December 9, 2012

Four Months

It's easy for me to judge the amount of stress in my life by looking down at my fingers.  For as long as I can remember, I've had a horrible habit of biting at my nails and cuticles when I feel stressed (I know, it's gross).  I've tried everything: oils, bandaids, and even manicures (which I had convinced Steve I needed because I was less likely to ruin my fingers if they looked good).

Not that long ago, I looked down at my hands and realized that my nails looked perfectly healthy.  I am convinced that this is a sign of my happiness in this new season as a mother.  I have grown to love Miles more and more--sometimes I just hold him and tell him over and over how great I think he is.  I love how he does a little half smile when I am trying to entertain him with a song or toy.  I love the little spot on the back of his neck where he has a small patch of hair.  I just feel so lucky.
But over the past few weeks, my fingers have started to look a little more ragged.  It started when we decided to try sleep training.  Miles was taking forever to go to sleep at night, and starting to wake more often.  While the "4 month sleep regression" is normal, we were finding that Miles was crankier during the day--he just didn't seem as happy.  Our doctor recommended that we let him cry a bit to help him learn to soothe himself and ultimately get more sleep.  I thought I was prepared to do this (I had expected that we'd ultimately sleep train our baby), but as it turns out, it was one of the most stressful things I've ever done!
I read a few books to help us come up with a consistent plan, and felt pretty good about our decision until the moment when he first started to cry.  The first night, it lasted 45 minutes, and Miles ended up falling asleep on his stomach (he's been rolling over, which is both a blessing and a curse).  The second night, he cried longer, and the third, about the same.  He was also waking up more often in the night, crying.  I was beginning to really doubt the process.  Not only that, but I couldn't help staring at the monitor, as a million questions and concerns ran through my head: what if this is the wrong time?  maybe he's too little?  can he breathe on his stomach?  should we flip him over? what if he's getting another cold? I searched each of these questions online, and rummaged through the indices of the sleep books, sometimes at 2 am by the glow of my little night light.  All the while I knew that a million parents have gone through the same thing.  Crying was part of the deal.  Some have decided that sleep training is not for them--which I now totally understand--but many, many have done it to help their child soothe themselves to sleep.  We just had to be consistent.

On the sixth night, I put Miles down and he fell asleep in one minute, on his own.  I really couldn't believe it.  He slept seven and a half hours before waking up to eat.

Then, last Wednesday, Miles had surgery to repair the cleft on his neck.  It was tough to hand him off to the nurses, but I had confidence that he was in very capable hands.  He did well with the anesthesia, and was back to his self later that evening, except for some pretty intense stitches that were painful to look at. (You can see his cleft in the above photo, and the stitches below).

We know that we shouldn't let him cry after having surgery, so our sleep training has taken a back seat to comforting, cuddling, and making sure we're on top of his pain medication.  The nights have been hard, filled with crying and waking up about every 2-3 hours.  In the back of my mind, I'm dreading getting back to our sleep training.  I just caught myself biting my nails, just thinking about it.
So, I am deciding to focus on today.  My time at home with my little guy is running short (I go back to work in January), and he is getting bigger, becoming his own little person, so fast.  They say that these next few months are huge for development and learning, and although I have loved having a tiny baby, I'm excited to see what this next stage brings.


  1. Your son is beautiful. It is hard to function without sleep, but it comes. This "no sleeping" part passes fast enough. I hope that he heals fast and that you all are rested as much as possible. :)


  2. Great post and update. I think that second photo looks a bit like Steve.

  3. I don't know how I missed this post...or the one above.

    Ah day you will have it in spades (or another baby and start all over) I promise! And then you will that was tough, but I'd do it all over again if it meant having such a good least that's how i feel about Wes...and now with Elliot she sleeps in our bed for crying out loud and I NEVER did that with Wes so we'll see!

    Your sweet Miles and that surgery...what a trooper you all were actually.

    Love you and your sweet mother's heart, praying you're able to savor all of these days before you head back to work.