This one could be a long one.
I have had quite a few people interested in a post on co.sleeping. Why we do it, how it works.
This NOT a post on what is better or a big post about why everyone should co.sleep…this is just simply our story.
Let me start off by saying that we have coslept with Aiden for 2 and half years but have not co.slept with Ains (I will elaborate on this throughout this post).
But we know both sides extremely well.
I totally get why co.sleeping is awesome for some and doesnt work for others because within our family we have one of each!
I also wanted to say Chris and I both see life very uniquely. This would never have worked if we were not both on board. Cosleeping is great if it doesnt affect your relationship or children negatively. We know our babies are small only once. For us (both very sensitive souls) this is a delicate time we will not get back…so if any or all of our children wanted to sleep by our side, we will always be all for it.
We have watched friends lose children, friends die, friends little ones get cancer, friends get in life changing accidents… when you walk through tragedies in your own life or with people that you love, it will change your life.
It will change how you look at your life.
I know people have lots of opinions on the issue- I am not saying anything for either side, just simply our story.
Everyone has to do what is best for their family and for their kiddos….and the truth is, no one knows that except for you!
I think you need to do what will keep you rested in the midst of the craziness. And that may look different for all of us. Even within our own family that is the case!
I was in 3 weddings when I was pregnant with aiden and 2 more when I was pregnant with ains… if that tells you the differences of stages my friends and I were in. When I had Aiden I knew very very few people with babies.
I went into labor with Aiden a month early. Not only was in early labor, he was stuck in my pelvic bone. It would be physically impossible for me to ever deliver a baby unless by c.section. It was late at night, I was drugged, emotional- they pulled him out and there was complete silence.
I will never ever forget that.
He came out blue and silent.
I kept waiting for the scream, the crying….but nothing.
I was behind a curtain and unable to really see what was going on. They brought him over to me and placed his face by mine, I remember kissing his little nose and then they took him away.
No laying on my chest, bonding/crying, kissing, snuggling. No friends and family coming to the hospital to meet our new little man. Nothing. He was far away, wrapped in wires- being taken care of by people I didn”t even know.
This sounds very naive, I know…but I didn’t even know that a NICU experience was a possibility. It had truly never crossed my mind that something like this would happen. My emotions and hormones were completely out of control. I was soooooo so sad. I felt like no one understood. People kept wanting to come to the hospital and I remember just being furious. I didnt even get to see Aiden without permission, why would anyone want to steal those moments from me.
I was not myself.
I had to ask permission to touch him, permission to change his diapers. It wasn’t me helping him/bonding with him- it was his nurses. I had my first and only panic attack in the hospital that week. I remember laying on the hospital floor, not being able to breath, crying my eyes out in a complete and utter mess.
I was spiraling.
The day I was supposed to leave the hospital the woman came to get me in my wheelchair and asked where the baby was. I cried and cried. and honestly almost threw something at her. I was seriously not myself at all. And I felt alone. We both felt alone (Chris and I). I remember someone coming to drop off a meal at our house and they made a joke about Aiden (who was still at the hospital)- it hit me then how alone we were. People couldn’t relate to what we felt like.
Finally weeks later when Aiden came home, we were in desperate need of gaining back all that lost time. Not only that but for days and days we had watched monitors…. I knew what was “good” breathing, “good” heart rate…then suddenly we were home and had no monitors.
I can remember Chris and I just sitting up at night watching Aiden’s chest, just praying he could breathe.
Praying his lungs would not fail.
We had never been with Aiden for more than a couple hours at a time, so once we got him home we put him right by our side and never ever wanted him to leave.
I will be the first to admit, if we had put him in his crib the very first night we came home from the hospital he may not have wanted to sleep with us. But we didn’t due to some crazy circumstances. So I will never know.
Life throws us curve balls, I just try to roll with them :).
Chris and I are both such sensitive souls. This was painful. We were in a race to gain what we lost.
There were various times in the first year we tried to move him to his crib to see if he was ready but it just didn’t work. We all slept great when we were together.
And we dont believe in crying it out/ feel comfortable with it.
We all slept so good when he slept in between us, it just worked. Also, the 3 of us have similar sleep rhythms. None of us move around. We barely know he is there. Like I said, it just worked great. Plus it is so easy…if he woke in the night I would just pull him to me- I could instantly meet his needs.
In the grand scheme of all of our lives the portion and time that our children are small is so tiny… we are able to grasp that. This is just a season, and before we know it, it will have passed.
Then a couple months after Aiden’s first birthday we decided (since ains was coming) that we would move him into a big boy bed in his own room. We were prepared for another little one who loved to sleep with us. That was hard. He was used to sleeping with two warm bodies that he loved and he did not want to go. Most nights we would trade off sleeping in there with him just to try and get him to like it.
He wasn’t ready.
The truth is, we knew he wouldn’t be 15 sleeping in our bed….and that when he was ready he would pull away.
And we wanted to meet his needs until we got to that point.
So when Aiden was 18 months old, I went into early labor again ( a month early) with Ains. I was 6.5 cm by the time I got to the hospital. We had the same experience again. She came out blue, not breathing. She was immediately taken to the NICU. But something was different this time. I had emotionally prepared myself that this may happen again. I knew that we would get those moments back (I saw that we did with aiden).
Also, if I am being completely honest I was going through some incredibly painful and messy stuff in my personal life (that I have never blogged about) and everything was a bit of a fog.
We came home without Ainsleigh. Then weeks later she got to come home. I noticed right away she was different than aiden. She didn’t like to be in the same room as us for sleeping at night. She wanted to be in the dark, in the quiet, in her own space.
We wanted to meet that need.
It’s amazing how well you can know your child from the first moments.
I have always thought that I am good at getting in rhythms with my babies. I know what certain sounds mean what, I can anticipate things….I just have been very in tune with them both from the first moments.
So we gave her what she wanted- she slept in her big girl crib, in her own room. Ains has always been an amazing sleeper.
So after much thought and conversation Chris and I decided to try dropping Aiden’s nap- just to see what would happen. And much to our surprise, he didn’t miss a beat. He has been going to sleep in his own bed at 7 or 8 pm and most nights sleeps all night in there and other nights still creeps down the hall to our room around 4am, which is fine!
There will be a day when he never ever does this again. And we will miss it desperately.
We waited until Aiden was ready to start transitioning him. We tried a few times before…realized he wasn’t ready.
“Living your life to get that deep God-like validation from your peers is a scary place to be in. If someone threatens your sense of self and questions your choices, watch out. “on Christ the SOLID ROCK I stand. All other ground is sinking sand…” Basing one’s self-worth on the opinions of the masses is nothing but sinking sand.”
You know your family best.
Your kiddos best.
Do what is best for you.
If you feel defensive or angry, just die to that. I am also doing this.
I want to see that everyone has different stories and that there is a “best way” that may look different for each of us. Don’t seek peers for your validation, stand firm in your own decisions.
Lastly (this part has nothing to do with co.sleeping, just something on my heart)
… Chris’ grandmother passed away this week. We had the viewing tonight and have the funeral tomorrow. Driving home I was thinking about the beautiful video that played (that she never got to watch) and all of the people saying things to her “things they wished they had said.” It got me thinking… if you lost your spouse tonight…or your babies- what would you wish you had done.
Because whatever it is…..go do it now.
If you wish that you were more gentle or more cuddly….or more forgiving, slower to react, a better friend….whatever it is- go do it.
Our time is short.