It was while fighting my way to work one morning that I realized I had hit rock bottom. A blessed individual cut me off and I said with deep vehemence, “I hope you have a child who can’t sleep!!”
I’m sure that if you’ve seen me in the past year, and out of common courtesy asked me how I am doing with motherhood, that you know GG isn’t sleeping well. My well-meaning friends (bless their hearts, I do love them, I promise) pour platitudes on my head while saying “Oh but my child is a great sleeper.” Telling someone that, while in the thick of the sleep battle, is like pouring out a bottle of water in front of someone dying of thirst.
We are nearing GG’s first birthday- June 2nd. I was told that it would get better at four months. Then six months, and then nine months. Teeth came. Molars began to emerge. Breast milk was changed to formula and solids were introduced. And yet, sleep she did not.
All logical thought leaves you in the middle of the night. Your child is screaming, your body and mind are beyond the breaking point, and you have to work the next morning. In Romans 8:26, where Paul says that the Holy Spirit intercedes with us with groans that cannot be understood—he probably wrote that while staying in the house of someone whose child was up all night.
Sunday night, I began Dr Ferber’s Cry It Out series with GG. I read all the pertinent information in his book (seriously, I don’t need to read the chapter regarding REM cycles; I haven’t had one of those in thirteen months) and had it next to the guest room bed (Husband has to do important things like operate and be pleasant the next day, so he got to stay in our room), ready to hold me accountable when GG started her midnight symphony.
Two AM arrives and GG starts wailing. I set the timer on my phone, wait four minutes, and then go in to comfort her. As I walk out, her screaming hits a pitch I have never heard before. I walk back into the guest room and immediately go for Dr Ferber’s assuring words that I’m not hurting my child. The book is gone. I spend the next 8 minutes frantically searching for it until the timer goes off on my phone and I can go back to check on GG. Screaming continues. Set the timer for 8 more minutes.
Running across the house, I throw open our bedroom door and yell “WHERE IS MY BOOK? WHERE IS DR FERBER?!?!” at which my husband sits up and goes “Huwhahahaha?!”
He’s still in a daze as I go on a passionate diatribe of how I can no longer handle any of this and if GG doesn’t stop crying or if I don’t find Dr Ferber soon, I’m just going to get the car. And. Drive. Away. I have actually made this threat multiple times in the past month, so my husband throws some encouragement my way, rolls over and goes back to sleep. Bless him. He’s come so close to death so many times, and he has no idea.
The timer goes off again, and I as I walk back to GG’s room, I convince myself that God took my book. He was judging me for trying to conform my child into a Nazi-style sleep system and He spirited away the sinful book and is punishing me with overwhelming anxiety (I promise, this made TOTAL sense to me at 3 am). I was Hester Prynne and I would wear a scarlet “Z” on my chest for the rest of my life.
So, funny thing happened. After checking on GG a fourth time, I found my book wedged between the bed frame and the mattress. Ten minutes into the 12 minute time allotment, GG stopped crying. She blissfully slept until 6 am while I tossed and turned and generally beat myself up over the whole situation.
When she woke in the morning, she didn’t even hate me. I thought after her tortuous experience the night before, that she would give me the silent treatment, or pee on me, at the very least. Nope… I walked in to squeals of delight and a happy, chattering 11 month old.
We had two good nights. I think God had mercy on my soul and my marriage. However, Wednesday night and last night have been torture all over again, but the screaming has gone from two hours to ninety minutes, so hopefully we will be making the slow transition to sanity in the near future.
Until then, if you see me out and about, don’t give me a hug, or tell me that it’ll be over soon. Just help me find my car keys, because my husband has hid them from me.