I remember every second of my first night in the hospital with my son as if it were last night. I remember it because even after 32 hours of labor and 7 more hours of no rest I wouldn’t sleep. My 1/2 a day old new born son wouldn’t sleep alone. His bassinet was right next to my bed but he wouldn’t stand to be put down; which was ok because I didn’t really want to put him down anyways.
(Jake, Morning of March 7th, 2016)
Jake helped. We took turns holding him 30 minutes at a time but I knew I was experiencing a high that he wasn’t…. I knew that it would be easier for me to pull an all nighter even after the hardest 32 hours of my life because the high after birth is stronger than any drug imaginable. So I took over the rest of the night. I watched the movie Annie twice, trying to keep my eyes pried while my sweet boy slept soundly in my arms.
(Dash Alexander March 6th, 2016- First night with mommy & daddy)
Believe me I’ve heard the horror stories. I have friends that are nurses and I’ve read un imaginably painful tales about parents that have fallen asleep and rolled onto their sleeping babies. It was never my intention to sleep at night with my infant in the bed. Which is why I didn’t shut my eyes that first night in the hospital. Which is why I slept 20 minutes at a time those first two weeks.
It was never my intention to sleep at night with my infant in the bed.
(Dash Alexander, March 7th, 2016)
And then it happened! I slept, 5 hours straight. Jake slept, 5 hours straight. Our son slept, 5 hours straight. It was the strangest sleep of my life, but it was also ironically the best sleep of my life. I remember waking up, (outer body experience) but feeling myself still sound asleep. My son chirped a little. He was breathing. My eyes were closed and our room was barely lit by the closet light but I could feel him breathing. I heard him breathing. I saw him, with my eyes closed, I knew he was ok with my eyes closed. And I know I sound like a damn crazy person and fair warning before you start reading any further I should probably mention that I am in fact a proud Christian So I am fully well aware that I may sound like a lunatic to some. But I’ve never felt so in tuned with myself, my family, God before. Becoming a mother made me feel so spiritually self aware of my surroundings and my sons surroundings. It’s true… A mothers intuition. It’s a real thing. And I am so unbelievably grateful that I have it.
I saw him, with my eyes closed, I knew he was ok with my eyes closed.
So there began our journey into co sleeping. I tried to break it. Some may say I didn’t try hard enough and that I am selfish but I did try. He would start out in the bassinet, lasting maybe twenty minutes and then I would pull him out and into my arms when nothing else would work. After every feeding I would start over and lay him in the bassinet but like clock work, he would end up back in bed. But I noticed a change in my parenting. I noticed I was becoming more focused, more energized, more tuned into motherhood. Suddenly I was crying less & feeling less post partum. More was getting done around the house although it wasn’t a lot and my breast milk was coming in more not to mention the spiritual connection I felt to my child and Jake which was more intense then ever. All because we were sleeping better at night. All because we were sleeping together as a family.
(Dash sleeping in with mommy right after daddy rocked him back to sleep)
I was becoming more focused, more energized, more tuned into motherhood. Suddenly I was crying less & feeling less post partum. More was getting done around the house although it wasn’t a lot and my breast milk was coming in
Don’t get me wrong, precautions were taken. My son never slept under our blankets, Jake and I never slept with more than one pillow and for the first few weeks we didn’t sleep with a pillow at all. Our son never squirmed passed our shoulders because we laid him on a baby pillow mat that never failed to keep him still and secure. I didn’t jump into this whole co sleeping lifestyle naïve. I don’t think just because I am experiencing this mother intuition or because Jake is experiencing this father intuition that we are invincible and that harm will or can never come to us and our family. But we take the risk of harm coming to us every day just by having children, driving to work, going to the mall, sending them to school. It’s the world we live in.
(Dash Alexander asleep on his pillow mat.)
I don’t think just because I am experiencing this mother intuition or because Jake is experiencing this father intuition that we are invincible and that harm will or can never come to us and our family.
At 5 months I gave the nursery a shot. I changed the sheets, cleared the bed of any decorative pillows, blankets and stuffed animals and positioned the baby monitor just right. I would be lying if I didn’t say I was nervous and excited at the same time. Our son fast grew into a big boy and a squirmy one at that. He went down easily. no fuss, no fight. I waited up a few hours on the couch with Jake as we watched a movie and nothing. I checked on him several times before we finally laid down to bed and still nothing. I plugged in my monitor and as I listened to the white noise, his slow, steady breathing over the monitor & I slowly drifted.
(Crib before baby)
Abruptly my heart beat pounded me awake. It was 6 am, I didn’t hear any white noise. I didn’t hear any slow steady breathing. The baby monitor was black. Dead. For a minute I went dead. I ran to his nursery and there he laid, quiet and sweet. Eyes open, no tears. Cooing at the site of me. I broke into tears and ran into the bedroom with him to wake Jake up. “Never again” I said.
I didn’t hear any white noise. I didn’t hear any slow steady breathing. The baby monitor was black. Dead. For a minute I went dead.
Looking back now, I know I was being over dramatic. I had this fear that he had woken in the night and I didn’t come to him because the monitor was dead. I pictured myself sound asleep while my sweet baby cry alone in the dark. It was an image I couldn’t escape for a long time. The truth is, I don’t think he had woken at all. And when he had it was 6 in the morning and my intuition was what woke me. That the mother in me knew that it was time to go to my baby.
After my panic over the baby monitor incident went away, Jake and I attempted the crib again. And again. And again. Some nights he would sleep through and some nights he would wake up and cry till I lay him in bed with us. Honestly, we probably could have had him in his crib full time by now. He’s truly not that difficult of a baby. And I’m lucky to have an involved partner that would have made the transition easier. I also know that the longer I wait to put him in his own bed the longer the transition will be when the time comes. But if I am being really honest here I have to be blunt when I say I really don’t care!
I don’t care because right now I am happy. I am so damn happy. Because my baby needs me. Right now in this moment, in this stage of his life he really truly needs me. It won’t be like this for long. He won’t need me forever. One day he is going to fall down and scrape his knee and I am going to want to help but he will say no. He isn’t going to need me. One day he is going to come home from school and he is going to ask to spend the night at a new friends house. He isn’t going to call begging me to pick him up at midnight. He isn’t going to need me. One day he is going to run to his room to a call a girl, shutting his door behind him for privacy. He isn’t going to need me. One day he is going to pack up his bags for college, hug me tight while I cry and say “I will see you soon mom.” He isn’t going to need me. One days he’s going to be a married man, with children, making his own decisions, the best decision for his family. He isn’t going to need me. One day I will be an old woman, he will be a grown man. He will ask me to stay with him, he will tell me how much he wants me to stay how much he needs me to stay but time will be out and I will have to tell him “son you no longer need me.”
One day I will be an old woman, he will be a grown man. He will ask me to stay with him, he will tell me how much he wants me to stay how much he needs me to stay but time will be out and I will have to tell him; son you no longer need me.
(Dash & Daddy, morning snuggles.)
Now I am not knocking non co sleepers. Every form of parenting deserves a pat on the back. We do what we believe is best for our children and I firmly respect that. I also know that not every parent is going to agree with me. Some might argue that my partner and I never have alone time this way, that our sex life will be no more. But were blessed with tons of daycare opportunity. We have date nights & our romance hasn’t suffered. Most importantly, were on the same page. If we were not I would agree with this very valid point. But in our situation, frankly I don’t.
I know that when the time comes to move our son from our bed to his own room, it will be hell. I know that he will fight us, that he will be angry with us. I know he will be confused and maybe even resentful. I am well aware of all of the above. But we will deal with it when the time comes. Because this time with him, these nights and these mornings, (good sleep aside) just having the ability to be this close to him is well worth it. Being able to soak up every minute of him needing me is well worth it.
Thanks for reading you guys. I will definitely let you guys know how things go when the transition happens and whether or not I have changed my mind about co sleeping. Parenthood is such a learning curve for everyone and we all do things and learn things are own way. I appreciate all who is respectful of just that. We are warriors. I am so proud of us all.