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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Giveaway winner

I didn't win the giveaway of this CD that I was hoping for. But, I was so grateful for all the advice and suggestions received that I still wanted to give something away to one of you. (Really, I wish I could give something to each one of you.)

The lucky winner is: Liz. 

So, Liz, if you could send an email with your address, we'll get that CD to you.

A heartfelt thank you to everyone for all of the suggestions and advice! We're hopeful that nights around here will be more calm and uneventful soon.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

An Update and a Thank You

I have good news! Things have gotten progressively better this week and I feel so grateful for all the little bits of advice we received! We've tried a number of different things and I think all of it is helping. Last night Hugh was bathed, massaged and fed, and fast asleep by 8pm (at least an hour earlier than normal. We're hoping to gradually up the time a little more in the next few days.) He woke up at 10:20pm, but I got him back to sleep within ten minutes, and he then slept until 12:35am. I fed him and he was back down by 1:15am. Then he slept until 5am! I fed him and he went back down until 7:30am. We clearly still have a long way to go, but I slept better last night than I have in a long time, and I think he did, too! And, his naps during the day are going better, too.

(Poor Benjamin and Marc had a rougher night. Our sleep situation right now is Marc and Ben in one room, with Hugh and myself in another - you do what you have to do, right? Anyway, I think he's really close to getting his upper teeth in right now, so he tossed and turned for most of the night, which made for a long night for Marc. I'll have to make sure they both get a good nap in today.)

All the ideas and suggestions left me with two main feelings - ONE - hope that things will get better and - TWO - the reminder that this period of sleep deprivation is only a season that will really go much faster than I want it to. I feel so grateful for all the advice, the empathy, and the perspective that you offered!

I don't know how many of you will check back to read this, but I wanted to respond to each of you that left advice for us... so here it goes...

Deetsgirl – thanks for the dairy idea. I'm now on day three of no diary and I really feel like it's making a difference. So that might have been part of the problem. Thank you!

LilMisfit – I'm glad to know we aren't the only ones who put our babies on their tummies to sleep! I'm always a little hesitant to bring it up (like you were with your Pedatrician), but they really do sleep so much better that way. He doesn't seem to be getting teeth yet, but it could be in the beginning stages, I guess. We'll have to try the CIO method again... I'll probably have more questions about that as we try it. Thanks for the book recommendation. I already ordered it!

Karilyn – Wow! I can't believe you had 7 kids in 11 years! You clearly have some obvious experience and I'm so grateful for all the little tips you shared with me... especially the reminder to rely a little more on being in tune with the spirit to help me know what to do to help my babies. Also, I have to make sure Marc gets credit for how much he helps me with both boys, but especially that he cares for Ben during the night. If I had two babies to wake up to every night, I don't know what I would do! As it is, when I have a really hard night he makes sure I get a nap during the day while he watches both boys. He's a huge help! Thank you so much for all the good advice.

KieraAnne – He doesn't seem to be teething, but he could be just at the beginning stages where it's bothering him. I'll be watching for more cues that that's the problem, though. Thanks for the dairy idea, too. As I said above, I'm on day 3 of no dairy and I think it's helping. Thank you so much for your help! (And, this is kind of random... I don't know if I've ever told you this, but I really love your name.)

Nicole – we usually do have some white noise (a fan or some soft music), but on those nights that were especially bad I realized I didn't have anything on. Now that I'm making sure something is on, it's making more of difference than I realized. And, I still do swaddle Hugh some of the time. I need to figure out how to soothe him without rocking him... he's so used to it that anything else just seems to make him more upset. But, I think you're right. I hope we're not too late to teach him better habits!

Beckstead Fam – thanks so much for sharing your experience. We are determined to try to help both babies have better sleep habits, even if it means two weeks of it being rough. I am a little worried about being a pushover and not being able to listen to them crying. I just have to remind myself that better sleep is better for everyone, and whatever we have to do to get there will be worth it in the end.

Becky – we have been waiting to start solids until after he's six months, but if nothing else helps then we might just start him on cereal early! Thanks for the suggestion.

Inkling – It's comforting to hear that we're not alone. Thanks for the book suggestion – I ordered a copy already. And, thanks for the reminder that before I know it we'll all be sleeping through the night... being in the middle of it with the aching body and constant headache from lack of sleep, it's hard to remember I won't feel like this forever... and that actually they'll grow much faster than what I'm ready for. Thank you for your advice!

Carrot Jello – we'll probably end up resorting to something like that... how long would he cry? Did he eventually go to bed without crying? And, was it the same story with #6?

Liz – I really appreciated the perspective you offered about this period not lasting forever. I am so grateful for the situation I'm in, even with the lack of sleep that comes with it. I'll have to try the bottle before bed. Hugh doesn't know quite what to do with a bottle – he just kind of gnaws on the nipple. But, maybe he'll figure it out after a while. We've also tried co-sleeping and we all sleep terribly! I've looked for a good mobile, but I haven't found one in our little town. What kind do you have exactly? I'll see if I can order it online... I think that might really help us when we start trying to put the boys down without rocking or feeding. Thank you, again, for your suggestions!

Mindyluwho – I'll have to think outside the box and find what might work for Hugh. He hates his car seat, so that won't work, but I'm sure there are some other things I'm not thinking of. Thanks for the reminder that this will pass... and for not making me feel awful for complaining! :)

KellyLady – The scenario you describe is the perfect glimpse into my life! I can see how the two boys together might sleep better... right now I'd be most worried about Ben smothering Hugh, but maybe when Hugh is a little more mobile and we're ready to move them both into a bed, we'll try them together in a double bed. I like that idea – and I think they would both sleep well together.

Erica – Thank you for the book recommendation – we should get it in the mail any day now. I hope it works for us like it did for you! And, thanks for the article. I feel like if I can just learn how to do my part better that both boys will naturally fall into better sleep habits. I'm hopeful that things will get better from here.

Fire – I've been afraid to put the boys in a room together, but I think it's worth trying. They might just keep each other asleep rather than waking each other up. I'm glad you've had some better luck with Serenity. I thought all along she was an all-night sleeper.

Beth – My sister lent me that book and I read through it after Ben was born, mainly to help us identify his acid reflux. I'll have to go back and re-read it. Thanks for all of your other ideas... it's good to have a lot of options of things to try. Something has to work, right?! Thanks for the empathy, too! :)

Sunny – Thanks for sharing what worked for you. I'll have to try the bottle and cereal and see if they help. I'm sure the sleep deprivation will be a thing of the past before I know it!

Kelly - Even though your advice came to me via email, I really appreciated all the suggestions you offered! I've gone back to it a number of times to refresh my memory of extra things we can try. Thanks for taking the time to share so much!

You all are wonderful! I appreciate your help so much!

As for the giveaway, since I am using so many of the ideas offered and since so many of them seem to be helping, I'll just use to pick a winner from among those of you who left comments... to be announced tomorrow.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sleep - with Post Edit

Okay, I'm desperate enough to plead for help. I've hesitated, in part, because I haven't wanted to come across as complaining or whining, but after a really long night of very little sleep, I need to know how people do it. How do you get your babies to sleep through the night?

Ben is doing pretty good. He has a couple of nights here and there when he'll be upset for a chunk of the night, but he'll usually get in a couple of good stretches, at the very least. But, even he could be doing better. I think his longest stretch has been 7 or 8 hours. I want to know how parents get their babies to sleep 12 hours straight!

Hugh is another story. Last night he was up almost every hour. Not just stirring and making cute noises... but, crying and upset. He hasn't ever gotten close to sleeping through the night. The best night we had was him waking up at 2am and then again at 6am. But, that has only happened once or twice.

We have a really good bedtime routine - bath, massage, feeding. Everything goes smoothly through all of that, as well as putting them both down initially. I guess it's keeping them asleep for longer periods. Does it just come naturally for some babies to sleep longer? I just can't help but feel like there's some trick we're not aware of.

I've tried the "crying it out" with Hugh and it honestly just makes things worse for the poor kid. If his last feeding was more than three hours before, then I'll usually end up nursing him back to sleep, but last night was insane.

Here's the run down - he finished nursing at 8:45pm and went down great. But, was awake at 10pm crying, so I rocked him back to sleep (took about 15 minutes). Then he was awake again at 11pm. I decided then to feed him, hoping it would help him sleep better. Instead, he was up and hour and a half later, then again at 2am and 3:15am. The first two times I rocked him back to sleep, trying different sleeping positions each time when I laid him back down. At 3:15am, I decided to just wait and see if he'd fall back asleep on his own. Forty-five minutes later and two rounds of "This Little Light of Mine", he wasn't screaming, but was wide awake and still a bit fussy. So, I fed him at 4am (thinking he must be so exhausted... I'm sure he'll sleep until 8am). He finished by 4:45am and then was awake again sometime around 6:30am. I pulled him out of the crib and rocked him back to sleep laying on my chest. That lasted for an hour and then he was up for good. I'm not exactly sure how much sleep I got, but my longest stretch was maybe 90 minutes. That's hardly even a good nap.

Fortunately every night isn't as bad as last night, but his nights seem to be getting progressively worse and I don't know what to do. We both need a better night's sleep. I know some things that work for some babies won't work for my baby, but for those of you who have any ideas or things to try, I would love to hear them.

And, if I win this giveaway, I'll do my own giveaway of the same CD to whomever offers the idea that helps my baby sleep through the night. And, actually, if your trick actually does work, I'll be so thrilled I'll do the giveaway whether or not I win the giveaway.

So, get those ideas a-coming... it's been far too long since I've slept through the night.

POST EDIT: Wow, thanks for all the ideas so far. I just wanted to clarify a few things:

- Our boys are both tummy sleepers. I'll usually start Hugh off swaddled and then after his first wake up I'll lay him on his tummy. He does seem to sleep much better on his tummy.

- I feed Hugh about every four hours during the day, usually for 20 minutes on each side... except the last feeding of the night always goes a bit longer.

 - Hugh isn't on solids yet and he doesn't take a bottle.

 - One thing I worry about with leaving him to cry it out is that he rams himself up against a corner of the crib and then pushes his head up against it, making himself cry even harder. I worry about him getting stuck or hurt by doing that.

 - There are no signs of him teething yet.

 - It could be diary. It could be acid reflux, though he doesn't have the same signs of it that Ben had. 

Thanks so much for all the ideas and sharing in my pain! I appreciate it all more than you know!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Letter to Hugh

* getting ready for our camping trip, Oct. 14th

Dear Hugh,

All day yesterday I kept thinking back to five months ago - to the day you had finally arrived. I still have a hard time remembering your birth and the immediate days following when you were so far away and I couldn't help but worry if you would be gone forever, before I had a chance to hold you and officially welcome you into our family. I can't even begin to express how relieved I am that you're here, that you're healthy and strong. The trauma from your birth is slowly disappearing and being replaced with joy that comes from watching your personality blossom and come to life.

Speaking of your personality... I'm afraid you've inherited a double dose of stubbornness from both Daddy and me. But, I'm reassured that that same stubbornness will be one of your greatest gifts as you grow and mature. You know exactly what you want, when you want it and there is no room for debate. On most days you're not a big fan of your car seat or the stroller and aren't afraid to let us know how passionately you dislike being strapped in anywhere. As soon as we free you from your seeming captivity, we are almost always met with an immediate open mouth smile... as if to let us know that you know you've got us wrapped around your little finger. And as much as I want to, I just can't feel frustrated with your desire to be cuddled and loved.

And, there is no shortage of people ready and willing to receive some of your cuddles. This past weekend you and I ventured off together for a little camping excursion and left Dad and Ben at home to have some bonding time of their own. Your ticket in was your need to be close to your food source, making you the lone baby boy in a sea of baby-loving women (and even a few baby-loving men, including Grandpa. I loved seeing how you both lit up every time you saw each other!). You were the best little camper I've ever seen! You were so content to be out among the trees and cuddled in someone's arms for the entire 30 hours we spent away from home. And, while I love seeing you loved and cuddled by others, you must know how honored I feel to hold you tightly and know you're mine. All mine.

Well, and Dad's too. You were so happy to see Dad again that you forgot how hungry you had been for the entire 90 minute drive home. Now that's love! And, it is so clear how you love him. Next time we go camping we'll have to make sure Dad and Ben get to come too.

I have just loved getting to know your personality. You have a tender soul and a strong will. You have an ear-piercing cry when you're fighting sleep, but the gentlest of giggles when your little belly is tickled. You are so pure and innocent, I constantly want to be a better mother for you and Ben, and a better wife, sister, and daughter.

Now that you're five months old, I'm counting my blessings more and more for your life that has been preserved. You are a joy, my little Hugh. I'm so grateful you are here with us and for the role you are filling in our family. Have you noticed how excited Ben is that you're starting to wiggle your way around the floor and interact a little more with him? He sure loves having you as his little brother and is so anxious for you to be big enough to play and wrestle with.

You are well-loved, by everyone who knows you. And, that's a lot of love. I hope you'll always know just how much you are loved.

Especially by me. Oh, how I love you, my son!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dear Time...

... Please slow down!

My boys are growing like weeds and experiencing lots of firsts lately and I can't seem to find the time to sit and write it all down. 

In a nutshell, Ben is super close to walking (which we totally aren't prepared for yet... isn't that supposed to come like in six months from now?!), has two bottom teeth poking through in all their crooked glory, and is quite the little wannabe stuntman (which makes me a nervous wreck).

Hugh is rolling over, giggling, and already annoying Ben by playing with his toys.

Here are a few photos that I meant to put with the last post, to show how similar they are in size right now:

And, a family photo taken this morning, before Church (since I knew my chances of them looking like this after three hours were pretty slim - and I was right!):

* Coming soon - the boys' first trip to the ocean (this past weekend)!