Well it’s Monday and I took the weekend away from the computer to enjoy my visiting sister and take a long bike ride with my hubby and Ella. But here I am ready to update you on how the last three nights have gone. If I can remember.
DAY SIX (Friday): Daddy came home from being away. My relief had arrived (I think for whatever reason I ended up doing most of the get ups anyway, probably because I was just awake first). It’s a bit of a blur now that’s Monday. She went to bed around 9 because we had been at a football game. I know she didn’t nurse all night. I know there were two periods she was up every 10-15 minutes for an hour or so. We did do cheese and meds before bed and at 1 am I changed her soppy diaper in case that was the issue. Also I repeated ibuprofen at 2:30 because I was getting frustrated with the every 10-15 minutes business. The diapers don’t seem to be an issue but she is drinking so much water than she is wetting a TON at night so I’m trying all configurations of nighttime diapers trying to keep her asleep without being saturated. Trial and error. Also trying to not give her a bunch of water but sometimes that’s the only thing that will calm her.
DAY SEVEN (Saturday): Saturday was better than Friday. Bedtime was 8 ish. I made her two eggs to eat at 6:30 because Matt and I were eating late. So she had eggs, cheese, applesauce, some yogurt and some banana for dinner. Quite a bit of food. Neither of us picked her up at all during the night. Just patting was sufficient to get her back to sleep and she didn’t have any real long periods of wakefulness so that was a bonus. She was up at 1 and 3 and 5 and couple of times in between. You can see a real every two hour pattern forming here. Definitely in her light sleep state she wakes and looks for help. We go and give it to her. I guess the next leap is for her to realize she doesn’t need help. From 5 she slept until 6:45 when dad got up with her and I got to sleep until 8. I definitely think how she eats during the day impacts the night sleep. Protein before bed is helpful.
DAY EIGHT (Sunday): Ella went to bed around 8:30. This was the first time dad has put her to bed alone. She had no booby just some rocking and patting. Note: She did NOT eat an awesome dinner. At all. She had some beans, some mandarin oranges and part of a peanut butter sandwich. I may just start feeding her eggs before bed I swear. Anyway… she slept until 10:30 but was able to get back to sleep on her own that time. At 11:30 when she woke dad went in but again was able to get to sleep with just some patting and a little water. Less than a minute. This would pretty much be the theme until 12:30. Up every 10-15. One minute of patting. Back to sleep. At this point I suggested we turn off the monitor. I absolutely cannot sleep laying there waiting to hear her cry. About every other time she is able to get herself back to sleep anyway after a few whimpers. So turning off the monitor (which comes on at every little peep, including every.flippin.train. that passes all night long) was a good call. She slept until around 4. At that point I went in and patted and gave her water (I’m not automatically offering her water. I try to pat first and if she sits back up then I offer the water. Because of aforementioned TON OF PEE). We did that a few times between 4-5:15. From 5:15 she slept until 6:50. Unheard of for her to be in bed that late (though we did have one 7:20 day last week). YAY.
So it’s been a week. How far have we come? A week ago Ella was in our bed from 12 or so on then kicking pinching and biting me from 2 or 3 am until we finally would get up a 5. I was sleeping very little in those hours of her restlessness and I was having to lug her with me to the bathroom to pee every time I went (so she wouldn’t fall off the bed or scream bloody murder waking up the whole house, while I was gone). Her bedtime and night routine is consistent except we’ve adding our teething regime and made sure she’s getting food before bed. She isn’t nursing at ALL anymore (at night) and last night she even went to bed without nursing (first time ever, except for once when Staci was babysitting). We went from picking her up and rocking and nursing every time she wakes, to giving her a drink and patting her back to sleep, to finally just patting (with an occasional drink), and sometimes not even having to pat at all just letting her get herself back to sleep. Her naps are consistently 1 or 2 a day (depending on how busy we are) lasting 2 + hours for the first and about 1 for the second (if she gets one). She can fairly easily get herself back to sleep about half the time (even during naps) with only a whimper or little cry out (anything more and I’m in her room in a flash). I am up about a half dozen or so times a night (though dad has done about half the waking the last two nights) but I can’t get myself BACK to sleep once I’ve been up with her so that’s a frustration. We are moving in the right direction though. It’s not HUGE leaps but small steps. The next hurdle would hopefully be just reducing the number of times she is just UP every 10-15 minutes for a couple of hours. I can’t really explain that behavior except to say maybe it’s the teeth. If it is then things should get better soon. If not then I guess we wait it out. There is really no provision in the (Jay Gordon) plan for what to do when kids wake up every 10 minutes. I mean if you’re not crying it out what is your option? You go in. You soothe without picking up and that’s all you’ve got. So that’s what we’ll keep doing.
We are all getting more sleep than we WERE (except dad who used to sleep through most of the night fussing) and moods are improved all around. I certainly miss her being in our bed though so I hope we can get back to that soon. Or maybe we never will. Maybe we will just say ok we did a year and now she’s got her own bed in her own room and the new baby arrives and sleeps in ours. I’m not sure what nighttime logistics would look like with a newborn waking and possibly waking Ella so maybe she is better off in her bed for HER sake. I never set out to co-sleep purely for my own benefit and I have even co-slept to my own detriment but if the presence of a new baby totally disrupts Ella’s sleep then she probably should stay in her own room. We have time to decide.
A month ago I was envisioning this nightmare of me going into labor in the middle of the night with Ella still nursing all night and trying to figure out how I’d nurse her all night and keep her asleep while trying to give birth. Now I know that my body will probably pick nighttime to labor (like it did with Ella) when things are still and the mother part of my brain knows all my kids are here and safe. As I’ve said, as tough as this is, having her at least partly weaned is going to make the transition from one little person monopolizing my time to two much easier. There you have it.
Here’s a quick bare bones update on last night. This series is about getting a baby to sleep but also about a momma who NEEDS to sleep (as is often the case). So there will be some whining. Apologies.
DAY FIVE (Thursday):
Ella’s grandparents were here last night for a short passing through town visit (my in-laws) so bed time was a bit later than usual which was fine. Around 8:25 we did the routine of ibuprofen (damn the molars), teething tabs, chamomilia and CHEESE. Yes. Cheese. Bedtime took about 6 minutes from diaper to nursing to sleep. She slept from then until 11:30 when she woke fussing but was able to get herself back to sleep without my assistance. She then slept until 1:13. I went in, gave her water, DID NOT PICK HER UP, laid her down, patted her back to sleep. SUCCESS. Note: this is part (I think Step 3) of Jay Gordon’s plan but I accelerated it by a few days. I think it’s important to read your baby’s cues. She didn’t lift her arms up to me. She didn’t cry. She was obviously groggy so I tried laying her down and HOLY COW IT WORKED. At 3:19 she woke again. and I did the Exact. Same. Thing. She fussed a few minutes after I left the room but stayed asleep. I stayed on the the edge of my bed fretting. At 5:26 she woke again and this would be her usual wake time. I went in and gave her her water which she pushed away. I assumed that was because she wanted up and out BUT just in case not, I laid her down, patted her and she fell BACK ASLEEP. This child hasn’t slept past 6 am in MONTHS. Usually she’s up by 5:30 or earlier. It is now 7 am and she’s still asleep. STILL.
It’s an October miracle.
Bad news: I’m EXHAUSTED and I have THREE OTHER KIDS. Well, the kids themselves aren’t the bad news. They are awesome. But as you moms of more than one know (which is probably most of you), even if you are dogshitdeadwantodietired, if you have kids to need to get to school or need to get fed or need to be woken up you have to get up too. The luxury of sleeping when baby sleeps? HA. Yeah, no.
See, I didn’t fare so well last night. This sleep series isn’t about me sleep training though so I won’t go into it too deep. I’ll just say that she was sleeping and I was not and that is stupid. This whole me not being able to sleep thing, for whatever reason I can’t (last night I was genuinely sick) is getting really old. I had plans to go to Fresno today but I’m not going because I haven’t slept and I have a FULL day ahead of me that ends with me taking all of the kids to a high school football game to watch the 13 year old play the national anthem and being there until probably after 10 pm. Anyway. Once we get Ella squared away completely I *hope* that my good sleep will follow. Because I can FUNCTION on 3 hours but it’s not cool. And like I said three other kids and while they WANT me to rest they kind of NEED me to get them to school. So yeah. That.
WARNING: There may be horrendous spelling and grammatical errors in here. OH. WELL. I’m tired.
Oh the gloriousness of day three. I was so rested and so capable and so NORMAL. I cleaned the bathrooms. I washed ALL the laundry. I knitted. I swept. I dusted. I cleaned up five million pieces of teeny tiny piss foam. And I told you all that I thought I probably just shouldn’t even DISCUSS day three because it was that good. And then yesterday’s morning nap? BRILLIANT. Ella went down about 9:45 and at 10:20 she woke up. I was BUMMMMMED. But holy what the? She put herself BACK TO SLEEP. And then she slept. Clear until 12:15. It. Was. Magical. I had good reason to believe we had indeed turned a corner.
And then last night happened.
DAY FOUR (Wednesday): Ella skipped her afternoon nap which was fine given the length of the morning one. She got fussy around 3:45 and I nursed her. She dozed and I laid her down but she popped up which was fine with me since I figured potentially earlier bedtime. She had her hand in her mouth most of the afternoon so we were alternatiing teething tablets with lots of ice for that (I suspect molars). I had a RAGING headache that was making me nauseated (and that nothing except massage seems to help) so I kind of limped around all evening asking the big kids to help out with things. I gave Ella her bath and then took one myself while Kelsey kept an eye on her. At 8 pm she wasn’t acting tired but I did our routine of ibuprofen, chamomilia and teething tablets and we went upstairs. Diaper changed. Nursed. Laid down awake. And fast sleep in SIX minutes. I was hopeful. I had dressed her with some pants on (usually she’s just in diaper and t-shirt because she’s such a sweaty sleeper) and was at least a little worried she’d get all sweaty. Not a peep.
At 10:30 ish I went to bed. I read for a few minutes in the Adventures in Tandem Nursing book and laid down about 11 ish. At 11:30 Ella woke crying. I went in but she was able to sooth herself. YES! I went to the bathroom (for whatever reason I had to pee every half hour for the first 3 hours of the night) and she fussed again. Back to her room and she was asleep again. This happened once more before I got back to bed around almost 12. At 12:48 she woke crying and I went in. Gave her a drink of water and tried to lay her down. No dice. Nursed her for one minute. Laid her down. Covered her and went back to my bed (after peeing AGAIN). It was 12:56 ish. Two minutes after I put my head on my pillow she was crying. Back to her room. Pat. Soothe. Leave. This routine happened two more times before I just decided I’d better stay in there. It’s far more cruel to have to climb in and out and in and out of bed. So I sat there. She’d fuss. I’d pat. I’d sit. She’d fuss. Repeat. We did this until 1:30 ish. Or 1:40. I refused to look at the clock. I went back to bed and she fussed a few MORE times but I waited it out to see if she’d get back to sleep and she did.
She slept until 3:38 and woke with a cry. I went in. Water wouldn’t cut it. Nursing wouldn’t cut it. I tried patting. Rubbing. Singing. She just KEPT SITTING UP. Finally at 4 I just took her to my room. Trying to hang my arm over the side of the crib to pat her was a nightmare. Trying to lean into her crib? Also a nightmare. My belly just won’t allow it. I opted to take her to my bed if for nothing else just so I could be horizontal. And there we laid. I patted. She cried and talked to herself. This went on until 4:45 when she finally dozed off. I was clock watching thinking OK I COULD let the kids sleep until 6:30. Well that internal conversation was for naught because she woke BACK up at 5:15. And that was that.
SO. It was bad. What was different than the night before? Well on Tuesday I gave her some cheese before bed. So fail. Maybe she was hungry? Also she had a different than usual water cup. Not that it should matter but shit, hell if I know. Also maybe it’s just the teeth hurting so bad that the ibuprofen can’t touch it. I. DON’T. KNOW.
What I do know? Her mood is clearly effected. She was literally YELLING at me at the table while I made her eggs at 6 am. She threw my phone and hit me in the face. She threw her water and hit me in the face. She fell down and Owen helped her get up and she hit him in the FACE. My child is barely recognizable as her sweet self. And… not surprisingly, my mood is clearly effected. I am EXHAUSTED and emotional this morning. I talked to Matt this morning and spent most of the 15 minutes on the phone crying. My in-laws are coming for a brief visit today and my house is going to be not clean which I’m not happy about. I am DREADING the day of being exhausted and trying to balance the rest I clearly NEED with the things I also need to DO.
The plan? Well tonight I won’t skip the cheese that’s FOR SURE. And I guess I’ll go ahead and give her ibuprofen as soon as the 6 hour window is up. I don’t like giving kids medication like that but shit what else can I do? Other than that it’s back to pleading.
Well it’s 7 am on Wednesday morning as I write this (though I’m sure I won’t get it published until after I get the kids to their respective institutes of learning). Don’t let the time fool you, I’ve been up since 5, but it wasn’t because of Ella. I’m ready to tell you last nights story but honestly I’m at least a little scared to say anything at this point.
I would have blogged at 5 am because I was UP after all but then the neighbors cat peed on our five foot wide Chillsac (don’t ask me why the neighbors cat is even IN our house because that is a long and annoying story). Matt was nice enough to take the time to remove the cover (because like I said FIVE FEET of foam and my flexibility is not what is was before I had a bowling ball under my shirt) so I could wash it before he left for the Bay, but alas, SURPRISE. When he opened it it seems the chillsac itself had become unzipped and the cover was filled with five million teeeeeny tiny foam pieces. Therefore the living room was filled with teeny tiny foam pieces and cat piss smelling teeny tiny foam pieces at that. So after vacuuming SIX times (that is six empties of the canister in the RAIN) and washing the piss cover and throwing the cat out into said rain and moving the monster rowing machine TWICE AND trying to keep Ella from eating a bucket of piss foam and listening to the screeching cat at the front door the WHOLE time, I’m NOW ready to tell you about last night.
Here’s how it went.
DAY THREE (Tuesday): Despite her very poor sleep the night before, Ella only took her two regular length naps yesterday. One at 8- 9:50. And one from 1:15-3. I was able to sleep about an hour and a half during the day as well which was welcome. Come last night she wasn’t really ACTING tired at 8 pm so Matt went ahead and read her 163 MORE books then I gave her a nice dose of ibuprofen plus chamomilia and teething tablets which also have chamomile in them (it’s ok you don’t need to tell me how I od’ed my baby on chamomile) and took her upstairs at 8:15. From nursing to dozing to patting to sleeping was EIGHT minutes. TOTAL. I came downstairs to snuggle and knit Ella’s new stripey soaker and chat on twitter while we watched an episode of Survivorman. At 9:22 she woke up crying and I was filled with dread. Turns out she was just sweaty. I uncovered her, patted her and BAM 2 minutes. Out. Cold. Around 10:15 we decided that we’d hit the sack so I could sleep in the event of another presumed all-nighter. We chatted for a while and giggled like we do. I was feeling pretty anxious about the possibility of being awake all night again. Finally a little after 11 we went to sleep. I woke up at 11:33. Ella was still asleep. At 12:02. Still asleep. 12:27. STILL ASLEEP. 1:09 STILLLLL ASLEEP. 1:27 STILLLLLLLLL ASLEEP. At this point I was getting pretty irritable with MYSELF. Here I had a great chance to be SOUNDLY sleeping and instead I was obsessing if she was breathing, if she was ok, when was she going to wake, if she was going to cry ALL NIGHT LONG, the fact the the poor people on that tiny island Tuvalu off of New Zealand don’t have fresh water at all this year, the new hole in the ozone over the NORTH pole and whether or not my car is going to get keyed because I have an OBAMA 2012 sticker on it. Finally at 1:58 she let out a cry. I popped up and went in. I gave her her water first without picking her up. She chugged that for about a minute then reached up to me to be picked up. I tried to lay her down to pat her but she’d have no part of any such business. So I scooped her up and sat in the rocker and nursed. I won’t lie. I was plotting my night of sitting up at that point. But she only nursed FOR ONE MINUTE. Then she was dozing. I laid her down half awake. Pat. Pat. OUT. It was 2:01 THREE MINUTES. I went back to bed. After obsessing some more about those poor people on Tuvalu I finally fell asleep. Only to awakened by her crying at 3:17. I got up and lumbered into her room and found her FAST ASLEEP on her back. WHAT THE HEL IS GOING ON HERE PEOPLE?!?!?! So I went BACK to bed and laid there. Listening to the rain. Listening to Matt breathe. Listening to the cats. Thinking about Tuvalu (those poor people on Tuvalu don’t even know I’m laying awake about their water situation so how helpful am I?). Wondering how many minutes I’d get before she’d cry again. Two? Ten? Thirty?
TWO HOURS AND FOURTY-FIVE MINUTES folks. She slept straight through until 5:55 when she woke for the day which was just perfectly FINE with me. So even though I had a horrid night of broken sleep and woke up at 5 to worry about Tuvalu again I STILL slept more than I have in a year or more. And I pretty much feel like I could conquer the universe right now. On like 5.5 hours of SUPER BROKEN SLEEP. If I got 7 hours I might ACTUALLY conquer the universe.
Ella is cheerful. Obviously rested. Playing wonderfully after eating a nice breakfast. And FINE. She hasn’t nursied this morning and I haven’t offered because I’ve been getting everyone ready for school and cleaning up teeny tiny piss foam. Overall I feel really sad that I lost my milk supply but I am able to see a silver lining here. I needed a kick to night wean her. I am pregnant and I haven’t slept more than 5 VERY broken hours in months. I’ve been exhausted and sick and sacrificing my own health because I didn’t want HER to suffer. If I hadn’t lost my milk when I did I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that we’d be co-sleeping and ALL NIGHT NURSING until the very end of pregnancy when I’d have to get her to to sleep so that I could before the new baby arrived. I know my milk will come back in four or five months and I hope that Ella will still want to nurse then. I’m trying not to fret that right now but it’s a constant in my mind. She is nursing less and less during the day because she’s walking and she’s BUSY and wants to read and play and have fun. She’s developing as she should. It breaks my heart to think of weaning her at this young age (she’d be the youngest of ANY of my babies to wean). I’m not religious but I AM spiritual and I do believe that things happen when they are meant to and for a reason. That seems hard to swallow when you think of all the AWFUL things that happen in the world but even in my own life the awful things have always led me to a place of greater understanding.
As is life. And this.
We interrupt this weeks regularly scheduled pregnancy update to bring you this fun story. A tale of exhaustion and woe. I share this with you to hopefully present an experience you can either relate to or at the very least give me sympathy for.
Thanks in advance.
We are in the beginning stages of the
nightmare process of nightweaning. Before I detail this awesome experience for you let me tell you WHY we are in said process…
Last week on Friday I went about my normal routine of putting Ella down for morning nap. Diaper. Nurse. Bed. Only this time she only nursed for about one minute. Hm. NOW, I’d been aware because of lack of gulpy noises and the constant drinking of water that my milk had at the very least reduced significantly. That day I decided to pump after laying her down to see just how much.
Five minutes of pumping and what was the result? FOUR. DROPS. Four. Well I sat there in my floor and had a real good cry. Then I went and talked to Matt and then to my twitter mom friends. Then I cried again. And laid on my bed and cried some more. I’m not going to try to delve into the emotions that surround this for me right now because I think it’s still a little too new for me to be objective (read: logical) but let me just say, this is devastating for ME. She seems fine. Of course she’s FINE. I am not fine. More on this another time.
Anyway it was at that point that I concluded that her very poor sleep habits at night (after the hand foot mouth fiasco) were probably due in large part to the fact that she’s looking repeatedly for milk that just isn’t there. Also though I plan to let her continue to comfort nurse until my milk returns (which should be sometime in trimester three) I would like to add, THIS DOES NOT FEEL GOOD. It’s in fact rather painful. I have no plans to stop because ultimately I feel really strongly about nursing Ella until she’s at least two but all night long is just too much right now. My average night of sleep look(ed) like this. Baby to bed around 8. Me to bed around 11. Baby up at 11:30. Nursed back to sleep. Baby back up at 2 or 3 and then tossing and turing and tossing until she wakes up for the day at 4:45-5. SO 3 solid hours of sleep for me plus another 2-2.5 of interrupted sleep. And by interrupted I mean kicked, bit, pinched. So yeah, not pleasant.
Anyway, that brings us to where we are now. We started the night weaning process on Sunday night. And here’s how it went.
Sunday: Kind of a mother effing nightmare.
Monday: I WANT TO CRAWL IN A HOLE AND DIE.
No seriously. The PLAN was to loosely follow Dr. Jay Gordon’s ‘plan’, which you can read about here. Our modifications would be these. For the first FIVE nights I would go in and comfort and nurse if she desired (DUH) but leave her in her room (five nights because of dad being gone and me being without backup). On Friday through Sunday or Monday dad would take over patting and rocking but no nursing. Then back to me while he’s gone and back to him when he gets home again. We would temporarily suspend co-sleeping until the process was complete because let’s face it, if she’s one foot from me all night she’s GOING to be looking for my boob.
SO this is how Sunday looked:
DAY ONE: Ella nursed to sleep with no real issue and was in bed by 8:15. She slept solidly until about 10:30 and then woke. I nursed her briefly and laid her back down. She slept FIFTEEN MINUTES. Repeat. She slept until 2. Then from 2-3:30 I was in her room EVERY. TEN MINUTES. Every time I went in I picked her up, nursed her til she dozed, then laid her back down. And then I sat on the chair and waited. Then I’d creep back to my bed where I would snuggle up next to my peacefully sleeping husband and then BAM. Crying. Again. Oh how I wish we had a spare bed. At 3:30 she finally went to sleep after water and diaper and me crying. Then at 4:15 after peeing twice and me crying some more I fell asleep. Then at 4:30 my 11 year old came creeping up the stairs after a nightmare. So I slept from 4:45 until 5:45. Don’t add up how much sleep I got. It was not enough.
I had HIGH hopes for night two. HIGH. First I decided that maybe the 2:-3:30 fiasco was because of teeth so I’d give her ibuprofen again at that time. Also it wasn’t THAT bad. She wasn’t screaming bloody murder or anything so I felt like we were moving in a good direction.
WRONG. SO SO VERY WRONG.
DAY TWO (Monday): I nursed her to sleep about 8. She was fussy off and on the breast so I ended up laying her down and patting her to sleep. YES PATTING. I was encouraged. I mean she went to sleep without a nipple in her mouth. It wasn’t AWESOME but she went to sleep. YAY. Then right on cue, when I was getting into my bed, she woke up. 10:40 ish I think. I went in and nursed her and that didn’t really seem to work so back to the patting. WOW. Two pats to sleep. This really IS going to be good.
So from that time until 2:45 I was in her room. I laid on the floor (this is not recommended). Sat in the chair. Patted. Rocked. Every time she fell asleep (for the first hour anyway) I’d tiptoe out and as soon as I’d put my butt on my bed. BAM. Awake. EVERY. Single. Time. So I mostly just sat there. I was absolutely puzzled. She had ibuprofen on board so not teeth probably. And she didn’t even really want to nurse so not that. I won’t lie. I was not doing so hot. Exhausted. Frustrated, Determined to let my husband sleep so that at least ONE of us could be refreshed. A couple of times she sat up SCREAMING. Like terror or pain. Frankly at 1 am running on my 3 hours of sleep from the day before I didn’t know what to think. Finally at 2:45 after trying to get comfortable on her floor (BAD IDEA) I took her into our room and told Matt I flat out couldn’t do it. Period. She only wanted to be near me so fine. She can be near me. I laid her on our sidecarred twin bed and patted her bottom. She sat up fussing a few times. And then nuzzled her head into my armpit. And I felt like SHIT. I mean all she wanted was to be BY me and here i’d been fighting her to sleep in her room alone for FOUR hours. Then she bolted up screaming again. And pooped. And just like that I knew that she had a belly ache. Finally at 3:10 she crashed. And there she slept until 5:45. When she pooped again. And then again at 6:10. At 6:20 and at 6:45. Hm. I think I know what was bothering her.
So today.. I’ve had (Yeah I’ll go ahead and add it up for you) TWO and a HALF hours of sleep. She didn’t do much better I don’t think. I am HOPING beyond all hope that tonight goes better. Frankly it can’t be worse than last night so that’s some kind of strange comfort. What last night did tell me was that she IS able to fall asleep without nursing and that patting her BACK to sleep works. So provided the planets align and she’s not teething or pooping or having a nightmare of some kind I suspect (read: PRAY TO THE TINY BABY JESUS) that we will be getting some sleep very soon.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s exciting update.
Until then. I sign off.