Last week we officially abandoned all hope for the kinder, gentler modifications of cry-it-out for nighttime sleep. They just weren't working. So, we turned the monitor volume waaaay down, decided on a middle-of-the-night feeding time that was acceptable (between 2-3AM or later), and went to bed. The first night he cried. A lot. We stealthily peeked in there periodically to make sure he hadn't poked himself in the eye with a wee little finger or jammed his foot into the crib rails or something, but otherwise did not enter his room until 2AM. The crying lasted for over an hour at one point. I quietly begged KB to just please go ahead and waterboard me, for I would gladly give up state secrets rather than listen to this anymore. Then I went in to feed him that night and he was curled up on his side, in the fetal position, rocking and crying. I wanted to die. The second night, he cried but put himself back to sleep after about half an hour. The third night we reverted again to the prolonged crying. I died a little more inside but kept on truckin'. And by the fourth night....it worked. He woke up a couple of times, rolled around and cried for just a few minutes, and put himself back to sleep. Just like that. And he's been doing it the past few nights, sleeping soundly for 8-hour stretches before his nighttime feeding. This means I am getting roughly 4-5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Hoo-fucking-ray!
Oh, and the swaddle. Gone. He figured out how to stretch the Woombie out by linking his hands and pushing them waaaay out, so that the neck of the thing was all stretchy and allowed him to work his hands out of it. The effort he was putting into this endeavor, while admirable in its singular focus, was helping to keep him awake at night so we decided to just ditch the swaddle while we're crying-it-out anyway. And he's sleeping just dandy, thankyouverymuch, in his sleepsack. I still don't love that his little hands get cold, but when I go in for his nighttime feeding I tuck his paws in close to me and warm them up. It's our new "thing." (And for the record, Your Honors, I am keeping the nighttime feeding for as long as he wants; I like it, too, since it's our quiet time. Breastfeeding expert-types suggest that once-nightly feedings may last up to a year, after which you can night-wean in good conscience.)
So I am getting caught up on rest, starting to feel better, and turning a corner. I wonder if some of the congestion I can't seem to kick is A) due to the weather changes and/or B) due to hormones while breastfeeding (I remember being a mucous monster during pregnancy). Either way, I still have headaches and the remnants of a bronchitis cough, plus the snot, but it's under control now. And by that, I mean I don't feel like it's actively trying to destroy me. I might be able to start winning at the game of life again. I have more therapy tomorrow, and am making an appointment with the trainer for early next week. I can't really start the exercise routine with the trainer until after next week because...
...we're going to Chicago for a long weekend! It'll be our first family vacation, in good ol' Chi-town (one of my favorite places evah). We're hoping to get back into Alinea for a 12-course meal of AWESOME, but are waitlisted (somebody didn't call for the reservation until it was too late...so somebody made a backup reservation at some other fancypants restaurant just in case). My sister lives in the burbs and is coming into the city to babysit and hang out with us at Shedd Aquarium for the day. And if the weather holds up, some window shopping. Maybe some museums. Who knows? It all kind of depends on how this trip impacts our recent sleep victories. We can't let him cry his face off in a hotel room, but getting up every hour again is not an option. So, I guess we're prepared to turn around and come home if the first day and night is a fail, but here's hoping it's an epic WIN.