Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sleep. Again.

So last night, on the Twitter, I realized that we Moms talk about sleep a lot. (There is an awesome thread on there devoted to sleep-deprived moms, called #zombiemoms.)  Once you become a Mom, your sleep changes forever. I have a child or two that sleep like the dead. Heavy, heavy sleepers, don't wake up for anything. I used to sleep like that, when I could get to sleep that is. But not for the past 17 years.

Now I wake at every change in breathing. I can hear their wee snores from my room, and can tell when one of them has awoken in the night, just by the absence of their heavy, sleepy breathing. I have missed more sleep than I can even begin to count, between baby feedings and middle-of-the-night sickies and night terrors... My sleep debt can not be made up. The last 3 years, I have slept through the night maybe 2 weeks worth of nights.

I am not exaggerating. Baby Zed, who is now almost 3, has not been much of a sleeper and comes into my bed most nights. Usually, especially since Baby Sunshine's birth, one of us moves him back to his own bed, but sometimes we are just too tired to bother. The biggest problem with that is I can't sleep with him in my bed. He breathes too loud. He lays on my head. He wiggles. He thrashes and sleep talks. sigh.

I really don't understand what happened with him. His older 4 siblings all slept like a dream. Through the night by a few months, most of them for 12 hours stretches. Of course there were blips. The non-nappers. The 'I am 5 months old and I am going to start waking at night again just to torture Mom' times. The teething for weeks blips. But overall, they were all amazing sleepers. I will admit to being a bit judgemental of parents who's kids wouldn't go to bed or stay in bed. "Just put them to bed!" I would think to myself. "Why on earth would you lay down with them when they don't want to sleep, this sleep thing just requires a bit of discipline!" "It ain't gonna kill the kid to cry for 5 minutes..." (which is all I could ever handle!)
Then I had Baby Zed. He did not sleep independently. He did not self-soothe. He did not stay in his bed for more than 6 hours. "What on earth was I doing wrong??? What did I forget???"  and then, "Why am I being punished???" Well, we know why, don't we? It was my self-righteous scoffing at all those other sleepless parents!
Whatever the reason, Zed has not been a sleeper. We have tried everything. We finally did establish a bed time routine that has helped get him to stay in bed in under an hour, without us laying down with him. At least most nights. But in reality, he is still a crappy sleeper and does not nap. And when he does nap, he wakes up grumpy and often screaming inconsolably for an hour. (I think it is low blood sugar, but not sure)

Then Baby Sunshine was added to this mix. His sleep looked promising, he was going 6 hours at a time almost right away. Then 8! Unfortunately, never more than 10. But I will take 10. The only problem with Baby Sunshine's sleep is that he has been in our room for the last 9+ months. Where I can hear every sound. Where I stir at every breath. Don't get me wrong, I love co-sleeping with my newborns. It is the perfect solution when your new little bundle wakes every 2 hours to feed. But once they go 4-6 hours, and especially when they start wiggling and rolling, I much prefer them in their own bed. And it is much easier for them and you to sleep through the night when they are not in your room. Every time baby stirs, I hear him and wake up. If he whimpers a bit, I find it much easier to get him and take him to bed and nurse him, than to lie awake wondering if he is going to go back to sleep or scream. So I did. And therefore, we were both night waking again.

Last weekend, we finally put him in with Girly and it has been awesome. Sunshine has slept every night, he is even napping better. I have yet to sleep through the night, but I am working on it. Maybe we will even get Zed to sleep. Now that would be awesome!

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