I feel like I've been talking a lot about my struggles lately. And, ladies, you have encouraged me so much. Hearing first hand about people with kids 14-18 months apart who love each other and dote on each other eased my mind a lot. And hearing from other mom's who were surprised with a pregnancy that they spent less time learning each detail of what was happening in their bellies, and more time worrying about how they would handle it help ease the guilt I was feeling for stressing over lack of money and lack of sleep, for "robbing" Charlie of only child time, for not trusting in what is clearly God's plan.
For those of you who prayed for my strength, sanity and patience, thank you. All of these things have been stretched to breaking this week as Charlie and I both struggle with weaning, and without a support system of prayer to help me spiritually and arms willing to help me physically, I don't think it would be going nearly as well.
So, thank you.
Things are getting dramatically easier, and this directly helps Charlie and I to be happier with each other. Let's start with sleep. Last I told you, we were on indefinite hiatus from CIO - or any sleep training, really. Tim was banished to the couch and Charlie somehow took over 90% of the bed. This was negatively affecting the sleep of all three of us, and Tim and I having any semblance of quality alone time.
The problem was, Charlie was physically coming to harm in her crib. She would have scrapes and broken skin all over her bald shiny head from the crib slats. We added a breathable bumper (she has a tendency to put her face against anything soft, so we weren't comfortable with a thick bumper) and it kept her limbs in place, but didn't protect her noggin. Eventually I realized we have a perfectly good, rarely used Pack and Play taking up real estate in our trunk. It's soft everywhere - no amount of violent thrashing can result in injury!
It was immediately put to use, and CIO has not failed. She cries for less than 15 minutes, just long enough for her to force herself into a too-small corner and flop onto her belly.
This has taken her independent sleep time from non-existent to anywhere from 5-7 hours, allowing Tim to move back into the bedroom for the majority of the night.
On to weaning...I thought the fight to feed her through bottles only (with the exception of bed time) would turn around on day three. Don't they say it takes three days to form a habit? Day three was the absolute worst. She only accepted a bottle strapped into the Baby Bjorn facing out, while I pranced around, and even then she would take a half an ounce at a time, the whole process taking over two hours. This pregnant lady does not have the energy to prance around with 15 extra pounds on her chest for two hours. It was exhausting, we both cried, I had to repeatedly hand her off to Tim or to Nana (Tim's mom) and go outside to calm down and work through my frustration by pulling weeds. Thankfully, there are plenty of those, so I never ran out.
Finally, yesterday, day 5, we had a breakthrough. She'd been in bed with me for several hours, and now and then attempted to nurse. She was clearly getting nothing, or next to, because there was much frantic sucking and no swallowing. I got her up, changed her, and we went downstairs for a bottle. I braced myself for battle, defiantly ignored the Bjorn that was lying in wait, and propped her against a pillow on the couch. I handed her the bottle cap to keep her hands occupied and too busy to push/throw the bottle away from her and worked it into her mouth. 15 peaceful minutes later the 4 ounces were drained. I was flabbergasted. She was rewarded with many many kisses and snuggles, and obscene amounts of peach mango puffs (which, by the way, are delicious.) This was followed up with half a jar of apple peach oatmeal yogurt (Earths Best breakfast blends, I love you), and more puffs. The she went for a brief nap-not on the couch!-in the pack and play, and then we had play time and I replicated the pillow propping and offered bottle number two. Badda boom, badda bing, taken with ease. Lather, rinse, repeat, three hours later I attempt bottle 3. No go. Proceed with the Bjorn bottle bounce, and two ounces were taken. I then passed her off to Nana, who somehow coaxed her to take the other two ounces. This was followed by dinner, also fed by Nana, who could see I was stressed out from the bottle situation, and more play.
Up until this time, three bottles has been her limit. I knew that if I introduced one between 6:30 and 7, before she got too sleepy, I might have a tiny chance. She took the whole thing without batting an eye. As I took her upstairs to get her into PJ's she tossed most of it back out onto my shoulder, back and the stairs, but I still call it a win. I changed her, allowed her the one nursing period of the day (despite having just eaten, since I'm really producing almost nothing), and put her to bed. 15 minutes later I was alone with my thoughts.
Today has been a repeat of yesterday, she's been napping in her room for over an hour, giving me the rare opportunity to shower and type this up. We'll attempt a second bottle when she wakes, and I anticipate little resistance.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for supporting me through this time of struggle, doubt and frustration. I am so grateful for the wisdom and encouragement you've given.