She slept well in Ethiopia. Two full naps each day, at least two hours each. We would do a bottle and holding then pop her in the Peapod once she was asleep and go about our business. At night she slept from 6:30pm-5:00am with two wake ups.
The serious sleep problems began on the flight home when she showed us that she could keep herself awake on adrenaline for 20 hours at a time.
Our first week home she was jet-lagged and that was a blessing because naptimes were easy and long and nighttime wake ups were easily forgivable. And we were more awake in the middle of the night anyway. We noticed she was waking up more often and staying awake and upset (even as we held her) much longer but we assumed it would improve.
Five days ago it began. The BIG SLEEP PROBLEM.
It began to take 40 minutes or more of walking, rocking and holding to get her into a deep sleep. Then after putting her in her crib she would wake up anywhere from 30 seconds to 30 minutes later howling and screaming in anger. (Not crying - screaming.) Naps became non-existent and I would spend 2 hours trying for morning nap and 2 hours trying for afternoon nap only to be completely sweaty and exhausted myself with an overtired and angry baby on my hands at the end of it. Nightime devolved from 3 wakeups lasting 10-20 minutes to 10 or more wake ups with at least two lasting an hour or more.
The night before last she stayed awake screaming in our arms from 1am-3:30am. She fell asleep for an hour and woke up for good at 5:00am SCREAMING.
We have been confused, frustrated, desperate. We have googled. We have emailed friends for help. We have traded off nights. We have tried to bring her into our bed where no one gets sleep. We have held through kicking, hitting, and biting. We have tried total darkness. White noise. Calming music. Baby rescue remedy. Warm baths. We went to the doctor and got antibiotics for a very light ear infection. After reading someone else's sleep post on a blog I tried praying over her and for her. Desperate prayers for deep sleep.
Nothing made it better. It got worse and worse and worse with the grand finale the night before last. Yesterday neither of us was functional. We were falling to pieces and so was she.
Confession. Last night we tried the cry it out method. Not recommended for adopted babies. Controversial for some. Not in my parenting plan (which involved cozy story times, snuggling in the Ergo, and co-sleeping) whatsoever.
Last night she refused to go to bed after 40 minutes of rocking. She was so wound up from being sleepless for so many days that she kept herself awake in our arms until 9:00pm. Crying, laughing, hitting, bouncing and sticking her fingers up our noses. (Sooo much fun.) We tried bottles. We tried singing. We even let her get down and play for awhile which only increased her adrenaline surge.
Finally I had her in a deep sleep. Then I put her down. Three times she woke up immediately upon touching the crib mattress and went from deep sleep to full angry scream in .1 second. On round three I confess. I was ready to throw her out the nursery window. Or something like that. I could feel my hands tightening on her little raging body in a less than soothing way. No matter how much empathy I feel for her. No matter how desperately I want to ease this for her. I just can't be a good mother on so little sleep.
I had to put her in the crib, turn on the monitor, close the door and walk away. Her howling was pure torture and I thought it would kill me. I sat on the couch and listened to her. My biggest fear was that this would go on for two hours or even more. But after 20 minutes it was just periodic baby swearing in our direction. And after 30 minutes it was a very infrequent grunt of anger. And at 35 minutes she was fast asleep.
She woke once and we changed her diaper and soothed her right back to sleep.
AND OTHER THAN THAT SHE SLEPT ALL NIGHT. Until 6:20am. And she woke up happy and giggling and hugging us. Not a care in the world. And. no. screaming!
So I confess. We went against all advice and conventional wisdom to save ourselves. And it worked. And now she is 45 minutes into morning nap and still sleeping soundly.
This is such a long and boring post for anyone reading without a sleep issue baby.
But to me this is a big day. It is the first morning I feel functional and it is the first morning we are cheerful and have hope that we can actually make it another 17 years of parenting this child we love.