A blog about infertility, adoption,and adoption loss which has finally led to a beautiful miracle who was worth smiling for."Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future."Proverbs 31:25

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Confession #1

It's been an eventful 7 months.  As are all "first year" experiences.  I've delayed blogging about most of my parenting adventures due to fear that it might somehow impact our adoption finalization.  But, now that it's all legal and everything I think it's time that I get back to writing about the things that are actually going on in my daily life.  I knew exactly where I wanted to start. 
I am a co-sleeping mom.  Now, I'm proud to say it.... but a few months ago I thought it was the same as admitting to being a failure.  Before I go any further I should say that I am not at this moment practicing co-sleeping for reasons that I will get to in a minute. 
Before Olive came I thought that co-sleeping was borderline endangerment.  At the very least I thought that it was a relationship killer, at the most I thought it was a baby killer.  I should mention here that if not done safely, co-sleeping is potentially dangerous.  I'll link to safe co-sleeping practices at the end.  Anyway, I was never going to be a co-sleeping mom.  Those things that I resolved never to do, are hilarious to me now.  Let me set the scene.  We bring Olive home.  I've been dying to hold my baby for so long.  She is cute and I can't put her down.  Literally.  At first it is a joy to hold her, even all night.  But, eventually the lack of sleep becomes unbearable.  After weeks of holding Olive all night (with short sleeping breaks thanks to the hubby or my mother) I decided that it was time for her to sleep on her own.  [insert hysterical laughing with more than a hint of lunacy]  Of course she wasn't going to do this.  I had thus far trained her to sleep only when being held.  By this time Olive was a month old and had never spent one second in her crib.  If she was put down, it was in her swing, bouncy seat, or onto her boppy.  But at night she was held.  We started the colic dance for a child without colic.  Both my hubby and mother could sleep sitting up holding her.  I could not.  My fear of dropping her was too much for relaxation.  My patients for this, and my mental state, were declining.  So, one night after desperate attempts at getting Olive to sleep somewhere on her own so that I could lay down ending in failure - I layed her on her boppy in my bed and layed down next to her.  "I'll just rest a few minutes and try to sleep sitting up again"  And thats when our co-sleeping began.  I fell asleep, and so did Olive, and slept until morning.  Which meant about 4 hours uninterrupted sleep.  Something I hadn't had for weeks.  At least, not on my own.  As annoying as it was to me, I realized that I would do whatever it took to get some sleep.  Olive needed a rested mommy, not a right one.  When you're in the thick of it you really need to do whatever you need to do.  Forget about the experts.  Forget about what others might think.  This situation didn't last long because she soon outgrew her boppy.  In the middle of her second and third month is when we started using the co-sleeper nest.  It left me wishing I had started with it.  It was like a miracle.  Olive was right there next to me, but perfectly safe for her young age, and I could sleep.  The nest lasted until the middle of her fourth month, when she outgrew it as well.  She's a long little girl.  So, there was nothing for it but full on co-sleeping.  The first week of having her right next to me, no barriers, was different.  She and I woke each other up a lot.  But, soon I got used it and then eventually realized that I was enjoying it.  I knew she was.  She would roll onto her side and snuggle up to me and smile in her sleep.  I'll blog about bonding in a few days, but I will say that this was by far the best move I made to deepen our bonding experience.  It gave me such peace, knowing that I could feel her breathing next to me and I could be at rest all at the same time.  I loved waking up to her smiling face every morning.  I realized that I didn't sleep so sound that I forgot that she was there, but was sleeping well enough to feel rested.  My hubby enjoyed it on the weekends too.  He in fact still does it.  In her fifth month, Olive started rolling.  Mostly during the day, but a little at night too.  I wasn't concerned with her rolling onto her stomach at night.  Her head was plenty strong enough that she could lift it and turn her face from side to side.  However, by her sixth month I did begin to worry about her rolling out of bed.  For awhile it was enough to put a pillow on the other side of her to keep her in.  But, entering her seventh month that was no longer safe enough.  We have a very tall bed and hard floors.  Olive is so active at night, that not even bumping her crib up next to ours (with on side removed) was the solution.  Her crib is in our room just inches away from the bed.  So, I decided for her safety it was time to get some use out of her crib.  She has surprisingly done pretty well.  I am close enough to just reach over and touch her through the bars.  I can still turn on her musical sea horse without totally waking up.  In fact I would say it was harder on myself than her to begin with.  I got used to co-sleeping.  If my hubby continues to be gone during the week for his job, I have every intention of bringing back into bed with me once she learns about gravity and can get in and out of the bed on her own.  Honestly, the thought of her being in a whole other room at night when it is just the two of us really scares me.  It just makes more sense to me that we should be close.  Anyway, the reason my hubby can still get away with it is that her body still fits within his arm.  So he can keep her reigned in.  Some things that we did to make co-sleeping safe were:
- no sheets or heavy blankets
- she doesn't sleep on a pillow
- we never co-sleep all three of us in a bed
- we didn't co-sleep while we were taking cold medicine


Elle said...

If there is one thing that will go down as one of my favorite things to do in this life, it is sleeping with my daughter in my bed. We didn't co-sleep when she was a baby, and she really didn't sleep with me until she got her toddler bed and could come into my room on her own. But I love hearing her breathing next to me and being able to reach out and hold her sweet little hand. My husband tells me I spoil her and that I am asking for trouble letting her sleep with me, but I don't care. She is only my baby for a short while, and I intend to enjoy it while I can.

Ashley said...

I definitely agree that you have to do whatever it takes to get some rest, especially in the beginning! We tried co-sleeping, even after we both said we'd never do it, but it didn't work. I'm now thankful because she puts herself to sleep on her own in her crib and it's so nice. I might feel differently though if my husband wasn't home during the week. Glad you're back to blogging!!

Bree said...

Co-sleeping is wonderful! I still love when K and C come into our room in the middle of the night and snuggle up. You know I've always been a snuggler. Now that they are 4 and 3 (tomorrow) it saddens me that I am no longer needed to put them to sleep. But love that they make their way into Nat and I's room for some love in the middle of the night!

foxy said...

Parenting is so full of choices that are unexpected. I assumed that we would have a family bed, I planned for a family bed, but then, very quickly realized that it was just not working for me - or for our babe. I was so tired, and yet was having such a hard time relaxing enough to sleep. His noises woke me up. and my movement woke him up. We finally got a crib and moved him into his own room at about a month old. it was SO much better! for us!

I have so much respect for ALL of the different choices that families make. Sleep is SO important and rested mama's are better than disfunctional exhausted mama's.

We had such a good pattern going, with nice 6-8 hour stretches of sleep, up until last week when he got a cold and is now up every 1.5 hours... brutal.

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