The latest in the sleep (no sleep) saga:

  • Angus does indeed have both a lip and tongue tie. The pediatric dentist revised the lip tie on Tuesday but determined that the lip tie wasn’t impacting his nursing (‘he’s doing what he’s supposed to with it’) and because of his age, didn’t want to revise. Poor L had to be a party to the lasering of his little mouth. We haven’t noticed any difference yet really, though we are both hopeful it will, at the very least, help with nursing.
  • Angus also has low iron. He’s been prescribed ferrous sulfate and we bought this lucky iron fish to use for water and cooking so he can get more iron in his body. That will also probably take a few days to resolve.
  • We decided that we’ll also probably continue working with the sleep consultant, unless the iron magically solves all sleep related issues.

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In other news . . .I screwed up and accidentally bought tickets to the demolition derby and not the monster truck show. I thought Ansel still might be into cars crashing but it started slow and really, what he’s into are monster trucks, so he was bummed. We ended up leaving pretty early at his request. Luckily, the show was at the Spring Fair, so we wandered around and saw animals and ate food and he got an inflatable princess hammer which he loves. So, it wasn’t a total loss.

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You may remember this asshole  orthopedic doctor I saw for the tingling in my foot, who did, after a lot of sending messages, agree to a nerve conduction study that showed – not surprisingly – nerve damage and atrophy causing the tingling. When I went to follow up with him he kind of shrugged and said it was probably a neuropathy caused by something in my spine or even diabetes (side note: I am not diabetic. I am not pre-diabetic. I am fat, but my metabolic panels are consistently excellent. so fuck you, dude) and he couldn’t help. Then he told me to lose weight again and come back and see him when I wanted that ankle fusion.

So I scheduled an appointment with the only other ortho practice my insurance covers in Tacoma. I saw him this morning and it was so much better. He listened to me, for starters. He also said that the tingling was very likely caused by some kind of impingement on the nerve from swelling, scar tissue, a cyst or a bone spur. He’d need an MRI to be sure. He also told me my subtalar joint (the joint below the ankle proper that controls side to side motion) is also compromised, which actually makes a simple ankle fusion not indicated, at least not without a lot of consideration. Because when the ankle is fused, the subtalar joint usually degrades very quickly. So it’s a process of evaluating pros and cons and figuring out the best way forward. Depending on what the MRI shows on the tarsal tunnel, he may want to do a release, but we won’t talk about any of that until he has the scans. He didn’t mention my weight at all. Let me be a reminder to all of you that doctors aren’t gods and they work for us. So if they are dicks, go find one who isn’t.

Also, the sun was out for almost a week and it was glorious. Today its cloudy and grey and cool again (after getting close to 80 yesterday!) but I feel like I can really appreciate it now after a sunny stretch. The sunny spring and absurdly beautiful summers out here make the rain worth it and lez be honest, I prefer a cool day to sweating buckets from April to September always.

Finally: Ansel’s first school picture makes me feel a little misty eyed and also like #IMadeDat

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Light at the edge

 

First, a few updates:

 

  • A pre-school mom friend recommended a sleep consultant to us and after hearing from others how helpful this has been, we decided to at least call for the free 15 minute consultation. The lady was *amazing* and gave us a few things to look into medically before we attempt anything behaviorally. Accordingly, we made an appointment to get his iron tested next week, since the way we described his restlessness (plus his prematurity + being breastfed) makes her think he is likely low on iron stores. (sidenote: it was a particularly shockingly uphill battle to get the pediatrician to ‘allow’ us to get this blood test prior to his 9 month appointment, which is weird because the appointment is only three weeks away which feels insignificant in terms of well child appointment time, though it is an impossibly long time when you’re not sleeping and this could be the solution. We also made an appointment with a pediatric dentist to have him assessed for a tongue and lip tie. I feel 85% sure he has a lip tie and the consultant, based on pictures of him with his mouth open, feels pretty confident he’s tongue tied as well. Given his poor latch and the struggles L has had nursing, I have long thought this might be the case. The ped agreed with the lip tie but kind of dismissed it needing to be revised because he was gaining weight. (sidenote: we aren’t exactly in love with our pediatrician.) So, there is hope. We bought the magic sleep suit and the first night it improved his sleep quite a bit, but since then it’s been hit or miss . . .
  • Ansel is definitely pee potty trained. He hasn’t had a pee accident in over a week, and he wakes up from naps and night dry about 75% of the time. Poop continues to elude us though he does seem to mostly poop in the pull up so . . .that’s better than scraping it out of underoos. Of course, he closest we’ve come to pooping in the potty ended with him dropping a deuce in the middle of the living room but . . .progress not perfection, right?

The sun has also come out – probably not to stay, yet, but it has been here for a few days and is predicted to stay a few more. When you don’t see the sun for a long time, when you finally do it’s like a drug. I’ve spent as much time as my cubicle dwelling life allows soaking up the vitamin D and doing outdoor things. I took Tuesday off (more partly cloudy than sunny, but whatever) and took Ansel to the zoo with some friends, and yesterday we sat in the yard blowing bubbles. It’s so magical here in the spring when it’s sunny – things so green and fresh and alive. Ansel said yesterday that the ‘sun hurts’ and wanted it to go away so . . .clearly he is a fully NW kid now. We told him we liked the sun to stay and that we’d get him some sunglasses!

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Other than not sleeping, Angus is really quite amazing. He’s up to 16 lbs + (4X his birth weight), is sitting up confidently and beginning to do the reach that precedes crawling. His smile is amazing and so freely given. It’s a very genuine and kind smile – Ansel’s has always had a little more mischief behind it – and he loves sitting in L’s lap and beaming at me. He also adores his brother, and Ansel can make Gus belly laugh for long, lovely stretches. He babbles loudly and constantly, and is beginning to punctuate everything with those hard Ds and Bs. He eats with abandon and hasn’t met a food he doesn’t like. Still no teeth though he certainly seems to be showing some signs of their impending arrival. He is a really lovely baby, even in the midst of being more challenging in many ways, and I really can’t wait to see him begin to emerge as an independent being more fully.

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Tonight, L and I celebrate 6 years since we had our “GLEE” (gay love extravaganza event)/wedding. It was actually last Saturday, but L got tickets to see Taylor Mac tonight, so we are getting dressed up, going to dinner, and seeing a show! Our friends M + T  are watching the babies for us (M is maybe Ansel’s most favorite person though, this morning when we told him they were coming to hang out with him he said his friend from school, Ruby, is his favorite person so . . .) and we get to go pretend to be human beings, despite our lack of sleep and general exhaustion. 6 years (8.5 since we started dating) both feels like a really long time and also like nothing at all. It’s about 4 times longer than my next longest relationship, but I also feel like I’m still getting to know who L is and how she works and I think I could keep doing that for a long while still. It’s nice to feel that way about my partner, even in the midst of things being pretty fucking hard.

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Thanks to audio books from the library, the amazing Overdrive app, and my otherwise shitty commute, I’ve ‘read’ SO MANY BOOKS so far this year! I just finished two that I LOVED and thought I’d recommend The Hate U Give and Sing, Unburied, Sing both of which are definitely not ‘light’ or ‘fun’ per se, but also SO GOOD. Sing, Unburied, Sing was some of the most beautiful prose I’ve read (heard?) in a very, very long time. I just started Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and am pretty smitten with it so far, too. I’m embarassed to admit that, despite many recommendations over the years, this is my first experience with Neil Gaiman. If you love him, what else should I read? I have been feeling very sad that my reading has been so bad since becoming a parent and this is 100% the best solution for me, even if sometimes I think it’s not ‘the same’ (read: as noble) but, what the fuck ever, you know? It’s better than doing neither!

 

I hope to be back in a few weeks with reports of a well rested household, so continue to keep us in mind for those T&Ps!

 

PS- Taking Ansel to the Monster Truck Rally at the Spring Fair on Sunday and I’m so excited!!

Another F**king sleep post

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Here I am, another blogger in a sea of them writing about sleep.

Because, y’all, we are suffering here at Chez Gayby. Everything is a little bit harder because 3 out of 4 of us aren’t getting enough sleep regularly, and the fourth occasionally joins us when he’s feeling rowdy.

Last night, for example, I headed to bed around 10pm but got waylaid by laundry, and so ended up finally in bed a little after 11. Gus woke up at 12:45, which is when L had just finished pumping, so I took the bottle of milk into him. He’d gone to bed around 7pm but had to be rocked or nursed back to sleep 2-3 times (I can’t recall because, no sleep) before the 12:45 wake up. At 2am, Ansel came into our room and I had to redirect him back to his own bed, which involved digging the ball he’d brought with him out from under the covers, adjusting the turtle nightlight, and then singing to him. Gus woke up at 3am and L brought him to our room, where he fussed for a while before she took him back to his room and rocked with him (while he dozed in and out of sleep) until a little after 5am, at which point Ansel was up and playing on his own, and she tagged out and I got up with them both.

Y’all, I saw almost every hour on the clock last night, L did too. Last night was unusual because Ansel got up so early and had a middle of the night wake up, which only happens 1-2 times every couple of weeks. But Angus is up every 45 minutes-2 hours every.single.night.

I used to think Ansel was a ‘bad sleeper’ as a baby. He woke every 2-3 hours until I night weaned him at 14 months, after my surgery made it necessary. But when Ansel woke up, I’d go to his room or bring him to ours, nurse him, and he’d immediately settle and go back to sleep.

Angus is not so easily subdued. Sometimes a bottle or a boob will soothe him and he’ll drift back off. But just as often, it will take 15, 20, 30 minutes of rocking and shushing and patting to get him back to sleep. Even when L brings him to bed and co-sleeps with him, side lying nursing, he’ll often keep fussing and crying, unable to settle himself. It’s been like this for a while – months for sure – so it’s not some ‘sleep regression’ (isn’t there one at all the months anyway, supposedly?) He just doesn’t sleep well.

With Ansel, we used the Happy Sleeper method at 14 months, and it was incredibly effective. One night of a little crying, another of a little less, and then he would go down easily and sleep very well. Sure, he still has nights when he wakes up, but they aren’t frequent and he settles easily.

But L and I both agree that any sort of crying (controlled or extinction) won’t work for Gus. Even awake, if his needs aren’t met somewhat immediately, he loses his mind and cries and screams and gets himself so worked up he can hardly breathe and seems near vomiting. I don’t have a moral or ethical issue with crying sleep training, but I also have a gut instinct that it isn’t an effective strategy for this baby.

So . . .what do we do? I am reading the No Cry Sleep Solution and while I’m only halfway through the suggestions, there isn’t a lot so far that we aren’t already doing. Maybe I’ll stumble on a gem, still. And of course I’ll finish reading it because I appreciate that there is rarely a single silver bullet when it comes to baby sleep, and the long game is what we are after.

But the lack of sleep is making everything else in life really fucking hard. For L, there’s no break from kids, for both of us, exhaustion is making us feel crappy, anxious, depressed, and snippy. All of the other stuff that is hard but manageable become just unbearable when you are so so tired.

If he would settle when co-sleeping, I don’t think either of us would hesitate to make that the way of things. But even that isn’t effective. He just doesn’t seem to be able to settle. So, today L bought a Magic Merlin Sleep Suit. Angus still sleeps on his back, though he can roll over onto his belly easily while awake, he doesn’t seem interested in it while sleeping (I have tried it, though it is against safe sleep practice recommendations because I figured if he just experienced it, he might settle and then be able to do it himself. No dice.) And while I don’t know that it will be some magic cure-all, I think we are prepared to try just about anything within reason.

Of course I’ll take suggestions. We are going to talk to the pediatrician too, as it kind of seems outside the realm of typical baby sleep. We aren’t asking for 8, 10 or 12 hour stretched. Like, 3 would be great, 4 sounds divine, 5 would be enthralling. We just each need some semblance of a chunk of sleep. What I cannot handle hearing is that this is ‘just the way it is.’ I know babies don’t sleep like adults. But I also know I’m concerned for my health and sanity, and the health and sanity of my partner as well. I’m also concerned about our baby not getting the sleep he should, since he often takes next to no naps, or very very short ones if that. This isn’t sustainable and I am not willing to entertain the idea that this is going to be our life for the foreseeable future. Maybe it is, but I can’t handle that idea. People say baby sleep is only a problem if it isn’t working for you, and this is not working for us.

 

On the brighter side of things, Ansel is sort of potty trained. By which I mean, he’s peeing in a potty about 90% of the time, though he still is having accidents, especially if we don’t prompt. The sticker chart bribery plan seems to have worked and he earned his Minnie car, even though he’s still not 100% in the clear. The big hurdle is the pooping, which I think is going to take some different strategizing. He’s not an every day pooper, so it’s harder to gauge things. But, he does like to hide when he poos, and we recently put the little potty in his tent win hopes that it will encourage him. He also still occasionally pees on the potty while still wearing his underpants, which is mostly because he kind of can’t be troubled to pull his own pants down. So that’s also a task. But, we are calling this a partial win. And we need a win right now.

And there’s still a lot that’s just kind of hard . . .L’s job search isn’t going as well as we’d like, despite having some really promising leads; my job reclassification continues to be frustrating and resentment evoking; my foot is still numb and the doctor is still an asshole; things financially are ok but not great. All of those things are much harder because of the exhaustion. I’ve had some moments where I’ve wanted to go out for milk and not come back, where I longed again for a life that was more sleeping in and less hourly wake ups, more drinking and dancing and less scraping poop out of Minnie Mouse underpants. I know this isn’t uncommon, but I haven’t experienced it too much in my life as a parent and so it makes me feel uneasy. Of course I adore my children and there are still so many moments of beauty and joy that outshine the shit, usually. But the pace is relentless and sometimes it feels like the time I do get with them I’m so anxious about the state of the house or the general stresses of the day that I don’t always get to enjoy them. I’m trying to let go of stuff like laundry being folded or stuff being put away AND my anxiety goes way up when the house is visually so chaotic and so dealing with it is a way to cope.

Of course, it is also still fucking raining all the damned time and between that and kids and schedules, the lawn is like a jungle. Also, rain isn’t always the best for the mood, y’know.

 

But the sun will be here, definitely by July but maybe sooner. And Angus will eventually sleep (right? RIGHT!?!) and the waning moon will wax again. I know. I know. But things are pretty dark right now, and I could use a sliver of light.

 

OMG OMG I forgot, also, Angus is 8 months old and I really need to talk about him beyond just his sleep so I will. Just not today.