Thursday, January 24, 2013

Am I selfish?

Jessica at Just Smile and Blog struggles with sleep have given me great cause for concern.  I fear that my baby is learning - or should I say not learning- good sleep habits where she can put herself to sleep.  She relies on me to either: A) Nurse her (at night) in our bed until she is good and sleeping (an hour or more) and she is transferred to her bassinet. B) worn in a moby or ergo and bounced and 'sshed' to sleep. She cannot be transferred out of the carrier or she will wake.  Wearer of baby cannot sit down and relax while wearing baby, or she will startle and wake up (we have an exercise ball we use to sit on and 'bounce' her constantly.C) Nursed during the day where I can't unlatch her and have to sit absolutely still and allow her to suckle (this usually doesn't work and she will wake up at some point)

If baby doesn't get naps during the day she is one cranky baby.  Her bed-time cues are showing earlier and this means that I have to put her to bed earlier and thus need to go to bed that early myself (or I might as well...)

She wont nap during the day the same way she falls asleep at night. 

HOWEVER - she consistently sleeps well at night.  I usually get bewteen 5 (on bad nights) and 9 (on rare but amazing nights) of uninterrupted sleep (as long as I go to bed when she does).  This is amazing...this is basically unheard of I know.  I shouldn't even be complaining about sleep I know...however, is it luck?  Our days with the bassinet are numbered (she's getting too big AND it needs to go back so that it can be used by another person -it was borrowed). Once we put her in her crib will her good night sleeping go to shit because she can't hear us sleeping?

I'm torn with sleep training (that have versions of CIO) and the Wait it Out method.  I know my daughter is only little for so long and she needs me and needs to trust me.  I love Dr Sears and feel that what he has to say about sleep training (or lack there of) make so much sense.  If I believe in the WIO method (which goes along with Dr Sears) then why or why am I terrified of nurturing a bad sleeper? 

Is it because I am selfish and NEED her to sleep on her own?  Because I am loosing my mind every day that passes that she doesn't nap on her own and I have to wear her constantly.  That I desire time and intimacy with my husband that doesn't (or hasn't) happened yet since she wont sleep on her own. Or that I just need a break?  Right now I 'm the ONLY one who can care for her 100% of the time.  Hubby can't because he doesn't have boobs to nurse her when she is cranky.  And the thought of leaving her with a grandparent to watch while hubby and I get a night out (or an hour or two) just makes me laugh! It would be impossible!  Didn't I sign on for all of this when I wanted so desperately to be a parent? When I shed tears for my lost babies and prayed for a baby.  Shouldn't I be grateful I have a good night sleeper and not ask for too much by having a baby who naps during the day? 

I have been SO STRESSED out about all this sleep stuff.  I am reading and talking to everyone I can and EVERYONE has an opinion.  I really don't know what is best....

Hubby and I are attending a sleep workshop next Friday.  He is telling me to relax and just wait till then before we start any sort of program.  I agree with him, but that doesn't stop me from stressing out to the max about her sleeping.  He laughed at me...he tells me we went from an eating crisis to a sleep crisis over night.  He is so right. 

I guess I just feel guilty because I feel I'm being selfish ... but more importantly I want my baby to get her sleep so she can grow and develop and not be a cranky pants! 

Please help me gain some perspective!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Do you let your baby Cry It Out?

I need some advice here. I'm loosing my mind - myself and everything that is important to me - with this baby who will not, for the life of her, lie down to sleep by herself unless it is at night after she has nursed herself to sleep lying down with me beside her for a minimum of 2 hours.  I need some me time, I need some time with my hubby. 

So everyone keeps telling me I should let her cry it out....she wont cry forever they say.  Hubby is absolutely opposed...but the more time goes by where I feel like I'm at her beckon call, I'm seriously considering it...but then feel guilty thinking about it.

I need to know....Do you let your baby cry it out?  If what age would you let him/her cry it out and for how long? (She is only 10 weeks)

Please ... I need some perspective here!

Help this mommy out!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Just Letting Go

This is my 3rd attempt to write a reflection post on 2012 and think about what I want for 2013.  (Yea I'm a bit behind on the New Years Resolution Post).

I think the best thing I could do in 2012 was just let go.  I  am a classic type A personality.  I desperately want to try to control everything - my job, my life, my husband.  So that I know what to expect.  My husband would say I am very negative  - however, I think the negativity is a curtain for anxiety.  It sounds like I am so doom and gloom because I'm stressing out about things I cannot control.  Early on in 2012 I was miserable.  I was still grieving our 2nd loss, and then I got hit with a potentially devastating (for me) diagnosis - Premature Ovarian Failure.  This meant that when I thought my testing was over, I had to continue to go back for cycle day 3 blood work and ultrasounds to measure my FSH levels and see how many follicles I was producing.  I was a mess.  I remember the day when all hell broke loose.  I was at work during a PD Day. There were no Educational Assistants or students in my room.  I was working on something at my desk and my 40+ year old co-worker came into my room and told me she was 4 months pregnant.  I lost it.  I am not usually a crier, but when she left I broke down and sobbed.  I hit rock bottom that day.  After, I vowed that I couldn't control our fertility situation any longer.  I vowed that what was going to happen would happen and I just let go.  I let go of the pain, of the stress, of the anxiety of the control.  I threw it out to the universe and just prayed that our dreams would come true.  I had 2 weeks of peace and tranquility and then started to become horribly tired.  A week later, I peed on a stick and found out we were pregnant!  Letting go helped us achieve our dreams.

The pregnancy was difficult.  Very stressful and wrought with anxiety.  As many of my followers know, I stressed over every twinge and pain (or lack there of).  However, later on (maybe closer to 20 weeks), I let go of (most) of my stress and started to enjoy the pregnancy.  Up until the last 6 weeks, I enjoyed the feeling of being pregnant and all that came with it.

When my due date was looming, I tried to control everything about when it would happen.  I tried herbs and acupuncture and sex and different exercise moves - of course none of it worked.  I was convinced I would have my baby in October early.  Of course, when I let go of trying to control when it would happen, it happened all on its own and my beautiful daughter was born. When she had to go to the NICU for a whole in her lung, I knew that I couldn't control  things in life.  The weeks following her birth, as I struggled with feeling so overwhelmed with feeding and other issues pertaining to a new born, I once again realized that I had to just let go and try not to control my new born daughter. 

Now 2013 is here, I'm trying to follow the lessons of the past year.  In more than 1 situation, things got better when I just let go and went with the flow.  Getting stressed or anxious over things I can't control makes the situation worse - not better.  Easy-going isn't in my nature unfortunately so this lesson is a hard one to remember. However, Rome wasn't built in a day, and sometimes it takes awhile to make progress.  So now, I'm taking one day at a time (trying to at least) and remembering that there are always good days and bad days so take what you get and know tomorrow can change.  In terms of where I want 2013 to go - I have no idea.  For the first time in YEARS I'm not planning on where my life will be in a year's time.  I know my baby will grow and learn and will be in a different place than where she is today.  However, I'm not planning my life around where she'll be.  I'm not looking forward to a pregnancy or wishing for one...I'm just trying to enjoy what I have.  Some say 2012 would be the best year of my life - with the birth of my daughter...but I may argue 2013 may be the year I grow and learn with my daughter!

(This post has taken me a week to write!! Things definitely take more time with a little one!)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Attachment Parenting and Internal Sturggle

After reading MissConceptions post on Post Partum  I was inspiried to write a post about the internal struggles I have been facing this week. 

MissConception said the exact thing I was thinking yesterday:

I think as infertiles we are very ready to deal with pregnancy, but a little less ready to deal with a newborn. We don't spend a lot of time preparing for it. At least for me, a lot of my time was spent focusing on getting and staying pregnant. I read up on pregnancy and became well versed in everything up until child care. Maybe it's because I had never been close to this stage before. Maybe I was too nervous about jinxing things and sort of avoided learning about how to be a mom. It's not that I was completely naive, but I didn't feel ready

I was telling my husband this exact same thing at dinner - then went on-line and read her post and I was amazed!  Being a mom is hard work!! It requires some thought on how you are going to deal with issues around feeding and sleep and discipline (although I'm not there yet) when you have so many people telling you so many things.  I never gave raising my child any thoughts - I knew I never wanted to be a cry-it-out parent, but that's about it.  I was so obsessed with my pregnancy and birth that I never thought about the aftermath - actually HAVING a baby.

When Hannah was born, I figured things would fall into place.  First she had her scary episode in the NICU after birth.  Then she had trouble with feeding and my supply.  So now, at 8 weeks I'm starting to realize that I know NOTHING about parenting and what babies need.  After a few days of hell, I've quickly realized that babies need SLEEP.  Yup - she basically slept her first 4 weeks away, so I figured she new how to sleep.  WRONG!  What I think was happening in the first bit was I was mistaking tired cues for hunger - which perpetuated my anxieties about her not getting enough.  Now that I know she is eating enough and not hungry, we are working on the sleep game.  Well here is where everyone has an opinion.  Friends have lent me and have raved about the Baby Whisperer.  I read it and saw some validity to what she was saying.  Such as cues for an overtired baby.  My daughter definitely fit that category.  However her system of sleep requires a cry-it-out approach that is more humane than the "Ferber" method, but still cry it out.  2 days ago I tried it...and I lasted maybe 90 seconds before I had to pick her up.  We just aren't ready for any type of cry it out approach.  So then I opened up the Dr. Sears book I was given...HELLO EPIPHANY!  By nature of what works for us, hubby and I have been doing an attachment parenting approach.  H likes to be worn and sleep, so we wear her.  She feeds on demand and we listen to her cues.  However, the negative stares I received at Christmas made me feel I was doing something wrong.  Although her sleeping in the wrap was working for both of us (well I was getting tired of having to carry her around and not being able to sit and relax) it was working.  I was also feeling guilty that we spent all this money on a crib and organic mattress that is completely unused.  H sleeps in her bassinet at night (after we co-sleep till she falls asleep nursing) and then during the day she wont be put down.  I was feeling that if we bought them, we should use them. 

Reading Dr. Sears has made so much sense to me.  His approach is one of logic.  Babies have needs and as a mother, you need to meet those needs - whatever they are.  You cannot spoil a child this young and meeting you child's needs will actually help the child thrive and develop.  It is a back to basics approach to parenting that cultures all around the world use and have used since the beginning of time.  A baby is hungry, she is fed.  She likes to be near mom, so she is worn.  Sleeping in a separate room in a caged bed is scarey, so she sleeps next to mom.  This is how we as primates were condition to nurture our young.  It has only been recently (and my husband argues since the feminist movement) that babies are seen as more inconveniences that need to be taught how to mold into our lifestyles (therefore schedules and cry-it-out approaches developed so babies fit).  For some babies, these methods work.  They are easy-going babies who don't have many needs (or their needs are met with minimal effort).  We all know the parents who have said they have an easy baby...these methods work because the baby's needs are still being met through these methods.  Since I was brought up by a mother who DEFINITELY was not into attachment parenting, I kind have thought that I was doing things wrong.  That my baby should be a separate identity from me and that I was resenting her for not giving me my time.  However, since reading his book, I realize that babies are not supposed to be separate identities.  The mother-child bond should make it so mother and child are 1 being, not 2. 

My baby was destined to be a High Needs baby (as Dr. Sears puts).  I was a nervous wreck throughout my pregnancy and had a million appointments and ultrasounds (she was high needs since conception).  Then, her first 4 days of birth were torture.  Her first day she was left alone in an isolet SCREAMING HER HEAD OFF, and hubby and I were instructed to leave her be.  We were not allowed to TOUCH her as she was so overstimulated.  It was hell for us...and I figured it would have lasting effects. 

Since reading Dr. Sears I have come to grips on how I'm going to parent.  My baby has needs and I'm going to do what it takes to meet her needs.  I wont feel ashamed when people visit and I'm carrying my baby in a wrap.  I wont feel guilty if I have to feed her for over an hour because she wants to pacify on the boob for a while longer.  If my mom (or anyone else) makes a comment that suggests I should change or what I'm doing is setting her up for failure, I'll just remind them that its a good thing THEY aren't the ones doing it.  They had their shot at parenting and now I'm having mine!

I wish I would have cracked this book before H was born. I wish  I would have given parenting a bit of thought - it is like planning your wedding.  You put so much work into one day, that some people don't think about the larger outcome...marriage and connecting and communicating as a couple.  Having a baby is similar.  You put so much stock into the one day of having the baby, you forget that you need to shape this little person to be a thriving member of society.  There is a lot of pressure on us as moms!!

Now my revelation is just that - MY REVELATION.  My biggest advice to moms is DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO SURVIVE.  If crying it out or schedules help you with that - then you go girl! For me, it isn't an option...YET.  Things change as the baby changes and maybe next month we'll revisit the baby whisperer.  But today, I'll wrap my daughter and carry her around so she feels protected and loved :)

This revelation has been HUGE and I think it has made for a happier baby.  Yesterday she slept 3 times for at least an hour during the day and last night we had a happy baby...not a cranky one (we did take her for a chiropractic adjustment...more on that could have helped with the inconsolable crying too). 

For the soon to be moms and the new moms out your research (either before or now) and stand true to your convictions - whatever they may be.  You are doing a great job and it is HARD WORK being a mommy!

The attachment parenting bible for those interested is Dr. Sears book The baby book