Meet the Sullivans: Are you sleeping?

July 11, 2012

Are you sleeping?

Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping?
Brother John, Brother John,
Morning bells are ringing! Morning bells are ringing!
Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong.

Do you know the song "Frere Jacques"? I'm sure you do... Well, over the past 5 3/4 months I have sung and hummed that song countless times. It's the song I use to help me get Owen to sleep. I sing it so much during the day and night while I'm putting him to sleep that I find myself humming it in the car, at the grocery store and while cooking in the kitchen. 

This song is just one of the many many methods we've been using to get him to sleep. Our boy does not put himself to sleep--we have to do it for him. We use an exercise ball to bounce him and we sing or hum or shhh until he falls asleep in our arms. Once he's fast asleep we lay him down.  To try to keep him asleep (which he isn't great at either) we use white noise, we use pacifiers, we make the room dark, we've used lovies--nothing seems to help him self soothe. 

This boy falls asleep easily, but getting him to stay asleep is a whole different story. We put him to sleep on his back and eventually he tries to roll over. The  moment I begin to see him stir on the monitor  I know my minutes could be numbered, because one of two things is about to happen: he is either going to wake himself up from rolling over or he is going to successfully roll over and find a comfy spot and continue sleeping (rare + wonderful). 

I've taken the Moms On Call online seminar, I've read The No-Cry Sleep Solution and countless websites that suggest all sorts of tricks. All of these sources have great tips, but none seem to work for us. Sometimes I think there is something I'm just not doing that will change everything and it is just out there waiting to be discovered.

Now, it's not as bad as it used to be, but I thought that by 6 months sleep would be improving, not getting worse! There was a time, maybe month 3 or 4, when Owen was waking only once in the night and going right back to sleep after eating--I could live with that!-- but recently he's been up between 2-5 times in a single night.

I'm tired. I'm exhausted. I need more sleep, but I am not complaining. I'm just looking for suggestions and willing to offer any support I can to other "zombie moms".

After a particularly terrible night (one that involved me downstairs with Owen on the couch, and up all night) there was a tweet that just about saved me from a total mental and physical break down:

That's a tweet from Kelly Stamps of Kelly's Korner
You can see what Kelly is talking about it this tweet here: Minister Love in the Night.
I clicked on the link in the tweet and it lead me to an amazing blog post about being up with your baby in the middle of the night as being a ministry of love. I'd never thought of it that way. I cherish the moments when Owen is asleep in my arms looking so angelic and smelling so sweet and I know someday I will miss it and long for it again. I've never thought of it as being a ministry of love. The comfort I can give Owen in the dark hours of night is priceless to him, and it costs me some sleep, but it's worth it. 

Here is my favorite excerpt from the Minister Love in the Night post : 

"But she slept, peaceful, and I found I was disappointed.  I missed her. I missed the quiet. I missed the stillness. I missed the prayer. I missed the worship. I missed those hours of communion. I missed the weight of her need in my arms, I missed being able to minister peace and rest. Just like that, it was over, this stage was over, she was sleeping. I went back to bed."

The article is beautiful and I often think of it when Owen is up at 11, 12, 2:30, 3, 5, and 6. If you're struggling with sleep or are a soon-to-be mom bookmark it or print it--I urge you!


Emily said...

Wow Colleen, this post could not have come at a better time. As I was reading this I was attempting "sleep training" with my little Owen. He hates it, I hate it more, and now, after reading this I feel like I am going to continue to do what I think is best and not worry with doing it just like the books say. My little guy likes to be rocked to sleep. We sing, we read, and we pray, and that's just what seems to work for us. I think I will stick with this and keep enjoying my quiet time with him and the Lord! Thanks again!!

Kendyl said...

Love this post! It's just what I needed to read today!! Thanks for sharing!!!

Unknown said...

This couldn't have come at a better time!!! This past week has been so draining on me. My little guy wakes up at 1, 3, 6, and 8. I too was hoping by 6 months we could have turned a corner & I actually ordered "the no-cry sleep solution" in the middle of the night, the other night. Thanks so much for sharing!