I'm sitting on the floor in my living room in complete shock.
Andrea is asleep.
Our sleeping war came to a head on Tuesday when I spent most of the day in tears because Andrea wouldn't stop screaming. I could tell she was tired but I just could not get her to sleep. I rocked her, bounced her, sang to her, read her books, turned out all the lights, swaddled, unswaddled, and held her while I cried on the phone to my mother. My mom told me to just lay Andrea down in her crib and leave the room. She'd cry, but she was doing that anyway.
And I did it.
Crying out is a sleep method I've been avoiding. A couple months ago I tried it as a last resort. I only lasted two days before I gave up because she was crying for over an hour each nap. I thought maybe she wasn't ready (I’d read that in a book somewhere). However, if she wouldn't go to bed at night I made an exception. It took two nights of crying before she figured out how to fall asleep without assistance, but it only seemed to work after a long day of terrible naps. When my mom told me to lay her down she explained that Andrea could cry in my arms or in her crib but either way she was going to cry. By holding her, rocking her, and bouncing her I was stimulating her sleepy body and making it more difficult for her to nap.
So I laid her down and shut myself in my bedroom with the monitor turned down low so I could time how long she cried. An hour passed-- this is usually when I’d give up and retrieve her. I didn't though and five minutes later she was asleep. She slept for an hour and a half. It was miraculous. I decided then that we were done rocking to sleep. She needed to learn how to sleep on her own, and as her mother I had to let her learn. The following day sleep training began, and we decided to cold-turkey the swaddle too. Why not?
After breakfast Andrea and I went shopping for her first baby foods. I took my time at the store, meandering down the aisles sluggishly, dreading putting her down for her morning nap. My stomach felt ill and my body was tense with anxiety, anticipating at least an hour of crying when I got home. Exhausted from our adventures, she fell asleep instantly. I got lucky, I thought. Nap number two, fifteen minutes of grumbling in her bed and then dreamland. Nap number three, no tears at all. I felt like Heavenly Father was giving me a gift-- a day off from sleeping trauma. And I was more than thankful, but anticipated some resistance come morning. Andrea and I had struggled for so long that I knew it couldn't be this easy.
Or could it be?
Today we had three more tear-free naps. Occasionally, when I lay her down she might whine for five minutes or so, but then she rolls her head to the side and drifts to sleep. [Insert heavenly choirs singing. . .]
I hardly believe it. Even now. Yet through my elation, I feel a measured amount of sadness.
The only thing that has been somewhat of a comfort to me for the past five and a half months was that Andrea was just a bad sleeper. I tried everything I could to help her sleep with no success and much heartache. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that she would challenge any mother. But the past two days have been so wonderful; it only required leaving her alone.
Was it me all along?
I want to crawl out of my skin.
And bury myself under a rock.
A rock that smells like dung.
How do I cope with these intense feelings failure? I try to not be so hard on myself but it’s difficult when an innocent life is the victim of my imperfections.
Thank heavens she won't remember this!