Among the many things wrong with me, insomnia is certainly one of the least pleasant. While I had no problem asking for meds for my depression, I resisted all attempts by doctors to give me meds for sleep. Maybe on a certain level I was afraid to take something habit forming, like say a case of beer and a goodly amount of Grand Marnier. Or a fifth of bourbon. Whatever my malfunction, I finally caved and decided this past June, enough was enough. I needed some damn sleep, the little bit I had been getting before Cam came home was now non-existent.
Poor Rob was sleep-deprived too. The man loves his sleep, and sleeps like a log when left to his own devices. We made a deal early on after Cam came home, I had all feedings until 0400, anything after that, Rob had it. I am a night owl, Rob is an early riser. There were many nights I just stayed up until 0200 and then crashed, hoping I would sleep until 0900. Never happened. I was in school full-time, had my internship, and a new baby. I was beyond crazy. I was medicated for the depression, but it wasn't doing much good. The doc doubled my dose, and I was at least able to stand in the same room as other humans and not want to rip their heads off. To say I was irritable was a huge understatement. I don't know how I am still married, because Rob took the brunt of my crazy. I am normally very anal about things, what most would consider a control freak, which is pretty common in alcoholics. Think of an alcoholic you know, you could probably think of at least five ways that person is shit-house crazy about things being in order. That's me. With a new human dwelling among us, I was at my Type A best. Rob is anything but Type A. As care-free and relaxed as they come. His attention to detail is limited to non-fiction books and fried foods. He always knew I was somewhat crazy, he just had no idea until the baby came home.
Those months where Cam needed to get up several times a night to feed were brutal. By the time she was four months old, feedings were down to two a night, which is when I started buying up every sleep training book you could find. I was determined to get Cam on a schedule all three of us could live with, with as little pain as possible. If you have made it this far and you are a parent, you are probably laughing your ass off right now. I really can't blame you. The ignorance of a new parent is immeasurable. At least once a day I am confronted with something I swore I would never do, and go right ahead and do it. Pretty sure dozens of people behind us in church were disgusted the first time Cam's bink fell to the floor and I gave it a cursory wipe on my pant leg before giving it back to her. In one afternoon I fed her a french fry, ice cream, roast beef, and bread...not generally thought of as foods for 7 month old's. I regularly let her crawl all over any flat surface without thinking twice. Think disgusting mall floors.
So, when it came time for sleep training I swore I was not going to let her cry it out. I firmly believe in attachment parenting, and crying it out just seemed to fly in the face of it. Plus, the kid is just pitiful with the crying. The lip....the tears. My heart could take no more than 10 minutes, 15 tops. Regularly I stay up until 0200, just waiting for her to wind herself up. Sometimes it's easy, sticking bink back in her mouth, giving a little pat on the back. Lately, she's been teething, or a demon is growing in her, because that kid is only consolable in our arms. My sleep meds knock me out within five minutes of taking them, so if she stays asleep until 0200, I dose myself and head to sleepyville. Which means Rob is left to deal with anything after 0200, which gives me a great deal of anxiety. He is the only one bringing home the bacon, so I feel AWFUL if he has to do anything between the hours of 2200 and 0400, thus the anxiety. Lately, I have been anxious and irritable. Remnants of shitty depression and too little sleep.
Cam is a terrible, terrible sleeper. Ever since we brought her home she has been a twitchy, noisy, moving baby. There was no way we could co-sleep, because that kid was all over the place, even at 17 days old. We marveled at how we would put her in one spot in the crib, and she would be turned around at the other end. There is no genetic link, but I swear to god, the kid could hear a pin drop on a cushion five miles away....just like me. It's only gotten worse as she's gotten older. I told Rob last night, I wish our video monitor would show a map of her movements through the night, kind of like our GPS and how where we drive leaves cookies on the map. Along with being a twitchy moving baby comes frequent wakings. I have since day one RUN to her side, to make sure that she KNOWS we are meeting her needs. She has figured this out around the fourth month or so. Really she has trained me to come to her, and I have performed very well up to this point. Since the teething began, I broke protocol when she would cry out. Instead of just putting bink back in her mouth and patting then leaving, if she wouldn't settle I would.....shit, I would pick her up. I admit it, I am an enabler. That kid will sit right up, bounce up and down on her cute little bum and cry real tears. I have been known to whisper in her ear "don't tell your father". This has made my sweet, smiley daughter into a monster.
Last night, I merely opened the door to her room to make sure she was breathing, and the head popped up. A wide smile crossed her face, seeing that her favorite plaything had arrived. I lovingly placed her back in her sleep position, told her "sleepy-time", covered her up and walked out of the room. Before I stepped away form the crib, an exaggerated pause then the wailing began. I shut the door, and bolted down stairs. Have I mentioned that I have never made her cry for more than 15 minutes at a time? Well, she knew it and proceeded to throw all her baby energy into letting me know that her plight was UNACCEPTABLE. I watched on the monitor as she lay on her back kicking her feet in rhythm to her staccato cries. Flailing arms. Outrage. Rob laughed, because he thought I was going to break and go soothe her. I didn't. I held firm. And by firm I mean I turned the monitor around so I couldn't see it and plugged my iPod in. I may have some residual deafness from how loud I had to crank it to drown her out. It took an hour and 45 minutes of straight crying before she submitted. Triumphant at last!
Rob had to be at work at 0630. Unusual in that he works from home usually, and lets me sleep in until 0900 or later. This insomniac's best sleep comes between 0400 and 0700 without the drugs, with, I can sleep until 0900. Last night I didn't take any meds, because Rob needed his sleep. I was awake ALL. FUCKING. NIGHT. LONG. When Cam stirred at 0430, I ran to get her and brought her back to our bed, which I never do. I thought maybe she'd sleep. Nope, but guess what? I taught her AGAIN that I will come rescue her from sleepy-time. Sigh.
Nap time today. She just fell asleep after screaming for nearly two hours. My ears are still ringing. The monitor is still turned around. I can do this. My nearly 8 month old little ball of Id will not break me. It's times like this I wonder how the fuck I have stayed sober.