Wednesday, February 23, 2011

On (not) sleeping....

I haven't written anything for a few days. I have had a post floating around in my head, but have ad a bit going on here, as well as really just feeling completely overwhelmed with all that lies ahead. Anyway, here goes.
Abigail started sleeping through the night (eight hours) at eight weeks, and lengthened it (12 hours) by 12 weeks. She was the envy of friends. Up until somewhere between 18-21 months she was a champion at sleeping. She would sleep anywhere from 12-14 hours at night as well as 2-3 hour naps during the day. The only exceptions were ear infections and teething.
But somewhere between 18-21 months we started having more frequent night time wakings. And somewhere in there her last teeth came through and I had nothing left to explain the wakings. Sometimes we would go two weeks with an awesome sleeper and then spend the next week and a half getting up once one night and four times the next, then back to once, then twice and so on and so on.
We have tried EVERYTHING. We have gone with the thirsty theory, needs to go potty, too hot, too cold, in pain, don't go in the room (talk to her through the door), and frankly nothing changes with anything that we do. (Please, PLEASE do not give me suggestions on how to fix it.) And so sometime in the last few weeks, after all of the other sleep test have come back normal, I have been slowly and reluctantly working through acceptance.
You see, like I've mentioned before NF is EXTREMELY variable. And there are tons of little weird things that are linked to it, so many that I could never list all of them. But one I know to be true is sleeping issues. I have researched a little, and just sat and quietly cried as I tried to wrap my mind around the fact that we have another NF symptom on our list. I still want to deny it's NF related.
But last week when we were up (collectively) six times in the night with Abigail, I knew. I knew she wasn't just being a stinker because she used to sleep well, and occasionally still does. I knew I couldn't pretend away the four or five nights a week she often wakes up, nor could I act like they weren't related to one another. And the moment that really hit me was being at story time one day when another mom asked me if I was okay to which I responded with, 'Yeah, I'm just tired.' She made further inquiry and I said that Abigail had been up a few times the night before to which she responded with, 'Is that a normal occurrence?' I could tell by the tone of her voice, and facial expression, that she believed that it was a parenting issue. I didn't have the energy to explain that no amount of letting her 'cry it out' could 'fix' her sleep issues.
I am not the most rational non-sleeper. I don't like to stay up extra late. I don't like to get up early. And my body hates me when I do those things. I remember when Abigail was really little sitting in the rocking chair one night at three a.m. and feeling alone, and like I was the only person in the world awake at this time of night (I was tired and a new mom so these sort of thoughts went with the territory). I remember feeling that small whisper reminding me that I served a God who never sleeps. As I sat rocking my baby I could feel His presence surrounding me. When I layed her back in her crib I remember feeling peace that He would continue to be there even when I went back to my bed and slept.
So as I do my best to accept (and fluctuate between denying it and crying about it) that Abigail has sleep issues, I have a few thoughts. First of all we often pray that God would let her (and us) sleep well. I would love it if you would pray that as well. However, I also want to be able to respond with grace and love if she has sleep issues. And as mentioned above, I don't do well with not sleeping. So if you could pray that both Jason and I would be given extra energy, and a supernatural feeling of being rested so that if she wakes up, we can do a good job in the middle of the night as well, I would appreciate it.

(Those early days when everyone just slept a lot.)

My verse for the days where sleep has been fleeting:

'Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.'
-Isaiah 40:30-31

Feeling tired and weary,

P.S. Don't forget to enter the giveaway on the post before this will be over in the morning. :)

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