I can’t tell you how apprehensive I was going into last night. Would she sleep? Would she freak? I think that the unpredictability of it all is what makes this whole process so stress-inducing. I mean, if someone can just tell you, “Hang in there momma, she’ll be out for the count in 3 minutes,” I’d at least have a goal to hang on to. As it is, this whole process is judgment and intuition, not logic and precision.
That’s probably why the Irishman is having a much easier time of decision making than I am – he’s a feeler and I’m a thinker. I know this because he’ll make comments like, “She doesn’t sound sad to me, she just sounds annoyed that we’re not getting her.” Sure enough, when I checked on her, there were no tears, just tiny little fists waving her disapproval in my face.
While I can tell the difference between a pain cry and a hunger cry, I’m apparently less astute at telling the difference between her many emotions and that’s because the only emotion I’m used to sensing is, “HAPPY!” I think the reason that the Irishman understands the other stuff is because he had to fly solo during my two work trips and, lacking lactating breasts, had to make due with a bottle and his intuition to figure out what she needed. As I’m typing this, I’m realizing that he’s a damn good dad. While I already knew that he could handle diaper changes and feedings and trips to the park with two kids, I’m humbled that he is so in tune with our munchkin’s level of disgruntlement, particularly when I’m not.
Anyways, back to last night – I know you’re waiting on pins and needles for the outcome. Okay,you’re probably not on pins and needles, but I like to pretend that we’re all in this together. It’s the parenting version of COPS and our theme song is, “Le-xi, Le-xi, whatcha gonna do, is your mommy going to comfort you…” Apparently, the hallucinations are setting in. Ha!
Okay, so I laid her down last night the same way that I did the night before – very drowsy, but not yet in a deep sleep. She had only had one very long nap yesterday, so we put her to bed around 7:15pm (about an hour earlier than usual). She went to sleep in 6 minutes (an improvement from the 8 minutes that it took the night before). From 7:15am until 1am, she woke every 45 minutes like clockwork and the Irishman was able to get her back to sleep within minutes. I did nurse her at 11pm, but I put her right back in her crib and she was asleep in 3 minutes.
At 1am, she woke up angry. I knew she wasn’t hungry since she had just nursed two hours before and I also knew that 1-3am is her “witching hour” even when she’s in the bed with me. She’ll toss and turn, latching and unlatching, until she finally settles in for the rest of the night. I knew that this particular testing was going to test our resolve. If we picked her up, it would set the pattern for all nights to come. It took 12 very long minutes to get her back to sleep. She would cry, then fall asleep, cry, then fall asleep. Again, her cry had me “meat” to it, but it still broke my heart and even as I’m typing this, I’m judging myself as a heartless, cruel person. But deep down inside, I know that I’m neither of those things and that I love this little person more than the entire universe. I also know that she wasn’t fussing because she needed to be nursed or held, she was fussing because this was the part of sleep that she regularly had difficulty with.
So, we patted and shhhhed (probably more often than we were supposed to) and blessedly, she was back asleep for good by 1:15am. I should mention that her crib is in our room, so we feel every second of her displeasure. There’s no sleeping through it, we just lay there holding hands and praying that she settles back down quickly and that we’ve made the right choice in this.
Well, the big news of the night is that once we got her over the hump, she slept from 1:15-5:15am. YAY!! That also means that she went from 11-5:15am without nursing. I’m going to slowly work on cutting out that 11pm feeding, but for now, I’m thrilled with that 6 hour stretch. At 5:15, I nursed her and pulled her into our bed instead of laying her back in the crib. That was more for my benefit than hers – I needed to cuddle her and silently apologize for not snatching her up the second that she made a peep.
I slipped out of bed at 5:30am, made coffee and for the first time in almost a year, I’m enjoying my favorite time of the day. Getting two hours of peace and contemplation before my lovely (and loud) family wakes up is a gift that I didn’t think I’d get to have for years to come.
I think the last hurdles are going to be getting her to put herself back to sleep at her 45 minute wake-ups and dropping the middle of the night nursing. Slowly but surely, we’ll get there. Amen.