Wednesday, May 18, 2016

That Moment

There is a thing in the life of infants they call the 9 month sleep regression, or sometimes the 8-10 month sleep regression, based on when it's likely to hit. It's pretty consistent, consistent enough to have a name and a number of websites dedicated to helping sleep-deprived parents through it so, if you have an infant, you're probably going to experience this. It tends to be a drastic change in sleep patterns; for one example, the baby who once slept through the night and self-soothed like a champ can no longer do either. It is important to note that this phase is just a phase - so they say - and, while it can last days or weeks, it is going to end.

Elora seems to have hit her 9 month sleep regression. She used to sleep wonderfully: nurse for a bit (or a while) and then I put her in the crib and she's down for the next 8-10 hours pretty solidly. Now, she nurses for a bit (or a while) and wakes up immediately as I try to set her in the crib. If I do put her down (and, let's face it, I do), she will sit up, grab onto the rail of the crib, hoist herself onto her feet, and reach for me zombie-like, all while screaming at the top of her lungs. There's no getting back from this. She'll lean over the rail in exhaustion before lying down when we all know she would fall asleep if she just lied down. She wants to be held, rocked, cuddled, maybe nurse some more, but do not, for the love of cats and little fishes and your sanity, put her down. Sometimes, don't even sit or attempt to lie down yourself, because she'll scream bloody murder for that too.  And we're fast learning that what worked one night to eventually get her to sleep won't work the next night.

Last night was rough. I put her in her crib and she woke up screaming. We nursed some more and I was finally able to get her in the crib without waking her up. It took me a good 20 minutes to sneak out of the room, praying that the floor, my ankle, the door wouldn't creak and wake her up (it has happened before). She slept about four hours in this attitude before waking up, standing up, being inconsolable. The previous night, my husband brought her downstairs and slept on the couch, where she could be held all night. This time, after some fuss and bother, he brought her into our bedroom. She woke up when he climbed into bed with her, but was happy to see me nearby and settled on me to sleep. I did not really have a cozy night in that position (an old back injury necessitates quite a lot of moving to keep me comfortable and pain-free in the night) though I had all the baby snuggles I could want. And she did sleep, which is what we all really needed in the end. My sleep and my husband's sleep doesn't matter nearly as much.

In the morning, but before any of us was ready to wake up, she adjusted her position and I adjusted mine. She sighed and I looked into that sweet, sleeping, gently smiling face.

It's all for That Moment.

Whatever we, as parents, must endure so she gets a few precious hours of sleep is worth it for that one moment when she stretches, wiggles into a new position, and that tiny little smile forms across her sleeping visage. That Moment.

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