Thursday, November 17, 2005

The battle of wills has begun

Ay carumba. What a day (and night).

Things started out pretty well last night...I went to bed around 11 while P watched McK for a few hours. When she woke up at 2:30 am, I got up and took back over while he went to bed.

With the exception of a few one-hour cat naps here and there, McK never went back to sleep until 4 pm this afternoon. I tried putting her down in her basinette several times and every time, she would just fuss ten minutes later.

I finally gave in this morning around 6:30 and just laid out on the couch with her in my wasn't terribly comfortable, but at least I was able to close my eyes for a few minutes.

Today, I tried everything. Swing. Warm bath. Letting her nurse at will (and I'm feeling it now). Putting a t-shirt of mine in with her. Turning up the womb sound on my sleep machine loud.

What finally worked was putting her in her carseat swaddled tight with the shirt I had been wearing all day wrapped around her lap so she could smell it. At first, she really cried, and as hard as it was, I did let her cry for a few minutes (I cried too) because I knew she was full and diaper was clean. After a few minutes, I went to her, rubbed her belly and talked to her, and rocked the carseat. The moment I touched her, she grabbed my hand with hers and just clung like she was drowning, and then fell dead asleep.

I said it before, and I'll say it again. Ay carumba. I was in tears all day. It's hard to know what's because of the baby blues and what's because of sheer exhaustion!

The fact that she absolutely is bonding SO tight with me absolutely warms my heart and makes me feel good in a way that nothing else can. I love it that she wants me to hold her all the time and feels so safe and comforted in my arms. If sleep was not a requirement for me to be a fully functional human being, I would hold her all the time. You can imagine just how tired I am right now. I did lay down and get a two hour nap while she was sleeping, only to be awoken by my boobs, but I feel like it just barely scratched the surface and I'm dreading the agony of tonight...fighting to stay awake. I'm even starting to DVR movies that are coming on throughout the day so I have something to watch in the middle of the night when this battle of wills resumes.

I'm going to start pumping tonight. I was going to wait, but my milk supply obviously is not a problem anymore and I don't think 48 hours is going to make a difference.

My Baby Papasan is supposed to be here soon, but with my luck, she'll hate it.

Thanks to everyone for all the great suggestions...keep them coming. I'm trying everything at this point, and tonight I'm going to cozy up the bassinette with blankets and stuff to make it a little more snug and inviting for her. If that doesn't work, I guess she'll be sleeping in her car seat again!

The one thing that's helping is that my husband thinks that I'm being ultra-patient and ultra-caring with her...that's a quote from an email he sent me today. P, I'm glad you think that, because I feel like a true LOSER of a parent right now! I don't even know why!


Blogger Rachel said...

It will be okay....

Repeat that a few times and get back to us.

No, seriously, the oxytocin has run it's way out of your system and you are no longer completely enamoured and full of hope and not needing of sleep you perfect mom you! It happens to *everyone*. Eventually, the hormones go away (having lasted just long enough that you are fully bonded, if not more then a little frustrated) and cold hard, non-love-hormone induced reality kicks in. Biology is just wacky that way.

The next couple of weeks will be hard. All those plans you had a few days ago? They will be replaced by an undying love for sleep. Time will become a blur and you will just be trudging through it. It's very, very tough. But you, like bazillions of mothers before you, will get through it. There are times when you think you won't. Times when you would trade your right arm for 10 more minutes of sleep. Times when you really begin questioning you sanity/choices/etc. But it will be okay. *Everyone* feels that way.

Do have hubs keep an eye out for PPD though, 'cause not everyone feels that way, and no one should have to without help.

At about 6 weeks she'll be sleeping more (and more regularly) and so will you, and it will begin to lighten up. Slowly, slowly, slowly, but it will get better - I promise! Weeks 3-6 are just incredibly hard. Much like the pain of childbirth, there is just no warning about how damn *hard* those weeks are. Take care of yourself and the princess and work on *just getting by.* It'll be enough for now.

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Ellyndria said...

Sounds like my DS. He hated his bassinette too. Put him down, and he'd be crying anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes later. It used to be a mad dash to do things like grab a snack, use the bathroom, or put some laundry in the wash before he woke up. He also wouldn't sleep in his carseat, or bouncy, or anywhere by himself really.

My suggestion? Go to the bathroom, grab a bottle of water, some snacks, the TV remote or a book, some pillows or Boppy, and just sit on the couch and hold her for naps. I don't suppose that sounds like much of a solution, but sometimes you just gotta do whatever it takes to get her to sleep. DS would sleep for an hour and a half or more if I held him (with assistance from the Boppy!) Plus, it's not like it will last forever. Cleaning the house and everything else can wait. DS was pretty much held for all his naps until he was a month old. Sometime between weeks 4 and 6, I was able to start to put him down for naps sometimes. By week 6, he actually slept better if I put him down.

There will come a day when you'll actually miss her ability to fall asleep so easily in your arms and holding a sleeping baby, so make sure you enjoy it now.

Also, I don't know what your stance on co-sleeping is, but if you're not totally opposed to it, bringing her to bed and letting her nurse and take a nap, while taking a nap yourself, is one of the easiest ways to get a little sleep. You *can* co-sleep safely if you know the rules.

I was so sleep deprived that I even started co-sleeping at night with DS around 3 weeks, and suddenly I was MUCH more rested and felt like my old self again. It allowed me to relax instead of jumping up to check on DS a zillion times a night (that is, if he was actually sleeping).

Basically you just gotta do whatever makes it easiest for EVERYONE in your family to get enough sleep. What that solution is, is different for every family.

One other thing you may or may not aready know is that young babies can only tolerate about 1-2 hours of wakefulness at a time. When I finally learned this when DS was about a month, what a difference! That means, you need to start the soothing process so that she'll be asleep again within 1 to 2 hours after she woke up from her previous nap, to avoid the overtired state. Sometimes this might mean all you have time for is a long nursing session, a diaper change, and 5-10 minutes of playtime and it's time for a nap again.

Good luck and enjoy this stage. It'll be over before you know it.

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My first son nursed around the clock every two hours until he was darn near 6 mos. old. I remember so vividly crying and sobbing saying "when will I ever get 8 hours of sleep again"? Once we got into a rhythm of breastfeeding (the whole latching on part) he ended up in bed with me. I would always start him in his basinette and upon his first waking I would pull him in bed with me and hook him up and fall back asleep. He would wake up and we'd switch sides and fall back asleep. He was attached to me all the time. And he nursed until he was 13 months old. I know it is hard to see the light but it does get easier and you will be able to function on less than 8 hours of sleep. Your body is still recovering and repairing. You might feel like a million bucks but you haven't really felt like yourself in over nine months, so it is all relative. Be gentle on yourself and know that no matter what you are the best mommy your little baby could ever have.

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you thought about letting her sleep on the floor in the sunlight with a blanket under her for a little cushioning? And even if she doesn't fall asleep maybe she'll be content there as you do things in the room.

And do not feel that you are the only one in this boat. All moms have been there at one time or another as Rachel has said. Know that you are in good company when I say this.

I know what you are going through as my ds would only sleep on my husband's chest the first few weeks. It made me feel that I was a terrible mother as I couldn't comfort him. But then it eventually turned around.... he started sleeping in the crib, I got rest, and was able to feel like a normal human again and think coherently and KNEW that I wasn't a terrible mother.

It'll take a little time but you and P will get through this.

9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son took 15 minute cat-naps up until he was 7 weeks old. No joking. I'd nurse, he'd fall asleep, I'd put him in his crib, 15 minutes later he'd wake up hungry and crying again. I hurt so much from nursing that I could feel sharp pains from my breast radiating all the way down my arm. It was much as I loved my son, I seriously worried that having a child had been a mistake.

Try supplementing McK again. I know you've said your milk is in, but I think that our 8, almost 9 lb newborns sometimes CAN'T get enough breast milk in their tummies to sustain them. When a newborn is only 6 lbs, it's a different story. But the formula, because it's a more complex protein, keeps babies satisfied a bit longer.

Beyond that, keep in mind that newborns are having to learn how to do EVERYTHING. McK's fussiness is NOT your fault, nor is it a sign of anything being wrong. There may not be anything that *works.* Or what works one week, won't work the next. :\

10:33 PM  
Blogger Belinda said...

Plenty of good advice above, and like Rachel points out, there is a point at which all you can think about is trying to get some sleep!

You're not a bad mommy, even if you feel like you are right now! It's a learning experience for both you and McK.

Great idea on wrapping a t-shirt around her, btw!!


5:32 AM  
Blogger Autumn said...

I definately agree with the co-sleeping thing. There were days with the twins when I would have one tucked in each arm and that's the only way we'd all get some sleep. We have this picture of me sleeping on the couch. I have each twin tucked in an arm, Eva sleeping on my stomach and two cats sprawled across my feet.

I spent the first 6 months or so sleeping on the sofa with the carseats facing me so that if someone needed me to hold their hand or something I could easily reach them.

But take heart, you'll get tougher. There's a point when all mothers do. You'll learn when it's ok to just let her cry and when there's something really wrong. I think sometimes babies don't necessarily want or need anything, but they're just learning about themselves and really at this stage crying is about the only other thing they can control (other than eating).

Rachel is very very right about the undying love for sleep and time becoming a blur. Seriously, the last 4 years have gone by SO fast. And there are times when I'm willing to shell out the money to stay in a hotel by myself just so I can get uninterrupted sleep. And there were times when I really worried that I was going to go insane from the lack of sleep. But 6 months down the road, those days started getting fewer as I started getting more sleep.

It happens to all of us! And don't be afraid to ask family or friends for help. Most people will be thrilled to watch her for a few hours so you can get sleep.

6:53 AM  
Blogger Annette said...

Ditto to all the above!

DS slept in his car seat for several weeks, many times swaddled tightly in a blanket. It was the only way he'd sleep for more than 3 hours at a time. Swaddling (or "burrito wrapping" as we called it) is great when they are so tiny...they just aren't used to having all that space around 'em.

You'll survive! I promise :)

7:07 AM  
Blogger WhizGidget said...

Ditto to everything above - especially Annette's comments about "burrito wrapping" - which really saved my sanity with the ever cuddling DD#2.

She's still a cuddly kid.

Now... here's soemthing - is there something you used to do while you were still pregnant with her - certain music you'd listen to, or certain smells, certain noises (talking and the like) that you'd indulge in. Perhaps playing some music softly or something noise related that you used to do while pregnant will help recreate that feeling for her and allow you to get some sleep.

Rachel's advice about *just getting by* - really, that's brilliant. Work on that and you'll be fine. Lots of women go through this... and believe me, I was just about ready to die around weeks 3 & 4 when my kids finally decided that sleeping for 6-7 hours at a time was a good idea. Good thing too, because my sanity was just about gone. I don't know what worked, it just happened. And kids do this at different times, different speeds. McK will give you a break eventually - because she'll need one too.

And there were quite a few times that I'd feed DD#2, while she laid on a pillow on my lap, and I'd read a book while she nursed herself to sleep. And I couldn't put my bra back up when she was done, unless I was very careful, so I'd keep a blanket nearby in case I felt the need to cover up. You'll get through this. You will.


7:38 AM  
Blogger Jill in CA said...

((((Erica)))) You will get through this and you are a great mother. Pumping early is a good idea; it will relieve you of some discomfort and, if you're planning to solely breastfeed, you can get the freezer bags and start getting a supply stored for when you go back to work. It worked really well for me, as production goes down over time when you're back at work and pumping during the day.

Best of luck getting through the first month or two; before you know it you'll be looking back and it will be such a blur.

9:39 AM  
Blogger Stitchie Kiwi said...

I'm hoping that today is a MUCH better day :) Babies have growth spurts at 1wk, 3wk, 6wk, 3mth ... and they're awful for a day or two, and all you can do is keeping feeding and feeding and ride it out, but then they settle again - I'm picking that is what happened yesterday, and that today she is sleeping much better, and you are too :)

Congratulations - babies are wonderful!

10:37 AM  

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