Saturday, March 14, 2009

Always some kind of training

Isn't that just precious! Don't be fooled, this is a rare moment. Let's talk sleep. When Kayden came home at the age of 15 months in 2004 we went through what I'd consider a fairly normal transition. Dad was 'all that,' and I was pretty much good for bottle washing, bathing, laundry ... you know, all the fun stuff. One night when I was rocking her to sleep a few weeks after being home, we had a true bonding moment. I was giving her a bottle and praying aloud (I seriously cannot sing!) in the quiet of my room, when she seemed to melt into my arms, realizing once and for all Mommy rocks ;-) Not long after that we experienced the longest 6 months of our lives. Kayden began having night terrors. We'd read several adoption books, but a lot of the information is irrelevant until you are living it. We were violently awakened by this screaming little girl, and we had no idea what was going on. Her eyes would be either closed or glazed, and she would thrash and cry. Trying to comfort her only seemed to make it worse. The terrors escalated to every 15 minutes, and we were walking zombies, when our social worker came for our 1 month post-placement visit and diagnosed the problem immediately. I can't describe the depth of God's grace during those difficult, sleepless months, but He gave us the patience, mercy and just enough energy to keep on keepin' on. Reluctantly, we put Kayden on a prescription to help calm her in order to develop a sleep pattern. Every few weeks we'd try to wean her off the meds and figure out she needed it a little longer. We'd also periodically try switching her from soy-based to milk-based formula which was a huge mistake. It would take a few days for her allergic reaction to manifest itself, but it was clear she needed to stay on soy. My night terror research revealed there is also a link between allergies and sleep disorders. Hmmmm, feeling like Mom of the Year then! In an effort to try to help my daughter progress and develop, I was only making matters worse. Eventually she was completely off the meds, night terror free and now that she's five can drink milk by the gallon!
When Kayden had been home six months we knew the Lord was calling us to adopt again and started the process for our next child. At that time the wait from DTC to referral was six months, but once we were logged in the wait time began to steadily increase, and our six month wait turned into 16 months (and I am not complaining because folks logged in 5 months after us still don't have a referral). Kambry was almost 9 months at referral and 11 months when she came home. Which brings me to the topic at hand - training. Kambry has never been a great sleeper. I am a 'rocker.' I've always rocked my kids to sleep - they just usually don't require 2 hours of it! I really don't even know how to 'just put 'em in bed.' In April Kambry will have been home two years and we've tried numerous techniques to get her to sleep in her bed. We've let her select her own bedding; stayed in her room until she's asleep (meaning we've fallen asleep on the floor); read several sleep books; tried the Super Nanny approach and a few others. We finally resorted to co-sleeping, mostly because she sleeps very well and we're so tired it allows us to rest. The problem is she won't go to sleep without me! As a working mom and volunteer youth leader who is sometimes required to be gone overnight, I realized this week we have to get to the bottom of Kambry's sleep issue, for her sake (and that of the people who will be keeping her for Falls Creek, other youth events and our trip to China to bring baby sister home).
So, we're on spring break, might as well try some sleep training! Never mind the fact I've had the busiest month at work in years and we just hosted a youth retreat - this girl has to learn to sleep! So tonight went pretty much like this: baths at 7:30; tuck Kaeleb in at 8:15; read a book to Kayden and Kambry at 8:30, and she already knows something's up because she's not in Mom's room. I tucked her in, told her how much I loved her and prayed, then quietly left the room. For the next hour she would cry, get out of bed and walk down the hall. I would silently pick her up and put her back in bed, tuck her in and leave the room. Eventually I could just look at her and she'd turn around and head for bed, crying all the way. Then she came down the hall asking for a drink. Aha! This is a 'normal' bedtime issue - we can deal with this! I gave her a drink, found her favorite bear and listened to her very long story, kissed her and quietly left the room. She whimpered a little, and one and a half hours after we started this process, she was asleep - in her bed! So, I'm not claiming victory yet! I know it will take several nights, and I'm willing to put a lot of effort into it. I pray at the end of spring break we are finished sleep training and getting ready for Kaeleb's potty training - never a dull moment!
Speaking of praises, our APPROVAL did arrive in the mail yesterday and our dossier will be authenticated next week, then on its way to China! I'm still in awe over this miracle!


Anonymous said...

You GO, girl!
You can do this Connie!!!
I'm praying for your strength... Spring Break for everyone else, eh? :) LOL!!!
I have so much respect for how you handle sleep stuff. So loving and compassionate. Seriously. Sleep is such a big deal for me and I admit that I fail miserably with it. As I was waking this morning, Chris told me that Abe threw up last night. I slept right through all of it - like I was in a coma. Good grief.
I said it before and I will say it again - I am amazed at how God knows which children need which families! He is sooooo good!
Love you!
Congrats on getting that Dossier To China soon!

Jill and Rick said...

Connie, congrats on that DTC heading for China!

& I'll be watching for an update on the sleep training. We didn't experience night terrors, but we've had several different sleep issues. I remember having to break Ashlie from needing me to fall asleep with her. I thought it was a necessity before we brought Allie home. Little did I know that Allie wouldn't want anything to do with us at bedtime, . . .

For now our routine includes all three girls going to bed and going to sleep on their own (YAY!!!) Allie can only sleep soundly because she trusts that we will move her to our bed when we go to bed. (& with the attachment issues we have had with her, we're more than happy to snuggle her in bed!) Annie ends up in our bed about 75% of the time. LOL, sometimes we wake up with five in the bed!

Hope you make wonderful progress over spring break!


Barb Higgs said...

If it helps any....please know you are not alone on the sleep issues and you would think ours, who is a couple of years older, could handle it better. We are making progress too but there is still some work to do with our little guy. Can also sympathize with night terrors. We have had a few with both kids along the way. Totally know where you are coming from. Be strong and you will get through it.


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