all hands on deck

This has been a crazy week. We have been inundated with crazy storms all week long, so we’ve been stuck indoors. Sure, we could go out, but when the rain is pouring down and the winds are blowing huge limbs off of the redwoods behind our home, we find it more comforting to stay inside, even though it has resulted in a pretty serious case of cabin fever for all of us. We have gotten to watch some pretty crazy sights, including the small creek behind our house turning into a raging river:

Along with the storm this week has come a big shift in Baby Genius’ sleep patterns. Whereas he used to go down at 7pm and stay asleep until around 10pm when we go to bed (yeah, we go to bed that early these days), we are now lucky if he goes down at 7pm, and we’re lucky if he stays asleep twenty minutes, let alone three or four hours. BG used to wake up a total of maybe two times a night, and he would go right down again after a quick feed. He started the week off waking up every hour or hour and a half, and now while he may sleep two or three hours at the beginning of the night, he wakes himself up over and over and over again (every 10-30 minutes) after the first awakening. Last night, he woke up when we went to bed at 10:30, then again at 1am, and then the rest of the night is a big blur of picking him up, rocking him, nursing him, re-swaddling him, putting him down, settling back into bed, hearing him fuss, then whine, then cry, and then picking him back up. I cried more than once in the night last night.

Unfortunately, he also hasn’t been letting J put him to bed anymore. She used to have the magic touch. He would cry a bit in her arms, but she would comfort him, and let him get out whatever he had to get out while she held and rocked and walked him, and he would go to to sleep so well. Now he flips. the fuck. out. So I feed him then walk him, then try to put him down (whereupon his eyes pop wide open), and then I walk him and walk him and rock him and sing and shush and hum, and finally he goes out after sometimes over an hour of this–only to wake up a few minutes later.

I find myself channeling Dorothy Parker frequently these days, time after time asking, What fresh hell is this?

Right now, I’m tempting fate by blogging. You see, BG went down after I fed him and rocked him. I then walked him for a mere five minutes. He has been down for half an hour. Surely he’ll be kvetching and whining and fussing any moment now. Surely…

J and I are traumatized. We are both terrified of going to bed at night. I find myself jumping at the slightest sound on the baby monitor, flailing my arms wildly when the cats make too much noise or the neighbors downstairs find the need to close slam their door yet again. J just walked in from taking a hot tub and was celebrating that he was still asleep, and I begged her not to lest she curse it, lest he somehow hear her and decide to wake up just to prove us wrong.

We’re in survival mode. Every moment takes effort. She put me down for a nap today, and for the first time, I didn’t protest. We will somehow get through this. Fortunately, we have been working at holding ourselves together more this week. It’s surprising. We had a big night early in the week when we hashed out a lot. It was painful and hard, but we both know that we want to make our relationship work, and we want to feel in love with each other again, and we want the pain to stop. There’s a lot of hard work we have to do, but we’re doing that work each day, even if that means just being kind to one another when neither of us feels so kind. The evenings have been good for us because we have been putting BG down in his co-sleeper in our room (until now, he has slept in the evenings in his moses basket in the living room–yes, this transition is likely a big contributor to his sleep issues). Finally, we can have conversations between the two of us, have dinner together, even snuggle on the couch or give foot massages. Those little bits of time have been good medicine.

This weekend, my mom and step-dad are coming to see the boy, and they’re going to watch him while we go out for lunch and a beer–or nap–whichever seems most appropriate. We haven’t been out together without the baby in so long, and I’m really looking forward to some time with my wife.

I hope this insanity passes soon. I’ve never been so tired, so wrung out. I know it will pass, but right now, as we’re sitting in the trenches, it hardly feels like it.

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14 Comments

Filed under Baby Genius, sleep, us

14 responses to “all hands on deck

  1. I so wish there was someway we could give you more support than a simple blog comment and the words “stay strong” or “things will get better.” If your need more that cheerful words, please let us know. I’m very good at creating cheerful care packages!

    Just know that we’re very grateful for your blogging. We had no idea there was a community of lesbian TTCers blogging until you left a comment on my blog. Now that we are starting the process, we have a wealth of information and advice to draw on. Thank you! and I really am good at care packages 🙂

  2. Hang in there! We also went through a period where the bean would go down at 7 for 20 minutes and then would be wide awake fighting sleep until sometimes 10. We stayed consistent with her bedtime routine and now she falls asleep easily and stays down for several hours. (She’s still up every 30 mins closer to the morning, but at least bedtime is easier.) In the meantime, try to get as many daytime naps as you can, and enjoy your date together this weekend!

  3. Have you thought about contacting a sleep consultant like they did over at firsttimesecondtime blog? I don’t know if you have to be jewish to use that particular one,but it’s done by phone.Didn’t see a charge for it either.

    Anyway it might be worth it to you to at least look into it,but what do I know.

    • reproducinggenius

      It’s a very nice idea, and we have them in our area, but they are quite expensive at $550 + travel expenses for just one visit. I think we’ll have to stick to the traditional “trial-by-fire” method of parenting and trust that it will improve with time.

      • lyn

        Our sleep consult nowhere near that expensive and was also offered on a sliding scale…but it didn’t really help…(though the same folks helped a ton when Leigh was little which was why we called them). I do wish I could offer them as the magic bullet for you.

  4. lyn

    Ah, but I wish our expert advice had worked Malea…

    We’re in sleep hell with you T. You have all my empathy.

    The only thing that has me holding onto the faintest shred of sanity right now (8 months in) is that I am only up with Ira every other night. (I am pumping before bed and first thing in the morning to cover bottles on the nights Gail is up with him as she is no longer nursing). Not sure how your supply/comfort would be with that kind of plan, but if you aren’t already, you might consider sharing some of the night feedings with J, for both of your sake.

  5. Christina

    It sounds like BG is unable to self-soothe (put himself to sleep). All babies wake numerous times in the night, but the ones who “sleep through the night” have ways to put themselves back to sleep. If BG requires you to go to sleep every night, you are doomed.

    My wife went back to work when our twins were 4 months old. Our daughter had trouble going to sleep on her own, so I “Ferberized” using the increasing time intervals described in “Solve your Child’s Sleep Problems”. It worked GREAT and our daughter has been sleeping from 6:30 PM to 5 AM consistently since (except for a couple of recent nights related to teething).

    We didn’t sleep train our boy because he had less issues at the time and still wanted to feed once in the middle of the night. The result is that now he is our problem sleeper, often waking around 3 or 4 AM (even though he no longer eats then). If we bring him to bed with us, he goes back to sleep. We hope to wean him of this fairly soon (our babies turn 8 months on Sunday).

    Good luck! More sleep makes everything better.

    • Christina

      Oh, and I can’t imagine staying up until 10 PM! We are usually in bed by 8:30 PM. When all else fails, sleep whenever the baby is asleep! 🙂

  6. Is he six months, now? I remember this happening with both of my boys at around six months. And I do remember how extremely exhausting it was. People expect that when you have a newborn, but not a six month-old. Yeah. I remember.

    If I also remember right, it had something to do with naps. But also that he’s just that much more aware of everything in the world.

    It will end. I will. Eventually.

    Hugs.

  7. BTW, if you do want to sleep train, I can tell you what we did with each boy and how well (or not) it worked.

  8. amyblossom

    we went through something similar at 4.5 months not wanting to sleep. he went through a growth spurt, was eating more, waking up more and was not able to put himself back to sleep. we used the ferber method and it worked for us. i am not going to sugar coat it. it was hard. but trying to cuddle, swing, rock, and walk him back to sleep was hard also. we did do something that was not along the ferber method and that was feed him when he woke up (as long as it was longer than 2 hours since his last feeding).

  9. Next in line

    That is some serious sleep deprivation you are dealing with girls. I hope you get some relief soon.

  10. LAck of sleep makes everything SO.MUCH.HARDER. Damn. It’s so not easy and we had a good 4 months of this sleep hell as well. I was working out of the house full time the whole time and I don’t know how. IT will pass, but it doesn’t make it any easier!

    We’ve got this great bedtime routine now and that seems to help him prepare for the whole thing. Good luck! Be good to each other.

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