Worst Night of My Life

I had the worst night of my life last night, no exaggeration. The time that could come close would have to be some night thatt in college where I drank too much, too fast and the world wouldn’t quit spinning and my insides kept trying to escape my body through my mouth. Last night was worse. Last night we tried the “cry it out method” to get our daughter to sleep.

For those not familiar, the “cry it out method” is when instead of going in and checking on a crying infant in the middle of the night, you let them cry themselves to sleep. Though our daughter(now 14 months old) has been sleeping much better than she used to,she has been “sleeping through the night” around four nights a week, our doctor felt it was time she learned to comfort herself.

My wife had decided this earlier in the day, so when night came I found myself hoping that my daughter would sleep through the night and we wouldn’t have to try this new method. Unfortunately, I was wrong as she is teething, so the pain probably woke her.

It all started around 12:28 last night when my daughter started to cry, and by cry I don’t mean little whimpers. I’m talking about full-on wailing. One minute of this crying would break your heart. It lasted two hours. I was awake for the whole thing, fighting the urge to pick her up and comfort her, picturing the boogie man standing above her crib making scary faces as we did nothing to stop him.

The hardest part for me was that my little girl, the one smiling back at me with her three-toothed grin as I sang “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, the one who just a few hours prior was kicking a balloon in the living room saying “kick”, the same little one who had visited me at my office earlier in the day and said “coffee” to laughter from all my co-workers, would have to endure even a moment of sadness. I guess Daddy can’t always make it better.

They say the first day is the hardest, that soon she will learn to comfort herself. I hope that’s true. I also realize she has been playing us, knowing we would always come in her room to check on her. Still, this was really difficult. They say it’s harder on us than it is on the baby. I agree.


Update

Well, things were much better the next night.  We went to an Arts Festival in town, leaving around 9:00 and on the way home my daughter fell asleep.  She was still sleeping when I left for work at 7:30 this morning.  That’s right, she slept through the night!.  Now I’m not sure if this was from “crying it out” the night before or if we just got lucky.  We’ll see tonight.  Either way, it was a nice little gift for us.  I don’t know what I would’ve done if we had a repeat of the night before.

9 thoughts on “Worst Night of My Life

  1. Read this link.

    We have a 9 month old son who is teething and we just can’t bring ourselves to use the “cry it out” method. He’s our second child and our first was sleeping through the night almost from the beginning. It doesn’t get easier, but you’re not alone in this. This link from Steve Almond almost made my wife and I cry.

  2. Aw geez. That is a very hard thing to do! I’m sure when the time comes Loki and I will be up at night pacing the room until our future child goes back to sleep.

    My sympathies! But you can do it!

  3. Cry it out just seemed too awful for us, but we did have a lot of trouble with sleep. Our doctor suggested this method, which worked GREAT:

    When they first cry, go in and say in a neutral voice: you’re ok, it’s time to sleep (or some other such phrase). Don’t pick em up or touch them, make it the least stimulating as possible. (Sorry for the bad grammar there.)
    Wait 5 minutes, go in again and do the same.
    Wait 10 minutes, go in again and do the same.
    Wait 15 minutes, go in again and do the same. Etc.

    This is best done over a weekend when you don’t have to drag your tired butt to work the next day, but it is MUCH less emotionally wrenching than the cold-turkey cry it out. And the daddy must do it–(mom=breastmilk), so that’s good.

    Please, try it. It’s more humane for all involved, and it does work. And remember, these patterns are disrupted by things like illness and travel, so you might have to return to this method even after you’re down to one waking a night, or none. It’s a great tool to have in your parent’s toolbox. My older daughter basically lost all her skills when the 2nd kid came along, but she remembered really quickly when we used this coaching technique the second time around. Good luck and remember, they don’t remember any of this. It’s only us, the parents, who feel the pain.

  4. I can sympathise with you so much. It’s awful, isn’t it? What I find with Kiko is that he changes every five minutes. He got himself into a great routine with sleeping in the beginning, and has never liked being rocked or patted to sleep, but every now and again he goes through phases of screaming all night – and I mean all night. They say the baby will eventually “cry it out” but this one can scream for six hours at a stretch without apparently learning anything. At the moment I’m sort of working out that he seems to cry more at night if he has a bad time with food during the day, otherwise he can get himself down to sleep. His eating habits are a major problem and as we’re working on those, he does seem to be sleeping better. But, contrary to what the books suggest, there is no linear pattern or magic solution.

    Oh, but do you want to know something? This boy can change from being the cutest happiest little charmer into a heartbroken roaring maniac in a second – and back again. I’m hoping that soon he’ll learn charm will get him everywhere whereas screaming and carrying on won’t work. But some people never learn that, do they?! You should have seen him today negotiating for pieces of apple, which he would then throw away. I could see, in the end, that he was trying to get them simply to see if he could make me give them to him. He’s trying to argue already – it’s scary how quick they learn!

    I hope things go better tonight. I know my mum tried the cry-it-out method with my brother and that it took several nights to work. I’ve also heard of it taking up to two weeks. I think it depends on the child, but yes, it is definitely worse for the parents!

  5. Pingback: Sleep Update « The Struggling Writer

  6. Paperback Writer – Thanks for the encouragement!

    Kaitlyn – From the moment my daughter was born I have been sharing the night time responsibilities. Even when she was eating at night I would stay awake with my wife for support. She is no longer eating at night, though, so our issue is just her waking. I will keep your ideas in mind, though. Thank you for the advice.

    Helen – Thanks for the sympathy. I know you are going through similiar things except you aren’t feeling well yourself 😦

    You seem to experience everything a few months before I do, so you are like a fortune teller to me. 🙂

  7. sw,

    We did it the same way that Kaitlyn did. It was hard at first, too. Our boy started getting teeth very early, like six months or so. So he was teething all of the time. And we did this method throughout. It is so hard to be a parent sometimes. You are a good father. Just keep telling yourself that.

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