No Sleep.

Back before Ruby was born, I used to joke all the time that I didn’t care what kind of baby I had, as long as it was a better sleeper than Ronan.

Fussy, gassy, colicky, needy, whiny… I’d take it as long as we got sleep.

The first week or so with Ruby was as expected.  Wake, change, nurse, burp, sleep.  I didn’t really care how often it happened, because sleep was at the end of the cycle.

However, in the last few days, we’ve had a new routine.

Wake.  Change.  Nurse.  Burp.  Cry.  Rock.  Walk.  Bounce.  Change.  Cry.  Cuddle.  Swaddle.  Unswaddle.  Cry.  Nurse.  Change.  Rock.  Cry.

Notice the conspicuous lack of sleep.

This has been our routine from around 2 am until nearly 6 am.  Yes, that’s right, it takes me over 4 hours to get her back to sleep, at which point I imagine half the problem is over exhaustion!

I don’t know what’s going on with her.  I can feel gas rolling around in her tummy, and she clenches up like she’s in pain.  She cries like she’s in pain.  She breaks my heart.  But NOTHING that I do seems to help her.  Bicycle legs, Mylicon, Gripe water, nursing – none of it helps.  I get stuck in this frustrating cycle where everything I do takes so long to calm her down and get her close to sleep again, that we’ve come back around to another ‘need’.  She will be about to fall asleep, and then need her diaper changed.  We will walk around until she’s calm and then lay back down to bed and she will need to eat again.  I get so heart broken and frustrated that I can’t help but cry with her.

I have sent Brock up to the guest room because we spend hours doing this… and someone has to get up with Ronan in the morning.  (By guest room, of course, I mean the mattress that is currently on the floor in what will become Ruby’s nursery… if I ever get around to completing it.)  He needs to sleep, but it contributes even more to my feeling of loneliness and isolation.

Today, I ate nothing but bland food, to see if something in my diet is upsetting her.  If we have another sleepless night, tomorrow I will begin a trial of cutting dairy out of my diet.

If this goes on much longer, I will bring it up with the pediatrician.  I can’t stand to see her so upset, so unable to sleep.

And I wouldn’t mind getting a little sleep myself.

 

Sleep Again.

I’ve been tweeting and talking about this for ages, time to write a blog.

Our Sleep Saga has been well documented.  For the last several months, Ronan has been an EXCELLENT sleeper.
Here is what we were working with.

We put Ronan to bed on sleepy cues.  When he slows down or gets glossy eyed, it’s time for bed.  That means making sure that dinner, bath and pajamas are done well before he may be ready.  Once we get into those things, he perks back up and is wide awake again.

Ronan would routinely go to bed at 5:30pm and sleep in until at least 7am.  Every. Single. Night.  His wakeups would be few and brief, wherein he would put himself back to sleep with no help from us.

After our trip to Canada in July, that was CATASTROPHIC as far as sleep was concerned, the 2 hour time difference helped us to push his bed time back a little.  We had been wanting him to go to bed a little later, not because there was anything wrong with his sleep, but because we would have a little more freedom in the evenings if he wasn’t in bed before 6pm.

We started putting him to bed between 7:30 and 8pm, and it seemed to be fine.  He was sleeping well, and not getting up until between 8 and 9 in the morning.

Suddenly and yet gradually, nothing has been working.  No bed time seems to be the right time, and nothing helps him fall to sleep.  I think it started when he was carrying his low grade fever that was and is still unexplained, but he would go to bed at a normal bed time… and stay awake.  Wide awake in his crib.  Not crying, not upset, not wanting to get out… just unsettled.  He would toss and turn and talk to himself for HOURS.  Yes, hours.  Brock and I would go in every 30 minutes or so to check on him, ask him if he needed anything, and also to check for poops. (See Poop Dilemma)  He was calm, quiet, and tired, but unable to fall asleep.

The following few weeks have included every single possible test in the book.  Earlier bedtime?  Check.  Later bedtime?  Check.  Shorter nap?  Check.  Longer nap?  Check.  More activity before bed?  Yup, we’ve done that.

As it stands, Ronan went to bed at 6:30 last night.  He fell asleep immediately, and didn’t move… for an hour.  At 7:30, he woke up and started rolling around in his bed.  Playing, talking, tossing… anything but sleeping.  He continued on that way until nearly 10:30.

We are at a loss.  Still hoping this is just a phase.  Still wondering if there is something different we should try.  Ronan takes a 2 hour nap every day, that sometimes stretches out to a three hour nap.  He doesn’t fuss or cry at bed time (usually!) and he always seems happy to be in his bed.  He just… doesn’t seem to be able to fall asleep.

I wish I knew what to do to help.

The Sleep Blog.

This blog has been a long time coming.

If you’ve been a regular around here, you might have noticed that it’s been quite a while since I’ve bitched about Ronan’s sleeping habits.  I haven’t written this post for a lot of reasons: for fear that it would jinx us, for fear of judgement, for fear of backlash.

In our sleep history, we’d gotten to the point where it was taking us an hour or more to get Ronan to fall asleep every night.  And every nap time.  One of us would sleep in his room with him on a mattress on the floor, as he continued to wake three or four times a night.  Some of his wakings consisted merely of him sitting up and crying until we laid him back down again; he was tired enough to fall back asleep, but didn’t know how to do it himself.

Two Fridays ago, I was going through my regular ‘get Ronan to sleep’ ritual.  It consisted of a bath, lotion, storytime, snuggles, and sleep.  Only, the sleep part never really seemed to come along.  This night, he was wired.  So I threw my arm over him, effectively pinning him down, which usually worked to calm him.  This night, it made him worse.  He was thrashing around, and hit my head with his head – a headbutt, if you will.  He stopped for a second, realized what had happened, and then cautiously threw his head towards mine again.  Contact.  He laughed.  Then he rolled his head over to mine a little harder.  CONTACT.  He was headbutting me so hard it was making my eyes water, and I wanted him to stop.  I pulled far enough away from him that he couldn’t hit me, and he started screaming.

Screaming, hitting, headbutting, fighting, all up until the point where I couldn’t take it anymore.  It had been 13 whole months of bad sleep, difficult bedtimes, struggles and exhaustion… and I snapped.  I really snapped.  I started yelling at him at the top of my lungs.  I am so not proud of it.  I still get ashamed when I think about it.  I was sobbing, hysterical and couldn’t stop.

“YOU HAVE TO SLEEP RONAN.  YOU. HAVE. TO. SLEEP!  THIS HAS TO STOP, I CAN’T TAKE IT ANY MORE.  YOU MAKE ME HATE YOU.”

And on and on until Brock came into the room and took Ronan from me.  He told me everything was okay, and to calm down.  He said he was sorry Ronan was being so difficult.  He said he would put Ronan to bed, and for me to go get myself a glass of wine and relax.  I left the room feeling harried and distraught.  What are we supposed to do about this?  I can’t continue to deal with this on a nightly basis.  But at least tonight I didn’t have to do it, tonight Brock was going to put him to bed.

15 minutes later, Brock came out of the room with Ronan, shaking his head and said, “He’s pissing me off.  This isn’t working.  He’s not going to sleep.”

“I know, ” I said, “We can’t do this any more.”

We stood in silence for a moment facing each other.  “Do you want to put his crib back together and let him cry?” I finally asked.

“Only if you do.”

So, Brock and I spent half an hour putting Ronan’s crib back together.  He was excited about it.  He was crawling on the bars, and laughing as we screwed the mattress holder on its lowest setting.  We stood it up, made up the mattress and slid it in place.  We attached the bumper.  We filled it with paci’s, a blanket and a lovey.  This lovey:

(He picked it out himself.)

All the while, Ronan was having a grand old time.  Brock chuckled and said, “You’re not going to enjoy this as much in a few minutes, buddy.”

We laid out the plan for each other.  We hooked up the video monitor.  And then we put him in his crib.  Hugs, kisses, cuddles, lay down and goodnight.  We love you.  Then we leave.

Ronan cries.

He is not hurt, or sad, or hungry.  He does not need anything… he just wants.  He wants mom and dad, he wants us to be where we always are, what he has always known.  He WANTS us to do what he’s used to.  And I want to too, I want to SO badly.  I want to go in, and wipe his tears, and lay next to him and tell him everything is fine, we will do this forever if we need to – but I can’t do it any more.  This can’t possibly be worse than a mother yelling her hurt and anger and exhaustion into the face of her child.

I had support, text messages from a friend who’d done this herself.  Help from afar that helped more than words can say.  Each new message boulstering my courage and fighting off the desire to cave in.  “Stay patient, you’re doing great.”  I couldn’t have done it with her.

Five minutes.

The longest five minutes of my life.  But I know he’s angry, and that helps.  It’s the same as when I take my phone away – a protest cry.  I cry with him.  After five minutes, I go in.  Hugs, kisses, cuddles.  I love you, Ronan.  You can do this.  Go Ni’night.  Lay down, and leave.

Five minutes.

We set the timer, and every time it beeps, one of us goes in.  This time, it’s Brock’s turn.  Hugs, kisses, cuddles, I love you, lay down.  “This is really hard,” he says.  I say, “It’s only been ten minutes.  This could take up to two hours.  Or more.”

Five minutes.

When I go in, he stops crying.  He signs, “Please, please!” at me, and it breaks my heart.  I hate this, I hate every second of it.  He wraps his arms around my neck, and wont let go.  Hugs, kisses, cuddles, I love you, I’m sorry, you can do this.  I love you.  Lay down, and leave.  He cries harder.  Yells louder.

Five minutes.

We trade back and forth, going in and coming back out.  Feeling horrible, and not very hopeful.  And then…

He stops crying.

Check the video monitor.  He’s just sitting there.  He picks up his paci, and puts it in his mouth.  He is still hiccupping from crying… but he lays down.  It has been twenty minutes, and he’s not crying.  He sits up again, and makes some noise, and lays down again.  He turns, and rolls, and shuffles.  He sniffles and hiccups over and over.  But he’s not crying.

Ten minutes later, he is sound asleep.  I want to go in, and check him, hold him, make sure he’s okay.  I can barely swallow the guilt in my throat.  I feel like the worst mother in the world, the WORLD’S WORST MOTHER.  Everything that I said I would NEVER do, and I did it.  I have fought so adamantly against, I have avoided with all of my strength, I have done whatever possible to never get to this point, and it’s done.  We made our son cry himself to sleep.

Only, that night, he slept until 3am.  When he woke, I brought him a bottle, hugged, kissed, cuddled, and laid him down.  And he slept until 8:30 in the morning.

ONE wake up.

Saturday night, he cried for five minutes, and Brock went in.  Same routine, hug-kiss-cuddle, lay down.  He cried for another three, and went to sleep

Sunday night, he didn’t cry.  He laid down, took his paci and his lovey, and went to sleep.

It has been two weeks since we sleep trained, and I can hardly believe how much our life has changed.  I don’t walk around in a haze of exhaustion.  I don’t feel like every day is a struggle to stay awake.  I have energy and the desire to do things.  I have a son that knows how to put himself back to sleep.

I still have guilt.  There will always be a part of me that wishes it didn’t turn out this way.  I miss seeing him in my bed, and feeling him beside me.  I hate knowing what it took.  But it’s really, really hard to argue with sleep.

And now, we all sleep.

And So.

Following up my 3 day marathon post of a story, I haven’t got much to say.

Ronan was a complete bear last night.  He didn’t go to sleep easily or well, he was up at 10 and didn’t go back down until 2 am.  Yes, I’m serious.  I tried for almost 2 hours to put him to sleep.  All of my usual tricks did nothing.

We are starting something new.  I’m taking a page out of the books of a few of my friends.  We’re doing a super strict schedule, which means meal times, nap times and wake times at the SAME time every day.  We’re going to be more strict about bed time, and staying in bed.  We’re going to get this under control.  We have to, before I snap.

I have been depressed, and not getting anything done.  No energy, no drive, no desire.  I’m wasting my life away.  I think most of it can be contributed to sleep deprivation and exhaustion.  I can’t keep living like this, and it’s NOT better for Ronan than a happy, well rested mom would be.

Wish me luck.

Those Days.

You know you have those days.

The ones where you’re so preoccupied with something that you cant get it out of your head?  The ones where you get so caught up in your own life that you can’t find the way to pull yourself out?

I’ve been having one of those weeks.  I didn’t blog TWO entire days this week.  Every time I sat down and started thinking about what I would write, I felt sick to my stomach.  I haven’t cleaned my house, I haven’t done any laundry, I haven’t even been able to make it to the public library, which was my goal for the week.

Three lovely ladies came to my rescue yesterday, and invited me out of my house and out of my head.  I couldn’t have needed it more, and we had such a great time at the mall.  I probably wouldn’t have left the lair if it weren’t for you, Steph, and I appreciate it so much.  Thank you.

I guess I’ll give some news.

In Ronan-land, we started signing “Please” this week.  It’s very adorable.  He rubs himself from shoulder to belly button.  More like “PLEASE!”… but we get the point, and it seems he does too.

Also, Ronan woke six times last night.  Things seem to be getting better, and then they just jump off a cliff, all the way down to the bottom again.  He hasn’t woken six times in a night in so long, and it’s very discouraging.  We have him in his own bedroom now, on a mattress on the floor.  One of us sleeps with him, as we thought it would a little traumatic to suddenly throw him into a different room and leave him alone when he’s been co-slept for the last 12 months.

I really don’t know what else to say.  This hasn’t been a good week.  I have my fingers crossed that next week turns out better.  Eternally optimistic.

Updating things.

One of the things they tell you when you start changing things is to only change one at a time.  That way, you’ll know what it is that you did that caused the improvement.

I never listen.

We started Ronan on his reflux medicine, but around the same time I started trying a new ‘going to bed’ method.  It’s the one where I lay down next to him, and I MAKE him stay laying down, but I don’t help him fall asleep at all.  There is a little bit of fussing, a little bit of crying, but no rocking, singing, nursing or anything.  He just has to go to sleep on his own.

The first night, it took an hour.  The second night, it took 20 minutes.  Last night, it took 2 minutes.  And his sleep stretches have gotten as long as 5 hours.  You know, for us, that is as good as 12.

I don’t know what’s made the biggest difference.  We’ve noticed a big reduction in the amount he’s been refluxing, and how upset he gets when it happens.  Maybe it’s a combination of both.  All I’m hoping is that saying this out loud wont jinx us.

Please, don’t let it jinx us.

**I just put Ronan down for the night, and it took him about 30 seconds to fall asleep.  Holy moly, YES!  Also, I started using “California Baby” soap products tonight because of eczema and a nagging skin rash he’s had for a while.  Lets see if we can FIX everything.**

Edit: 10:09 pm.

Ronan is still awake.  He woke up after about an hour.  He has been up since then, despite all of my efforts.  Nothing ever gets better.  Nothing improves.  I should probably just let him cry it out, because that would probably be better than the impulse I have to hold a pillow over him.  What the hell did we ever do to deserve this?

Christmas Came Early.

At my house, anyways!

Brock gave me my present last night.  It was a sleeping pill.  And a free night off from the baby.
I slept in the guest room, where I took my little blue Unisom pill, and a bottle of water.  I laid my head down at 8:30pm, and I didn’t rise to the surface of my slumber until 5:30 this morning.  I think the pain of needing to pump woke me – I’ve never gone 9 hours without nursing or pumping before!  So I came downstairs, pumped, and then got back in bed with Brock and Ronan, where I slept for another two hours.

I feel like a million bucks.

I wish it was Christmas every day.