Monday, November 26, 2007

My third child DOES NOT sleep. At all. I am tired.

"Is she irritable?" The receptionist over the phone asks.


"Is she sleeping at night?" She asks.

No. Not at all. My hand is trembling.

"Is she running a fever?" She is going through her list of questions.

She was. She is not anymore. I swallow and brush my hand through my tangled morning hair.

"Can you be here is 15 minutes? I have an opening then." She takes my name and insurance info.

I change Fifi's diaper and keep her in the PJs she has been wearing since last night. I throw a coat over Lola and get Jay's backpack ready for school. I drop him off and kiss him goodbye and race to the pediatrician's office and make it there in 15 minutes. I am tired. So tired. I have been tired for a while . But today I have hit rock bottom. I am tired.

Fifi has never been a good sleeper. I have tried to rock her to sleep until my arm goes numb. I tried to throw her into our bed hoping she would feel safe and would sleep. What child does not like physical contact with their own mother? I was okay with an infant not sleeping and I have been struggling with this since she was 6 months old. Now at 9 months old I am so tired it is physically beginning to take a toll on me. I am mean to my children and to my husband. I am not a nice person of late. I have even gained some weight.

She isn't normal. There is something wrong with my baby. I have tiny scratch marks all over my back from her sharp baby toe nails kicking me in bed at night. She kicks, she convulses, she does back bends in bed, she thrashes around in our bed. It isn't natural. It's not right. I cradle her and brush her hair gently with my hand. I hold her at 11:30, then again at 12:45, and then 1:29, and then 3:20, and again 4:15, and finally at 5:40. She SCREAMS, thrashes, throws her arms up in despair. And I cry. For three nights I have cried. So today I called the doctor. There must be something wrong. She is my third child and I know that this isn't normal behavior.

The doctor walks into the room. I see her and finally loose it. This is the second time I have cried in front of my pediatrician. I let the tears fall and I let my shoulders tremble, I need to let this out. I cry and explain how she thrashes and kicks and screams and certainly this isn't normal behavior. Right? The doctor looks at my desperate pleas - she sees the state of my appearance and stays with my for 35 minutes as I cry. She checks out Lola and of course there is nothing the matter with her. She is perfect.

"Speaking from my own experience, you just need to let her cry it out. Your bed is the worst place for her." The doctor begins.

I know that. She thrashes in our bed. I hold her and she isn't calmed down. We have tried to let her cry it out many times before. I brush away some of my tears and try to explain.

"You just need to let her cry it out. I know it will be hard. It is the best thing you can do." The doctor explains. "You need to get some rest. You need to take turns with your husband at night. You need to get some help during the day." The doctor smiles sympathetically and walks out of the room and into her office. The door is barely closed. I can see her typing away on her computer, taking notes from our visit. I wonder what she is writing. I wonder but I am too tired to elaborate.

I leave the office holding my perfectly healthy child and wave goodbye to the $15.00 co-pay I just wasted. I feel so silly. I am so tired. I went to the doctor to discuss my third child's sleepless nights. I am supposed to be a "seasoned" mother of three. I am so tired. I have no family to help me here in Ohio and my husband can sleep through the next World War.

Please tell me that you have been to the doctor with a perfectly healthy child for a sick visit. Please?

12classy comments:

Stella said...

I have been to the doctor with a perfectly healthy child because I thought, felt, something was wrong. It was not an experience like yours but I have been there and I've been on the verge of tears in my ped's office.
I hate not having an answer to the questions, especially something like that. I'm so sorry. How do you feel with your pediatrician's response?

Melissa said...

I have been to the doctor with a perfectly health child, too. We're moms we know when something is up.
My dd didn't sleep through the night until she was over a year so I can really relate.
I have no good advice but please know I will be keeping you and your family in my thoughts.

Kathryn said...

I know you REALLY don't want to hear this, but crying it out was the only thing that worked for us. My second child did not sleep. Ever. He would scream cry for 3-4 hours straight every afternoon. He would wake up every hour at night. When I would try and rock him to sleep he would arch his back and flail his arms. He was not happy. Finally when I felt he was old enough to handle it (about 6 months) I let him cry it out. He cried for about 2 hours and fell asleep for 2 hours. Then he cried for an hour and slept for 2 more. Then he cried for 20 minutes and slept for 2 and so on. The next night he cried for 10 minutes and slept for 4 hours. I fed him and he slept for 6 more hours. After that he was great. When he was sick that would mess with his sleep a bit, but if we let him cry it out when he felt better (it would usually only take 15 minutes of crying) he would get right back on track. Now he is a great (I hope I'm not jinxing it saying this) sleeper.
Also, I often wished I would have taken him to a chiropractor to see if he was out of alignment. He had a very difficult birth and maybe that made it even more difficult to sleep. Maybe you could try that. It worked like a miracle on our neighbors baby.
No sleep is the MOST DIFFICULT part of having kids, in my opinion. You really have no idea what sleep deprevation is until you have children. It is the worst.
Lots of luck to you. I'm keeping my fingers crossed you get some sleep.

Huckdoll said...

Oh my goodness ((hugs))! Sleep deprivation is killer...I know only too well. I suffered from PPD for 9 months, so I felt the way you described EVERYDAY 24/7.

Yes, I've gone to the peds office LOTS of times with a perfectly healthy girl. I've also had breakdowns in her office a few times.

We did CIO. We actually followed the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth.

I HATE when people say (doctors included) that we need to sleep, our husbands must share responsibility, get some help...I hate that, and I've heard it more times than you could imagine.

Just wanted to let you know, you're not alone!!

Cecily R said...

You have no idea how much I feel you on this one. I could have written this post about Gracie. People were always giving me advice. Inevitably I had already tried everything they suggested and it NEVER worked. She just didn't sleep like normal people.

It has gotten better though. School helps. I know that's not much of a consolation since that's years away, but it has gotten better.

I'm sorry you are so tired. Evie is starting in on the same pattern. By now though, most everyone is used to my sleep deprived insanity. At least it gives me an excuse...:)

LunaNik said...

yep, that's my stella too. she still, at 14 months, wakes up multiple times a night, screaming and i mean SCREAMING. nothings wrong, she just wakes up. i have been in a constant state of sleep deprivation also...i feel your pain and i wish we lived closer together so that we could take turns watching each others children so the other can rest. ahhh, rest, how i took that for granted before i was a mommy.

you and your baby will be in my thoughts. i wish i had some advise for you, but i struggle with this also ((hugs))

OHmommy said...

OMG... you guys are WONDERFUL. Each one of your comments matters so much too me.

Stella - I feel my doctor is right. I needed someone to tell me I should let her cry.

Melissa - If I could see into the future and know that she would be sleeping at 1 year - I would be able to get through these next 3 months no problem. I wish God would send me a memo.

Kathryn - ahhh, you are so what I needed. I know I have a long week of screaming, but it worked for you and others - I got to try it.

Huckdoll - thanks for the hug, totally needed it. WHat is CIO?

Cecily - mine too probably won't ever sleep like a normal person.

Lunanik - still... at 14 months? Ahh man! HUGS to you too.

Huckdoll said...

CIO = cry it out - guess I've hung around one too many parent forums.

That book I talked about, it teaches a modified CIO technique. Moms of twins swear by it, as it is very hard to sleep train twins. Contrary to popular legend twins don't always sleep through each others cries. This book saved my sanity!!

Melissa said...

LOL! I wish God would send you a memo, too!

We did CIO here, too. I did the PPD for the whole first year. At that point we just needed for me to get some sleep. It was horrible but in the end it worked.

Hang in there!!

lattemommy said...

I'm sure you realize this already, but I'm going to reaffirm that you are *not* alone. We all feel for you, because we have all been there. But, we're living proof that there is light at the end of this tunnel.

Do you have Ferber's book "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems"? It's a great book because he goes through all the scientific reasoning behind his method - I liked knowing *why* I was doing what I was doing.

We had to Ferberize both our kids, the first one being the more difficult. In fact, she was about 9 months when we started. The first night was hell - she cried for several hours. I cried, my husband and I fought, I cried some more... The next night she cried for an hour, the night after 20 mins, the last night 5 mins. Since then, it's been great.

Crying it out is hard for everyone, but mostly for you. If you need some support to get through it, you might consider checking if there are any baby sleep consultants in your area. A lot of them will come into your home to hold your hand through the first night or two.

Karen MEG said...

Just because you have three kids doesn't mean that you can't be thrown a loop --- each child is different, each situation is different. Don't beat yourself up about it... honestly, it sounds like you really need the sleep more than anyone!
I had no problems with my son, but my daughter went through a phase where she would refuse to sleep, and I had to let her cry it out a few nights too. I felt awful, the screaming was loud and then quite pitiful, just tearing at my heart... but in the end it worked.

Sending good sleep vibes your way, hon....

Juliana RW said...


When my son still baby, he also have a difficult with sleep. Thank's GOD, now is over. Oh...i just drop for the first time, i hope you don't mind ^_^;;
You have a nice blog.


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