Friday, October 31, 2008

Operation Un-Swaddle: Day One--wrapped up in exhaustion

Our swaddling days are over. Amelia has long loved the mummy treatment as the only option for sleep. Long beyond the newborn stage, she has continued needing the snug hold of two (yes TWO) swaddling blankets. I read somewhere that this is particularly a means for reflux babies to feel comfortable enough to rest. Even in the hospital and brand new, she was a Houdini baby, but for a while, we had her dialed with the perfect combination of straight jacket action followed up by the traditional wrap of a regular blanket. When she'd wiggle out, you could rewrap her and she's go right back to sleep.

Lately though, the swaddle has created as much trouble as it has rest. Our little stinker is a big, strong baby now and can grope her way out of the tightest of of perfect swaddles (and I do consider myself an expert) and promptly host a party of one in her crib. Recently, we've tried going cold turkey to no avail. The poor child is in constant motion (and has been since inception) and continually jolts herself awake and when not wrapped tight, starts screaming. We tried leaving one arm out thinking that if she had a little mobility, she wouldn't fight it, but also wouldn't wake up. This was successful for a few days. However, over the past couple weeks, she's been getting out of her wrap completely and simply staying awake until wrapped again. She'll fuss for over an hour only to fall silent within seconds of being swaddled.

And then last night. We swaddled her and she went to sleep. Moments later, she had both arms out flailing. We wrapped her again and again, she was free and flailing within minutes. I looked at Justin and said, "It's over," with both relief and panic in my voice. Relief that she won't be going to college swaddled in a giant comforter and panicked because I knew that many a sleepless night were in store from that moment. . . and my prediction did not disappoint. Prior to 7:30 this morning, I got 45 minutes of sleep as she struggled with her new sleeping arrangement. She'd sleep for an hour or two, waking up crying for a few seconds and back to sleep throughout. It was pure misery for me since I was already exhausted from the up and down routine of the previous 7 nights and from teaching a class last night. Since she's been born, I've never had a night with less sleep. Never. Yet all I could think about was that we are making progress. For every short nap she took, she was sleeping with both arms free! Finally this morning, she gave in and conked out for three hours (thank you!). I would hear her in there awake and struggling and then she'd go back to sleep. She'd go back to sleep! Hardly a comfortable night, it's progress. This morning, I found her like this.

She discovered her thumb through this whole process. Unlike a pacifier, it's always with her and does not need someone else's assistance to reinsert. Unlike a pacifier, it can't be taken away before she goes to kindergarten. I will, however, choose to deal with that issue at a later date--like when I have more than a nap separating today from the past four.

In other news, we introduced Amelia to her second food--avocado! One of those "super foods," we figured avocado would be a good next shot at this whole real food thing. I had my doubts after watching this hilarious video of our friend Molly trying her first avo. I should have known that things would be different for us because 1) Amelia continually falls outside of the "normal baby" pool and 2) the baby child eats everything. When she first saw the bowl, full of pureed green nonsense, she tensed her mouth into a straight line and wrinkled her brow at me. Then I gave her a bite and she started kicking her feet and wiggling her body in happiness. She loved it! yay! If she only knew how much better it will taste with some veggies, spices, and atop a tortilla chip! Next up on the menu--winter squash! yum! Well, that's whenever mommy gets a minute to think straight enough to bake, puree, and freeze it. Someday.

Today I spoke with a mommy friend whose newborn is showing the symptoms of colitis and reflux. My heart bleeds for her and her baby knowing where she is and where she still must go. Talking with her threw me back to what feels like a million moons ago and a very dark time for our family. It's so frustrating that there are still doctors who chalk up these ailments to "colic" and dismiss mommy's intuition that something bigger is wrong! I can only offer my knowledge and support because heaven knows that I have been there. Talking her through my findings made me realize how far we've come in our house--and how bad things were. We never thought we'd survive, but had no choice but to keep fighting and holding faith in time. Someday I will write about that experience more in depth, but today, we'll be thankful for our journey--and hopeful for our friends.


Today's pics

This weekend promises to produce a photo shoot or two with our little treat. Stay tuned!

Happy Halloween Pictures, Images and Photos

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