Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sleep? What's Sleep?

Okay, I'm ready to admit it, I don't sleep. Some of you (my close friends and family) know this, others just assume that by now, as the kids are 15 and a half months old, we are sleeping. Sigh, we are not.

Here is a typical night:
7:00-7:30} Bedtime (books, brushing teeth, nursing and nigh-nigh)
11:00-ish} Madeleine up (nurse go back to bed)
12:15-ish} Max up
2:00-ish} Madeleine awake yelling, wakes Max up, Michael and I both up, I nurse
4:00- Max awake wanting to nurse. I try to tell him the milk is all gone and he throws a major tantrum for a half hour. I give in (coercive parenting) and nurse him.
5:00- 6:00} Madeleine awake (me or Michael trying to get her back to sleep)
7:30} everyone awake

Yes, this means that I get about 4-5 hours of sleep a night. The problem is that when I get the children back to sleep I myself, cannot get back to sleep so easily. So, I lye awake knowing that I only have a few hours to rest before the next baby stirs.

The pediatrician says that I need to 'night wean'. They are getting up for the comfort of nursing and if I deny them breast milk they will sleep. So, we try it. After more than an hour of Michael trying to soothe Max, Max yelling, "Mi...Mi...Mi" I give in and nurse his cute butt. Then Madeleine wakes up, Michael goes in to soothe, she screams like a banshee as is she has had a nightmare, I get worried that the spica cast gave her post traumatic stress disorder and I go in to soothe, nurse, rock whatever.

Sometimes we bring a baby to bed, in which case no one sleeps well. Other times one of us parents sleeps on the sofa with a baby while the other is in bed with a baby. In this scenario we may sleep a bit better but Michael and I both realize this situation is not good for anyone. On the other occasions we are both up all night rocking, soothing, nursing, patting, shushing a baby.

What to do? I don't have a clue. I am welcoming suggestions, help, offers to spend the night- whatever. I will not allow my children to 'cry it out' in the middle of the night. It goes against the maternal instinct, so please do not suggest I let them cry themselves to sleep. I have let them fuss. I have gone in and patted them telling them it is night time. Michael has gone in and said that Mama is sleeping and it is time for nigh-nigh. I have told them (especially Maxy) that the milk is "all gone" and he has to sleep. He will not. He will tantrum, pull on my shirt, wiggle, toss, turn, cry, yell for Milk. What to do?

I'm at the end. I'm resentful, I'm craving sugar and coffee, I don't know what to do.

For the record, I have given the children less sleep during the day (i.e., one nap for a few hours in the afternoon). I have kept them on schedules. I have put them down early, later, on time and everything in between. I have given them benadryl, Tylenol, ibuprofen. I have tried massage, warm baths, a snack before bed.

The only thing left to try is white noise instead of a lullaby CD and making their room warmer.

I haven't slept in over 18 months.

This is why I am no longer running and working out. This is why I crave sugar and coffee. This is why I don't call you back.


et-tu-sais said...

Ow... Having a baby at home will make you feel either happy or tired or both. And, mostly both =)

Anyway, I was sitting in front of my computer waiting for the authentication of my blogger id for quite a long time since there is a network problem. So I think why not reading someone else's blog. Here I am. Accidentally click on one of the blog's list. =)

And I am impressed that you write a blog for your lovely twins =)

AnnaK said...

Not that this is any consolation, but Patrick and I do not get consistent sleep either and our babies aren't breastfeeding and we tried cry it out (which pretty much made everyone in the house and our closest neighbors miserable). I would say that we get maybe 3 nights a week that are "undisturbed" - although we are always up by 6 at the latest because Finn tends to be an early riser. After a particularly rough night on Monday, we have made the house warmer, and the babies have slept better the last 2 nights. We also use a white noise machine, but I don't think it does much good at this point. I wish I had some sort of advice, but I've basically resigned myself to sleep deprivation for the next 4 years. That said, if you really feel that you are at a breaking point and your own health is at issue, maybe you'll have to stop nursing altogether. I know, I know - the transition will be rough, but you can still comfort them when they cry and you could give them a bottle to take to bed. The dentists of the world are probably horrified, but maybe it would ease the transition a bit and they would learn to self soothe at night. Just a thought. I really have no idea what I'm talking about...

Alison Randall said...

I'm a friend of Katie's, and she just sent me this post. I wish I had some advice, but your night sounds exactly like mine. I'm not sure whether it's better or worse that I only have one 16-month old, and my night is just as bad! :) I really feel for you and hope it will get better soon. If you at least want to feel like you're not all alone, check out my despressing blog entry the other night:

They're not usually such downers, but you know how it is....I wish you the best of luck. I can't imagine having twice the trouble. Wish I could give you a hug - and a nap!

Melissa said...

Oh man, I sure wish I had some advice for you :( I'm lucky Aiden is a great sleeper but brandon gets up 3-4 times a night still, he hasn't slept thru the night yet either! LOL I really hate reading posts by moms who's babies sleep thru the night at 8 weeks HAHA! I don't believe in cry-it-out either, I just couldn't do it. Maybe that's why we get no sleep. :)

The mornings when I'm a blurry-eyed mess reaching for my 10th coke I tell myself someday they will be teenagers that sleep all day LOL

I really hope you find a solution! Good Luck!!! :)


KatieE said...

I'm so sorry you aren't getting the rest you need. Sleep deprivation is so hard! I hope you start getting the rest you need...

So, for Sabrina, we gave her water to 'night-wean' her. She was still waking up at 2-something and 5-something. It was the only thing that worked. JT had to be the one to do it though -- because if I did it, she'd want to nurse. It's just a thought...

jennbecc said...

From one twin mom to another....I feel your pain. My 9 mo. twins don't follow any baby rules. I've pretty much resolved myself to never sleep soundly again....ever. *L*


Turtle and Froggie's Mom said...

My 16 1/2 month old sometimes sleeps, sometimes not, getting better. All I have to offer is that they *eventually* sleep. Once we switched DS1 to a big boy bed at 2 1/2, he has slept great, but up till then it was it or miss. I'm with you on cry it out, couldn't do it, never have, never will. If you try giving them something else at night besides nursing, a sippy cup of water would probably be ideal, milk if you had too.
Good luck, eventually they have to sleep, right?