Thursday, April 3, 2008

On the Verge

This morning, when I got up to get a cruelly cheerful Landon from his crib at 5:30, I had a single clear thought: I am about to have a breakdown- physical, emotional, both- I'm not sure. But I don't think my body is going to make it through Landon's first year of life unscathed. This morning I was so tired my body ached from the inside. My eyes burned to open and close. My legs shook when I leaned over his crib. I seriously don't know how we're going to keep caring for a baby who does not sleep.

On Tuesday Landon seemed to feel great post-surgery. He was perky, ate and drank well, and went to bed at his usual 7:30. But then he was up off and on after 4, and up permanently after 6. JP didn't get home from work until nearly 11, so we didn't go to bed until about 11:30. I have insomnia, and it always take a good hour for me to fall asleep- plus, I'm a very light sleeper so even when JP gets up from Landon (as he did from 4 until nearly 6), I'm not fully sleeping. All that adds up to some very small number of hours of rest (like 4ish). Last night Landon went to bed at 7:30 and was up from 2-3:30 AM, 4 AM, and then 5:30 AM until we left for daycare. I don't know what to do. JP is amazing and even though he's working long hours he still gets up at least half the time. I couldn't ask for more help from him. Unfortunately my body just doesn't sleep well - even before there was a baby stealing my sleep, my own body kept it from me for hours at a time.

I expected to be tired for the first few months of his life. I didn't expect to be getting even less sleep at nearly 9 months. And he's not just waking up for a bottle and going back down, he's waking up and staying up. I believe in letting a healthy baby cry it out at this age so that they can get a good night's sleep, but with all the ear infection pain, we couldn't do that. And now he could still have some fluid in his ears and I don't know if his low glucose levels could be contributing to the nighttime fussiness and thirst. Does he just think he's hungry because he's used to having a nighttime bottle when he's sick? Or is he actually hungry because his body isn't processing his food correctly? I DON'T KNOW and I'm way too tired to think about it. I do know that when I hear his wail at around 2 AM, I want to cry too.

And there's just a little bit of stress in other areas of my life. I think I'm supposed to be a law student at a school where the Socratic Method is still heavily used 3L year and no class is anywhere close to easy. I'm taking Advanced Corporations: Mergers and Acquisitions, Environmental Law, Legal Profession, and the second half of my Law & Politics Workshop. I spent all day yesterday on the phone with our mortgage lender, two of Landon's doctors, and various homeowners insurance agents. The daily to-do list is long and generally has nothing to do with law school reading or the substantial paper I really, really need to start working on. So, yeah, I'm definitely on the verge of some kind of meltdown.

Landon, on the other hand, is doing fantastic during the daylight hours and gets exponentially more cheerful and fun every day. The cuteness and his newfound ability to give hugs (wonderful, clingy hugs) help ease the pain of exhaustion, but I think JP and I are both nearing our physical limit for sleeplessness.


31 comments:

  1. It's time to get yourself to the doctor and get a prescription for Ambien. Seriously. No shame in giving yourself the same kind of help you'd give Landon.

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  2. But oh my goodness the socks! With the little green things on them! They are so adorable!

    And I agree with shelby- take care of your sleep, with help if need be.

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  3. Hehe, the green things are little frogs to match the shirt. I'm pretty sure he appreciates the coordination.

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  4. oh man, i can only imagine how painful not sleeping is. someone could come rob my house and i'd still be asleep.

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  5. You are going through such a hard time right now. I agree that maybe something to help you sleep may be in order. Can you get a sitter for evenings, like 6-11 when JP gets home so you can get some things done and be ready for bed when he's home? We went through a really hard time a few months ago when Ryan was very sick and still working nonstop finishing his dissertation and we were preparing to move to Austin. Your academic schedule is much more demanding than mine and I can't imagine what you are going through. Of course you are exhausted! Best of luck.

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  6. Grayson was the same way. He didn't sleep through the night until he was 16 months old. Before that, my eyes would bleed I would be so tired. I thought I was going to lose my shit.

    So ... he WILL sleep through the night, eventually. I know you don't really want to hear that ... you want help NOW.

    Can you have a relative (mom or MIL or dad) come and stay for a week or so? They would be the "middle of the night" person. You would turn off the monitor and ignore whatever was going on.

    Alternately, you could skip a class or two and nap while Landon was at daycare. You have to sleep. You will feel like a brand new person once you have 8 hours under your belt.

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  7. Have you considered a night nanny? As a mom of twins, I understand the exhaustion and physical wear-down of not getting sleep for months on end--and I wasn't in law school at the time. Your body can only take so much. If you could have extra help at night for a least a couple of weeks, maybe it would give Landon time to get on track with his sleeping and give you enough of a boost to push through the end of the semester.

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  8. Several thoughts:

    1. Sumo Baby has that exact same shirt (size 12-18 months) but it's almost too small now.

    2. My kid hasn't been a generally good night sleeper either. My strategy was to bring him in bed with me. I know, it's nto for everyone and lots of people have criticism of it - but seriously it helped me A LOT to not fully wake up each time he woke. Instead, I just put boob in mouth and he passes back out. Though oddly, the last few nights I strated giving him turkey and he sleeps way way better through the night . . . so I'm hopeful he'll be back to his crib soon.

    3. Good luck! The exhaustion is far more debilitating than anybody could ever think possible. Hang in there!

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  9. Again, I am sorry. I haven't had much experience with the sleeplessness because Bear only stayed up if he had an ear infection. My only advice is plenty of cereal right before bed and a bottle of water in bed with him. Is he napping too much during the day? I wish I could be more help. He is awfully cute though.

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  10. I have three boys, all of whom were bad bad bad sleepers and ended up with ear tubes around 10 months of age because of chronic infections. They didn't sleep better until after the surgery, which also coincided with warmer weather and more humidity which I think made it easier for them to be comfortable sleeping. But by the third baby, knowing I would be at work full time and up with his brothers, I simply gave up any pretense of having him sleep alone and I slept with him. I got a LOT more sleep, and so did he. You might try it to see if it helps you just get through the semester. I moved him to his own bed without too much trouble once he had learned to sleep reliably through the night -- I would fall asleep with him and then move him, then he started falling asleep in his own bed. Sharing a bed isn't a lifetime sentence and sometimes it just is the most reasonable thing if you are so sleep deprived you can barely function.

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  11. I would seriously consider the night nanny idea. It's expensive, but at this point, likely worth it. Then you can turn off the baby monitor and put in earplugs and get the sleep you need to stay healthy. A friend of ours who had twins hired a night nanny, and said it was a lifesaver.

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  12. Thanks for all the commiseration and ideas.

    I'm not opposed to bringing him in bed with us, but the few times we've tried have been a complete disaster. Landon is a squirmy sleeper and being between that and the noise and him pushing up with big smiles for mom and dad, I've gotten even less sleep. He definitely sleeps better by himself too.

    I like the night nurse idea, other than the financial aspect of it and the fact that we have a tiny 2-bedroom apartment where you can hear every sound. We don't even own a monitor and I can usually tell when Landon makes his little sleepy sighs. But still, if this keeps going, it's something we may consider (and maybe get grandparents to fund it...). This is when having every family member over 1000 miles away sucks.

    But thanks for the nice comments.

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  13. I LOVE the froggie grippie. That outfit is too cute. Maybe someone can stay with Landon one night and you and JP can go to a hotel and SLEEP. Unfortunately some babies are bad sleepers and it may be time to let Landon cry. It *could* be related to his ears or glucose, so I would talk to the pediatrician. But he may simply enjoy the early morning company. Some kids are also supremely early risers. My 3 year old woke up at 5:30 every morning until she started school. We would bring her to bed with us and then she would finish sleeping. Yes, it wasn't the greatest habit, but a rested Mom and Dad are very important too.

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  14. I've never posted before, but I've been following the blog for a few months. I have found your blog to be very inspiring and I think Landon is so precious, obviously a reflection of his parents. I thought maybe the law student pre-baby perspective might be helpful too... so when I read your post, all I could think about was having someone take over for a few days (maybe grandparents like some others have suggested), getting myself to the spa for a massage or even just relaxing for a few hours and having a nice, big glass of wine (or maybe two) before I fall asleep at night. And obviously, not going to class/not reading until I feel better. I hope things get better for y'all soon. Good luck!

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  15. From the law school side of it, talk to your professors. Make sure each and every one knows that this is your last semester and that you're dealing with a baby that has not-just-normal-baby-problems. If nothing else, you should be able to pass often without feeling guilty that they don't know what's going on in the rest of your life, and at best they'll simply stop calling on you at all. Also, it's your LAST semester! Don't be so hard on yourself. All you have to do is pass.

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  16. I have to second the sleeping pills, when our monkey was sick we would take turns and I would take a unisom to sleep through the crying. It is not a long term solution but when you really feel like you have to get 8 hours or you will die, it works.

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  17. If it makes you feel any better, our own 9 month old has been a horrible sleeper lately. Normally, she is an easy baby and a sound sleeper, but I am thinking the 9 month sleep regression is upon us. Sigh.

    We do co-sleep and yes, she is constantly rolling over and pushing up on her arms to "practice" her attempts at crawling. Last night, she was up awhile "practicing" one of her new sounds. Sigh.

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  18. I'm so sorry things are so rough for you right now. Sounds like you could use a night to yourself - or to the more dreaded studies. Maybe having a sitter come once a week or something just for a short time might relieve some of your stress?

    Hope things get better for you!

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  19. I have to get up at 4:30 every morning for work and my husband doesn't have to get up until 7:30. It's our agreement that hubby gets up with the baby during the week so I can get as much sleep as possible and I get up on the weekends and let him sleep in as late as he wants. Maybe that could be a solutionn for you? I'm also a VERY light sleeper so the baby crying wakes me up too but it's so much easeir/faster to fall asleep when I'm not the one warming up a bottle and battling a fussy baby.

    The night nurse is an excellent idea too - some things (like sleep) you can't put a price on! Maybe you could only do it 2-3 nights a week for a few weeks so that you can get your sanity back!

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  20. 8-10 months was rock bottom for us. H only slept in 45 m increments for 6 straight weeks and I had no help at night. My marriage only just survived.

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  21. I have been reading your blog for months and have to say that after all you've been through, you certainly deserve some sleep. I'm sure you have rec'd plenty of advice but just to add to the pile...I have 5 children, work three days a week as a project analyst for a major investment co. in Chicago. It's critical that I get my sleep to stay on my game! When I complained to my pediatrician about lack of sleep, his words of wisdom were "sleep begets sleep". So, I would make sure Landon's getting a good nap during the day. Whenever one of my children got in a good rest, they slept better at night. It took maybe a week for it all to pull together. (and I have to say that I am also an insomniac/light sleeper and even Ambien didn't help, but I have found that if I exercise during the day, take a hot shower or bath in the evening and drink a cup of decaf tea, I usually sleep better.) Good luck!!

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  22. I so completely understand. Good for you for acknowledging you're approaching the edge - and who wouldn't? What you've been doing is incredibly hard, and you have had so many obstacles. I continue to be impressed at how someone so young can handle the things you have with grace and humor. You need to nurture yourself, too.

    Do try Ambien. In law school, particularly around finals when my brain wouldn't turn off, it was a godsend.

    Can you get away -- alone -- for two nights? Check yourself into a hotel and just sleep and nurture yourself? Study if you want, don't if you don't, get a massage, swim in the pool, put some earplugs in and just SLEEP.

    And I really want to get that outfit for my soon-to-be nephew - Landon looks absolutely adorable!

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  23. (((HUGS))) Definitely sounds like serious overload right now. You need a "pause" button quick! I bet you feel like you've been having one crisis after another for months now and people having been cutting you breaks and when is it ever going to end?!?! Ack. :(

    The two-bedroom apartment thing is definitely an issue. What about a babysitter who might be willing to sleep on a cot in his room with him and get up in the night to deal with him. If you got a college-age student (perhaps early childhood education) a few nights a week for the next few weeks until you're done with school it might help you get through the roughest part of it. Shouldn't cost too much if she's sleeping most of the night. You could probably work something out.

    Hope you find a solution soon. My husband has horrible insomnia. He uses natural melatonin pills from CVS because he hates chemical/drugs and they work pretty well when he takes them. Good luck!

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  24. as my mom keeps saying as I keep crying about Cooper not sleeping, good thing he's cute!
    Maybe it's because we had these Cancer babies (um, that sounds weird...I mean the astrological sign) and that means that they are crabby (at night).
    yeah, I'm grasping for straws, too. Can't get any ambien, take some benedryl, and maybe one night a week go to bed right after Landon? I know that's probably not possible as you have a bazillion things to do, but maybe just maybe sneaking in those few extra hours might help you in the long run. ;)
    this coming from the girl still on at 11pm...*sigh*

    p.s. got back a few days ago from Chi-town and I already miss it. :(

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  25. oh, and I totally second one of your anonymous commenters...sleep begets sleep. My kids sleep WAY better at night when they've had a decent nap (or 2 in Cooper's case) during the day. Check with Maya to make sure he's getting some good rest during the day.

    (as I type this, Cooper, who barely slept at school today, is fussing in his sleep...it's going to be a long night for me, too...I wish you lots of luck that you'll get some rest!)

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  26. I feel your pain about the sleep. I can't imagine how hard it must be with school, the ear infections and so on. I trundle through by figuring I've used all my bad sleep karma on this baby, and believing wholeheartedly that my future children will be amazing sleepers!

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  27. Sally in Houston4/4/08, 8:40 AM

    If he's going to bed at 7:30 - I'd be in bed by 7:35!! You can always wake up when JP gets home and visit a bit. I have 3 kids - all of whom slept like champs when they were small - but my motto was when they sleep I sleep. Screw housework, laundry, and dishes. I know you have school work to do but you need your sleep. Sleep deprivation will send you right over the edge!! Remember that one day when you are defending some homicidal mother who killed the UPS guy for waking up her baby!! :)

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  28. LL i love landon's smile!

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  29. It's a good thing he's so cute!

    I strongly recommend both a sleeping pill *and* earplugs. The soft foam kind are wonderful, and you don't even feel them. I used them during a year when I was in a rental apartment directly underneath three 21-year-old guys who'd just gotten out of college, and thought that 3 a.m. was an AWESOME time to blare music after being out partying. I was working two jobs at the time, and had to get up at 5 a.m. on weekends. Those earplugs kept me sane, employed, and well-rested. I still keep them around-- very handy when I travel.

    On nights when your husband is getting up with the little guy, hopefully they'd keep you in deeper sleep no matter what's on the baby monitor.

    True

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  30. Hey, I've been a lurker here. I've been so impressed at your continued strength through the all that you've dealt with. I'm going to chime in to agree about the sleeping pills. I recommend Lunesta. All sleeping pills are addictive -- I don't care what the ads say. But taking it for a short time, while you get through another month, I think would be a good idea. Some people would be so against the idea, but I don't know of another immediate, short-term solution, in your situation.

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  31. Sally in Houston has a good point, too.

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