Reeds Lake Recap and Project Get More Sleep (7/2)

Ok, I’m really behind in publishing my posts! I like to edit them obsessively before posting so I save them and then pubish when I find the time, which has been a real challenge lately! So this was from 7/2!

The Reeds Lake 5K did not go as I had envisioned it would. I went out fast enough (maybe too fast?) 5:52 for the first mile. After that first mile I was already really struggling. Just a couple weeks ago I went out in 6:06 and felt great so I wasn’t sure what to think. Doubt had already started to creep in but I willed myself to just get through mile 2 on pace and focused on achieving that. So mile 2 I was right around 6 minutes. Perfect. Still ahead of goal.

That’s pretty much when it all fell apart. I started my last mile at 7:33 pace! Oh no! I pulled out ALL my mental tricks at this point. I started focusing on the runners ahead and trying to just pull myself towards them. I started finding landmarks and telling myself to push just until that tree, then the light post, etc. It worked. My pace dropped to 6:45. Still WAY off my goal! I knew I had less than a mile and I thought about my Peanut and her struggling to crawl and I kept pushing and got my pace down to 6:20, then 6:19, 6:18 with a half mile to go. I was still off pace, but was happy that I hadn’t given up yet.

At some point during the last half mile a woman that I used to run against in college passed me. I had seen her name in local 5K results lately and she was running in the mid to high 18’s. I told myself that if I just went with her I might still make my goal. I focused on her and watched her slowly get further away. Finally I saw the finish line and knew I was almost done. I started to give it one last push and then…ugh. I made the mistake of looking at my watch. 19 minutes. There was no point in working so hard anymore. I found myself jogging through the finish line. Mad. Defeated. Disappointed that I did actually give up.

I found Tim and wasn’t actually surprised to hear him say that he didn’t run very well either. With my mother in law watching our baby, we went for a little cool down together. Even the cool down felt hard and we only went 2 miles at about 8:30 pace. In talking to Tim he felt very similar to the way I did. His second mile was 6 minutes (he usually runs close to 5:30 pace).

Here’s where I finally could admit that maybe it was too much. I said “We haven’t had even a decent night’s sleep in about 6 weeks.” I hate making excuses. I hate feeling like I’m making excuses. Sometimes you really have to just face reality.

It had been about 6 weeks since we’d even had longer than a 4 hour stretch of sleep. Most nights we were probably getting 3 broken hours with a few “good” nights where we would get one solid stretch of 4. When I say a “few” I mean probably about 3 in the last 6 weeks. The truth is that when I wake up in the morning my head hurts, my body hurts, my eyes hurt. We had finally overcome the 3+ weeks where she was up every 1-2 hours so getting up 3-4 times a night seemed like such relief at first. We go to work, we run, we come home and work until we go to bed and then have a night full of interrupted sleep. She actually slept for longer stretches at night as a newborn. Even at just a few days old she would sleep for a couple 4 hour stretches. The weekends come and we hope to at least be able to sleep in and find ourselves up earlier than we are during the week. You just never get into that deep sleep where your body actually recovers. You CAN survive on very little sleep (we are proof of that) but you certainly don’t THRIVE on it and maybe you can’t expect to continue to improve your athletic performance. Professional runners even take naps during the day…this after getting a solid 8-9 hours of sleep at night. At this point, I would be thrilled to even just get a solid 6 for a few nights in a row!

So that brings me to the next part of this post. We had her to the doctor yesterday for her 4 month check up. It was rewarding to hear that she’s doing very well. Its frustrating to hear that most babies her age that are healthy are only waking up once in the night to eat. She’s up at least 3-4 times. We’ve got a bedtime routine and we’ve been more consistent with a bedtime. Our doctor told us at this point its ok to start letting her cry for 20-30 minutes. Eeek!

So I started doing my research because so many things are controversial and there are so many different opinions. I also started talking to friends with babies and finding out what they’ve done. So Tim and I are going to try some version of the Ferber Method, and it will be soon.

I remember after her 2 month shots she got really fussy and woke a lot during the night for a couple nights so I figured it was best to wait a couple days after her shots before starting this. We have a 4 day weekend coming up, so I guess its as good a time as any to start. We just have to prepare ourselves mentally and physically for what’s ahead.

Letting her cry for 20-30 minutes is not something I am comfortable with. At all. This will be the hardest part for me, no doubt. That and the part where Tim and I will have to be up in the night while we’re doing this. Obviously you don’t start there and I really hope that we don’t actually have to ever wait that long. So the first night you put them down in their crib awake and leave them alone and let them cry or fuss for 3 minutes before going back in. Once you do, you gently soothe them and leave them awake again and this time wait 5 minutes before going in. You can progress with the waiting time however you’re comfortable with in increasing increments and according to the plan after 7 days they should be able to soothe themselves.

Ick. Alexandra has no problem going to sleep at night, it’s the waking up so many times that is our issue. Which means we will be doing this at midnight, and 2 am, and 4 am and 5 am. So we should just plan to be miserable for about a week and then the hope is that she can go 6+ hours without needing us in the night.

Why did our doctor recommend this? Well, first of all because she did used to sleep for 7-9 hour stretches so he knows she can go that long without food. When babies hit the 4 month mark (or for our little A it was right around 12 weeks) their sleep changes forever. They go from infant sleep cycles to adult cycles and so they wake several times in the night and some can’t get themselves back to sleep so they rely on you to do it for them. Secondly, she has been growing at an incredible rate so she shouldn’t need the night feeds for nutritional purposes.

Why am I ok with this? I do believe it is best for Alexandra in the long run. I have never been a great sleeper. If I wake up in the night I have a hard time falling back to sleep, especially if its within a couple hours of my morning wake up time. I’m hoping if I can teach Alexandra how to get herself to fall back to sleep at a young age it will stick with her throughout her life.

I hope so badly that the sleep training works well without prolonged periods of crying. I don’t believe that any parent can stomach leaving their baby alone to cry like that as it goes completely against our instincts.

I’m NOT looking forward to this. I will keep track of how it goes though.

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