Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The tale of the sleepless nights...

Once upon a time I was 10. Seriously, I was a long time ago. It was one of my first babysitting jobs, yes, I was pretty young....but I'd been babysitting my siblings for longer than that. I was babysitting for this WONDERFUL family...and the couple was out late. I happened to fall asleep on the couch, once the kids were in bed. When they came home, they tried waking me up for 15 mins! I guess I was so out of it, she eventually shook me awake, lol. I felt SO bad....what if the kids had woken up and I didn't hear them?? Ever since that day, I started "babysitting sleeping", so I would only lightly rest, but be able to hear everything around me. As I got older, this habit of only resting started happening at night....I must have babysat a lot, lol. 
This problem only worsened when I had my children, as I was always just laying awake, waiting for them to wake up. Not even on purpose either...I tried to fall asleep, it just wouldn't happen. Even though it would take me a while to get to sleep, I still would...eventually....sometimes after a few hours, but sometimes it didn't take long at all. I think being overtired so much would help me fall asleep faster at night. 
This might seem like the end of my sleepless tale, but in fact, its just one tiny aspect of my sleepless nights. The biggest problem is my KIDS....I love them to death, don't get me wrong...but they are BAD sleepers. Like, THE worst....I'm not sure if anyone sleeps worse than my little R
It all started with A, he was really colicky, which lead to him having bad sleeping habits....which he never outgrew until after R was born. He wasn't as bad as R though, he would fall asleep relatively well, but just wake up every 2-3 hours....sometimes going to sleep easily again, but most of the time, not. So, then I had R, foolishly believing the statistics that only 1 in every 5 babies are colicky, I thought I'd be good to have 4 perfect babies after all that I went through with A....I was tricked! R was even worse....well at least colicky for longer, and slept a LOT worse. 
And so my sleepless nights not only continued, but got much worse. I knew things were going to be difficult from the very first night we had R, and he wouldn't sleep at all...even in the hospital, he would be up crying most of the night. I secretly hoped that maybe it was just the smell, or the huge amount of other babies, or the overall creepiness of hospitals that he didn't like....I mean, who does? But nope...he only got worse at home. I  didn't mind so much in the beginning, its kind of planned on, ya know? Who has a baby that sleeps at night as a newborn, it just rarely I figured we would just get through the first few months, somehow, and it would get better.
And here we are, 20 1/2 months later going through the same thing. Guess its been more than a few months...oh how time slowly flies. We've gotten a TON of tips from everyone....relatives, friends, random strangers, a poodle...okay, maybe not a poodle, but it might as well have happened. We read OODLES (in case you were wondering, yes, I'm cool enough to say that word) of books, studies, and on and on....even resorting to seeing a paediatrician....whom we still meet with on a monthly basis. We've found some things that helped, but even more that didn't
We even tried a rigorous 2 week program where we tried to let him go back to sleep on his own, as much as we could, and I tried nursing him a lot less at night. It was a really long few weeks, but it did help. Before we did it, he wouldn't go to sleep until around 11pm-2 am, depending on the night....we would bounce/rock/walk him to sleep several times, only to have him wake up as we were walking into his room, as we were laying him down, or 15 minutes after he was laid down. So, the major improvement was that he goes to sleep, on his own, at 7:00, and sleeps really well for the first few hours....sometimes even until 11:30. I was hugely relieved at the time, thinking that his sleeping throughout the night would gradually get better too, but it didn't. And although this was a huge step in the right direction, and gives me a lot more free time at night to relax, has not made a big improvement to my sleeping, because I don't go to sleep at 7....I couldn't even if I wanted to. If I could find a way to fall asleep then, at least I would be guaranteed 2-3 hours in a row uninterrupted, every night.
Some nights are better than others....but most aren't. Last night was extraordinarily bad, which is probably why I've been thinking about it so much today...I figured writing might help. To give you an example, last night R woke up at 10:30 and 11:30...and from them on had a hard time falling asleep again...he would sleep for a few minutes, and then cry for a long time, and the nurse...and then start the pattern all over again. So, at 2:30ish I finally got to sleep, for about 1/2 hour or so....until it started up again....and happened all night long. The last time I nursed him was at 6 am(and about 4 times between 2:30 and 6)...and then A woke up at 6:30. Gotta LOVE daylight savings!! So thats a normal night in the life of me....some are better, but not my too much. 

I wish that this was one of those "Happily Ever After" sort of tales....and I'm sure one day it will be. But not yet, and not for a while, I doubt. I'm constantly asked how I do it....but how don't I do it? Is there an alternative? ha ha....if anyone has one, gladly let me in on it, LOL. 

It's not all bad though, it might sound horrific, and it only is at night. By the time I actually drag my sad little(well, growing) bum out of bed, it feels like any other ordinary day. I guess I'm blessed that way....the sleeplessness rarely bothers me during the day. I always feel like I've just got a normal amount of thinking might be a little more fuzzy, but really, I can't complain. I do get grouchy at my kids at night....but I try and stay patient, as I truly believe there is a reason that R is so silly at night...and once we can fix it, things will get better. The other up side, is that my kids are SO great! They are very independent in the morning, and know how to get themselves food, get dressed (well A does), and play with toys quietly, so can lay in the bed for longer....they are good to me.

Daily Gratitude: that I'm not a character out of the walking dead during the day...or any type of flesh-eating zombie really, i don't think I would enjoy there lifestyle...I'd probably be a vegetarian. That I can love my children SO much, even when they scream all night long, seriously, its a huge blessing.
Funny Quote: One time after A and I had a big talk about lying, and how wrong it was...he came back out from a time out, and he said a prayer to make himself feel better, and in it he asked that he'd still be able to go to heaven with Jesus, even though he was so heartfelt, I felt like laugh-crying! He is such a sweet boy.

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