me. If I'm confusing 11 with my vein punctures, then the record of waking is more than 11. Totally not joking).

Ella was my good sleeper. She slept through the night (like 10pm - 7am) from 11 weeks old. For an exclusively breastfed baby, this is good. So I thought this kid thing wasn't THAT hard and tried again for Allison (never in a million zillion years thinking I'd get pregnant on my 2nd month off the minipill, the first month I ~tried~ to conceive). I was a zombie mom. With a 15 months old and a newborn. Oh my god. Only those with kids close in age know what I'm talking about. Moms of multiples probably know the sleep deprivation worse than I did, but my argument for how it gets easier for moms of twins is a whole 'nother post! (no, no, I'm not actually saying mothering multiples is easy!).

Anywho, with Allie, I waited for that 11 week mark, when she'd sleep. When it passed by me without even another 15 minutes of sleep, I made the next goal. 16 weeks. Then 24. Then 6 months, 7, 8, 9, 10. Surely she's be sleeping by a year old! Nope. Nothing. By the end of month 24, day 730, I had already succumbed to the idea she wasn't a sleeper. During the past two years, I tried everything*.

* The only thing I didn't try was co-sleeping. My kids have been in their own beds from the moment of birth. I didn't sleep with them in the hospital (next to me, but in their own bassinet, which, I believe, is actually the rule at my hospital) and I didn't sleep with them at home. There were nights they slept on my chest on the couch after breastfeeding, but always back into their beds, on their backs. And NEVER would I put them in MY bed. Ever since I learned about the invention of cribs - that the reason they were invented was because there were SO many accidental deaths from "rollover", no way could I chance that.

Did anyone catch that HBO documentary of "autopsy" where the mother had 3 children die, 1 singleton and 2 twins? The singleton was declared SIDS but the twins were cause "unknown" and she sought out Dr Baden, world renown forensic pathologist, to find out what really happened. He studied everything. Genetics and the exhumed bodies. Everything. He spent months on the case only to finally tell her that he was 100% sure it wasn't SIDS, but accidental rollover which killed both babies at the same exact moment. Oh God. This poor mother. At the beginning of the case, she spoke of how she co slept in the "family bed", but she knows she doesn't roll at night and she is aware of the babies with her so she would ~know~ if she was moving around. She said that people told her it was a possibility but she just couldn't believe them. She KNEW they didn't die from rollover. But she said if Dr Boden did find that was the cause, she would trust him and have to accept it. So when Dr Boden did confirm her worst fears, it was heartbreaking. She couldn't continue, she burst out in emotion and I think she even fainted. The microphone was on when Dr Boden went after her and that raw pain I could hear in her sobs what more that I ever wanted to hear. She understood that although it was an accident, she killed her twins.

Whoa. Okay, that got a little serious for a moment. And while I'm totally against co sleeping in that manner - in the family bed - I don't think using a co sleeper is a bad thing. Just because I chose to have my kids not share our bedroom doesn't mean I don't think others shouldn't chose it either. For us, it wasn't even an option due to our space issues, so I can't even tell you with 100% certainty if I'd chose to co sleep or not given more room. I probably actually ~would~ have a co sleeper or a bassinet next to my bed for a few weeks after birth. But then into their own rooms, as I am very adamant on my opinions of babies learning to sleep in their own space from early on.

Obviously that isn't a trick to get them to sleep through the night. Like I said, I tried everything with Allie. Dark, light, cool room, warm room, swaddling, non swaddling, putting in a t shirt I wore so she could smell me, white noise, no noise, music, food before bed, no food before bed, waking her up to change and eat so she wouldn't wake up on her own, footed pjs, non footed pjs, diapers of different types, cloth diapers, sleeping in her own room, sharing a room with Ella, essential oils, going to be earlier, going to be later, baths before bed, massage before bed. I tried the dreaded CIO (cry it out). I tried differing methods. I tried a combination of it all. Everything. The pediatrician just told me some kids don't sleep no matter what you do. And since I had been "teaching" good sleeping habits from the very beginning, there was simply nothing I could do but wait.

On the eve of her second birthday, I wrote in her birthday card "I'm amazed at all the things you have learned over the past year and I'm excited to see what the new things you'll learn in the next year. And if you could, let sleeping through the night be one of them." During her birthday party, I read the card aloud and we all got a good laugh because everyone who knew us already were well aware of her sleeping habits. That night, I put her to bed like normal. And she slept until morning. Then the next night. Then the next night. All it took was to ask her in a written request? Okay, that's something I hadn't tried.

Although she still wakes up 1-2 times a week, those 5-6 days she sleeps is magical. It feels like she's been sleeping for years now because of how different it feels for us. Tom and I had a good plan going, we'd take turns for entire nights. This way, one of us always got a good night sleep. It did take earplugs for me though, since as a Mom, I still wake up when it's not my turn, but laying in bed listening was better than getting up. Someone would get a raw deal being up 10 times on their night opposed to maybe 1 time on the other person's night. But I'm sure that all balanced out. All I can do is thank Tom for being such a wonderful father - actually taking on a real 50% of the good and bad. (I'm amazed how many fathers out there fall short on this one. We always think our husbands will be amazing, but it's just not how it works when it's really happening).

Time to start getting the kids ready for their first gymnastics class! I'll update how it went later on.


Nico said...

It is totally funny that all it took was a written request. You crack me up. I'm really enjoying your blogs, I'm glad you commented on mine so I found you!

Jenera said...

Ah, the joys sleeping. My darling slept throught the night early on. But then night terrors hit about 7 or 8 months. Since then (he's almost 2), his sleep has never been the same.

I made the mistake of letting him sleep with my while my hubby was on the road or laying down in his bed until he fell asleep. Now it's the battle of getting him to go to sleep by himself in his bed.

I've tried every method. Now we have less crying but it still takes at least an hour unless he's had no nap.

MsPrufrock said...

My daughter has always been quite a good sleeper, with the exception of a three month hiccup thanks to an extended sleep regression period. I take her good sleeping for granted, as when she had the sleep regression, and also during teething, her interrupted sleeping was killing me. I could deal with the lack of sleep as a newborn, but once you get used to uninterrupted nights, going back to the other side is murder.

Do you think a written request to a toddler would work regarding tantrum throwing? I might try this...

jamie said...

Ok where do I begin. First off I did see that show and it will haunt me forever. It's like those kids that get ahold of a gun. As a parent you know its dangerous but you never expect to be the cause of your childs death. I am from the south and I have some seriously backwoods family and I know people who have had 3+ kids and never owned a crib so it's just weird the way things work out. I am not generaly against any parental choice unless it causes emotional of physical pain to the child we are all different and every kid is different and what works for one may not work for the other. I have eaten my non child having words SO many times it's crazy. I will never let my child run around the table at a restraunt...eaten...i will never let my child eat in front of the tv...yeah right. The list goes on. But anyways, my son only sleeps with me if he has a really high fever and I'm worried it will spike in the middle of the night. He gets this weird fever/vomit thing and it scares the shit out of me. It's so precious to see him sleeping next to me that I can see how people would like it but I need my private time if you know what i mean. Your a great mom and your kids seem well rounded so I'm sure that your decisions have done well for you and your family!

jamie said...

oh and ps my husband has only gotten up with our child once in the night or in the morning in his entire life so yes you are blessed with a great hubby!