Friday, 25 September 2009

Slanket reward for my months of sleep deprivation please

Just today I learnt of the fabulous Slanket (I want one) and then thanks to the wonderful @porridgebrain aka I found out that I could win one (fingers and toes currently crossed). All I have to do is share a sleep deprivation story and boy have I got LOADS. Which one to choose, which one will win me the wonderful Slanket. There was also mention of sharing how I survived so maybe that's the useful story I should share as I am indeed on the best side of this story now.

Evan now happily watches her two episodes of Peppa Pig, cheerfully calls out "come on Daddy time for sleep" as we all go into her room and sing a couple of lullabies, she turns off her own light and shuts the door. We all kiss and then I place Evan in her cot, not yet braved the idea of transferring her to a bed cos as I learnt from my sleep coach (yes, yes I will be telling you about this wonderful person soon) I don't go rushing in as soon as she wakes up in the morning. Without the cot rails though I am afraid that she will come rushing in to me. Where was I? Oh yes, so I place Evan into her cot and she calls for her sleep buddies, pink bear (the original sleep buddy), angel bear who joined a few months later, Di Li - a few weeks ago and Jo Jingles - 3 days ago. Once she has declared "I've got everyone, good night mummy, good night daddy, sweet dreams, love you" she's happy. Sometimes falling asleep straight away and sometimes singing a few more lullabies to her pals to make sure they get a good night sleep.

In bed by 7 pm normally waking between 6:30 am and 7:30 am Jim and I downstairs relaxing with a nice glass of something.

But you can tell from the title of this post that life hasn't always been like this - ohhhhhhhhh no!.

For the first 5 weeks Evan wouldn't sleep anywhere but on me. I think she had such a great birth that she really hadn't noticed we were separate. But I actually got loads of sleep during this time. Not necessarily the most comfortable, lying on my back and stiff as a board (it is true what they say - you DON'T move if you've fallen asleep with your baby on you) but nonetheless sleep.

From 5 weeks to 5 months she slept 11 pm to 5 am in her cot - yippee! I used to boast very loudly. Although she made me pay during the day because she would NEVER let me put her down. One day my friend had been walking around with her and noticed she'd fallen asleep. As she went to put her in the Moses Basket she started crying. At this stage she was only hovering Evan over the top - nowhere near to being in the basket so she stepped away still holding Evan who promptly stopped crying. She then experimented and held Evan with outstretched arms in mid air - no crying. Over the Moses Basket - WAH! She did this a couple of times and same result. I knew then I was going to have trouble on my hands with this one but she was still sleeping at night so I thought I could deal with my willful bundle when I needed to.

Well a trip to Wales at 5 months put an end to my peaceful nights. She slept through the first night but on the second woke every hour and would only sleep on me (a lot heavier by now). On returning home this became the norm. Our normal bedtime routine was bath, baby massage, book, booby, bed by 7 pm (she'd always fallen asleep on my boob so had never gone down awake in her cot). Every night we'd have hope (ever the optimist me) and we'd sneak next door to our own bedroom. No more going downstairs we decided very quickly if Evan was asleep then the best thing we could do was be in our own bed too. We'd watch a bit of TV but then as the clock ticked round to 7:55 pm our breathing would change, we'd agitatedly keep checking the time, second by second by second "would this be the night - would she go back to sleeping through". Occasionally the hands of the clock would move round to 8:06 / 8:07 and we'd be almost holding our breath "she's gone 7 mins longer than normal" we'd whisper to each other. But sooner rather than later we would hear the familiar WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Only a mother knows how that just gets you. Dads don't seem to FEEL it the same.

I would go in settle her back to sleep and creep out of her room and the next hour would be a repeat of the last. 9 pm would arrive and WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'd go in and settle her and by the time I got back in Jim, who had to get up at 5 am he would be putting in his ear plugs, wishing me good luck , turning over and going to sleep.

10 pm WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

11 pm WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12 midnight WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1 am WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2 am WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and this is when the fun really began

2:10 am WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2:20 am WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2:40 am WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mummy gives up and brings Evan into bed where she stays helping herself to my boob as and when she felt like it for the rest of the night. And this was my life from October 2007 to March 2008. At one point I thought I had a friend I could share my lack of sleep with. It's nice to feel someone else is suffering with you isn't it? For a number of weeks we shared our woes about our sleepless bundles of joy until one day I realised that un-named (you know who you are) friend's baby was only waking every 3 hours. Now I'm not dismissing her pain but I think you will agree mine was WORSE.

Now I turned 40 in March 2008 and I'm very proud of the fact that no-one ever realises that I am this old so I didn't want a lack of sleep to make my years suddenly all catch up on me. It had taken me 5 months but I finally realised (lets blame the sleep deprivation) that I needed to take action. Although I think one of the reasons I didn't take action prior to this is because although I was incredibly tired, and when I look back on this time things were a bit of a blur, I don't seem to suffer the effects of sleep deprivation in quite the same way as other mums do. I do hope I don't lose your sympathy at this point but what I have to share maybe useful.

  • I've always been a good napper and so I think during the part of the night that she was waking every hour I somehow got into a rhythm of matching my sleep to hers. It was only when she would wake every 10 mins that didn't work.
  • As I was then bringing her in with me I was getting another couple of hours sleep although because my body was fixed around hers and she would enjoy my boobs all night I would wake up stiff as a board.
  • Luckily too as a Hypnotherapist I am very used to using self hypnosis to snatch short sharp bursts of relaxation and energy which helped me get through the day.
  • Never worrying about the chores during the day, putting my feet up and watching tv as Evan had booby and falling asleep with her in my arms whenever I could most certainly helped.
  • Also, and this is probably one of the most important bits a 'positive mental attitude' really helped. Acknowledging that I knew my life would change when I had her, focussing on the wonder of my gorgeous girl, realising it wouldn't last forever and staying as relaxed as I could to keep my lovely endorphins flowing.
Yes, yes, yes but HOW did you get her to start sleeping. The simple answers is that I found the most wonderful I tell anyone who is having trouble with their baby's sleeping to get straight on to their website and to not mess about but go straight for the private consultation. This is what I did, although I was lucky at the time as it only cost £25 for 10 days. Now it is £50 for 7 days but to be honest I still think that is cheap. Other companies charge £100s for a phone call and a so called personalised training schedule for your little one. Baby Sleep Answers (I promise I am not on commission) give you ongoing online support which enables them to work with you throughout your child's sleep training. They helped me take back control. It wasn't always easy (I was a mum who said that she would never leave her baby to cry) but I learnt that sooner or later you have to let them cry a little bit (little bit making it very different to the old fashioned shut the door and let them cry until they became so exhausted they had to sleep). Within a couple of weeks Evan was sleeping through and well you know the rest of the story (see top of page in case you've forgotten as it has been such a long post).

Something I wish I'd had and is worth a mention here I think is the wonderful EasiDream - check out this entry on my blog written by Lynda from EasiDream herself.

Whilst this blog entry is only being written because I really want to win the Slanket I hope my story helps other mums (and dads) see that you will get through and if you are not getting there yourself to seek out HELP.

Here's to happy sleeping babies.

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1 comment:

  1. Such great advise Dany! I have been suffering for only a few months so I am not worthy to moan to much in your presence,;D but it has got to the point that my little bundle of joy is pretty much running the entire show! OH kicked out of bed (by Milly, not me) and on sofa and me so tired I am forgetting what my name is!and as for having time to work, what's that? needless to say Iam now on a mission to fix, thanks so much for giving me a good starting point xxxx