Friday, September 3, 2010

Sleep Wars

For while now, Casey and I have been engaged in a long fought battle for sleep. After a rough start, things had gotten relatively routine, with Bea sometimes sleeping as much as 10 or 11 hours. Somewhere in the course of the past two weeks... something's changed.

Before we get into the new issues, I think it's important to understand her "sleep history"...

Sure, every new parent goes through the same no-sleep issues, but for parents of a preemie with SEVERE acid reflux, the first hint of twilight brings in a tide of anxiety and dread. Once the sun started setting, I would get the largest pit in my stomach!

For the first few weeks Beatrice Kate was home from the NICU, Casey and I would take turns sleeping on the couch holding our tiny (4 lb!) baby upright in our arms. Of course, by "sleeping", I mean, sitting in a zombie-like haze while said tiny baby grunted, wiggled and actually slept for no more than 45 minutes at a time.

We have come a long, long way since those days thanks to a combination of medication (Prilosec and Zantac, actually) and Bea's maturity. Beatrice Kate (thankfully) now sleeps laying down in a bassinet that attaches to our bed called a Co-Sleeper, and my husband and I can once again are able to share a bed! We end each day with Bea around 7:30 by changing her clothes, administering her meds and spending time with Bea in what Casey calls "Kicking Time". This basically consists of Beatrice Kate spastically flailing her arms and legs like an updside down beetle and squealing with delight. Then it's time to get dressed, get Miracled (or as we call it "Baby Burrito-ed") and nurse down.

Now, here's where the problem begins...
For about two months, Bea had been sleeping great in the Co-Sleeper. Going down by 7:30 and waking around 5:30 a.m. for a quick breakfast and more napping. We thought, "Whew, finally, we've gotten over the worst of the sleeping and we can look forward to long nights of sleep again". Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Two weeks ago, Beatrice Kate decided to Indian Give our restfulness and started grunting, chatting (yes, she's found her voice) and demanding a feeding at random hours throughout the nights. Sometimes its 2 a.m., sometimes it's 3:30, others 4:30... however, last night it was midnight!! I can't tell if she's doing this to "test" me to see if she's served up a helping of breastmilk on demand or if she truly is hungry. I think it may be a test that I'm failing because when she's put to breast, she's using this time to play, talk, smile and coo at me. Don't get me wrong, it is REALLY cute, however at 2 a.m., I am less then excited to chat about her day.

Last night, things came to breaking point. After refusing to nap all afternoon, we put her to bed at 8:00, and we went to bed around 10:30. At 11, Bea decided... oh, it's leg lift and grunt time. So for an hour, she proceeded to do miniature ab-strengthening moves and wiggle herself nearly out of the Co-Sleeper. Then she decided "I would like to talk now", and chatted to herself (next to me) for another 45 minutes. After that, I caved and nursed her, in an attempt to get her to go back to sleep. She didn't. As a result, Beatrice Kate did something we didn't think she would do until she was over a year old (or that I wouldn't be ready for her to do)- I put her to sleep, for the night, in her crib... IN HER ROOM... AWAY FROM ME! After an initial check to make sure I could hear her breathe on the monitor, (I'm almost ashamed to admit this) I got the best night's sleep I've had in 6 months.

I didn't think I would be able to bear the thought of Bea sleeping anywhere but next to us for a long, long time. However, it looks like we both get a more restful snooze when we're separated. As long as she doesn't start acting like I embarrass her at playgroups for a while... I think I can live with this!

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