I know you have been eagerly waiting for an update of Operation Juliana Sleep. Okay, or you couldn't care less. But I'm going to tell you anyway!
We are now 50 days into "No Cry Sleep Solution" methods of trying to get Juliana to sleep better. The first 44 days were incredibly depressing. I can't say there was no progress, but it sure seemed that way. Juliana's naps got better, and she started going to sleep more easily, but she was still waking up 5+ times a night and never sleeping longer than 2 hours. 44 days might not seem like a long time in the grand scheme of things, but it's a long time. A very long time. Especially when you have already been sleep deprived for 6+ months. Usually several times a week I ended up crying in the middle of the night because I was so tired and frustrated.
BUT in the past few days we have actually, finally started to see some sleep improvement! Not just for one night, but for several nights in a row. The other night, Juliana slept for 4.5 hours in one stretch! 4.5 hours! She has only slept longer than that two or three times in her entire life. For several nights now she has only woken up three times during the night! That might not seem great, but three is sooo much more manageable than five or ten times. It's not yet "sleeping through the night" (defined as 5+ hours), but it is more than I dared hope for. I have actually started to believe this may work!
Not only that, but Juliana has been taking many 2 hour naps (up from 30-45 minutes), and the other day she napped for 1.5 hours in her crib! This is unprecedented.
Juliana is still convinced that she doesn't need more than eight hours of sleep at night, and consequently has started waking up at 6 or 6:30am to make up for that extra sleep time during the night. I'm not thrilled about that. And sometimes it still takes 40 minutes to get her to fall asleep for a nap, and sometimes she tries to wake up every 5 minutes of her nap. But slowly, things are improving. And without ever leaving her to cry.
I think this nighttime sleep thing is a huge breakthrough. I am tentatively thrilled. Tentatively, because I'm not yet at all convinced she won't flip back to her old ways any night now. But I have hope for the future, for the first time in ages.
Additionally, the past few nights I have been pumping some milk so Kevin can take over the first night feeding, meaning that I have been getting 5-6 hours of uninterrupted sleep! Well, I still wake up at least every couple of hours because my body has forgotten how to sleep anymore, but I don't have to get out of bed or stay awake. It's amazing to go to bed at 9pm and know that I won't have to get up until 3am. This new influx of sleep is both wonderful and a bit dangerous at the same time.
Dangerous, because all of a sudden my body seems to remember this kind of sleep is possible and is yelling, "Give me more!!" I have actually felt more tired/sleepy/foggy than normal in the past few days. I also feel just enough more with it for my mind to start going crazy as it realizes I have accomplished nothing in the past 6+ months. Last night I lay awake past the ungodly hour of 9:30pm, my thoughts going crazy, enthusiastically jumping every 5 seconds to completely unrelated topics. It reminded me of that time in Gilmore Girls where Loralei traces her chaotic thought patterns...
"My brain is a wild jungle full of scary gibberish. I'm writing a letter, I can't write a letter, why can't I write a letter? I'm wearing a green dress, I wish I was wearing my blue dress, my blue dress is at the cleaners. The Germans wore gray, you wore blue, 'Casablanca' is such a good movie. Casablanca, the White House, Bush. Why don't I drive a hybrid car? I should really drive a hybrid car. I should really take my bicycle to work. Bicycle, unicycle, unitard. Hockey puck, rattlesnake, monkey, monkey, underpants!"That's kinda what my thought pattern was like. I keep having bizarre, irrational thoughts. However, the fact I can recognize their irrationality reassures me that perhaps I am not completely crazy yet.
For example. The other night I woke up and bumped my foot into Kevin's. He kind of jerked it away in his sleep, and for some reason I thought that seemed really weird. I thought, "Maybe it's not Kevin's foot!" I reached out to touch it again and he jerked it away again and I sat up all freaked out, "That doesn't feel like Kevin's foot! There must be something at the bottom of our bed! Maybe it is a small animal! Oh no, maybe it's the baby! Somehow she has ended up at the end of our bed and is suffocating!!" I was looking over and seeing Juliana sleeping peacefully in her crib but at the same time still thinking, "Maybe it's the baby!" I was picturing a little raccoon or baby possum wiggling around, as if we were camping instead of on a third floor apartment in the middle of the city in a country where I have never seen raccoons or possums. I was a little bit more awake at that point and realized that both of these ideas were pretty crazy, but I still had to reach over and feel Kevin's leg to reassure myself that it was indeed his foot.
It was pretty special. Perhaps I still need more sleep.