I have so much to say about sleep that I need to open up the subject with a quick back story about Jack and the worst thing that has ever happened to me in my lifetime.
So anyone who knows me knows that I went through my own kind of hell when Jack hit about 3 months old. Up until that time he was pretty consistent with his nighttime sleeping, usually about 2 wake ups (2am and 4am), mostly just for a business type feeding transaction, then straight back to sleep. No rocking needed, just snoozville. I thought, “I’m so tired, this is hard.” What I would have done to savor that time you have no idea.
The bomb dropped almost the day that Jack turned 3 months old. Suddenly when we would put him down in his crib he would cry and cry, so we literally had to rock him forever to get him to fall into a deep sleep in our arms (literally his head would have to be flopping around that’s how deep the sleep would need to be). Then it was like we had to have some kind of advanced Ninja skills to get him from our arms to the crib. I remember wishing I owned night vision to help me maneuver him in the dark so I wouldn’t wake him. NIGHT VISION. It’s crazy. And if you do mess up and lay him down incorrectly, boom. An eye peeks open and sees you there and it’s almost like they say “You f**ked that up. Start over”. And you know you are in for another round of rocking and shhhhhh-ing in the dark for the next 20 minutes or so.
So here is the extent of how bad it got. Jack would go down at 7pm, wake at 7:30, 8, 8:30, 9, 10:30, 11, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 2, 3, 3:30, 4, 4:30, 5, and 7. That was every single night for exactly 3 months. After about the first week is when I became an evil version of myself. I saw it happening, Chris would come home from work and I would be a snippy ball of nervous energy on the verge of a total meltdown. Needless to say my husband learned to fear me. By the end of the first month, Chris had joined me in the sleep deprived character change and we both regarded each other not only as our strongest allies, but as our worst enemies as well. Dealing with a scenario like this has you pointing fingers at each other fighting about who is the most tired, who works harder, who deserves a break the most. It’s awful. I can totally understand how sleep deprivation is used in warfare, I would have done ANYTHING to just sleep for a few hours in a row.
My mother would come when she could to take him for a few hours, that helped. Chris would sometimes take over and do half the night and I would do the second half, that helped. But you still find yourself having a hard time enjoying all the moments of motherhood when you feel like you are losing your mind. It’s crazy what it can do to you. I would scream into a pillow, cry in the shower, punch the bed, you name it. I was completely not myself anymore, someone else had taken over and it wasn’t a pretty sight.
Of course this all tests a marriage as much as it can be tested. It’s so hard to stay on the same team when you are both in a delirium. I have no idea how we made it through, but the day Jack turned 6 months old I laid him down to sleep for the night and he didn’t wake up until 7am. I went in at least 5 times to make sure he was breathing. And low and behold he has been sleeping through the night ever since.
This is a quick back story on a subject that I will be talking about randomly throughout the blog because I do have a lot of tips and tricks to help in almost every scenario, as well as some reflections as to why this happens at all. I know most moms luckily do not have as severe a problem as this, but for the few who do this will hopefully just help you to know that you are not the only one who has lost your marbles and screamed into a pillow last night. I read every book, spoke to every doctor I could find and tried every technique available, so I am happy to say I can share the garbage and the gold with you. The reason I bring this up is because I have been wanting to broach the subject for some time now and had no idea how I would be able to do it, it’s HUGE. But I figured I could talk intermittently about it in bits and pieces and share the thousands of experiences in several parts, it’s the only way to do so. And on this topic I know that most moms have some type of quandary, even if not so extreme as I. Some moms have the perfect little sleeper until their baby is 1 year old and then the sh** hits the fan. So here it is, the beginning of a story that will have many sequels on my blog. Enjoy.