While writing my post yesterday, about my Mother’s Day, I realized that I had actually gotten about 7 hours of sleep the night before, with Ryan spending the night at my dad’s, and Joe getting up with Cole, and then sleeping in. It wasn’t uninterrupted, mind you- but I’ll take what I can get.
It was the most I have slept since before Ryan was born, and wondered what special sleep fairy was smiling on me, in that I was able to sleep for so long yesterday.
Last night, as I was going to bed, shortly before midnight- Ryan woke up. He has been sleeping through the nights really well now, for about 2 months. He was crying, whining, and restless. Nothing was wrong with him, other than he couldn’t sleep. I tried everything, and nothing was working. I let him lay on the couch, and around 2am, he *finally* fell asleep.
Then I heard the noise that I am coming to dread- one that makes me feel like I have drank 6 cups of coffee and shoots adrenaline into my system- Cole crying.
Ever since day one with him, whenever he cries, it has that reaction on me. I have gotten to where I have such a hard time falling asleep, because I *know* just when I get in that deep, restful, REM sleep, his crying will jolt me out of it. Quite frankly, it is easier for me to stay up and wait for it, than it is to sleep and then try to groggily wake up and deal with Cole.
A while ago my friend, Amy, put a challenge on her blog for venturing out of our “blog safety zone”, and putting yourself ‘out there.’ At the time, I didn’t really have anything that I was inspired to write, but as I was trying to get Cole back to sleep last night, inspiration hit me, so to speak.
I love Cole dearly, but sometimes I am just exhausted, overwhelmed, and simply at a loss on what to do for him. Nothing ever works the same way for him two nights in a row. Some nights when he wakes up, he wants to nurse, and then go back to sleep. Then the next night, he wants his back patted, then the next night he won’t settle down unless he gets a snack, and then the next night he’ll sleep for 6 hours straight, and so on.
I have lost count how many nights at 3am I am up with him crying, because I don’t understand why he won’t sleep, and why I can’t seem to solve this problem with him. I know it has taken a toll on myself and in those very, very, dark moments, I wish sometimes that he would just go away.
Before having Cole, I could never understand why some people were led to shake a baby, but after Cole I totally understand it. When hour after hour goes by and *nothing* will get the baby quiet, I can understand how someone could “lose it,” or make a bad split second decision. I am ashamed to say that I have been on the brink of wanting to shake Cole to get him to be quiet, but never crossed that line. I tell myself it will be OK in the morning and that gets me through the night.
Last night after Cole woke up at 2 am, and after trying to nurse him, and sleep with him, he was restless, squirmy, and just not going to sleep. I finally got up with him at 5am, when Joe’s alarm went off. I fed him some breakfast, and stayed up with him until 6:30, until he seemed tired enough to fall back asleep. He finally did, and then I fell asleep until 7:30 when Ryan woke up. I realized that I got up at 10:30 yesterday, and didn’t get to sleep until 6:30 this morning- I was up for 20 hours, and got one hour of sleep.
I should be dead on my feet- I should be exhausted. But no, I hopped out of bed like I had just slept 10 hours, got the boys dressed, made breakfast, did a load of laundry, dropped Ryan off at Joe’s parent’s house, went grocery shopping, did errands, went to Target (where Cole had a complete, screaming, ear shattering melt-down), which didn’t even phase me, made Cole lunch, put the groceries away, did more laundry, dozed with Cole for an hour, and then vacuumed and cleaned up the house. After dinner, I went on an hour walk, and I am STILL not tired.
I don’t know what has happened to me, it is like I am losing my need or ability to sleep. Even if I went to sleep now, I know Cole will be waking up, but don’t know when. It could be in 10 minutes or two hours. Do I risk going to sleep, only to be jolted awake, or just stay up? It seems like I have less patience with him, when I have been sleeping and he wakes me up, than if I am already awake.
The funny thing is I don’t even really care anymore. I have just resigned myself to the fact that this is how it is going to be for awhile with Cole. On a good night, I get 4 hours of sleep, and on a bad night, one hour. I just have to laugh at the days before kids, when if I didn’t have 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, I was a zombie. I didn’t know how good I had it back then.
I know it won’t always be like this, but it is so hard to go through this night, after night, and then try to be productive during the day. I fear by the time Cole does grow out of this, my body will be so messed up from not sleeping, I am just going to have a permanent case of insomnia.
I wrote yesterday how much I loved being a mom, and I do. But it is also hard, thankless, and drop-dead tiring. Some times I hate it and wonder what is going to get me through the night? Sometimes I wonder will I get through the night? Will I ever sleep again? How can a little baby, whom I love so much, frustrate me to the extreme level that he does?
No one ever told me being a mother was easy, and I don’t expect it to. After getting a little break for one day though, and getting some rest, I wonder why I can’t catch these little breaks more often? Maybe it is the bad times that make you appreciate the good.
Cole just started crying, so I’m off. Maybe I’ll get one of those breaks, and he’ll go back to sleep fairly quickly tonight.
I wrote this last night (Monday) and didn’t have a chance to post it as Cole started to cry. No breaks last night- it was another terrible night. Cole screamed, and screamed and would not be consoled-again. That woke up Ryan and Joe. I absolutely could do nothing to calm him, so finally at 2 am Joe, Ryan, and I hung out in Ryan’s room, and let Cole cry it out. Yes, I said, cry it out. I normally don’t believe in it, and even wrote a post about about not doing it, a while ago.
Nothing we were doing for Cole was working. It almost seemed like he needed to cry, and work it out. It was so hard listening to him cry, but in the state we were in, it was the only thing left to do. As I sat on the floor, next to Ryan’s bed, I thought about how many times I cry and I do feel better after it. I also thought about what I had just written, and how close I have gotten to ‘losing’ it with Cole, and realized he was safe in his crib, and this is what we needed to do to get through the night.
Cole will be one year old in a week, and it seems like his sleep problems are getting worse, not better. I think he does understand that when we leave, we do come back, and there was a night light in our room, so in the end, I feel like one night of crying it out, isn’t going to do permanent damage to him.
Is it a tool I want to use every night? No. Did it work last night? Yes. After 30 minutes, he fell asleep and stayed asleep until 6, when he wanted to nurse. He immediately fell asleep in my arms, and when he woke up at 7:30 to get up, he gave me a big smile and he was in a really good mood today.
One mantra that I tell myself as a mother is “never say never.” That seems to be my one consistant I can count on- whenever I think or decide a certain course I want to take with my children, it doesn’t always work out that way. In the long run, the only thing that is consistant is change.
Crying it out wouldn’t have worked for Cole when he was a newborn, or even a few months ago, but in order to be a good mother for him and for me, I have to consider the possibility that at times, maybe he just needs to cry, and work out whatever it is for himself, during those times that nothing *we* do works for him.
Sometimes I want to be left alone, not be touched, and have a good cry Is it totally unreasonable to think that my baby would never want those things either? I have thought not- all these months I have concluded that he wants to be held all the time, and wants to be close to me, etc. What if all this time he just wanted and needed his own space?
The only thing that is clear to me, is that I just don’t know. I don’t know if this was just a one-night fix, or not. All I can do is keep trying the best I can, and follow Cole’s cues. I like what my sister told me a few days ago, regarding something else, when I felt like I was a ‘bad’ mom, for not having shot enough video of Cole’s first year. She said, “that doesn’t make you a bad mom, it makes you a normal mom.” For now, normal is good.