Fortunately for us (ok, let's be honest... fortunately for ME) both of our girls have been good sleepers. At three weeks Ellie was up just one time a night for a quick feeding, then right back to sleep.

Unfortunately, that one time a night persisted well into her sixth month until one fateful night when we decided to just let her cry it out.

AKA the night 'o horrible unspeakable tortourous mind numbing oh God please put it out of its misery hell.

There is no worse psychological torture on a mother than her baby screaming like someone just cut off its limb in the next room. The urge to just go in and make it stop using whatever means necessary is completely overwhelming. As she wailed I just rocked back and forth in my bed in the fetal position while I distracted myself from the noise by slowly peeling off my toenails one by one.

But that was all it took - after that night she has slept like a rock for at least 12 or 13 hours every night. But did I mention the psychological torture hell night?

I haven't quite fully recovered from that and my toenails have barely begun to grow back so Lila is still up once a night. And of course the middle of the night feeding is all me.

The rocker in their nursery is placed next to a low window, and this window is the reason I decided to keep them both in the smaller of the bedrooms vs. moving them into the more spacious room with higher windows.

The first few weeks of Ellie's life I hated the middle of the night feedings, for obvious reasons. Bleary eyed, I would sit in the rocker by the window looking out onto the dark, lifeless neighborhood illuminated only by fuzzy halos surrounding forgotten porch lights, feeling like I was the only person in the world who wasn't fast asleep.

But one night as I was rocking, trying to get a good look into my neighbor's living room window it occurred to me that there are thousands - tens of thousands - of people doing exactly what I'm doing right now.

So now I kind-of enjoy this time of night. I think of it as my secret society middle of the night meeting with all the other parents out there who are also rocking their beloved, looking out onto a lonely, sleepy world, feeling like the only person on Earth who is still awake.

Cheers to us.


Emily said...

Wow, it's totally creepy that you wrote about that because we are dealing with a baby that has just made a habit out of the nighttime feeding (even though he really doesn't need it) and we didn't know what to do about it. The doc said we could let him cry it out, and it would be fine. Good to hear from someone who actually went through it and it worked (even if it was hell). Thanks!

Hannah said...

Yeah that's the trick. But just warning you... it's a night of hell. HELL.

kelpouche said...

That is a very good outlook! I have been spending my night up with Mikey since the very beginning! It's almost six months and we're still up. One day we will be thinking oooh it wasn't sooo bad. :)

michael said...

My parents always told me about how in the very early hours, I had to be driven back to sleep in the car. Dad would drive and mom would hold me (pre-car seat days) until I quit crying and fell asleep. Cholic. The motion of the car helped settle an upset stomach. They also told me how the lady in the next apartment moved because of my late-night crying. Thin walls perhaps, or...cholic. That added layer of guilt over my folks' difficult time with me made breaking my kids of the middle-of-the-night attachment all the harder. Fortunately they both decided to sleep through the night at about six weeks old. A miracle. Until college though, neither of my kids knew there was more than one 6:00, 7, 8, or 9:00 in a day. Any hour before 10:00 a.m. was meant to be spent unconscious. You can rid yourself of the early morning feeding, but you'll replace it in their teen years with the late-morning mirror under the nostrils to be sure they are still breathing.

Bonnie said...

My sister Pam and I delivered our babies 24 hours and 30 minutes apart. What got me through those early weeks was knowing that she was doing exactly what I was doing 24/7 (plus she had a 3 yr old son, while I had my two step sons at home). I knew that as I was bleary eyed and stumbling through the day (and midnight feedings), so was she. That brought me a lot of comfort!

Unknown said...

You're right, cheers to us!