The GP asking me to keep a sleep diary resulted in attending a 'sleep clinic', which is for all those mums who are at their wits end with high need babies.
We were on the waiting list for wet wraps,but decided to give this a go, as I thought we had nothing to lose.
The sweet health visitors gathered the group of gray faced , worn out mothers.
Who were dressed in the uniform of the completely knackered. The combination of lank hair with jeans, and t-shirts with old faded stains , and wet dribble patches on our shoulders.
We all flopped tiredly on to a selection of worn out danerously creaky chairs, and plopped our babies in the middle of the floor. They were, after all, wide awake.........
The babies sat next to a box of grubby plastic baby toys, and began to slowly slobber and chew them.
I suspect that similar tired thouths drifted in our heads in that pokey room , one being,
'oh god, it's finally come to this' and
then 'are the bags under my eyes as bad as hers'?
then the feeble, 'oh, that baby is sucking that toy CLEAN, but that mummy isnt bothered............should i get my wipes out'?
thankfully before any of us could take any firm action the leaders started their spiel.........and we discreetly put dummies in our babies mouths, or simply moved them further away from the toys, or like my son, left them to chew on another's socks, ( in my weary defense, it looked clean, and saved the owner the bother of doing it themselves.)
The health visitors grand plan turned out to be the standard controlled sleep method, were you leave an infant to cry for a short time, reassure them, leave them and so on.....
Until you are a puddle of weeping hormones sitting on the landing, while your infant screams bloody murder.
So, what can I say in my defense? I think that the fact that I was so sleep deprived , and worn out, and couldn't think properly made me give in and try this, a The vision of sleeping, really sleeping was always there in my head. Maybe, just maybe, I could have a three solid hour period of complete bliss.
I totally regret doing this, and will do until the end of my days.
As i mentioned in another post, William had ezcema, and when that skin heats up, as with crying, it becomes itchy, red and inflamed.
He cried, and then as the itch and stress of crying grew , he tore at his face and ears.
We were both sobbing as i removed the blooded cot sheet from his face with wet cotton wool.
However he did show a slight increase in the day time nap, and had perhaps on a good day , two 20 mins nap time.
He was crawling at the time, so perhaps the exercise helped him ( the skin on his legs got worse at this time).
The next visit to the clinic to report on our results turned out to be quite useful in the end. For some reason the Health visitors left the room, a sudden phone call meant a quick corridor meeting.
One mother, braver than the rest of us,finally admitted out loud that it didnt work for her, which was something we all had been trying to avoid saying.
In our polite way, we didnt want to admit we had failed again in not getting our beloved babies asleep.
Once that mother had admitted her failure, we could all confess, and then, that mother dipped her hand in her nappy changing bag, and brought out a little bottle. This, she said, grinning, worked, and we could buy this without prescription.
Then the health visitors came back in and the bottle was swiftly tucked away. Medication having been previosuly explained as 'not very often used, as we didnt want to go to the extreme of drugging our infants did we'?
I never totally understood the idea of giving the mother the sleeping drugs, rather than the infants, ( apart from tiny livers cracking under the strain, and the image of a baby with a belt, spoon and dirty syringe.....), I didnt like the idea of being asleep, and sleeping though my baby's cries of pain.
Because , even in those early days, I recognized that William's screams were not of a naturally non sleepy infant, he was in pain. I put it all down to his skin being the problem, and perhaps indigestion. It felt wrong to ignore that baby, and to leave them alone , crying in a cot in another room.
The sleep clinic carried on for half an hour, and i darted, almost skipped my way to the chemist. I think i even had a grin on my face!
This cold remedy worked, and once, (once, I recorded it in his baby book) at 9 months old he slept for first time for 5 solid hours!!
The longest period of sleep I had had since he was born.
2 months ago