Sunday, December 21, 2008


Whenever I don't blog for long stretches I find it so hard to click that post button. There is always so much to say, and well, the longer I wait to write... You know how it is.

I am putting a top to it this moment. My husband is home with me, on his first day off in 68 days (working 90 hour weeks), our holiday menu is planned and shopped-for, Sacha is taking his afternoon nap, the snow is falling and the world looks beautiful. And I have a second to write.

All in all everything is spectacularly good. Every day, several times a day, I stop and take a moment to appreciate how blessed I am. Yes, I was so so fortunate to be able to conceive and carry my baby to term and have an uneventful labour. But this child that resulted? He is truly and completely amazing. Just writing that brings tears to my eyes. There really are no words to explain this feeling. My heart overflows when I look at him. I never knew it was possible to love one being so much. I wish there was some way to thank the universe for this opportunity to be with and be a mommy to my Sacha.

Ok, right. That was a little tangent. Not sure where it came from because I actually signed on to write about the one thing that is so not awesome right now. (Nobody's perfect, right?)


Sleep. Or, shall I say, lack there of.

Allow me to take a moment to review. When Sacha was 3 weeks old he went down to sleep at about 9pm, and slept until 6 or 7am with one wake up for a feeding. We counted ourselves supremely lucky for this occurrence. We were even fortunate to have a few sleep-through-the-nights. At 4 months Sacha's napping started to get wonky. It seemed to me that he was up too much during the day, but his nights were still fine. At 5 months we went to Portugal for 2 weeks, so with the 5 hour time change all hell broke loose. Sleep was crazy through 10 days of those 2 weeks until Sacha adjusted, and about the same when we got home. We introduced solids around 6 months and i think this allowed us (finally!) to establish a good eating/nursing/napping routine. Until this time Sacha was going down at 7:30pm, still waking up his once in the night to nurse, and sleeping until at least 6am.

Perhaps it was a few weeks later that the nighttime sleep started to get crazy.

At first Sacha would cry about an hour after he went down. The C would go in a rock him gently and he would be back to sleep within a minute or so. This happened only every few nights so we didn't let it bother us.

Just before Sacha hit 8 months (I remember because the first real bad night was The C's birthday), he started waking up multiple times in the night. Anywhere from his usual once for feeding, plus the once about an hour after we put him down, and add to that maybe 1-2 more occasions. At first it wasn't hard- he settled right away (especially if I gave in a nursed him).

Then about 3 weeks ago things started to escalate. Sacha was sick, and so along with the multiple times in the night, Sacha started waking up for good at 5am. We thought it would all work itself out when he got better (which took about 2 weeks). But he's been well now for about a week, and it's only gotten worse.

And by worse I mean: Baby-waking-up-maybe-five-times-a-night-screaming-like-his-hand-has-been-chopped-off-and-refusing-to-settle-sometimes-even-for-more-than-two-hours-at-a-time.

Now I know. Beggars can't be choosers. Sacha really is most awesome in all other ways. So obviously something has to be an issue. But this?? It's just insane. We are not getting any sleep. And we are beside ourselves about what to do to help our little guy.

So, of course, I'm putting this out there so that you guys can help. Before you start in on the advice (which I want! which I anxiously await!), let me tell you what I have found concerning this sleep issue.

Apparently, according to Moxie, there is such thing as a nine month sleep regression. As we are upon nine months, I think this may be us. This regression is linked to major development that is going on right now, for example: crawling, standing, pulling up, cruising. Yup, that's us, alright. Add to these physical milestones some mental ones (which, by the way, completely blow me away, but i will talk about that when I write a nine month post about Sacha), and I think that we have development-induced sleep hell.

So while, YAY, this is all, supposedly, normal, I am totally feeling like: What the fuck can we do about this? Like what? Because, honestly, I can barely take another night of this. I have been driven to tears myself on several occasions. And also, man, the poor kid who spends hours screaming every night.

Alas, before you go dispensing advice/commiseration/hope, here is our sleeping situation. (You know, before someone writes something like: are you co-sleeping?)
  • Sacha sleeps in his own room in a crib. It has been so since he was about 4 weeks old. So his sleeping arrangements have not changed
  • The room is neither too hot nor too cold.
  • I nurse Sacha to sleep at 7:30, give or take. We have never tried to not do this. I am open to suggestions on how to stop doing this, but I think that now is not going to be the time to implement them!
  • I swaddle him (mostly to signal sleepy time), though he does take his arms out. It's an added layer of warmth, and he has never seemed to mind it.
  • When he wakes up he is screaming bloody murder. No amount of patting, back rubbing or shushing will settle him. In fact, it seems like he doesn't seem to realize I've come into the room.
  • So, we have to pick him up. And that doesn't even seem to settle him. Usually after The C tries unsuccessfully to get him to stop crying for half an hour I swoop in and nurse Sacha. Which does settle him for some time.
  • Sometimes the nursing puts him to sleep, sometimes not. If so, then I find that I need to hold him for about an half hour more to prevent him from waking when I place him back in the crib. If nursing doesn't put him to sleep, we have reached a new level of hell because the screaming may start all over again.
  • Yes, he is teething. This is his fourth tooth. I have to tell you that with the previous 3 I didn't even notice they were coming in. Also, it seems like it is taking more than a month for this tooth to come in. I swear I have been saying any day now for that long!
  • No, it's not his diaper or a tag rubbing him or other such thing... we have looked into that.

Here's the most amazing thing, though: Sacha wakes up happy, cooing, playing and rested. He is most cheerful thought the entire day. Most people comment on how much he smiles and that he never cries. You would never know that this is a child that does not sleep at night. So that's great for him. But for us, I feel like we are fighting a loosing battle.

I just don't know what to do for my little baby. His screams pain me so much, but nothing seems to be wrong or fixable. I am also worried that we are in the process of creating bad, unbreakable habits. Eeeks.

And, finally, because you are always such good helpers, I am wondering a few things (and no! I have not asked enough of you already!):

1- Are we (me, Sacha and The C) alone in this? Are any of you experiencing the same thing?
2- Do you think that other people lie about how much their babies sleep?

I didn't ask for holiday gifts from you, so please consider your replies the biggest present you can give me this year. Many many thanks in advance, blogosphere.


sky girl said...

Oh my friend do I hear you. We have gone to hell and back and there doesn't seem to be much we've been able to do other than wait out the phase. For instance, 2 weeks ago Chicka was up all night every night. Then the following week, full nights pretty much every night. I'm at a loss.

Teething has had much to do with it in our case.

Do you keep a nightlight on in the room?

Erin said...

First, two answer your last question, I lied by omission: when people would ask if P was sleeping through the night, I would say he slept through the night at 14 weeks old. And then I would stop talking, and completely refuse to mention that he stopped sleeping through the night at 5 months old and didn't do it again until close to a year. But if I said that, people would give me all sorts of assvice and I was tired of hearing it. So I said nothing.

Seriously, nurse to sleep. Anytime you can, anytime you have to. I'm a big fan of doing whatever works, and not trying what doesn't work while you're in the midst of sleep-regression and teething hell. If having C rock him isn't working, just nurse him and get him to sleep. Do you have a place you can lay down with Sacha while you do it? I sometimes would lay with P on a blanket on the floor of his room and nurse; that way, if he fell asleep, I didn't actually have to move him because he couldn't fall anywhere. Plus, we often both fell asleep--sometimes a sleeping mama is a good signal for a baby to fall asleep.

That's all I've got. Wish I had more! It really doesn't last forever, but I know it feels like it will...

MrsSpock said...

Our son J slept through the night from 6 weeks to 3 months, and then all hell broke loose. He has had some very rapid physical development, with rolling over at 11 weeks, to crawling and standing at 6 months. I think it is a combination of that, plus teething that started a few weeks ago.

And the chronic snottiness of the winter.

I think he's generally sore from the teeth or a cold, or working on a new skill. I've caught him whining in his sleep, peeked in on him, and saw him pulling himself to a stand in the crib with his eyes closed, and then collapsing to sleep immediately after.

We've found ourselves sometimes going in and comforting him every 3 hours at night, and then getting a break where he sleeps all night for 3 days in a row.

I think it's just what to expect as a parent. I don't know any parents of infants whose every child sleeps through the night from early on. Those that have one that does are just lucky duckies.

Fertilized said...

Yeah as you know, I have no assvice. I am a firm beleiver in do whatever it takes - which seems to be an unpopular theory. Teething is a bitch though.

Ever heard of the Book Wonder Weeks?

Somewhat Ordinary said...

I really have no words of advice, but I'm sorry this is happening. My neighbor has a son that will be 1 in Januray and he went through a very similar thing. He would even do it if he fell asleep in the car. She started thinking he was having nightmares.

Hope something gives soon!

kbreints said...

The only thing I wonder about are his ears? Have you had them checked?

My youngest has never been a good sleeper- but we are ALWAYS battling the ears....with the occasional teething, other thigns sprinkled in there.

serenity said...

Gosh, I really have no assvice. Reaching for straws here, but have you tried letting him sleep unswaddled? Maybe he wants to be moving and freaks out when he wakes up all swaddled?

The other thing - if his naps are all wonky still, then he might be overtired by the time you put him down at night. Maybe try putting him to bed a half hour earlier and seeing how that does. (I CAN tell you that Baby O sleeps better and longer, with less middle of the night wakings, when we put him down earlier rather than later.)

Hugs. Hope it resolves itself soon.


sariel & shlomit said...

Awww my friend, I have absolutely no words of wisdom. I do feel for you, though and hope you find some relief and sanity!

Thanks for stalking my blog, by the way, thank you from the bottom of my heart!!


Anonymous said...

wonder books is a great book! highly recommend it.

as for the sleeping, yes, i think parents lie about their kids sttn. i'm sick of people telling me to CIO because their kid sleeps 11 hours every night straight. i think they must be lying. what kid doesnt wake up when they are sick or teething or have a developmental breakthrough, etc? i think what they mean is that generally the babies sleep well, and if they stir or fuss its easy to get them back down. i may be wrong, who knows?

your kid's sleeping habit sounds like mine - except mine never slept THAT well. he has always woken up at least 2x a night. i think we're more in the range of normal than those "liars" are. =)

Thalia said...

Everyone lies.

Pob slept through from about 6 weeks to about 4.5 months (with one night feed at about 1030pm, which we'd wake her for). Then all hell broke loose and she didn't sleep through again til about 9 months. Even now she wakes once or twice most nights, although we often don't have to go in.

I don't know what the night waking was about - teething possibly, but it took until the end of that period for her first tooth to come through. Developmental spurts, quite possibly. Losing the dummy? Maybe. Hunger? Possibly.

Nothing we did seemed to make a difference - giving her a feed or not, letting her cry for a few minutes or not, letting her fall asleep on us or not, etc etc. At some point she just grew out of it.

So I'm sorry I don't have any advice, and I know it really really sucks, but it will pass.

For sleep, Moxie is really good, you might go and read some of her past entries.

Main thing is you are not doing anything wrong, and feel free to do whatever works so that you get the most sleep.

The thing that saved us was alternating nights on duty so that at least one of us was ok in the morning. The one on duty would sleep in the spare room, the other would sleep in our bedroom which is a floor away from Pob's room.

Oh, and do try calpol or whatever the US equivalent is in case it is teeth - the poor babies are in awful pain, and it can really give them a few hours of relief.

Good luck sweetie.

Thalia said...

Pob, like others here, slept beautifully early on, then from about 4.5 months to 9 months she woke several times a night, often for up to 2 hours unless we sat in the chair in her room and held her. It was awful. And then she mostly got better, although she still often wakes 1-2 times a night, but often we don't have to go into her any more.

Main thing is that you are not doing anything wrong, and to echo what someone else said, just do what works. That included, for us, using calpol (baby paracetomol) if she seemed to really be in pain for the teething, and also us alternating nights on duty so that we weren't both zombies in the morning. One of us slept in the spare room next to her room and the other in our bedroom, a floor away. Don't know if you have that option, but don't both struggle through, no point in both of you being in pain.

Good luck, we are here for you, we've been here for you, and this too shall pass. Go check out Moxie's site on sleep stuff, you will know that you are not alone.

Aurelia said...

Get some tylenol prepped before bed, in a syringe, and then when he wakes up the first time, give it to him. Then nurse.

It will make him dopey enough to calm down and sleep again.

Yeah, unpopular with some people who will be horrified, but he's obviously in distress and this will mean he will only be up for 5 or 10 minutes instead of screaming for ages.

Do it as long as you need to, to get some rest. It won't hurt.

Ann said...

No advice here. I'm just starting to learn that when you think you have your kid figured out, they go and change on you. Doesn't work very well for a Type A like me who has spent her life learning and following the rules. :)

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