To sum up Brooklyn's sleeping situation, she has had to sleep in her car seat in our room since she was a couple of weeks old on the advice of her doctors. First it was because she had terrible reflux and they wanted to keep her elevated. Then when her breathing problems began, her pulmonologist told us we were to continue because her trachea would collapse down/obstruct if we allowed her to lie flat on her back to sleep. Anyway, the more she has grown, I believe she has become increasingly uncomfortable in her car seat....she can't really move around or stretch like older babies need to do. Another concern was that her car seat was flattening the back of her head. Her pulmonologist told us in December to get a Tucker sling through her gastroenterologist. A Tucker sling would allow her to sleep in her never-used crib and let her stretch and move a little more, so that hopefully she would be more comfortable. About a month ago, Hope sent me the Tucker sling that Ava had outgrown so that we wouldn't have to buy one. Then we saw her gastroenterologist and he wanted us to get the wedge for the Tucker sling. So, several weeks of phone tag with nurses and home health agencies and calls to my insurance company followed. This week we got the wedge.
Tonight, we decided to try it out for the first time. Brooklyn was really, really tired, but was freaked out by being put in the sling for the first time. We calmed her down and then moved her and the wedge to her crib. That did not go over well with her.
I understand completely. She has never, ever spent a night alone in her room. She is always right by Mommy and Daddy's bed, and sometimes even on the bed in the car seat, on the nights that my husband works overnight.
I tried my best to calm her down, and it would work until I moved the slightest bit away from her. Then she would get so upset all over again, crying her little eyes out. Which hurts a lot, because I don't want to do that to her. I guess my husband saw that I was getting emotional about it, so he told me to go take my shower and he would take care of her. I took an extra long shower...trying to get rid of the stress, I guess.
Thirty minutes passed and I returned to Brooklyn's room. She was sobbing. Sad, pitiful cries. "Nothing works," said my husband. "I can't get her to calm down. She's just angry." "She's not angry," I told him. "She's scared. She's never done this before." He left the room.
That is the thing that I really hate about the whole situation: my sweet baby is scared. She's afraid of being in her room by herself, she's afraid of being alone, she's scared of sleeping somewhere different. I don't want my Baby Bear to be scared. I don't want her to know fear. I can't stand to think of her feeling that way. The idea of it just breaks my heart into a thousand pieces. And the thought that I am causing the fear...well, that's a million times worse.
I leaned over her crib and put my head against her sweaty little forehead. I wiped the tears off of her sweet, soft cheeks. She clutched the fingers on one of my hands, and I stroked her hair with my other hand. Brooklyn settled down, her stridor loud from all the crying. She drew in big, jagged gasps of air, trying to breathe normally again. At first, I tried to soothe her by just telling her that she was okay....Mommy is here....it's all right, sweet girl....I'm not leaving you.
Then I decided to tell her why she would be okay.
It's all right, sweet bear. I know it's scary, and I'm sorry. But you're such a big girl, and you're doing so good. It's hard to be a big girl, isn't it? But look at you in your big girl bed. I'm so proud of you. This is gonna make you sleep better, okay?
You're such a brave girl. I wish I was brave like you. All of the times you've had to go to the hospital and to all those doctors....all of those tests you've had to have...you've been so strong. I would have been so scared. I was so scared. But you're such a big strong girl. Did you know that? You are. I'm so proud of you, Baby Bear. I love you so much. You're my sweet baby girl. You're gonna be okay. I won't leave you. I'll be right in my room. I'll be right here when you need me. You're doing so good. You're so brave, Baby Bear.
Then I was wiping my own tears off her plush little cheeks.
I slowly moved my forehead away from hers. I gently lifted my hand off of her head, and finally set her hand down next to her side. She relaxed and released my fingers.
I crept out of her room.
And now she sleeps.
My husband smiled and excitedly pointed at the baby monitor, listening to the rhythmic sound of Brooklyn's stridor when she is asleep. "What did you do? She is out."
"We just talked a little."
I sat down on the couch and exhaled deeply. I felt relieved and somewhat accomplished, but still so sad.
Now we will see whether I can sleep with her in another room. The monitor will lie right by my pillow. I have so much anxiety about her breathing. In my mind, I have more control over it if I am right there beside my baby.
This motherhood thing. It is not for the faint of heart, is it?