There is a reason why sleep deprivation is considered a form of torture .
Between daylight savings time (what a joke), being ill, and a MAJOR sleep regression from Miles for the past six weeks, my hands have slipped off the end of my rope.
I’m hoping there’s a soft bed at the bottom.
Prayers would be ever so appreciated as I attempt to power through this weekend while Aaron works. Prayers for cognitive thoughts, kind words, calm emotions, positive parenting.
Last week, I posted a picture of Aaron having put Miles to sleep. Ever since that night, things have been changing in the sleep department here. And for once, it has been for the good!
Now, I put Ella to bed every night and she slips into sleep so quickly. If it’s a rough night, it takes 30 minutes. Folks, I can’t even begin to express what progress this is. Last year at this time? She would wake up every forty minutes, sob and scream for 20, then fall back asleep for another 40. It would take Aaron up to 2 hours for her to go to sleep. Thank God her pediatrician took me seriously and referred us to our sleep specialist.
The best part of this sleep shakeup isn’t how quickly Ella falls asleep. No sir, that’s just the cherry on top. The best part is the bond that has developed between Aaron and Miles.
Ever since that picture was taken, Aaron puts Miles to bed with no assistance from me. Last night, I tried to wake Aaron up three separate times as he lay in bed with Miles. Nothing could rouse him beyond barely coherent. It wasn’t until I finally came to bed that he woke up completely. I asked him if he felt like he wasted his night, having gone to bed at 6:30. He sat there for a moment, thinking. Then he replied with:
“No. Not at all. It meant I got to connect and snuggle with Miles. He sleeps with his ear over my heart the whole time and that is one of the best things in this world.”
We’re off to Chicago tomorrow for another visit with Ella’s sleep specialist. I realize I’ve been quiet on the topic of our sleep saga but I’ve been just riding this out to see how things go. It’s so easy for me to get my hopes up by talking about any improvements to only then have them dashes to smithereens the following night.
Instead of staying the night, we’re doing the round trip all in one day. One very long, exhausting day. Between the trains, the el, and automobiles that will get us to our destinations, I’ll be glad to reach our beds come 10:30 tomorrow evening.
I also lost my list of questions that I’ve been formulating for the past three months.
Prayers and good thoughts for a clear mind and easy traveling would be greatly appreciated.
There have been moments where I’ve questioned our choice to sleep with our children in our bed. To be completely frank, it’s hard. This set up has been the only way we’ve stayed sane with Ella’s sleep struggles. It has allowed us to meet her needs without having to get out of bed, which provides a small hope that we would be able to go back to sleep quickly. I’ve always been a bit jealous of friends who talk about how wonderful cosleeping is and how it encourages their family bond with night time snuggles and early morning giggles. For us, bedsharing was out of necessity and desperation, not happiness.
Then a couple weeks ago, something changed. I woke up with a strange feeling, something I struggled to identify. Finally, I pinned it down. I felt rested! Refreshed! I was actually ready to get out of bed instead of fighting sleep as I tried to roll out!
Then I realized everyone else was still sleeping. Did you read that? Everyone else was still sleeping. At 7:00 AM. Miles, Aaron, and Ella were still fast asleep. Even though I had to desperately use the bathroom, I refused to get up and run the risk of waking someone. So I laid there, luxuriating in the fact that I was the only one awake. At 8:00 AM, Miles opened his eyes with a smile and promptly sat up. His giggles woke Ella, who kissed Aaron to wake him up. We all talked and laughed together for a good ten minutes until someone’s limb ended up in my bladder and I had to break the spell to make a dash for the bathroom.
I got my wish. By following our instincts and meeting Ella’s needs, we got to celebrate as a family the huge milestone of sleeping past 5am. I am so incredibly thankful it happened this way. It’s a moment that I hope never to forget.
Last night, after supper, Ella and I were snuggling. Suddenly she sighed and and said, “Mama, I feel tired”.
You could have knocked me over with a feather at that point. Never, EVER has she expressed feeling tired. I can count on one hand the number of times she has yawned once she left babyhood.
I asked her what sleepy felt like and I was told that her “eyeballs here super heavy”.
Aaron and I hustled it up and whisked her off to bed ASAP. And would you believe it? Within twenty minutes she was out COLD.
Honestly, I think she has been exhausted her entire short life and didn’t know what sleepy or tired felt like since she always felt like that. So now that she is waking up a bit less at night (we’re down to about ten wakings!) and getting a solid chunk of sleep in the beginning of the night, she’s more rested. More rest means she’s able experience the transition from being rested to being tired.
This gives me so much hope!
Every time I sit down to write, one of the kids (figuratively) explodes, I develop a horrible headache, or something. So I’ll take this brief moment and give a quick rundown.
~ The doctor was so kind, understanding and took his time to answer all of our questions.
~ He told us that we have been doing everything right and doing it well. That our decision to give her melatonin at bedtime and naptime (including the amounts) was perfectly fine.
~ Her fundamental sleep pattern is normal. She goes through all the stages of sleep. This was huge to me. Her ability to sleep is not broken!
~ She has a very low ferritin iron count. Ferritin is the stored iron in your body. Normal ranges from 10 to 300 and her count is at 12. Low stored iron can cause the body to spasmodically jerk during sleep. The sleep study noted that she constantly jerked herself awake all night.
~ Solution 1: Put her on a large daily does of iron to raise her ferritin count. Go back in 3 months, discuss how things are going, do another blood draw and go from there.
~ Solution 2 (if 1 doesn’t work): If raising her stored iron doesn’t work, it indicates her nervous system is extremely immature, so we just have to wait it out until maturity. It’s basically the same thing newborns and infants do — jerking themselves awake to help prevent SIDS. To allow everyone to sleep and get the Ella the rest she needs to allow her system to mature, we would give her a medication that would dull the nerve receptors in her body during sleep. She’d be on it for 3 months, then we’d wean her to see how sleep goes. If it doesn’t happen, she’d go back on it for another three months, etc.
I can’t even begin to express my thankfulness for answers and solutions. Solutions that involved a doctor who actually listened and didn’t just give just give us sleeping pills for our toddler or tell us that it was normal.
Another day in the life of us. Not so typical, since we were on our way up to the big city to see a specialist for Ella’s sleep issues. We just arrived home tonight, so I’m hoping to be able to write about our experience (and answers!!!!) tomorrow.
I look sleepless because I am. I have been for 2.5 years.
No amount of teeth brushing or face cleansing completely washing away the fact it’s 5:30am
Little miss is pretty disgruntled by the time as well. Ironic, considering she’s pretty much always up by 4am.
Breakfast on the road seemed to help the disposition of all.
After a bit of stress, our tickets are spit out at us and we head outside to wait.
We get settled in.
Built in entertainment.
So much travel gives poor Ella ants in her pants. Daddy must entertain.
We finally arrive at our hotel.
Head out again to nix a craving.
Then we meet up with new friends for lunch!
Elizabeth and her adorable children brought us hungry travelers lunch!
The girls bond.
Miles watches on with amusement.
After throwing my back out, Aaron wears both children the mile to the hospital.
We opted to participate in a family food allergy study since we had nothing to do that afternoon…
Head size burritos were picked up for dinner.
When she sleeps, this is how she does it.
Baby is with me in the other bed and I shortly all join them in the land of nod.