Before I Knew It (Day #76)

I haven’t slept. In days.

I haven’t mentioned my sleep deprivation because I’ve been in full-blown denial about it. That is, until this morning, when I got out of bed and promptly burst into tears. Except they weren’t really tears because I was too tired to actually cry.

I haven’t wanted to acknowledge that I haven’t been sleeping because that would require acknowledging that Lil Mil hasn’t been sleeping. Which would make her not sleeping a thing. And I don’t want it to be a thing. Which is why I’ve been telling myself that it isn’t a thing, that two weeks of wildly erratic behavior does not a pattern make.

Yeah. Denial works. Until it doesn’t.

A word about the sleeping arrangements chez Miller: when we first brought Lil Mil home from the hospital, she slept in a co-sleeper in our bedroom while my parents slept in a queen-sized bed in the nursery. The bed was a remnant of the room’s guest room days. The plan was to leave it in there until my parents left, at which point we’d take the bed down and start putting Lil Mil to sleep in her own room.

My parents left on February 2nd. The co-sleeper stayed for a few more days, until I finally accepted that having a moaning, thrashing newborn less than a foot from my head was doing serious damage to my sanity.

So after writing this post on February 7th, I put the co-sleeper in the closet and moved Lil Mil into the nursery. And when she cried in the middle of the night, I picked her up, laid down on the bed we still hadn’t taken down, and fed her until we both fell back asleep.

I’ve been doing that every night ever since.

I knew it wasn’t ideal, but quite frankly, it was working. We’d put Lil Mil to bed (awake!) in her room at 6, she’d be asleep less than 10 minutes later, I’d go to bed in my room around 9, we’d both sleep until 1 or 2, then when she woke up, I’d go into her room, bring her into the queen-sized bed with me, and we’d spend the rest of the night snuggled up together, her little face pressed against my armpit.

I loved it. I loved the sleep I was getting, I loved the 2 a.m. snuggles, I loved stroking my daughters hair as I listened to her breathe. Husband kept telling me he was going to take the bed down, but every time he did, I’d explain to him that that bed was the only thing keeping me sane. Yes, it would be better for me to put Lil Mil back in her crib after her nighttime feeding, but every time I tried that, I’d spend the next hour and a half going to and from our bedroom while she voiced her protest without loud wails. Wasn’t it enough that she was going to bed unassisted? Did it really matter that I was letting her sleep with me for the last few hours of every night? (Don’t answer that.)

My very wise Husband knew better than to argue with a resolute mommy. So the bed remained.

Two months passed.

Then, two weeks ago, things changed. Lil Mil stopped going down at 6 without a fight. She started waking up 4 and 5 times a night. When I’d bring her to bed with me, she’d thrash around, kicking me in the stomach, working her way out of her tightly-wrapped swaddle until she had one or both arms free (I’m telling you, the girl puts Houdini to shame).

At first, I chalked it up to jet lag from our trip to Ohio. Then, I blamed the string of special occasions that pushed her bedtime back. When forced consistency didn’t fix the problem, I decided the culprit must be the undiagnosed digestive issue that resulted in several scary-looking diapers and an emergency visit to the pediatrician. Surely when we got that under control she’d resume being the happy lil sleeper she once was.

Or not.

Last night was the last straw. At 4 a.m. this morning, after crying dry tears for approximately 30 seconds, I finally accepted the reality: Lil Mil’s old pattern (6 to 6 with one feeding in between) had gone the way of the macarena. Adios, amigo. We would have to come up with a new pattern. A new routine. One that did not involve sleeping in 90 minute increments with bouts of scream crying in between.

Still in my PJs, I drug out all the books I bought two months ago, when I had my first streak of sleepless nights. A plan saved me then, and I fully expected a plan to save me now. It was just a matter of finding the right one.

In typical Lauren fashion, I started big and quickly lost steam. I read exactly one chapter of one book and then promptly decided I’d done enough research.

It was time for action.

What I needed to do was obvious. I needed to stop bringing Lil Mil to bed with me. Which meant the bed had to go.

So I took it down.

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