August 20th, 2008

Meghan - Sweet potato smile

If sleep is for the weak, then I will gladly accept the wuss title

I have not slept a full night of sleep, straight through, no waking up, in over a year. A YEAR, PEOPLE!!! I got pregnant in mid-June 2007, and maybe by around the middle of July, or even earlier, I was already starting to wake up at night out of extreme thirst, extreme need to pee, or extreme boob pain (well, it wasn't that extreme, but I like my parallel adjectives :) ). The formermost and lattermost went away after the first trimester; the middlemost didn't. And then, as the pregnancy progressed, there were more nightly wakeups -- at first because of an even more extreme need to pee, and then because I was increasingly uncomfortable (hip pain, reflux, general discomfort), due to my gigantifying midsection.

Then Meghan was born, and obviously my sleeping worsened even more. The night of her birth, I slept only one hour (I went natural, no epidural, so my body and mind were in shock!!!), and the night after that, I slept maybe two or three hours. After that, for the next four months, she was waking up every two to three hours -- and sometimes every hour or more often! I have two friends whose daughters were born 5 and 6 weeks ahead of Meghan, respectively, and those kids started sleeping through the night at two months or earlier. In fact, the one who's 5 weeks ahead of Meghan has been sleeping a straight 12 to 13 hours at night for months! And what could I wring from my little alert one? Four hours...IF I WAS LUCKY. And after such a stretch of sleep, she'd wake up every 2 hours for the rest of the night. A few times, I got 5 or 6 hours out of her, but it was only a few times, and I never reaped the benefits, because I used some of that time to try to get some of my former life back (i.e., get back on the Internet!).

But the night before last, Meghan slept from just before midnight until 8 in the morning! And last night, I got another 8 hours from her, maybe even more than that -- I don't remember exactly what time she went to bed! And then after last night's 8 hours, when she woke up, I fed her, and she went back to sleep. That was almost 2.5 hours ago...and she is still sleeping!

I feel like I'm experiencing a miracle. It really, truly felt as though I was going to be waking up every 2 to 3 hours until this child's bags were packed for college.

And you know where the credit for this incredible turn of events goes to? Sweet potatoes. Yes, a root vegetable is responsible for my child's sleep patterns, or so I believe right now, at least. Starting solids seems to be what gave Meghan the ability to sleep through the night. We had been doing rice cereal for a few weeks already, to try to stop her from spitting up in large amounts, but after yet another crappy night, I couldn't take it anymore. Four-and-a-half months of tiny chunks of sleep, no single one longer than four hours or so, and most lasting only two or two-and-a-half hours (because even with three hours between feedings, the feeding itself takes up about half an hour of that time), and nearly sixteen months of not sleeping through the night, and I had had it. Emergency measures had to be taken! I had already tried giving Meghan expressed milk from the mom whose baby was sleeping 13 hours through the night, in the hopes that she was producing some sort of magical sleep elixir (was my breast fluid the milky equivalent of Red Bull???), but that was a failure. All stops had to be pulled. It was time to start solids for real.

The first couple of feedings actually didn't really help Meghan's sleep, because she didn't eat much. Apparently, bananas are gross and disgusting and offensive. But when we tried sweet potatoes (with an increased amount of rice cereal as well), my child finally slept through the night.

I still haven't; the first night, the stupid baby monitor woke me up with its weird "I'm interfering with some electrical appliance in your house, and you have no idea which one, MUAHAHAHA" noises, and then I woke up when my husband's alarm went off at 6. And last night, Meghan actually woke up at 4, but before I could make it to her room, she put herself back to sleep -- also unheard of for my child!!!), and then I woke up again to my husband's alarm. But these were minor wakeups. They did not require me to go to Meghan's room, change her diaper, nurse her, etc. And thank goodness for that -- I've actually been having a hard time with what I've termed "Momsomnia," which is the inability to get back to sleep after having been woken up for an extended amount of time by the baby. (Yeah, I know, just what I needed -- a hard time getting back to sleep when I already lack so much of it.)

So I'll take it. I'll more than take it. It's been a long 4.5 months, mainly because I've been awake for most of it.

And now there is a light at the end of the tunnel! All hail the sweet potato!

Today, I think we'll try avocado. Let's hope its performance is up to par!

(And yes, that is my little sweet potato eater, with sweet potato smeared around her mouth, in the icon. :) )