Posted in All, My Story

Adventures in Sleep Training – Epilogue

Well our time with the sleep consultant ended a few days ago, and while it’s a bit scary to be out on our own I have to say – I feel so much more confident in my role as a mom now that we’ve had her help us. I’ll probably be repeating a lot of the things I’ve said over the course of this sleep training set, but they’re worth repeating for sure.

So first off, I’d like to talk about our consultant Jessica with Happy Little Dreamers Sleep Consulting and the process we went through. I had posted on a local twin mom FB page asking how the moms had gotten their kids to stop co-sleeping. After some really useful responses (not… There were a bunch that were like “good luck! Our kids are 3 and STILL in our bed! Lolololol” wow, so helpful. I’m clearly pulling my hair out and asking for help…), there was a lady that said she’d gotten help from Jessica several times and she was of tremendous help over the course of the I think 18 months they’d had their twins. I’d literally never heard of a sleep consultant before, and I was stuck between thinking it was super bougie and California-style (read:unnecessary) or possibly the most helpful thing that could ever be. Turns out it’s probably a bit of both, but definitely more the latter.

As you likely know, I was dealing with some pretty intense lows in my postpartum anxiety and depression. I knew sleep training was a thing and that I had to get the kids on a routine, but anytime I tried I just got so overwhelmed. One of my issues has consistently been an inability to cope with my kids crying – which I know is silly, they’re babies. They cry. But still any time I tried to put them down and ignore them for x-amount of time, it just didn’t happen. And I knew I was teaching them bad habits by giving into their cries but in my head I had no other options. I had no idea what to do. So Dave and I had talked about it, and how much was going to be our limit on the cost. How much is getting our bed back worth to us? Our sanity? All of that. We have limited savings, and we’re trying really hard to get debt put away and a down payment on a house put together. Is it worth taking a chunk of that and putting it to something that could possibly not work?

Enter Jessica. She was really quick to respond and set up a consult with us to see if she could help us. We chatted on the phone for a bit, told her our story and what the kids were up to. She told us upfront what the costs would be – I expected it to be at least double what we were quoted. Basically there was a flat fee for two weeks of help, on the premise that both kids would be on the same schedule and only require the one routine. Once we established that we were interested in her help, we set up a video consult with her. It took about 90 minutes and we went through eeeeeverything. She had all of the questions for us; stuff that I wouldn’t have even thought about. We decided on a start date and she set to work, sending us a comprehensive routine and set of guidelines the next day. She even set me up with a wellness plan because I was really nervous about how my crazy brain was going to do through this process. That’s one thing I really loved about working with Jessica – There was so much support on every level. Zero judgment about the depression or how anxious I was about all of this. When she was doing check-in’s it was for all of us, not just how the kids were doing with the sleep routine. She was full of advice and breathing exercises, and was clear about how I needed to present a happy and in-control mood when I was trying to put the kids to bed.

I have said this before, and I will say it again. Hiring Jessica was the best money we’ve ever spent. I’m hesitant to say how much we spent because I don’t want to lock her into fees for anyone reading this, but it was well under $400 for the two weeks of help. MORE than worth it. We have our sanity back, we have our bed back, we’re all so much more rested and our family is functioning better. I haven’t had a really depressed day in almost a month, and aside from some lingering anxiety I feel like I’ve gotten my PPD completely under control. The kids are well rested and raising them doesn’t feel like the overbearing chore it used to be. They’re learning things faster and having much better days. Dave is sad he doesn’t get to see the kids as much because of his work schedule but it’s worth it because he doesn’t have to worry all day that I’m breaking down. So often he’d come home from a long day at work to me just sobbing or emotionally wrecked, with two crying babies in my arms. That hasn’t happened in forever. He can go to work and just worry about doing what he has to do. We don’t need to burden my in-law’s with overnighters every weekend (they say they loved the visits but it’s a lot having visitors to begin with, nevermind giving up pretty much every weekend to help with babies!) We can make plans and appointments with confidence, and holy shit – I can meal prep now. I used to set the babies up in jolly jumpers or their chairs and just hope and pray that I could do what I needed to do to get dinner ready in time to cook it for Dave to come home. Then when we ate, we’d either take turns eating and taking care of babies or just eat with a kid on our lap. Now I prep dinner during their naps, and I’m able to cook it when they go down and have it ready by the time Dave is home. Then we enjoy our meal. Like grown-ups! I’ve recently become obsessed with my KitchenAid mixer, and I have time to use it. I made a super bad ass Cookie Dough cake this past week for when my family visited (I will make a post on that as well, cuz god damn!) that took several hours of work over two days. There is NO way I could have gotten that done if we hadn’t gotten the kids sleep trained.

Whether you get someone to help you, or do it on your own – I implore you to sleep train your kids. We didn’t want to ever be fighting with our kids about routine things like bed time. Now bed time will always have been a thing, they won’t remember a time where things were lawless and unorganized. It won’t be a punishment, it will just be the way it is. I’m sure there will still be arguments – they’re kids. But if we stay consistent on bed time and the routine, the arguments will be moot because again – it’s the way it is and always has been.

A lot of you will likely just have one kid. My friend has been sleep training her son for the past couple of weeks after I was evangellically extolling the benefits we’d been reaping, and her boy was having a tough week or so of sleep. I let her know some of the things that we’d been doing with the twins but she did a lot of reading and listened to a lot of podcasts. She found herself some great methods that she’s been seeing some great benefits of. It’s been very exciting to have someone to share this journey with, because those who don’t get it will likely just hear me ranting about my happiness like “oh wow, I’m happy you’re happy.” But this girl and anyone else who’s done the sleep training after a tough run gets it, gets the difference. It is life changing.

So I say to ye weary and frazzled new moms – whether you have one baby or ten babies (holy fuck can you imagine?!) Sleep train. And if you’re too weary and frazzled like I was, get some help. It is 10000% worth the money. If you’re struggling with cost I promise it will seem like pennies in comparison to the benefits you reap from your family being well rested.

Be well, mamas!

Posted in All, Musings

Big Pumpin’

So I’ve been trying to ween off pumping, and apparently going far too fast. I’ve got this big ol’ blocked duct under my areola. I think there might be some other little ones around cuz DAMN Lahey hurts. (My tits are named Lahey and Randy.) It sucks too cuz the block is right under where the pump horn sits so it’s hard to massage out without losing suction and getting a titty fart.

I’m guessing people know what I’m talking about. Pumpers, at least.

I think the important discussion here is, I finally agreed to stop pumping. It seems a weird time to do so, we’ve just gotten them sleep trained and they’re still not really into solid food. (This week we’re gonna try some stuff other than rice cereal. I’d heard the grain cereals were the way to go, but since I fed them that stuff I’m hearing literally everything else. Tomorrow we’re gonna try mashed banana and titty milk.) Plus with the sleep training, I feel like I’ve gotten a lot of my mental health back. So why the cut?

Cuz I’m selfish. I want my tits back. I want my time back. And it still makes me really anxious while I’m pumping, especially when I pump at night for some reason. It’s like the last remaining source of intense anxiety I have left. And it’s weird, because I hadn’t really gotten pumping anxiety for a while. It kinda came back with the sleep training so I figure I was so anxious and mentally unwell that I just didn’t notice the anxiety when it came. Like it was just a pebble in a rock slide or something. Then once I started feeling better sleeping properly again, the pumping anxiety became more intense in contrast.

I get anxious when I think about not pumping anymore too. I’d always been of the mind that you should give babies breast milk until they’re about two, at least that’s what I learned in high school Biology. Not that I’d planned to have a toddler hanging off my chest…. But basically my plan was to breastfeed until 6 or 8 months, get them onto a bottle by a year and then bottle/sippy cup feed them until 2. Of course, this was before kids. Once I had the twins and we realized breastfeeding was a pipe dream cuz of the bottle feeds in the NICU. But the plan was still to pump until 18 months or 2 years, then came the question of whether it was causing or worsening my postpartum issues. I was really resistant to stopping, cuz I want my kids to have the best start especially cuz they were premature. They’ve caught up tremendously! They’re doing amazing. They haven’t looked premature since they were like 3 months old, and they learn insanely fast. Knowing that they’re pretty well caught up, I’m a little more comfortable with not breastfeeding anymore.

So I figure, I’ll very slowly stop. I’m guessing I have that (those) blockage(s) because I’ve slowed down too fast. I went from 25 to 30 minutes to 20 minutes in like a week. I was still getting similar volume though, so that’s interesting. As I wrote the first half of this post I did a full 30 minutes (31 actually) to get rid of the blocks, and it seemed to work but I guess I’ll find out as the day goes on. My tit doesn’t hurt as much as it did when I started writing this so it’s a win either way!

Anyways, the NEW plan is basically to cut two or three minutes off each week. So it’ll take me 12 to 15 weeks to really cut’er down, and that gives me tons of time to get the kids eating all kinds of tasty food. Plus my crazy milky flow doesn’t get all stopped up and cause me the pains. I had the beginnings of mastitis once a few months ago and it was fucking brutal. I thought I had COVID I felt so bad. I was in intense body pain, felt like I was gonna throw up and couldn’t really eat, I was so tired – and this was before sleep training so for me to have said I was way more tired at that point? I figure you get the idea. (At this point it’s also probably important for me to note that I’m a notorious hypochondriac…) Needless to say I didn’t have the COVID. Not long after I made the appointment to get the test it dawned on me that I might be getting mastitis, cuz my tits really hurt too. So I did a major pump, lots of massaging and I went for quite a while. I felt way better almost immediately.  Still got the test cuz… You never know!!! What if it’s cancer?!?! Google said it was!!

So yeah. I’ll keep y’all posted on my progress I’m sure. Maybe I’ll chicken out of quitting cuz my mood has been great, and I really do want to give them the good stuff as long as I can. I’ve mentioned that I’m a recovering conspiracy theorist, and you don’t really need to be a conspiracy theorist to not trust Nestle or large food production companies. I don’t really want my kids on formula, and I’m lucky enough to have a strong milk supply. I never had to take meds for that or rely entirely on formula and I’m grateful for that. I lost one of my dearest friends to Domperidone (actually that’s who we named Birdy after.) Scary shit! She left behind a seven month old baby – my babies are just over seven months now. Just… Didn’t wake up one morning. Her husband found her slumped over the edge of the bed like she was trying to turn on the lamp or something. She and many other women accidentally gave their lives to feed their babies breast milk. It makes me feel a little guilty that I’m just calling it quits because I feel like it. And I get the whole “you have to do what’s best for you and your family” but this seems like something I won’t know is a mistake until long after. Or maybe it’ll be fine and I’m worrying for nothing. I dunno. Life is bonkers.

For now I’ll keep pumping, less and less until I’m out of milk. And of course, worry on and off the whole time that I’m not doing the right thing. But hey, I guess that’s why I have a blog. To talk this shit out with myself in a public forum!

Thanks for listening. And now to post this without reading it, just like almost all of my posts.

Posted in All, My Story

Adventures in Sleep Training – Days 8 through 12 (The Level-out)

Today I feel like the pendulum has slowed and I’m back in the middle of the spectrum. I’m really, really happy with my life and my family but I’m not so elated I feel like I’m on drugs. Which is good, cuz when I’m that happy it gets ruined by my concerns of the mood crash. This is just regular happy. It’s a good place. I also got a KitchenAid Mixer today for my birthday (which isn’t until December, but Dave found a refurbished one for super cheap!) So I got a mega kitchen boner and all I want to do is bake. Bake alllll of the things!

Fast forward two days to when I had the chance to pick this up. I did bake. Oh did I bake… I made some incredible cupcakes. Vanilla with a light lemon buttercream. God damn, I’m good. Maybe I’ll do a baking blog some day. Baking and cooking makes me happy. Not like… Matty Matheson happy. But pretty happy. I love feeding people, and I love eating. One of the reasons I was excited to be a parent is to cook and bake with my kids.

Sleep training is still going well overall. Today kind of sucked but it was still far better than before. Birdy seemed to want minimal naps today and was dragging her brother along for the ride, so there was a lot of cranky crying today. Yesterday I don’t think they woke up on their own once. I like it more that way. Well rested babies, with a well rested mom who feels accomplished for getting one or two chores done.

My mood is still fairly level, in spite of a dip today. I wonder if it’s the therapy session I had in the morning opening the gates on some shitty memories or if it’s just the way she goes.

Fast forward again. Day 11 already. Still a pretty level day except I can’t seem to make time for blogging or showers. That’s more a side effect of my laziness though… Maybe I’m catching up on sleep and laze, maybe I’m just feeling bleh. Either way my mood is fine, so I consider that a win. I continue this post while I sit and wait for the babies to settle. There’s been no check-in yet. Usually they only need one check, and once we put their soother in its over pretty quick. Sometimes they find it on their own, but more often they cry until we come in. I’m not sure if this is a healthy habit.

I reverse jinxed it. They’re quiet now.

Oh wait, I regular jinxed it. Moose is still mad

Nope reverse jinxed it again. Quiet.

Oh shit. Regular jinx again. He had his soother, damnit! Birdy’s is across the crib but I watched Moose put his in his mouth. Now he’s doing that sobbing cry like he just lost a limb or a loved one. Ugh. I wonder if I’ll ever get used to that.

I have to say though, I do much better with it than I expected I would. Now I only break over them crying if I’m uncertain about what I’m doing. Like if I goof up their nap schedule and they’re hungry at an odd time, and I don’t know if I should feed them right away when I’m gonna start their bed time routine in an hour. Or if they’re waking up from naps riiiight before the minimum 70 minutes so I have to chill them out before I let them get up. Or not, if they’re just pissed off and hungry.

Ok it’s taken me days to write this. I am one busy mama!

I went for a walk today. I think one of the reasons I hit some lows is because I haven’t gone for any walks. I learned a few months ago that I need to walk or I go crazy, but I guess I had to learn it again. I felt great all night, and I only walked for like a half an hour. I got home, hung with the kids, put them to bed, prepped dinner, iced the cake I made earlier, put all of the laundry away and posted a bunch of stuff for sale on FB. Productive as fuck, yo. I’ve been really nervous to leave for more than 20 or 30 mins cuz last time I did, I screwed up their bed time. I think I’m getting the hang of their sleep schedule enough that I can go walking again. At the very least, just up and down my street. There’s a big ol’ hill there, it’ll help get rid of these cakes and cookies I’ve been making with my mixer. (I need to start bringing these things to other people….)

So the level-out continues. I learn, I screw up, I learn again, I eat, I eat, I eat… Our consultant has given us all of the tools we need. Now we just need to stick to the schedule as best as we can, and find ways to stay sane inbetween. I am already forgetting how much easier it is these days. How convenient! But it is better. Everything is better. I appreciate my kids more, and I have time to get shit done.

I am not sure how to end this one so….. Bye?

Posted in All, My Story

Adventures in Sleep Training – Day 7 (The Lows)

So yesterday I rambled a lot about the amazing highs I’ve been feeling this week. And let’s be clear – I’m still feeling them. But maybe its time to talk about the downsides and the lows I’m feeling too. Especially because today the emotional pendulum has begun to swing the other way. I have definitely not reached the misery levels I’ve hit in the last several months, but you know. Feelin’ it.

So first off, I think I talked about this yesterday (I talk about a lot of things on this blog and in my real life that I will likely repeat. Repetition is the repetition is the repetition is the best way to learn things. For me, anyways… Ok but yeah. The one thing I notice I’m missing – and now on a more hormonal level, I think – sleeping with my babies. I feel like it’s hard to get snuggle time now. Snuggles make them sleepy, and we’re still in the phase of trying to teach them when to sleep and when to be awake. We get our snuggles in here and there, especially when we’re really struggling to keep them awake and holding them to keep them calm. Then they get their soothers and tend to just flop down on us for snuggles. It’s heartshattering that we can’t just take them to bed for a nap. Before we started sleep training, I was missing Dave even though I saw him every day. Now that that is balanced I find I’m missing the kids in the same way. Go figure!

I am super, super cranky these last two days. I’ve thought a lot about it, and I’ve kind of noticed it’s because I can’t seem to get the hang of the sleep training myself. The kids are doing great but it’s like I’ve decided we’re ready to schedule things and we’re not. I keep guessing on their naps and I’m screwing it up every time. The other day we went for a walk for their catnap and I thought I had everything ready and set up to go, but we got there at like 4:15 or something and didn’t leave until an hour or so later. They ended up in bed at 7:30 instead of 6:30 because I just didn’t have my shit together. As I type that, I’m wondering if the sleep consultant is going to remind me not to speak so negatively. Sorry Jessica. But… I’m cranky. So nyeehhh.

Anyways, I just feel like I’m getting too caught up in the math. Dave was getting frustrated with me this morning because I’m overcomplicating this like I do everything. “Ok, they went down at 8:30 which means they’ll probably be up around 10 or 10:30, which means they’ll go down at noon or 12:30 and wake up again at…” I’m already frustrating myself. Being the imperfect perfectionist I am, I’m always looking to schedule things. I like working off of lists and at least a loose idea of how my day is going to go. One of the things I was so overjoyed about is that I can plan my day now, and get things done. But I’m finding a clash between trying to do that and work the kids’ schedules. One or the other is getting sacrificed and it’s starting to make me anxious. I’m feeling out of control again. I need to feel like I have some kind of control over my life or I start to go crazy. Funny how it took me like 30 years to realize what a control freak I am. At least I kind of knew it before I had kids!

The anxiety is also back. It’s probably another by-product of feeling out of control. I’m irritable and silly things are happening in my head. I remember when the kids were in the hospital and my anxiety started getting out of control, I’d picture horrible shit like people dropping them or their monitor becoming unscrewed from the wall and falling on them, or the milk having been out too long and making them sick… Just unreasonable things to be concerned about. That kind of stuff is happening again, and not quite at the frequency it was happening then. I’m trying to think of an example but I can’t. Just nervous about unreasonable shit.

I’m irritable as hell too. Oh fuck. Am I pregnant…? Let’s put that horrible concern away for a minute… Fuck… Period is in two weeks. Cross your fingers for me.

Anyways… I’m irritable as hell. Dave broke my Anchor 2-cup measuring cup yesterday and I snapped on him. And he says it’s not a big deal, and I’m sure it isn’t. But 1) I’m not really the type of person to get mad about an accident, 2) I’m not the type of person to be mean when I’m mad and 3) I’m clumsy as fuck and that totally could have been me. Dave and I have broken like 5 glasses between us in the last like 3 months and it’s disappointing to lose our favourite glasses, or my new measuring cup, or whatever. But it is not an issue. We can get another Tofino Brewing glass. We can DEFINITELY get another measuring cup.

So that was a fairly bad example because I have a reason to be legitimately irritated, but it’s even in little things. Dave tried to kiss me while I was doing something yesterday and I just got so annoyed with him. I stopped myself and kissed him back, because I realized I was just being a bitch, and I don’t think he really noticed I got shitty about it in my head. (He never really does, he’s such a chill person that other people’s moods don’t really affect him. I’m forever jealous of that trait and hope he passes that on to our kids.) I also got frustrated making too much dinner and I couldn’t mix the sauce, the veggies and the chicken properly so I made him do it. Then I wouldn’t even eat right away. I went for a walk.

All of this to say – the mood swing has swung. I still wouldn’t give up the progress we’ve made for any of this, and there’s a really good chance this is just hormones. My period came back a few weeks ago and I’ve noticed some wonky shit going on in my body, maybe all this is just a byproduct of getting back into Shark Week. I’ve also decided it’s time to slowly ween off pumping now that the kids are going to be getting into real food soon. I’m sure that has to have SOME affect on my hormones and likely my mood.

But I repeat – I would still not give up the progress we’ve made with the kids, and as a family over the last week. Sleep training has been amazing. I will find a way to get over my shit and go back to being crazy in a good way.

Posted in All, My Story

Adventures in Sleep Training – Days 4, 5 and 6 (The Highs)

As I said in Day 3, I sort of lost steam on doing a continual update. I have a list that I’ve been updating for the sleep consultant, and I’ll put that up at the bottom here once I’m done rambling.

Before I keep going, I want to speak to getting a sleep consultant. I feel like I did on the first day, but I just need to say HOLY SHIT, THIS IS THE BEST DECISION I’VE EVER MADE. It sounds super new age and bougie, but I had no idea where to start with sleep training. Especially with twins. I got some funny looks from family and friends, like ‘oh… Sounds expensive.. Are you sure you need that..?” and I’m really glad I didn’t take that to heart. It was under $400 for two weeks of help, and it just seems like pennies in comparison to the sanity and structure it’s given our family. Plus I expected it to be much more expensive (I mean, I guess I had no idea how much it was going to be… But to me, the word ‘consultant’ usually means several more digits.) She really broke down what needed to happen and tailored it to our life and schedule. I have a much better understanding of how babies function, and I can see the improvement in their cognitive function when they’re properly rested. I’m the kind of person who has to ask a lot of questions about why thinks work the way they do, and she has all of the answers. I’m still not 1000% confident but even if I was cast off on my own today I’d be able to figure it out from here. If you feel like you’re struggling to get a handle on naps and bed time, or if you’re even remotely as daunted as I was – I promise you it will be worth the expense.

On that theme, let’s talk about some of the benefits we’ve experienced this week.

For one, anyone who’s read my blog or even scanned it over knows that I’ve been dealing with some wicked postpartum mental health issues. Well I don’t want to say they’re solved – It’s been less than a week. But I can say with complete certainty that I’ve never been this happy in my life. To the point where I’m nervous because I’m waiting for the mood swing that will bring me back to earth. Seriously though, I’m getting sleep – as much as I need and probably more. I sleep when the babies sleep, and with them going to bed for like 12 hours at 6 or 7 there’s time for Dave and I to spend some time together AND get a good night’s sleep. I still have anxiety over random things (like the other night when I couldn’t sleep and my head got all wacky about people dying) and I get cranky at the drop of a hat. That could totally be my hormones balancing back out now that my period is back too. I dunno.

Dave and I have been falling even deeper in love. We were already near disgusting to people, so annoyingly and adorably in love. This week it’s like we’ve hit another level. He’s such a great dad, and an amazing partner. I cannot believe my luck. And at the risk of going too far, I’m gonna also say that the sex has been fantastic. With good timing too, he just had a vasectomy and we’ve got a quota over the next couple months to make sure we’re clear. Personal shit aside – I feel like I can be a better partner to him and take care of the house end of the partnership. I think I mentioned that I’ve taken care some cleaning and organizing that just has not been able to take place since the kids came. I have time to prep dinner and tidy up our tiny place a bit before he gets home from doing his end – bringing home that bacon.

I also get to shower, which is super exciting for myself and anyone I happen to walk past.

So yeah. Sleep train your kids. We knew it was time because they’d always been good sleepers, then all of a sudden we were fighting with them to go to bed. It would go back and forth between having to stand and rock Moose to sleep while I sang to him or talked to him or just did the mom bounce, and having to walk Moose around the house doing the same thing. They’d cryyy and cryyyy and cryyyyy… I’d be half in tears myself. We’d read about the sleep regression so we figured it would be a couple weeks of this and then things would go back to normal. They didn’t. Plus, they were still sleeping in our bed and that was getting increasingly unsafe as they got bigger.

The kids woke up, and I got sidetracked. So I’ll continue this rambling thought train tomorrow.

Posted in All, My Story

Adventures in Sleep Training – (Most of) Day 3

Looks like I lost steam on the whole play by play thing. I’ll post the quick notes I’ve been sending the consultant at the bottom, just in case that was helping anyone. I couldn’t really keep up with doing it blog style. I’ve been really good about putting my phone down when the kids are up, I don’t want them to grow up seeing me with my face down all the time because I feel like that will likely get them addicted to screens right off the bat. Not interested in that! Plus, these are the only kids I’m gonna have. I want to be paying attention to them and enjoying every moment. Dave and I only watch TV when they’re sleeping – I usually don’t even have it on. I have shit to do around the house that hasn’t been done in months, and I want to start blogging more now that I have the time. We’re gonna get another bluetooth speaker for the house cuz Dave takes his to work, and the kids and I like to party.

I started this post before I lost steam, so here it is. The cat nap post at 2:53pm was as far as I got, the rest after that is from the notes I sent the consultant.

It’s been an interesting and somewhat emotional ride so far, and I mean that in a good way. It’s funny though, last night I couldn’t sleep until well after their night feed. I missed them. I missed having them snuggled in between Dave and I, each of us holding a baby in our arms. It’s really sweet, and I don’t know that we’ll ever really be able to do that again. It’s definitely for the best and I wouldn’t trade the progress we’ve made for anything. But I will really miss snuggling my babies to sleep. It ended up turning into some anxiety too, in my sleepless state. What if they’re not breathing and I won’t find out until I go get them out of their cribs? Then I went off on that type of dark tangent for a couple hours, as one does when they’re sleep deprived and definitely crazy.

Anyways, today has so far been a bit more hectic than the last two days for several reasons. Dave is back at work today, I didn’t sleep much last night and the kids aren’t sleeping for a super long time. They’re still tired though. Maybe this is the regression that the consultant was talking about. On that note, hiring a sleep consultant was the best decision Dave and I have ever made. It has made this process so much more manageable. It seemed like overkill, and we had a few people hear we were doing that and they seemed confused and just kinda shook their heads. But this isn’t something I would have been able to accomplish myself with ease. I’d been trying. We needed to reclaim our bed, and I needed to reclaim at least some of my day and what little sanity I ever had. I’ve felt great, even today being this tired I feel better than I usually do emotionally. I have a better relationship with my kids and I’m able to enjoy my relationship with Dave. It’s so weird missing someone you’re sitting next to, but we’re always busy being parents. We rarely got the chance to just be us and in love. And we are very much in love.

Without further ado, I give you day 3 of our wacky Sleep Saga.

5:55am – Moose woke at 5:32 and was super pissed off. Did a check and he calmed down for a bit after that. Took four minutes on the second timer. He woke up again 3 minutes ago again pissed. Yelling (aaaamamamamamama and stuff) and thrashing around in his crib. He can’t sit up on his own so that’s pretty much just rolling around and waving his arms. Birdy wiggled a bit and readjusted, but is still sleeping. Feels silly to tell him to sleep with two minutes left but I guess I get it. Resetting the internal clock. Still…. Also.. holy shit I want to go hold my poor baby. He’s so upset. And the “aabababababa’s” and “aaaaaamamamamama’s” are killing me. That kid really sobs, it’s heartbreaking.

6:00am – Got Moose up. He didn’t really need another check cuz he’d quiet down for a minute or two then start up again, so I just pushed it to when we had to get them up. Turns out he pooped. A lot. Woke Birdy up five minutes later, changed them and fed them.

8:05am – Wow, that was such a fight to keep them awake until 8 lol. I kinda cheated, because Moose was falling asleep no matter what I did. I tossed him in the air and he smiled but his eyes were barely open. That was 7:54, so I changed him and put his sleep sack on him before putting him in his crib. By the time I came out to get Birdy it was 7:56 so they were probably both in the crib a few minutes early. Maybe it was 8 on the dot after I finished singing to them and left.

I am not sure what’s harder, keeping them awake or leaving them to cry in their crib. Dave might be right, it might be harder to keep them awake when they just want to sleep. Poor babies. Hopefully we can establish a solid routine and this won’t seem like such a dick move.

I also feel like it’s worth mentioning how many phantom cries Dave and I hear. I’ll have the monitor on and be looking at them, and I will still think I hear crying through the wall. It is pretty constant. I’d say I’m crazy, but Dave hears it too and he’s one of the most stable people I know.

11:33am – Babies woke up. I was napping, and it was really hard to not just pretend they hadn’t been sleeping long enough and do 5 minute checks. I’m lazy – what can I say? I didn’t though. Got up and fed the kiddos. Got them in the jolly jumpers around 10. Now is the right to keep them awake again because Dave is home from work for a few hours. Moose is pissed.

12:08pm – Did the change and song at 11:55 and got out of their room by 12. Moose wasn’t having it. Did one check and then three minutes later he was out. Dave had put his soother back in but he spat it right out. Then I guess he finally passed out.

12:43pm – Birdy woke up, Moose soon after. We did two checks, then it seemed like they settled. I was incorrect. Moose did, Birdy got back up and started wailing again. Their naps are supposed to be about 70 minutes and we were about halfway through lunch, so we just went in at 1:17 to get them out of bed.

2:53pm – Changed them and put them down, sang a song and closed the door. A bit of fussing once I was in there but nothing after I left.

3:31pm – Birdy woke first, Moose is wiggling too.

5:10pm – Bathed and dressed babies, put in sleep sacks
5:20pm – Fed both babies at the same time 💪 Did story time and brushed teeth (gums?)
5:44pm – Sang to them and left. Birdy was out before I left, Moose is fussing
5:50pm – Did the check, gave him the soother, he was out almost immediately

6:33pm – Moose woke up, woke Birdy up too. They stopped right as the timer was beeping. He started again about 30 seconds later, so I restarted the timer
6:45pm – Did a check. He settled for a minute then started again. Birdy is out.
7:24pm – Moose finally settled.
7:30pm – Woke up for a second again, Birdy wiggled. Didn’t make it to five mins
7:41pm – Birdy woke up but went back to sleep right away

10:14pm – Moose woke up angry. Birdy still sleeping. Did one check and he calmed down with two minutes left on the next timer.

11:38pm – Birdy fussed for two mins

Posted in All, My Story

Adventures in Sleep Training – Day two

So far it’s been a smashing success. It’s so much easier than I thought it was going to be, emotionally and otherwise. I’m still trying really hard to prepare myself for the regression, because I’m sure it’s coming, but at least now I’ve seen some results. I’m enjoying being a mom, were all getting better sleep, and once the routine is set we’ll be able to make better plans. It’ll be so much better. Plus it will set the foundation for the rest of their childhood. It won’t be a struggle because it will just be the way it is. Bedtime is bedtime. End of story. We just have to keep consistent on it. Which… I’m pretty consistent at the best of times. Anyways, here’s part two of the exciting saga.

7:44am – We woke up late. Not like, super late. But Dave happened to look at his phone at 7:01 and we bolted out of bed. I set an alarm for 6:15, but I guess it was one of the ones that I set when I’m awake and paying attention cuz it was silent and just on vibrate. Derp. I set a proper one for tomorrow. Either way, got the kids up and fed. Now we’re playing. Gotta keep them awake until 8:30. Gotta stay awake ourselves until 8:30.

8:37am – Put the babies down at about 8:33 after a change and a sleep sack. Of course our snuggly boy is the one crying, Birdy is out. He’s doing his enunciated cry, the “mamamamama” and “babababababa.” It hurts to listen to. But he’s ok. I bet I don’t even make it to five minutes. Aaaand as I typed that last sentence he stopped. Just under four minutes. I’m so impressed with my amazing babies!!

One thing I’ve really noticed is that I’m enjoying the babies a lot more. I know I kind of touched on this before, but I was so exhausted and overwhelmed with babies that I just kinda put them in their exersaucer or jolly jumpers or whatever, and let them do their thing. Now I’m engaging with them and really enjoying them. I miss them when they’re napping, and it feels less like a job I’m forced to go to and more like something I want to do. I am starting to enjoy being a mom which has been a major concern for me since the kids came out. I just have not enjoyed it at all. This will give me the time and space to be a better parent, and start to enjoy the process.

11:35am – Birdy woke up at 10:01, and by the time I’d started making bottles she was asleep. Dave didn’t even go in and get her or check or anything. She was oooot. So I went back to sleep. At 11:01am Dave came and woke me by handing me a happy but sleepy faced Birdy. We fed them and we’ve been playing with them. Now I’m pumping while I watch them in their jolly jumpers. If you are ever sad, just look up babies in jolly jumpers. It will make you so happy. I have a huge smile on my face right now. They’re so funny!

12:45pm – We we’re gonna wait until one, but ended up putting them down at 12:45. They’re supposed to go to bed wide awake and they were getting sleepy. Made more sense than fighting with them to stay awake. They again stopped crying before the timer went off, and it was again pretty much just Moose. Plan is to get them up around 3 so we can go for a walk at 4 again and have them in bed by 630 or 7. So fucking proud of my babies. They’re taking to this so well. I know there’s supposed to be a regression soon but…. Still. My babies are amazing. And so is my fiance. I love my family. I’m the luckiest mama in the world. I hope this isn’t just a mood swing.

2:41pm – Kids woke up just before 2:30. We left them for a sec cuz we were both in the middle of something, and that’s when I got up and got them. Changed them and started feeding them at around 2:50pm.

4:00pm – Put those adorable babies to bed. Doesn’t sound like they were super ready for it. They’ve both been squawking since. Had a really nice play block with them. We’re having so much fun with them. One check down, hopefully only one more to go? This is their cat nap so we’ve decided we’re getting them out of there at 4:45 at the latest whether they sleep or not, cuz they have to be awake for a minimum of 90 mins before we put them to bed for the night.

4:45 – Woke babies up. They looked like they felt ripped off cuz it took them a bit to get to sleep.

6:40pm – Just put the kids down. Started the routine at 6:05, got them bathed and changed and into their sleep sacks. Now they are piiiiisssssed lol. Few more minutes until the first check.

6:51pm – Moose had some trouble settling down, but not enough for me to go check on him. Birdy was out within five mins, and Moose stopped for almost a minute so I shut off the timer. He started again not long after and then settled 30 seconds before the timer was going to go off. So… No checks at all!

6:52pm – Right as I put my phone down from writing the last bit, Moose started up again. And it looks like he woke his sister. The timer is back on.

6:56pm – They are out. Didn’t even finish out the timer. Sleeping and no checks at all. My babies are amazing. I’d get them capes if it wasn’t a safety hazard. Maybe we could sew some to some onesies…

7:38pm – Moose squawked a bit, he’s quiet now but I can see him moving on the monitor. After a minute or two he chilled out and is back to sleep.

7:47pm – The moose is squawking once again. Set the timer, hope he chills out. He’s very wiggly.

7:49pm – He’s out.

8:29pm – Birdy woke up, set the timer. Checked, reset timer. We’re allowed to go in and replace the soother on the first check, and this was the first check. So I kind of went in a bit too long because I couldn’t find the damned soother. Ended up just leaving after 20 or 30 seconds because I figured it had gone off the edge of the crib and I didn’t want to wake Moose or disrupt the cycle. Mission accomplished though, she was out 3 minutes after I came out of there. Good baby!

11:53pm – She’s woken up three times in the last hour but this was the first time she got any real time on the timer. The other two times were just a quick squawk then back to sleep immediately. This time she went for about four mins and almost woke Moose too.

I’m having trouble falling asleep tonight. I miss my babies. I’m loving the progress they’re making and in almost every way this sleep training is so much better for us as a family, but I am definitely missing falling asleep with a tiny baby in my arms. Next time they wake I get to feed them and smooch them. Maybe then I’ll get some sleep!

1:16am – Babies woke up at 12:45. Right as I was getting to sleep, of course. Got them fed and in bed by 1:15. So far no crying!

Posted in All, My Story

Adventures in Sleep Training – Day one (and a half)

Today is day one of sleep training. We’ve hired a sleep consultant cuz I’m a mediocre parent at best and I need some outside help. Surprisingly not as expensive as I expected. We had a consult with her last week and then set up a sleep plan and basically a daily routine for us. Dave is off work for the next two days so we decided tonight is the night to begin.

I’ve basically spent the last five days worrying, since we decided Monday was the day. I’ve been super anxious about starting the sleep training. I’m not great at waiting. Gives me too much time to think. So instead of being negative about it all the time I just went over the reasons were doing this to myself and whoever would listen to me. By the time it came down to it I was feeling pretty good about it instead of feeling like it wasn’t going to work and it was hopeless.

So, as per the consultant’s program I started by bathing both babies and getting them into sleep sacks. I fed them both and then read them a story. Brought them into their room where we’d set up a second crib and blacked out the window with tin foil. Put them in their cribs, sang them a song, turned on the white noise machine and then closed the door. And now I offer you a play by play of the evening.

5:45pm – Did the first five minute check. They were both screaming too loud to hear me. But I said my “key phrase” either way and left them to their tears.

5:50pm – This time they were a bit more settled but started losing it again after I went in to do the check. I feel like an asshole.

5:55pm – Screaming still. I feel like a horrible person at this point, it sounds like I’m hurting them. I’d forgotten to replace their soothers in the first two check-in’s so I did it this time. Birdy went right down. Moose’s fell out of his mouth right away but I was told I can only put it in once so they learn their own methods of falling asleep.

6:00pm – Birdy was still out. I broke the rules and gave Moose a soother again. I held it in his mouth for a sec and let his head fall before I moved my hand away. He was out after that.

6:05pm – I didn’t do this check because they were both out. Holy shit, did it work? Are they sleep trained now? Do I have to keep doing this? I want to go have a much needed shower but I feel like it’s jinxing it and they’ll be screaming by the time I’m out.

6:40pm – Birdy started crying. Not sure how long she’s been up, but shes pissed now. She woke Moose up. He’s not crying yet but he’s definitely awake. Started the timer… Five minutes…

6:45pm – Birdy is pissed but sounds like she’s losing steam. Moose was quiet until I went in and talked to them. Now he’s screaming too.

7:28pm – They’re still super angry, in spite of my five minute checks. How long is this supposed to go on before I just go get them? They’re not slotted for food until midnight. Will they cry that long? I feel fucking awful. Like I’m suffocating them or something. I have to keep in mind why I’m doing this. This is for them, and for us. The babies need routine and structure. They’ve been super cranky lately, and not napping properly. They do better when they know what’s coming. Plus Dave and I need some mommy and daddy time. We miss each other even when we see each other all the time.

7:33pm – It’s been almost an hour. It almost seems like they settle and then I stir them back up by checking on them. Or one will be starting to chill out then I wake them up by talking to the other one. This feels like abuse. This isn’t abuse, right? Still haven’t cried but I feel sick to my stomach. I poured a glass of wine but I have a headache so I don’t really feel like drinking. Emotionally I feel like drinking but not physically. I’m a bad fucking mom. I shouldn’t be doing this to them. There has to be another way. I’m told there isn’t though, need to stick it out.

7:46pm – Dave to the rescue. I was holding it together before Dave came in but I started crying when he came home from work. He’s gonna take over the checks. It’s been over an hour and Moose is still losing it. Birdy found her soother and is just kinda chillin’ and playing with it.

7:56pm – Birdy has definitely chilled out but is still crying on and off. Moose is losing it. He’s the snuggly one out of the two. Birdy is more independent. I figured she’d be pissed for longer cuz she’s really Right as Dave went in to do the check, they both quieted up. So we skipped this check. As I was writing this, Moose started crying again. So we started the timer again. Then he stopped. So we stopped. I hate this. He’s going on and off. And we have to restart the timer everytime he stops.

8:15pm – Moose seems to have chilled out (not sleeping yet, but not screaming) but Birdy has woken up and is back at it. Again I’m wondering how helpful it is for us to be checking if we stir up the calm one whenever we check. But it’s not like we can just bail on the kids for the night. I just want them to sleep. It’s been an hour and a half. Fuck. I feel sick.

8:30pm – Babies are calm.

8:37pm – Birdy is pissed.

8:41pn – Birdy is down. Both babies are sleeping. Time for my shower?

9:30pm – Watching TV with Dave. Decided not to shower cuz it’ll wake up the kids. They’ve been asleep for 40 mins. Made bottles.

10:53pm – Still good…. Time to pump and then go to bed.

12:16am – The young man is up. Birdy is still out. Dave’s gonna feed him then change him, as opposite to our usual feed then change. Gonna get Birdy up in 15 minutes.

1:05am – We fed and changed the kids, and put them back in their cribs around 12:55am. Birdy didn’t fuss, she just kinda rolled around for ten minutes. Moose fussed a bit and made some noise but didn’t really cry. Then by 1 he was out. Gonna enjoy some much needed and well deserved sleep in our bed alone.

5:42am – Birdy’s awake, just kind of cooing and wiggling. We’re not supposed to go get them, even if it’s 5:59am. They kinda cried on and off so we were able to keep resetting the timer and get them at 6am proper.

6:15am – We changed them, took them out of sleep sacks and fed them. Now to keep them awake until 8:30. They’re super tired, Moose is still pretty disoriented and Birdy is bleary-eyed but pretty into in the exersaucer. We’ll see when they start getting angry and sleepy.

7:25am – Kids are mad cuz they’re tired and want to go back to sleep. Birdy’s eyes are literally closing but they can’t nap until at least 8. Gotta find ways to keep them awake and happy.

7:42am – We’ve been playing with them and holding them and trying really hard to not let them fall asleep. We had a little Rob Zombie dance party in the kitchen, now we’re gnawing on chew toys. The whining has started for sure. Dave finds this harder than letting them cry in the crib. I disagreed, up until the crying started.

8:05am – Kids went down easy. We changed them, put them in their sleep sacks, turned the light off and I sang them their song (Somewhere Over the Rainbow.) I didn’t even need to do that, or even say the key phrase as we left but I did anyways. Consistency is key, I’m told. I’m training myself here too.

One thing I can say for sure is that I can already see it working, and I can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m hesitant to get excited about progress cuz I was told the first night might be easy but the following night or two will be hell. Either way – at least I can see things happening. For weeks we’ve had to fight them to go to sleep. Now we just spent half an hour fighting them to stay awake. What a switcheroo. Now, I nap. Dave and I have a call with our consultant at 9:15.

9:40am – Had our call with the consultant, and the kids are still sleeping. Apparently we have to wake them by 11 if they even sleep that long. I doubt it… Either way, back to sleep for me until they do wake up. Mama’s tired as hell. And this is the first time I’ve had a nap alone in my own bed in months.

9:44am – I jinxed it. Birdy’s up. But she’s really happy!

12:08pm – That was a fairly successful block. I even had to get Moose up, he kept sleeping after we got his sister. We fed them, got them in the jolly jumpers, then just played for a while. Like last time, they got fussy and sleepy around an hour before nap time. So we had to keep them distracted and entertained as they got increasingly pissed off. At 11:55 we read two little board books, then we changed them and put them in their sleep sacks. Put them in their cribs, turned on the Dohm (the sound machine) and sang them SOTR. Birdy cried for three or four minutes but she hasn’t started again since I stopped the timer. Fingers crossed. I’m going back down for a nap. ‘Sleep when they sleep,’ they all told me. Deal. Besides, Dave needs some quality time with the XBOX.

12:41pm – Moose woke up. Then just as the timer was about to beep, he found his soother and put it in his mouth. Now he’s quiet. So… Timer stopped but still ready.

1:53pm – Birdy woke up. Of course it’s the birdy.  The moose would sleep for hours if we let him. He’s usually a good sleeper once he’s asleep. Time to warm up the food…

1:54pm – False alarm! Food will be ready anyways.

2:33pm – Moose woke up first. Go figure, I guess I jinxed that too. We’d just been discussing if we should go wake them so we can keep bedtime to 530, then… Surprise! A waking baby. We decided (and had it confirmed by our consultant) that we’d put them down for their catnap around 4 and have them up for 5, so we can have them in bed for good at 630 or 7. So now we’re gonna go for a walk for their catnap. Might as well work off some of the anxiety eating I’ve been doing over the past 24 hours.

4:33pm – Hey fancy that, it’s been exactly two hours. We took the kiddos for the walk, Moose lasted about five minutes and Birdy took another five after that. I needed a shower desperately so I broke off from Dave to head back home and do that real quick. We’ll let them sleep until about 4:45 then wake them up again. Gonna wait until bedtime to feed them cuz it would only be like an hour later and they wait that long all the time. If they’re getting really hungry we can start our routine earlier.

6:41pm – At 6:10 we ran the bath and got the kids started on their bedtime routine. Wasn’t a full bath, just kinda rinsed them. Splashed some water, wet their heads… You know. A rinse. Got them fed, read a couple board books… Brushed their gums with their fancy brushes (just fits on our fingers. There’s toothpaste that goes with it but them not having teeth, it seems like overkill. Got the door closed at 6:40 and Moose immediately started crying. So the timer is on. Birdy is wiggling like crazy but not crying, so that’s promising. I guess we’ll see how this goes.

6:58pm – The emotions start right away, no valiant strength that fades or anything. Just straight to feeling like a horrible mother. I’ve done two checks so far and my heart is already breaking. I’m talking about it with Dave and he keeps telling me it’s ok, and to remember why we’re doing this. I reminded him that I’m just talking it out because it hurts. Moose is doing his cry where part of it is just “mamamamamama.” I don’t think he knows he’s saying mama but I do and that is even more heart wrenching. Gotta stay strong. The whole day went well, now comes the hard part.

7:06pm – As I put my phone down after writing the last bit, my alarm went off to go check on them. At the same time I heard the crying stop. I checked on the monitor and they’re both out. Holy shit. Did it really only take two or three checks? I’m sure we’re not out of the woods for the evening but still… That’s a good start.

Dave and I were talking earlier about how nice today has been, playing with the babies and enjoying them instead of being exhausted and overwhelmed by them and leaving them to play on their own. Just another reason to be sleep training.  Better quality of life all around! I feel like this will make me a much better parent in the long run. Like, incomparably better. I have time and the headspace to care more about my parenting, and also to take care of myself.

7:51pm – Both kids woke up but didn’t make it the full five minutes before they looked passed out again on the monitor. Within a couple more minutes they both started again. Now here comes the fun part. Last night it took two hours for this part to end.

8:03pm – I did the last check-in with the kids, and they seemed to stop crying. I’m headed to get DQ as a morale booster, Dave is in charge. I bet they’re still sleeping when I’m back.

10:08pm – Birdy woke up. They did good, stayed sleeping until now. I was right, they did really well.

10:38pm – She’s woken up twice now and we’ve only had to do one check on her. She’s asleep again for now. I think she’s hungry. I guess it’ll be a long hour and a half until food time.

12:39am – Moose woke up, and woke us up. Dave still had to go get Birdy. They’re so tired, they’re doing that adorable “I’m too tired to hold my head up” crash on our shoulders. Too cute. Must keep them awake. Fed them, doing a change, and back to bed. We’ve stayed up so late these last couple nights, I’m a wreck right now. Can barely keep my eyes open.

I decided to do a really in-depth list of updates. Maybe it would have helped me to know what things were really going to look like before I started. Maybe not. I dunno. I was really overwhelmed with the idea of sleep training, it seemed like such a daunting task. When the consultant was going over the twelve step bed time routine I asked if we could shorten it. Dave laughed at me, which made me feel really silly, and he and the consultant assured me it wasn’t as intense as I thought. Most of the stuff I was already doing. Bath time, dress them and put them in sleep sacks, feed them, read a story, put them in the cribs, sing a song, turn on the sound machine, say the ‘key phrase’ and then lights out and leave. We were already doing more than half of these things before. Wasn’t much of a change. Anyways… Maybe it’ll help, and maybe it’ll just be a record to remind me on the hard days that this can be done, and why it’s being done.