My excitement was maybe a little premature.
One night as Dan and I were heading to bed, he asked me if I wanted my house coat (feel free to laugh, I call my robe my house coat) set out by the door for WHEN (not IF) Mazy woke up. I said no. To his surprise, I told him that I am going to have faith to believe that God will help her sleep through the night. Even though she did wake after we put her down, but before we went to bed, what did Mazy do? SHE SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT. I thought oh ye of little faith…why have I not just had more faith?
Then the next night happened. She woke up twice before we went to bed, but Dan successfully got her back to sleep without having to pick her up. Then midnight struck and that was the end. She woke up and was then awake for the next 3 HOURS. Wide awake. Wanting to play, wanting to talk to me, wanting to show me things around her room. After about 1 1/2 hours I started to get a little frustrated (never losing my cool), but wondering what in the world I was doing wrong?
In those wee hours, I tend to go into self-pity mode. I start to think about how much sleep I need, but then realize really, Mazy needs the sleep all the MORE! After 17 months, our FAMILY just needs sleep. I can’t say I ever valued a good night’s rest as much as I do now – when those good nights of sleep are hard to come by.
I must say though, I feel guilty for even writing this post.
I really do. I remember thinking back to 6 years ago, just dreaming and wishing for sleepless nights with a child. We desperately wanted a child. I mean DESPERATELY, yet were told we couldn’t have one. I did not understand and anytime someone complained about parenting or about their child, I would start to fume inside, wanting to tell those people that they should be thankful for what they have. Those complaints for some reason, hit my every emotion.
Yes as hard as these long nights have been, I often do just sit there and praise God for my beautiful little child. Sometimes I even start crying. I don’t know if it’s the lack of sleep, or just the realization that she truly is here in my arms. It just brings me to tears, even to this day. She is so perfect to me, yet I see the brokenness of this world getting the best of her too though. I see her struggle to sleep, to get comfortable, to stay asleep, and I can’t help but see the brokenness of the situation. All I want is what’s best for her!
And that is what I failed to see when I heard others talk about their struggles in parenting. I failed to see the raw emotions of the struggle. I failed to try and understand where they were coming from. I failed to see that they too, were just trying the best they could, but to no avail. I failed to see that parenting is just not that easy. I failed to see that talking about the struggles is actually one of the best things you can do – to relate to others who may be going through the same thing.
So if you have ever felt judged by me in any way, I apologize!
HOW WE GOT HERE:
I honestly don’t have a clue why Mazy struggles in the ways she does. But isn’t that every parent’s question? I went into parenting thinking that I would try the Baby Wise method. I was going to stick to that plan because it just made sense to me. Well, after the first few weeks, I realized that something just wasn’t right. The “plan” wasn’t working like I thought it would.
When Mazy arrived, she let out a big ole cry. The doctor’s first words that I remember were “Boy she sure has a set of lungs on her!” At the time I didn’t think much of it, but as the nurses handed Mazy over to me, she just cried and cried, and cried. It didn’t really phase me because our beautiful little girl was finally here!
While in the hospital, as visitors came to meet our sweet little miracle, there were a few times that the nurses suggested I take her out of the situation and into the bathroom. Mazy had been crying and crying, and they were thinking she was overstimulated and overwhelmed. They were so right! She would immediately calm down when I did.
Well, then life at home happened. My health declined quickly and rather severely, and we were now home with a child who was far from content. By week 3, I was desperate. Desperate for sleep, desperate for good health, and desperate for a break from the crying. We took her to the chiropractor and that seemed to have helped. I took her back a few more times, and each time, things seem to improve – but just for a day. Then at another appointment, a lady observed how much she was spitting up. She mentioned that she had acid reflux and sure enough, she did! The medicine definitely helped with her spitting up issues – she stopped screaming during and after every feeding, and when she spit up. I know some parents are against medicating their children, but what relief Mazy received!
After 5 weeks of breastfeeding and after realizing that the medications I was on were drying me up, I stopped. Hardest, but BEST decision I made as a first-time mom. But then constipation hit. Formula seemed to help her “thicken” up a bit since she was getting the food she needed, but the constipation was painful to watch. After putting prune juice in her bottles consistently, we felt that things were improving.
But Mazy was still not sleeping. We tried the cry it out method between 5-6 months and though it seemed to help for about a week, it always declined. And when I say cry it out, in my mom mind, I felt that we let her cry it out long enough. As in 45 minutes at times, most often about 25 minutes at a time. It was so hard, but we felt it was making a difference.
But then ear trouble started to happen. We suspected something might not quite be right, but until the end of May when she got tubes, we struggled with infections (one that lasted 2 months straight). And of course during those times, we did not let her cry it out much because we knew she was in pain and screaming would only inflame.
EVERYONE told us that after she got tubes, she would start walking and start sleeping through the night. Well, unfortunately she came down with pneumonia a few days after, which didn’t help, and then the next month had a nasty virus that landed her in the hospital, which also then caused her to pull out her hair.
Now, we are in routine and back to “normal” life we feel like!
But Mazy is still not sleeping well. Some nights are better than others, but she can at times, wake up 5 times and sometimes she is up for 2-3 hours at a time, WIDE awake. I feel we have done all we know to help her sleep well. Here are some of the things we have tried:
Crying it out
White noise – we have a fan going on at night
Music – she listens to Twila Paris the whole night
Onesies with pants
Getting tubes for her ears
Minimize sugar intake (though we don’t give her much anyways)
Blanket that acts as a pillow
Make sure we are home at night
Give her the same snack and milk before each bedtime
Watch Praise Baby DVD
Massaging her legs and arms
Going into room without picking her up
Rubbing her face
Brushes for her skin
Routine – sticking to a set time EVERY night
Baths with lavender soap or bubbles
Love, hugs, kisses, and more love
Praying and PRAYING God will helps us help her sleep through the night
I am sure we have not tried it all, but at times I feel like we have. Many ask if we’ve REALLY let her cry it out and like I said before, we have. She throws everything out of her crib and gets even more worked up! If you’ve heard her, you know what I am talking about. I truly feel like prayer is one of the best things we can do, but at times it feels like we are saying the same prayer over and over. But God truly is listening. We know He is.
I was talking to a dear friend the other day, and first of all, one of the best gifts one can have as a mom is to have someone else to talk to. Not to necessarily compare, but to both share how we all have no idea what we are doing, but just trying to navigate this journey of motherhood together. She knows our struggles that we have with Mazy sleeping, but what she gave was an ear to listen. At times you feel like you have tried everything. At times you feel desperate.
But I KNOW THAT DAY WILL COME.
I admit that sometimes I live in fear thinking that something bad is going to happen and that I am going to wish for these difficult times back. I still dream of one day holding our two little twins in heaven, and showing Mazy that she had a brother and/or sister waiting for her there. I know one day I am going to want these days back. She is just too precious to wish this time away!
But sleepless nights are no joke! To see her struggle to sleep at 3:00am makes me tear up because I just want what’s best for her and at that moment, it’s sleep. She knows I love her and that’s why she doesn’t want to leave my arms.
Like my wise mother says, “you do what you have to do.” I love that because it’s so true. We get up because that is what she needs. We love her because that is what she needs. We give her comfort because that is what she needs. I know that day will come and our little sweet girl will not nuzzle into our arms – let alone even fit. She will one day sleep through the night and we will be waiting by her door for her to wake up because we miss it (I actually had that one time!).
So for all those moms out there, THAT DAY WILL COME.
On the other hand, if any mama has any suggestions for this mama to help Mazy sleep through the night, I am all ears – we are all in this together and I know there are 1,000s of mothers out there who struggle with the same thing!