Dear Child, PLEASE Sleep

I told my husband I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown this morning. I feel like I’m standing in the ocean and have been hit by a huge wave… and before I can catch my breath, the next wave crashes over me. I’m being pounded into the sand and slowly drowning. Exhaustion will make you feel that way. I need some sleep. I am tired. So fucking tired, and I know he is too.

Jack is nine months old… he should be sleeping through the night by now.  Ben started sleeping through the night at eight weeks.  This one? Up every 2-3 hours still. It’s ridiculous. I had a hard core sleep training technique with Ben.  I don’t know why I thought I was so “busy” with only one kid, because looking back on it, I actually had the time to research these sort of things. After pouring through article upon article about the best way to get your kid to sleep, we choose to let him cry it out. Not everyone is a fan of this technique, but for us, it worked.

It was hard, and most nights I would stand outside his room and cry with him, but we stuck to it.  My husband probably thought (actually he still thinks for various reasons) that I’m crazy, but I would keep my eye on the little green clock on our stove and we would listen to him scream. I’d whisper “Four more minutes, and we can go in… we are training him… we just have to make it four more minutes.” Do you know HOW LONG four minutes feels like when your baby is screaming bloody murder?

“OMG, he’s choking. Is he choking? I can’t tell. Wait, he stopped crying. Is he breathing?  I can’t hear him. OK, he’s crying again, phew, he’s alive. Crap, he’s crying so hard, he is choking. I cannot.listen.to.anymore.crying. Please God, someone stop the crying. He’s choking again. Little man, please stop choking. Shit, my baby is going to die and I’m going to be responsible because I was selfish enough to want to get some sleep.”

It felt like a freaking eternity and I would stand there and let the guilt wash over me… were we doing the right thing? It was torture. I’d stand there, unable to move, watching the clock and thinking about how awful of a mother I was.  Of course, since we were first time parents, I also figured there was a high possibility that letting him cry would somehow cause him to go into shock or something, resulting in death. I swear, everything we did in those first few months I assumed would lead to death. I worried the bath water was too hot, that the car seat straps were too tight… or maybe they weren’t tight enough… to say we were a little high strung is an understatement.

The thing is, all of the nighttime crying paid off. Within the week, my baby was sleeping 12 hours straight. He had a strict routine and was in bed by 6pm and we wouldn’t hear a peep until 6am the next day… sometimes even 6:30am if we were lucky.

I don’t have the luxury of letting Jack cry it out. Every time we’ve tried it, Ben wakes up, and then I’d be stuck with two babies awake.  I decided to give it some time and hope that he would just start sleeping better on his own… nine months later, not much has improved. Which leads me to this morning, as I hopelessly looked at my husband with tired eyes. I can only hope that tonight will be better…. please child, stay asleep.

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20 thoughts on “Dear Child, PLEASE Sleep

  1. I am glad to know that I am not the only one who feels this way! My son Henry is going to be 2 next month and he had started sleeping through the night 2 months ago. But now I have a daughter Amelia who was born this past December. I was so excited to finally be able to sleep through the night. Amelia feeds every 2-3 hours and when she cries at night to feed she now wakes Henry up. Also she is breast fed and would feed for 20 minutes but then wake up exactly 2 hours later. There have been times where I have cried wanting and wishing for just even a hour more of sleep. This blog actually helps because I can read others who have had this issue and over come it. Thank you for starting it!

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  2. Please for the love of God, write when you have conquered getting your youngest to sleep! I have my 19 month old and my 2 and 1/2 month old and I think quite possibly a stay in Butler will come before they both sleep through the night. In the meantime there’s wine and coffee right?

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  3. Beautifully written Alyson! So raw and undeniably authentic! You are not alone, although, I’m certain that’s probably how you feel at times! Mothers everywhere can relate, I’m sure! Makes me want to hug you my girl! I will be living vicariously through you. While it may seem odd, I’m in awe of you! You are a great Mom! Hope sleep is yours soon! XO Jen

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  4. love this! Can totally relate to the hard core sleep training. I cried every night when katherine was screaming and Tim had to hold me back from going upstairs to get her. We’ll see what happens with the twins 🙂

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  5. This was a great read. Thank you so much for sharing. Madison slept through the night from 1-5 nights. She is now 8 months and has been getting up 3 times a night for the past few months. I’ve gone back and forth on if we should get the CIO method. I think I will start it tomorrow after I buy some wine. I’m still breastfeeding and can’t spare any pumped milk since the babysitters need it and I’m not producing extra now. 90% of the time it is me getting up since nursing her is the fastest way to get her back to sleep. I’ve been so tired lately and feel bad for being upset when she wakes up.

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  6. Alyson, great blog and a great idea to vent. I remember when Jason was a baby and I was still married. He had colic the first few months, even though I nursed the first 3 or 4 months before I went back to work. I made Ken stay home from work one day so I could sleep and he had to take care of Jason. Then, the miracle, he slept through the night. When I woke up and realized he hadn’t cried all night, I made Ken go in to check him because I was so afraid he had died. I didn’t tell that to Ken, selfish thing that I was, but he went and all was well. The only advice I can give is what your own mother said…do what’s best for you. You need to save your energy for when they become teenagers!! Love you.

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    • Oh Pam, I haven’t even gotten to a colic post… that was Ben! While I realize not all kids are the same, the concerns parents experience are universal and a lot of experiences are similar… just no one wants to talk about it!

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  7. Alyson,
    I’ve stood in your shoes. It was at Kenzie’s 9 month appt, that her Dr. sat us down and said “from the day I met you in the hospital, you have been exhausted. Exhaustion is a form of torture, did you know that?” For the first 6 mos. between exclusively pumping and being up multiple times a night, I thought I was also going to have an anxiety attack or some sort of breakdown. I stopped pumping so i could get more sleep, and thought I was the most selfish person in the world doing that. We finally had success with cry it out starting from that night. We’d tried it at 6 mo. and I couldn’t bear listening to her cry for more than a few nights. Our Dr also gave us the wise advice of “go outside and bring a bottle, yes a bottle, of wine with you. Turn the volume down on the monitor, she will be ok”. We started with naps, she cried for 45 min, 2nd nap- 23 min and that first night, only 10 min. And then slept thru the night. A miracle.
    Finally getting to sleep and then hearing the dreaded cry from your baby… oh yes, i’ve been there. I got to a point, where I just couldn’t get up in the middle of the night, my husband took over for a few weeks probably. That month probably saved me from said anxiety attack. You are not alone my friend. Its refreshing to know others have felt the way you do- Thanks for posting!

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    • Thanks Katie! I know exactly how you feel… wine has been my dear, dear friend on many occasions!! I too, stopped pumping for the same reason and felt immense guilt. My mother (who exclusively breastfed all four children of her own) finally made me feel better when she told me it was ok, and had to do what was best for me… she reminded me that a happy mama is a better mama. Once I gave myself permission to be okay with it, I felt much better and knew I was doing the best for my family. I’m glad CIO worked for you too- its definitely not easy, but the end result is so worth it! xo

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