Thursday, August 18, 2011
My goal for this week
"Try not to go crazy this week, o.k.?"
That was Mr. F.'s plea on Sunday, and a serious one at that. Things have been rough around this household lately.
I had a conversation with my sister about a month ago which convinced me that I needed to start nightweaning Finn. She made me realize that it was not healthy for me to continue getting sleep in only 3 hour stretches or less. The time had come to "take back the night" so to speak. Also, I felt like now would be a good time for Finn as well. He was no longer teething and had started showing that he could fall asleep without nursing. Another friend encouraged me to start as well. Her experience found that nightweaning around 16 months was easier than waiting until a child was older. So, I took a deep breath and took the plunge.
It was both better and worse than I expected. I had prepared myself for epic hour-long screaming battles where I would attempt to sooth Finn without nursing. That was not the case. While he fussed and was upset, the duration of these outbursts were fairly short. (The exception to this was when he was honestly hungry, not having eaten well during the day.) What I wasn't prepared for was the duration of this process. Two weeks after I had started, Finn was still waking up 4 times a night at least, despite the fact that he wasn't nursing for at least two of those times. (I felt the best nightweaning approach for Finn would be to pick a stretch of time (first 7 hours) that we would not nurse and then nurse after that time had passed. I would then gradually try to extend that time.) Every forum I visited and everything I read had prepared me for a week or so of crappy sleep followed by the bliss of the well-rested. I felt seriously short-changed. Two weeks in, and I still couldn't see things getting better. The end of the second week found me very despondent. I believed that I would never get a good night's rest again.
By the third week though, things started to improve. There were nights that Finn only woke once in the early morning to nurse. Hope was on the horizon.
This is not the end of the story. You know that right? Something always seems to derail well laid plans and expectations.
Finn came down with Roseola. This meant four days of high temperatures, fussiness, lack of appetite, and utterly crap sleep. Even after the fever broke, Finn still wasn't himself, and sleep was patchy. You can imagine what effect this had on me. I came into the illness completely drained of any sort of reserve due to my sleep deprivation of the past three weeks. Another week of no sleep left me all sorts of unwell. I was not a fun person to be around. I was not a good mother. I was not a good wife. I felt myself unraveling. It was sort of scary. I have never been in that place before.
Mr. F. has been great dealing with Finn and I--taking some time off work to help out. However, he really did need me to take some sort of preventable action. "Please try to nap while Finn is napping, " he said. "Even if it is only 20 minutes." So that is what I have been doing. I have been napping. And even when it is only 20 minutes, it helps.
I have also started the nightweaning process again. Although we are still in the early stages, I feel like we are progressing and perhaps at a quicker pace than before. One can only hope. In the meantime, I am working on my goal: "to not go crazy."