Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How The Sleep Lady of St. Louis saved my life.....

Still fast asleep at 6 AM (April 1)
When Liam stopped sleeping through the night (STTN) near the end of February, my life kinda ended. His lack of sleep, and his middle of the night (MOTN) wakings were affecting my eating habits, work out habits, sleep, my health, my marriage, my sanity, and my job.

We dealt with some horrible nights for about a month. I was very sleep deprived and could barely function. I was a Mombie -- a Zombie Mom. 

Liam's bedtime had shifted to 8pm sometime after his first birthday (it'd been 7 before that.) Probably about the time he weened himself. He'd been STTN for over a month, I'm not sure when he started, but he'd wake by himself around 5:45-6:00am or some mornings we'd have to go wake him. But all of the sudden something shifted. It would only take 5-10 minutes of rocking to go to sleep, but he'd start waking every 2 hours. And he wouldn't want to go back into his crib. He'd want to be held. Or get out of the nursery. Sometimes he needed a drink or a snack. Or we'd watch TV. And he was waking at 5:30 and he'd be up until his first nap. Sleeping in the nursery recliner with a hot potato, or squirmy monkey, was not good for either Mom or Dad. Mostly Dad. Liam didn't want me most of the time and I didn't have the patience to put up with what he wanted to do. I wanted him to go back in his crib and sleep. He wanted to watch TV or look for Monday. Or Dad. 

My friend suggested we go to a Sleep Therapist. The initial thought was what? I've googled it, it's just a sleep regression, probably from a growth spurt. Then I did some more research, and came to the conclusion that "SLEEP REGRESSION" is just a term some parent made up to make themselves feel better about their kid not sleeping. Dad was really skeptical. But if our insurance covered it (sans a $75 Specialist Fee), I was ready to do anything. If it cost us $500 to get the kid sleeping again, I'd pay it. 

So on a Tuesday morning I managed to snag an appointment with Nancy Birkenmeier, BSN, RN for the SAME WEEK! She normally has a one-two month waiting period. And when someone cancels they start calling people to bump them up. No one wanted this Friday 2pm appointment. It was like God really was looking out for me. 

That same week I got ill. A nasty stomach bug infected my body. For four days! I missed three days of work. Including the Friday our appointment fell on. I was very zombie-like Friday for our appointment, and it wasn't sleep deprivation, it was the stomach bug. I have never had the stomach bug that bad. I blame the sleep deprivation for making it worse. 

Friday night, April 3
We met with Nancy on Friday March 27. We were given a Two-Step plan to last approximately 2-weeks. She listens (and probably totally judges you) on your child's bedtime routine, his sleep habits, the amount he's sleeping, how he falls asleep (rocking/car ride), and you decide what you want most. Our main priority was to get Liam STTN. But in order to do that, we had to start with getting him to fall asleep on his own - no more rocking.  

Nancy has different Steps geared to different ages and different sleep problems. She has up to a 12-step program. We were going to do a modified cry it out (CIO) method. She said he'd probably cry for 45-50 minutes the first night, 15 minutes the second night, and be fine after that. 

We started Sleep Training on Sunday night, March 29. I had to leave the house for two hours before bedtime began, and couldn't return until Liam was asleep - or we had reached the maximum CIO time of 90 minutes. Jason started bedtime at 8:19 and by 9:04 Liam was asleep. I stayed at Lola's watching the Walking Dead (my first time) until it was over. Thanks Lola! Hooked on this show now!

Night two - I had to leave the house an hour before bedtime. And Liam only cried for 10 minutes when Jason put him down! The third night I only had to be out of sight for 45 minutes before bedtime. Liam cried for half a second when he was put down. The rest of the week went amazing! And every night Liam STTN! We also were bumping up his bedtime, one of the goals was to move his bedtime up to 7:15.

Tuesday April 7 - Still asleep at 6 AM!
Originally Liam was schedule to spend three nights at Grandma's since my mom had Maundy Thursday and Good Friday off. Nancy said he could only go for one night. She promised it wouldn't mess up the sleep training we had already done. So my mom picked up Liam on Thursday evening and he went to Grandma and Grandpa's. He went willingly to bed at 8:30pm and slept until 8am! He's never done that, usually my mom has to sleep in the same bed with him to get him to sleep and stay asleep. Mom said he woke around 1AM and just needed his blanket. So that was amazing! Mom and dad brought him back over Friday evening and we got Liam to bed a little late, around 8pm. But he went to bed easily and STTN! It was glorious!

We've had so many peaceful nights sleep! He's been STTN except for Sunday night this past week. He woke three times, Dad did a quick 20-second visit to reassure him it was ok, it was still bedtime, and he went back to bed easily. We've mastered naptimes at home too - he cries a few extra seconds, but he goes down easily. He's always been a good napper at daycare. His teachers say he's the leader of the pack with napping. And now that he's well rested, he's napping longer at daycare.

I feel like a new woman! I feel like I have my life back. I'm able to work out and concentrate on the things that matter -- like catching up with the DVR. I hope that it keeps up, the past 10 days have been amazing.

If you're interested in making an appointment with Nancy Birkenmeier, she currently practices out of St. Lukes Sleep Unit. There's a bunch of informative files available on the website. And she offers some free informational classes too! She has one upcoming on April 16.

No comments: