Monday, May 9, 2011

Seeking Out Joy

I've been feeling quite conflicted the last couple of weeks.
I'm only documenting this so that in a few hopeful months weeks, I will be able to say "oh, that wasn't so bad."
If you watch Parks and Recreation, you might remember the episode in which Rob Lowe's (so dreamy!) character likens his body to a microchip and a that a grain of sand could destroy it.
Well, let's say Charlotte is a lot like Rob Lowe (lol). Her microchip has been compromised.
I have no idea what has gotten into her. Each night has progressively gotten worse.
It was several weeks back that I was feeling more confident with her sleeping capabilities. Even if she was sleeping 5 hours before waking for a feeding, it was 5 hours straight. I'd say on average each night she slept 5-6 hours, and we had a handful or two of some 7-9 hour stretches (which was only a gift from God.)
On vacation, she started waking more frequently, and I would help her out by giving back her pacifier, reswaddling, or just a quick little jostle of her bed to sooth her back to sleep. I generally don't pick her up unless it's time to eat, and in general, she doesn't need me to pick her up at night.
Each night since coming back home, she's spending more time awake. I originally thought she's hungry, but then I wasn't so sure, so I did the "unthinkable" (okay, that's an exaggeration), and let her cry the last 3 nights. The thing is, she doesn't cry when I put her down to sleep. So when she wakes in the night, I hop up to make sure she isn't hanging upside down by her footies or something crazy. Then she either goes back to sleep, or cries 15 minutes later. Or 30 minutes later. Or 40 minutes later. Or 5 minutes later. Or an hour later. I never know what it will be. Even after a feeding after 5 1/2 hours, she cried, which she never does at night.
She's not too hot, not too cold, quite possibly starving. Last night I let her cry for what seemed the entire night. There were at least 3 times where I figured it was a half hour (I had fallen asleep and woke again to her crying...still? again? I DON'T KNOW) and every hour at least 10 minutes before I went back in and gave her the paci.
Here's where I'm conflicted. Babies cry for a reason. And sometimes that reason is that they just want mom.
But the rules are that night is for sleeping.
But she's just a baby and sometimes needs her mom.
But I need sleep.
But she might be hungry.
But she needs to learn that she can put herself back to sleep.
But I want her to know that I'm there when she needs me.
I tell myself that this is temporary, and she's only little for such a short time. I thank God when I get to wake up with her that I have a baby and a warm home where she can feel secure and safe. (I've even had a late night cry about babies who don't have a mom or dad to snuggle them in the middle of the night.) I tell myself that some day, I will miss the snuggly baby days. I tell myself that it really isn't that bad.
But when I haven't gotten much more than 5 hours of sleep in a night in 20 days, I sometimes forget to be thankful.
So I started out today with every intention to try a new approach to get her to sleep tonight, but now as I write this, I realize that it's not that important. These moments are numbered. I will find the joy where I can and celebrate. I have a healthy baby, with a very healthy set of lungs.
Hopefully in a few weeks when I look back on this, I will still find the joy, but hopefully it will be the joy in a good night's sleep. :)


  1. From one Emily to another -
    your blog is such a great, honest look at motherhood! I hope that when I have children, I am as good of a mom as you are to little Charlotte! Keep up the good work, mama! (Also, that Parks and Rec episode was amazing!)

  2. My aunt swears by chiropractors for babies. I used noise makers, and AJ & Leah each slept in the swing every night for a few months. Whatever you can do to help them get sleep so you can! :) Good luck!

  3. Hey Em, Have you ever read the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child?" Saved my life and gave me the perseverance and reassurance I needed. Sleep training is/was my most hated part of motherhood to date (other than when Belle is so sick, but then it's becasue I feel so sad for her). Each kid is different, and I am sure the lack of sleep so many nights in a row is getting O-L-D. I think 4-6 months was my hardest with Belle. I'll be praying for ya and hoping she figures her little self out soon. My best advice (even though you didn't ask for it--sorry--I'm "that" mom now) is to try your best to not let "mommy guilt" get the best of you. Mommy guilt is the worst and I hate it. We as moms work so hard and then guilt ourselves every other day about if we are doing it right or not. Or, just drink more wine and you will totally sleep through all of her crying :-)