Sleep. Trust me on this one...once you make the decision to have a baby, EVERYONE has something to say about sleep.
"Sleep now as you will never sleep again"
Pregnant and having trouble sleeping because you have 25-40 lbs of HUGE sticking off your front?
"Get used to it"
"Your body is just trying to prepare you for 18 years of crappy sleep"
"Try to sleep between contractions" (ha - that one is awesome, isn't it?)
Just had a baby?
"Sleep when the baby sleeps"
"All newborns do is sleep"
"Getting much sleep?"
"Even when you are tired, it is just so special snuggling with the baby at 3 a.m., isn't it?"
Have a baby who is between the ages of oh, two months and 2 years?
"How is he/she sleeping?"
"Oh MY baby slept through the night since he/she was 3 weeks old"
"Getting any sleep?"
"Oh MY baby slept through the night since he/she was 5 weeks old"
"Sleeping through the night yet?"
I could go on. Sleep is something of a hot button issue for moms, both new and old and I have learned that no matter what advice you have received, you will never understand a) the importance of sleep to you and your baby, b) the crazy things you will do/feel when you are deprived of said sleep and c) how miserable you, your baby and your family will be when sleep issues have infiltrated your home until you have been there.
It is different for everyone, that much I have learned. However, despite those differences, the quality of sleep that you and your newborn have can effect your experience as a new mom, the bonding between mom and baby, and of course your relationship with your spouse and other family members. And that much is to some degree, common between all mothers.
I did a lot of crazy things while I was exhausted. I became very clumsy. I felt sick to my stomach. I snapped on my husband and my family. I'd lose things while simultaneously holding the lost thing in my hand.
I remember when Luca was about 4 weeks old, my mom and I were shopping at Old Navy. By shopping, I mean putting Luca in the stroller at 8 a.m. to keep him from screaming the house down and walking for hours on end to get him to sleep (so he would stop screaming, of course).
Anyway - we were at Old Navy in the newborn section and we bumped into another mom. She had a 6 month old little girl who was snoozing in her stroller. The mom smiled at me. I smiled back. She made some standard "mom-to-mom" comment on how cute Luca was and I reciprocated. She asked how old he was.
"4 weeks" I said.
"Oh, how sweet" she said. "Tired?"
She looked at me and I promptly started crying.
"It's okay" she said. "It is really hard. I cried this morning too".
I don't think I realized how tired I was. Please. I was so tired and overwhelmed that I CRIED. In OLD NAVY. WHEN A STRANGER ASKED A SIMPLE QUESTION.
But there it was. She knew. She knew exactly what I was going through. It was comforting and humiliating at the same time. As a first time mom, you don't know it will get better. Everyone tells you it will, but you can't believe them because you haven't seen it. Maybe you have the one baby that never sleeps and NEVER stops screaming.
For the next month or so, I scrambled. I read books. I read the interweb. I swaddled. I shushed. Luca screamed and screamed and screamed. I kept thinking he was hungry so I was constantly feeding him (which if you recall, SUCKED because it was so painful for me). He would scream. I would feed. I would panic he wasn't getting enough and breakdown and give him formula. Nothing helped. He would never fall into a milk-coma and sleep. The little guy was overtired.
What finally worked was this. I would give Luca a bath. Massage with lotion. Fresh diaper. Swaddle in the Miracle Blanket. Feed. If he didn't fall asleep feeding (which was about 98% of the time), I would put him in the swing while he was dozy and hope for the best. 50% of the time he would fall asleep. The other half of the time he would start screaming. I would then get him out of the swing, sit in the rocking chair, shove a soother in his mouth and hold it there whilst aggressively rocking the chair back and forth, shushing a very loud shush. Eventually he would stop screaming and start sucking the soother. Once he would fall asleep, I would gingerly put him in the swing and turn it on.
This whole process took about 1.5-2 hours, not including the bath. This was repeated multiple times a day. I was losing my mind (and spending INSANE amounts of time in the nursery) and Luca was miserable. He was crying for the majority of the day. He was so tired that even after he'd sleep, he would wake up screaming bloody murder. In the middle of the night, he was eating and then crying for 1-2 hours before I could convince him to sleep again.
I was told it was colic. "It will get better". We gave him gas drops. The doctors even put him on medications "just in case" it was acid reflux. "He'll grow out of it" everyone said.
Unfortunately, what he grew out of was a) the swaddle and b) his ability to sleep in the swing. He made the move into the crib but wouldn't sleep longer than an hour at a time. So I now had a baby who wouldn't sleep and a mom who didn't know how she could handle hearing him scream any longer.
Find out next week how we found out that sleep was the key to Luca's happiness. I can finally say that after months of dealing with an unhappy little man, it DID get better.
So tell me - what was the craziest thing you did while you were a sleep deprived preggo/mom?