Friday, June 14, 2013

Life is Great!

 We are doing SO much better!  March/April were the months of going downhill with Elijah's reflux+sleeplessness and all of our well-being.  May was the recovery month.  Now we are doing great!

A typical day in the months of March and April consisted of me holding Elijah all day and much of the night, to get him to either sleep or not cry.  My back and neck ached, I would get the bare minimum done around the house and I had NO time for myself.  Andrew and I didn't have much of a relationship either, other than small talk and him listening to my crying and complaining.  I did not get any break during the day and was sleeping only 2 hours at a time for a total of 4-6 hours per night.  Andrew would help where he could but it seemed that the crying could only be consoled by me and my milk jugs.  I was at the end of my sanity.  I would get out of the house to go shopping because I knew that I could wear Elijah in the Ergo and he would sleep.  When we had friends over I was on edge all the time because I didn't know when Elijah would have a meltdown and I would have to excuse myself for 30 minutes to an hour to be able to put him down to sleep.

If he wasn't sleeping he was fussy.  Most of the fussiness and sleeplessness was due to "reflux."  After multiple visits to the pediatrician, a GI specialist, an allergist, a chiropractor, and a lactation consultant...things were better.  He was on baby omperazole, Andrew built a ramp to elevate his mattress, he was getting a bottle of milk with rice cereal in the middle of the night, and I was making sure to breastfeed him properly.  It wasn't until I totally committed to eliminating all dairy from my diet (he was reacting to the dairy that I ate passing through the breast milk) that things really improved and Elijah was back to sleeping better overnight and got 4 thirty minute naps during the day (at one point before the March/April craziness he was sleeping through the night and a happy camper, so I didn't think the dairy that I was eating was the issue).  If I even had a little bit of butter or a piece of cheese, he would have his fussy and sleepless symptoms again.

Andrew and I were exhausted by the end of the day (9-10pm) when we could finally "bounce" Elijah to sleep using a theraball.  One of us would always sleep in his room with him, so that if he needed to be "bounced" back to sleep, the other parent would not wake up.  We took shifts, Andrew usually slept with him starting out at night, so that he could get back to sleep before work.  I would get up with him if he woke up a second time, usually at 4-5am.  I was still not getting much sleep at all, and still spending all my energy during the day to get him to sleep.  I still had issues.  So Andrew insisted that I go see my doctor.  Dr. K strongly recommended sleep training Elijah, which I had read a lot about and was very against because most methods of sleep training instruct the parents to let the baby "cry it out."  With the advice of Dr. K who I trust and who did this with his kiddos, I read the sleep training book by Ferber.  The way the book explained the method and how babies need to learn to fall asleep on their own made sense to me and was definitely not as harsh as I had expected.  After 2 nights of performing the formula that this book recommends by letting him cry (it was really more fuss and he would have been crying or fussing if we were bouncing him anyway!) and learn how to fall asleep, he was sleeping through the night, Andrew and I were sleeping together in the same bed, and he was taking 2 two hour naps during the day.  He was so ready to be put down to sleep without us "bouncing" him.  I feel totally at peace with letting him fuss because he wasn't uncomfortable from "reflux" symptoms, and he is old enough developmentally to be able to fall asleep on his own by 7 months. 

So that was my cross to bear for a couple of months.  We have always had a curious, friendly, active little boy who gives everyone he meets a smile, and I feel so blessed for that.  BUT the unhappiness dragged on for WAY too long and now seeing at how happy we all are, I can definitely say that we were miserable.  I am now enjoying staying home with Elijah and I love our routine and that he has predictable nap and bed times.  I have time to be a good wife and mom, exercise, cook, clean, sew, craft, and meet other moms and babies without worrying about when Elijah will be fussy or when and how he will sleep.  Looking back I think all of our problems stemmed from me eating dairy causing Elijah's gut to be upset.  Also, we are new parents trying to figure this baby thing out.  He has grown and developed out of some old bad habits too.  I have no regrets for not doing the sleep training sooner, because Elijah was always in pain/upset gut.  Add sleep training to the list of "things that I will not judge other parents for."