it's been awhile since i've blogged. this is partly due to the fact that we've had guests in our guest room/computer room for over a week and mostly due to the fact that i haven't felt like i've had much positive news to blog about. however, i have decided that i will no longer worry about my blog being all happy and cheerful all the time. i'm about to become completely honest here, so if you're looking for a pick me up type of story, you may just want to skip this post and meander over to darla's blog instead :)
in the owner's manual that God accidentally forgot to send along with my son, there would have been an entire chapter dedicated to Meltdowns. a meltdown, in tristan's case, is when he begins to cry and then wail and then scream with no end in sight. nothing seems to comfort him and at times he just won't stop crying. a trick i've learned is to distract him enough so that his screams lessen, then as soon as they do, i quickly pop him on the breast. this works perhaps half of the time. the other half of the time, i seem to melt down shortly after tristan does.
there have been many suggestions as to the cause of his cries. acid reflux? lactose intolerance? allergies? hunger? pain? too hot? too cold? oh, the list goes on and on. i now know my son well enough to understand the cause: its simply that he has a VERY difficult time falling asleep. this leads to overtiredness which leads to even more tears. its a very tricky business, finding the exact moment when he's tired enough to go to sleep, but not so tired that he'll melt down. the planets must be alligned just so in order for him to fall asleep unaided. i've spent the past 5 1/2 months trying to "solve" this problem and i am completely exhausted.
about 3 weeks ago i decided that it was just too difficult for my baby to fall asleep on his own like i've been trying to help him do. he was having sometimes 3 meltdowns per day and i felt like i just couldn't cope anymore. i decided to do things the "old fashioned" way and just nurse him to sleep. it took a couple of days for him to learn to fall asleep like that, but once he did it was heavenly. along with feeding to sleep, i changed from a feeding schedule to demand feeding. he never melted down. the answer to his every cry was more milk. he fell asleep peacefully and i finally got the hours of alone time that i so craved. everything was working out great until he began waking up in the middle of his nap, realizing that i was no longer nursing him. he'd cry out and i'd come to him and nurse him back to sleep. this went on for a few days and then, horror of horrors, he began doing this during the night. was he hungry? i no longer knew because he wasn't on a schedule anymore. i just kept feeding him back to sleep over and over. it got so bad that one night he woke up EVERY 40 MINUTES ALL NIGHT LONG! every time he stirred at night, he'd begin to cry for me. he no longer knew how to put himself back to sleep; he relied on me to do it for him.
that night we both got a total of about 2 hours sleep. the next day, because he was so overtired, he refused to nap. i'd feed him to sleep and he'd be awake, crying 10 minutes later. it was really quite awful. i kept calling my mom and friends, just sobbing on the phone with them. i don't know what i was looking for from them. i suppose i just didn't want to feel so all alone. that day josh and i decided that we were done with feeding him to sleep. we were going to take drastic action and finally just let him cry it out. i've never felt comfortable with the idea of letting my child cry himself to sleep, but i knew that we both needed sleep and i was willing to get it at any cost.
that evening he started to cry. josh suggested i take a bath and close the door so i couldn't hear him. he cried and cried. i was shocked at the intensity he maintained. there was no winding down or slowing. he just kept wailing. an hour passed. it was so hard to listen to. then another 30 minutes. there was no end in sight. finally, after crying for 1 hour and 45 min, i went into his room and just laid my hand on his little heaving chest. i wiped the tears from his face and started talking to him in a soothing voice. within minutes he was silent and then he dropped off to sleep. i was quite excited. sure, it was difficult, but if that's all it would take, i knew i could handle it. well, unfortunately he woke up every 1-2 hours that night and cried and cried each time. i kept trying to soothe him with my voice, but it didn't always work well.
the next day, after another 2 hours of sleep all night, he just kept crying. he was obviously over-tired and just couldn't seem to drift off. he'd occasionally fall asleep from crying, only to awaken 10 minutes later screaming again. after another hour and 45 min crying session, he completely lost his voice. on top of that, he seemed to be getting a cold. that was THE END of trying to let him cry it out. i was SO done...the poor little guy could only make little baby kitten sounds from his raw throat. he was so miserable and tired, my heart just broke for him. some would say i didn't try it long enough, but i don't care. crying it out is not for me.
that night, every time he cried, i comforted him by picking him up and holding him close. as soon as he stopped crying, i'd put him back in his crib, only to pick him up again moments later as he started crying again. it was exhausting, but i felt so much better being there for him instead of leaving him all alone. he slept better that night, but i found that i just couldn't fall asleep! turns out that the new medication i was taking for my post partum depression caused sleeplessness. completely worn out, i prayed "God, i know that you said you wouldn't give us more than we can handle. well, i believe that somthing's gotta change real soon because i'm about to lose it!" only hours later, the answer to my prayer came. my mom called to tell me that she was flying down the very next day to help me out!!
having my mom here was such a God send! tristan took to her as if he's known her all along. she helped me with my new method of comforting him to sleep, which was becoming much more difficult since he was so sick. once he began feeling better, things started really looking up! i got tristan on a 4 hour feeding schedule instead of 3 hours and that seemed to help a lot. he began sitting on his own and was such a joy to play with. my mom showed me again how important it is just to enjoy my baby. and most of all to RELAX!! i started taking a lower dose of medication, so i was able to fall asleep again. tristan still has meltdowns every now and then, but i now feel like i am better able to handle them. the pick up/put down method is teaching him that i'm here for him, but that he must fall asleep in his crib.
so i suppose this post does have a happy ending after all. it also should expain why i haven't been blogging or commenting much lately. for some reason, the 6 month mark sticks out in my mind as a time when things should be a lot easier. i'm not holding my breath. but i am most definitely hoping.