Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sleep issues

I am sure everyone is tired of hearing about our sleep issues, but here goes...

The girls are on a sleep strike. It may or may not have something to do with the fact that they are teething molars and several other teeth or it may or may not have something to do with the fact that we stopped bottles and swings cold turkey when we got back from vacation. (Which I have tried and tried to do a post on, but I am having a hard time getting pics to upload for some reason.) Remember, they have pretty much been falling asleep with a bottle in their mouth (bad habit #1). And they have been falling asleep in their swings for naps (bad habit #102). We decided they are getting too big for the swings (yeah, I know, they were too big long ago) and bottles really should be heading out, too.

SO...I am seriously trying not to curl myself into a fetal position in the corner with my hands over my ears singing a little ditty in my head. You think I'm joking? I am so not, people. It has been hell. They cry and cry at night when we are rocking them to sleep. They fight and fight, especially Abby. She twists and turns and arches her back all the while screaming like we are ripping her arms off. Spoiled much?? Olivia is a bit easier as she cries really hard for about 5 minutes and then settles down to sleep. There are nights it has taken 1 or both of us over an hour to get Abby to sleep.

And that doesn't even count the naps. I am trying to get them to lay in their cribs to go to sleep for naps, since you know, I only have 2 arms and cannot rock them both to sleep at once and they refuse to let the other in my lap alone not to mention the fact that I am NOT going to rock both of them to sleep 1 at a time. I am NOT!!

Ahem...moving on...

As long as I am right beside Abby, she will lay there as I pat her...for 45 mins to an hour until she falls asleep. If I step away from her crib to, I don't know, CARE FOR ANOTHER BABY, she dissolves in hysterics, and the process starts all over. Meanwhile, Olivia is ok as long as she can see me. She rolls around with her blanket and plays until she realizes that she is about to fall asleep, then her waterworks start. She will lean over toward me and pat my arm and lay her head down on me as I am patting Abby. There have been times where I am patting both of them with my face on the boards of their cribs in between them. Yeah, not my finest hour. This has and may continue to go on for anywhere between 30 mins to an hour and a half.

Olivia will eventually lay down and go to sleep, but she is crying the whole time. So there I am patting Abby so she doesn't go into hysterics while Olivia cries herself to sleep so Abby doesn't have to?? How is this ok?? Sometimes I look around and think "Who am I that I am letting these 1 year olds run my life??"

Then, after all that, they may stay asleep an hour if I am lucky. I have even tried to make it only giving them 1 nap a day. They either fall asleep in their highchairs during lunch or they are SO cranky it's not worth it. Especially since even if they only have 1 nap, they still only sleep for about an hour. And they need more than 1 hour of sleep during the day. They should be getting 3+ hours during the day!!

I would let them cry until they fall asleep, but as you may remember, Abby will cry until I go get her. Even if it's 2.5 hours, she will cry and not go to sleep. And the fact is, I just cannot take them crying for more than 10 minutes at a time. Plus, they tested positive AGAIN for Strep Throat and we really don't want to let them cry that much while their throats are so sore. They got Penicillin shots and another round of antibiotics. They go back in a month for another round of shots. If it is not cleared up after that, we head to a specialist.

To say my anxiety is through the roof is an understatement. I dread nap times with a passion. I am starting to dread days, period. I have driven them around for nap times and when they come home, Abby wakes up. Every.time.

I will stop and say with relief that they have been doing better overnight. They sleep through the night about 4 out of 7 days. They don't time those days together, though. There has been 1 day when I actually slept through the night, closed my eyes when it was dark and opened them up to daylight...1 over a year and a half.

I am tired. I am beaten down mentally, physically, and emotionally. I feel like I haven't even been able to enjoy Zachary being at home this summer because my stress level has been so high. The few times I have tried to go out with all kids and get something done have been more trouble than they are worth. I pictured a certain someone being a help to push the cart or stroller, but that wasn't the case. It just made for a more stressful situation. Outings are just not worth it. And it has been WAY too hot for the park or walks around the block. I'd rather just stay at home, which is not good either.

There are no breaks for mamas. Period. Trips to the grocery store are not breaks. Vacations where nothing has changed from my daily routine except for the location is not a break. Even a few hours away while shopping is not that much of a break.

This is why I haven't been posting very much lately. I am just tired. I find I don't have the energy to write upbeat posts, so I don't post. I have literally been working on the vacation post since we left to GO on the vacation. And how stupid was I to think I would actually have time to work on my blog or post while on vacation. HA!

I can see everyone around me working so hard to help. And I really appreciate that. But it all comes back to - I'm the Mommy. It begins and ends with me.

I really hope that getting this out there has helped. Hopefully, better and funner blog posts are coming. If you are still reading this far into my ramblings...bless your heart.


Rebecca said...

Oooof! You're really getting smacked! Sorry things are so hard...remember, they won't go to college with you patting them to sleep, so there is an end in sight. I just don't know where it is! Hang in there!

Linda said...

Oh Sara, I'm so sorry. I feel your pain with sleep issues. I still dread naps to this day for various reasons. My advice (not that you asked for it) is to go cold turkey with all of it. Up until my kids were a year we rocked them and put them to sleep in the arms. Sal sounds like Abby, he would fight and push and struggle until he knocked out. If I put him down in the crib he'd scream. One day I decided I was done with all of it and put him down and he screamed but after a couple of nights he stopped all together. We had TONS of sleep issues here for their first year and as much as I dreaded it and hated it, going cold turkey with it all was the best thing we ever did. And mine could cry on and on too. I KNOW it's so hard to listen to them cry but you need to get your life back! I'm sending you tons of support and hugs....these babies can really test us at times!

Linda said...

Oh, and yes....I'm tired all the time too. And my blog posts are a lot of complaining too. lol When I went to visit my parents recently a neighbor of theirs has a son with twins. The woman told me she thought her daughter in law was insane until she baby sat the kids one day and now she understands. HUGS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Heather said...

Oh, Sara, I am so sorry you are dealing with this. I know very much how you feel. We don't have a mini van yet (no $) so I don't have a way to get all three out at once. Though I don't think that I would bother. the few times I take all three out with John, it is just not worth it. Between Charlotte melting down because she wants a toy, etc. and the stares and points, it is exhausting and not worth it. But then I am stuck in the house and I start to get nuts. sigh...

The sleep stuff... well, I really feel for you. I will tell you that at nap times, I put mine down, get the monitors turned on, but I turn the volume all the way down for at least the first 5 minutes. I'm lucky. ANd I swear that is all it is... luck. Usually, they cry for 5-10 minutes, then sleep. At that point, I turn the volume back up.

At night, JOhn takes a baby, and so do I. We give them a bottle, which they doze through, but still eat the whole thing. Then we put them in their cribs. they are sorta asleep when we lay them down. I know using a bottle to get them to sleep is not great, but I don't care. We did it with Charlotte and it works with these two, so we are doing it again.

I realize you are in different situations, but I just wanted to let you know that even though my kids are sleeping, it isn't perfect. They go to bed at 8 and sleep until 6. I read other MoMs saying their kids sleep from 7 - 8, and I wish mine did that but o well. My girls do nap, but not as long as they should. their morning naps are usually the best, about 90 minutes. But in the afternoon, I am lucky if they go an hour. Again, O well.

Anyway, all I am trying to say since I haven't given you any answers and this is crazzzy long... is that I do feel for you. I am lucky my girls are sleeping. I just wanted to share our sleeping routines here.

Maybe Linda is right. Just go cold turkey. Maybe there will be a few nights of really long screaming and crying. I really don't know what else you could do right now. I am so sorry though and wish I knew the answer or could just come over and we could go out. So this is soooo long, but just wanted to say hang in there.

And you are right, there is just NEVER A BREAK for moms. sigh...

BIG (((((HUGS)))))

Cat said...

I'm so sorry. My son is a screamer too- he'll stand up and scream for hours rather than go to sleep. But luckily he will go to sleep when rocked.

You're right that mamas don't get breaks. I've been on vacations this summer with various family members. Everyone wants to go out to eat. What no one understands is that vacations with babies are what you said- same routine, different place. Or worse, different place, disturbed routine. And eating out... definitely not a break. More like double the work of eating at home.

Brandi Tooker said...

Oh Sara! I can't even imagine the stress of never sleeping! I am scared what it will be like with one...much less two! You are doing an excellent job and know your kids better than anyone. You don't really get any appreciation but they know they are well taken care of! Thanks for sharing your struggle - it is good to know reality and not just the sugar coated stuff! Take care of you when you can!

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to you! I remember the nights when Max didn't sleep well...
What if you only cut out the swing nap time routine and keep the bottles for a little while longer? Max is 18 mos and the pediatrician said we could wean him now or wait, whatever worked for us. I'm going to start weaning him from his bottle this weekend.
Either way, I'll be praying for you that the girls would experience peace and sweet sleep! And, that your body would be at rest as well. Love you, Linda B.