Sleep. Sleep is a big deal. We spend about a third of our lives asleep. At least I did before my daughter came along!
|Many moons ago|
I knew precious sleep would become scarce when bringing a child into the home, but I don't think I was prepared for all that would mean. It's been our biggest, hardest challenge by far.
I realize that in the adoption world, it's a blessing for sleep to be the “biggest issue.” There's so much more we could be dealing with and we are grateful. Don't get me wrong.
But tonight was a big...fat...hairy deal. Lucy, in her toddler bed beside our bed, fell asleep. By herself. Without needing me. For the first time at night. Ever.
I looked at the monitor, looked at Andy, and smiled. "She's out." And then returned to what I was doing. But, stop!!! I thought about it and had to take myself back nearly six months to a hotel room in China. The girl had to sleep on top of me in those early days. She was so insecure. So scared. During the day, she was well-adjusted and happy, for the most part. Clingy, but happy. At night, we began to see just how vulnerable she felt.
Once we got her home, she relaxed a little and was content to fall asleep beside me, as long as I was in our bed with her, holding her hand and singing. But that was still difficult, as it could take hours to get her to sleep, leaving me to come down to visit Andy for the first time all day, sometimes at 10:00.
I then realized I had to get rid of the hand-holding, as sweet as it was at first. A friend reminded me I could not be Lucy's "lovey" forever. Patting her on the back became okay with her, and I gradually stopped the hand-holding, but she still had to have physical contact with me.
Then there was a month (maybe longer) of constant waking up in the middle of the night, at times taking hours to get her back to sleep. One time she said she was hungry. She hadn’t eaten much during the day, and she pretty much ate a full meal in the middle of the night - over two hours. Exhausting.
I've never felt so run-down for so long. I realize for some, you've dealt with these issues for longer than a month, or 5 months even. But when you're in the thick of it, it just feels like forever.
Long story short, about 2 weeks ago, we decided it was time to start weaning Lucy off of me. She needed to learn how to get to sleep on her own. It was not fun, but we felt she was secure enough. Attached enough. Confident enough in us. And tonight, for the first time, she fell asleep without one single "check-in" from me. Five-and-a-half months after her first night with us.
We're learning that time and consistency have been our biggest friends on this journey with Lucy. Sleep is finally getting better, and we're starting to find a sense of normalcy at night.
Most of our posts are the "fun, fluffy, cute" parts of our story. There’s so much of that stuff to write about, because Lucy really is the most wonderful thing, next to salvation and each other, that has happened to Andy and me. It’s been an absolute blast.
But it has also been the hardest thing we’ve ever done. Completely, 110% worthwhile, but hardest. It just goes with the territory. It’s not all crayons and cupcakes, dresses and dandelions. Sleep has been a bear. But thank God, we’re getting the hand of it. Together.
As I walked upstairs tonight, Andy reminded me, "She'll be driving a car next time we turn around." This is true. But I used to think she'd still be sleeping on top of me by that time. Funny how we just can't see around the bend sometimes. I'm learning. Slowly, but learning.