|Still a year away from sleeping through the night...|
But for me the magic number that had me completely and utterly overwhelmed was 1. Nothing has ever come close to that life jarring switch from zero to one.
I remember those first eighteen months (yes, eighteen!) through a blurry haze of exhaustion. I stumbled through them hardly sleeping, wondering how on earth I would ever have more than one because really? Really? Was I just expected not to sleep for more than sixty minutes for the next couple decades of my life? Was this just how it was?
|No sleep... for a long, long time.|
But the truth is that Sadie is the baby that I measure all other baby difficulties from and no one has come close to matching her in terms of sleepless discomfort. When she was a month old she nursed for seven consecutive hours, screaming in rage every time I tried to put her down. She was still waking every hour to nurse at eighteen months old. By then we were co-sleeping so I was finally getting some rest, but still... it was exhausting.
Having had Maggie and Patrick and seen babies with reflux and allergies I can say that I'm fairly certain that Sadie had both and that that was the reason for those first long months. Since removing dairy from our lives and seeing changes in the girls, I'm actually pretty sure that both our girls have the same allergy as their brother, and that it's just better for milk to stay outside the door of our house. But I was a first time mom who'd never even changed a diaper before and I didn't know enough to know that the fussiness was more than an average baby's would be.
|Save me, Mom! |
She's making me dance!
Even with my assertions that something was wrong, it took two doctor's appointments talking about allergies to get referred for testing and the referral was given with a comment about how "we don't even really know if the proteins that he'd be allergic to can be passed through our milk. A lot of doctors believe they can't."
Well, I would think to myself, since I've seen him break out in hives every time he nurses, I'd like to say that reality has shown me that it can. Interestingly enough, through the use of my senses (and common sense) I've deduced that I don't need a double blind study to tell me that it's possible. I've seen it happen. You don't have to believe me, but please give me that referral slip, so I can talk to someone who specializes in this (and by the way, the allergist didn't seem at all skeptical that it could happen because he frequently sees babies who do have allergies). Please.
|Although I can't guarantee that|
your easiest baby won't grow up
to be your wildest toddler...
And while I certainly have my hands full with three, in a literal sort of way (I don't have enough hands to hold on to everyone as we make our way through the parking lot!), it doesn't even vaguely compare to those first months (all eighteen of them...). It's not unusual in the house for everyone to sleep through the night. And I didn't even have to wait decades for it to happen.
Recently I read a post by a mom with one who was struggling with sleepless nights and wondering how she'd ever do it. I read the words and saw my own experience in them (right down to allergies that she was certain of that her doctor didn't believe) and wanted to hug her. It does get easier, I wrote. Trust your gut. Find a doctor that will run those tests. Because if it is allergies, identifying them can truly be life changing.
And if you're like me, one just might be the hardest number to survive. Barely surviving that first baby doesn't mean it will be as impossibly hard with each subsequent one. It actually can get easier. And you'll know what you're doing. While I can't peer into the future (although I do imagine there are plenty of sleepless nights out there waiting for me to catch up to them) I can be sure of one thing... I'm far more prepared to trust that little nagging voice that tells me when something isn't quite right, and to advocate for answers rather than blindly accepting answers from someone who's likely tired and busy and who doesn't actually know my child and won't likely see what I'm seeing after spending five minutes with him.
So hang in there. I know it doesn't feel like it sometimes, but those sleepless nights will come to an end and it really will be worth it.