I knew that there would be things I would just do, or handle differently with Autumn than with my bigger kids.
She slept in our room, in a bassinet for a few weeks. The bigger kids were in their cribs from Day One. But with her, I feared that she would stop breathing or something. Having her close to me made me feel better.
I rushed her into walk-in care with her only symptom being a cough when she was three months old. Older two kids, I likely would have waited for the spark of a fever but I was scared that a cough could settle into her chest and needed a doctor with a stethoscope to listen and tell me otherwise.
The pediatrician wanted her to start sleeping through the night, and I told her I have no desire to do anything differently, since we have waited so long to have her. That was at her four-month checkup.
For the past several weeks, she has had a cold. On and off with a cough, goopy eyes, and restless at night. I was up with her anywhere from three to five times per night. I told myself that she needed me: she was dehydrated, irritable from not feeling well, and needed my comfort and nursing.
Now, on the other side of her illness, I can see the effects of what I have done. Prior to being sick, she was waking only once per night – around 4:00 a.m. Nursed and went back to bed easily. After weeks of being fed every time she stirred, now she is back to feeling fine and still waking multiple times per night. I am struggling with this, because in Before, I would have started a sleep training regimen to help her get back to sleep. But I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it yet.
Last night, she woke up at 2:00 a.m. I heard her fuss. Ger and I had talked about the need to help her move past this habit of needing to eat multiple times throughout the night, so in an effort to help, he stumbled out of bed and said he would go try to soothe her. I heard her squawk louder and louder through the monitor and finally went to check. Ger was standing outside of her door, half asleep, saying that he was “waiting for her to fall back to sleep.” I was a bit horrified and said “That’s not how you sleep train a baby!” and rushed in to feed her. She nursed, and fell back asleep.
It’s something I know I need to do. I have to look at it as helping her to learn to sleep on her own. I need to see it as indicative that I want to do the same things for her, and treat her in the same way that I did my older kids, doing the best parenting job that I can – for her, and for myself. All the while knowing that she is not the same as my older kids: she did not come to us in the same way. She arrived after loss and so much heartache and I will always think of her differently.