Friday, March 20, 2009

15 weeks- Adventures in Sleep (or the lack thereof!)

A very tired mommy is multi-tasking again this Friday night. Watching the series finale of Battlestar Galactica with friends and trying to muster the energy for the weekly post. As any of you who follow me on facebook have at least some awareness of... this week has been one of adventures in sleeping or the lack thereof. The last few weeks Caroline has passed many nights waking frequently and eating seemingly constantly. By the time her 100th day rolled around I knew we needed a different approach. We were co-sleeping and Caroline was in a pattern of sleeping in her co-sleeper for a chunk- 2-4 hours at the beginning of the night, then getting into bed with us and eating on and off for much of the rest of the night. Sometimes Kev would take her out into the livingroom if she was really worked up, or if I really needed a break, but... too many nights were passing without R.E.M. for me, and with minimal R.E.M. for Kevin, and Caroline was clearly overtired. Somewhere in Dr. Sears book I read that one has to do what is right for one's family, though co-sleeping is highly recommended, one has to find the arrangement that allows everyone to sleep. After 100 days were were clear that we had not found it. So we decided to move Caroline into her crib, where she has passed some naps, but where she had not previously done any night sleeping. After her guests (Marecha, our midwife, and a family from school who welcomed their first child, a daughter, into the world seven weeks after Caroline entered the world) left at the conclusion of her 100 day party (and a belated birthday celebration for Kevin) we moved the glider from our bedroom to her nursery and moved all her bedtime rituals there as well. Rocking, nursing, singing, daddy reading bed time stories. When she was truly asleep we put her in the crib. We put the monitor on and then collapsed in our room.

The last time we tried a more intentional night time routine, then only no side-lying feeding in bed, getting up and nursing her, making sure to do a full feeding and then putting her down in her co-sleeper or sending her out with daddy if she needed more comforting, Juniper warned me on facebook that the second night was the hardest. And indeed it was then... confusion on the part of exhausted parents meant we missed a feeding altogether and had a grumpy, grumpy baby as a result. And so I braced myself for it to be hard again. And it was... for two days. We didn't let her cry-it-out. We still don't believe in that. We're not ready for that. But we think that being in the presence of people makes her want to stay "on" and being close to the breast makes her want to keep eating. So giving her her own space... seemed wise. But we intended to respond to her cries quickly and, at first, to allow her to feed whenever she awakened and seemed upset. Those first two nights that was frequently. And it. was. hard. The second night the hardest. But then... she slept for two good chunks the third night- 3 to 4 hour stretches. When I went to her for her one middle of the night wake-up it seemed she may have been babbling for awhile. I could vaguely remember having her her voice in the dream I had just left. But she wasn't crying when I got to her. Just waiting. Then... the fourth night... she slept for 6 hours straight, and then again for another 2-3. I was in shock! Her doctor said a week plus before that she should be able to go at least 5 hours and I had scoffed at the suggestion of this. But then... after a few weeks really of sleep deprivation- 6 straight hours! Friends on facebook were rejoicing with my vague updates, thinking she had turned a corner. The funny thing is that I was so used to waking up so frequently I didn't get much sleep on the night she slept so much. Funny and sad- two weeks in a row now I've had a night when for one reason or another I couldn't sleep when she could. I have decided this is a new definition of hell.

And then yesterday during the day... terrible... she was crying or eating or sleeping on me all day... and last night... terrible. Up again every hour or two. I think this was partially because I rehung a big map on her nursery wall earlier that evening and the corkboard I mounted it on didn't stick. We didn't hear it come crashing down, but she inevitably did, probably causing one of her wake-ups. She eventually slept for a three hour block from 4-7, but... all three of us were wiped out again today.

She is presently sleeping peacefully in her crib. We're taking it one night at a time. The next two nights I'm going to do the bulk of the nighttime care, sharing it less evenly with Kev than usual, as he has the opportunity to play two services at a church where he REALLY would like to be hired as church musician this coming Sunday and he needs to sleep. I need sleep too, but I want him as well rested as possible for a full day of sharing his gifts with a prospective congregation. So... the adventures in sleep continue.

But this week has not only been about sleep or the lack thereof.

Caroline has taken to pulling off the breast when she's getting full and looking up at me so intently. If I make eye contact and smile in those moments she breaks out into the hugest grin and squeals and then nuzzles into the breast once more. Last weekend she was falling asleep on the breast, pulling off but not fully closing her eyes- little slits looked up at me. If I smiled at her in these moments, and I usually did, slowly but surely a smile would begin to fill her face until it stretched to her big and beautiful blue eyes which then would open as she squealed and nuzzled in to the breast once more. I knew if I would just stop smiling at her she'd eventually give in to sleep, but it was too, too precious not to repeat this several times.

Today I nuzzled her belly with my nose, something she usually responds well to, but today she laughed, not just squeals and grins, but honest to goodness rolling laughter. Several times in a row. Until, of course, we turned the video camera on... then... not so much. She's a clever one that Caroline Grace! And so... so... precious.

For a few weeks now she has loved to be pulled up to a sitting position from lying down on her back. She often giggles when locking eyes after being pulled up. She also likes being pulled to a standing position from sitting. She is a strong one that Caroline Grace! So, so strong. And so, so precious.

That's all my sleepy head can remember to share tonight. I'll put up a few picture posts momemtarily.

Here's to good sleep for at least one of us, hopefully for three of us. So say we all!


Desert Mama said...

The sleeping does get better eventually - it is just hard for some kids. My M. was 3+ - almost 4 - before she would sleep easily at night. At 5 we rarely have problems, although she does occasionally wake up crying with a bad dream. It will happen. As one other parent told me one time - the best part of parenting is that they grow up - and as long as you love them through the rough parts, they generally grow up okay.
She is just darling - love the pics. of her sleeping on daddy's arm.

LittleMary said...

this sounds like hell. absolute hell. i am grateful for the better nights and pray you get to look forward to nights coming soon, where you can sleep.

April said...

Sarah -- Have you heard of the book, The No-Cry Sleep Solution? It was a big help for us with Annalivia who slept with us and nursed all night. It's a very gentle way of easing into better sleep patterns. The author is a big Sears fan and co-sleeps with her kiddos. If you have energy to read one more book, it may help.