An epiphany (from the ancient Greek, epiphaneia, "manifestation, striking appearance") is the sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger) essence or meaning of something. The term is used in either a philosophical or literal sense to signify that the claimant has "found the last piece of the puzzle and now sees the whole picture" or has new information or experience, often insignificant by itself, that illuminates a deeper or numinous foundational frame of reference.
Yesterday, I had one. It was awesome. I'm not sure when/if I'll ever learn to listen to me. To my instincts, but thankfully a higher power granted me this (well, with some human intervention). An epiphany. I even love saying the word. Epiphany.
I'm sure ya'll remember my breastfeeding struggles. Trying so hard to do what everyone else told me to do. Pump, bottles, schedules, measuring and all that crap that went against what I thought was best. Only after I did it my way, did the breastfeeding finally work. Feeding on demand with no bottles, no pumping, no measuring and NO schedules.
Now let's apply that thought process to the sleep struggles we are now enduring. Again, I sought out the advice of others. I didn't learn the first time around to listen to me. I figured, from the beginning ,that triplets meant changing my entire life. The way I parent and the way I do things. I'm slowly (and I do mean slllooowwllyyy) learning that it doesn't have to be that way.
I've learned that Aaron and I carry a gene that is passed along to our children. It's the "babies don't sleep well unless the have a boob in their face" gene. I'm sure lots of you have heard of it and some of you might carry that gene and pass it on to your children too. All of our babies have acquired this gene. And, as you can imagine, it's a bit of a logistical challenge with 3 babies. So,in this case, the babies have to give just a little. They really have no choice unfortunately.
I started out with the thought that the babies had to "learn to fall asleep on their own". A feat I've never ever accomplished with any other child. WHY I thought it would work this time, I do not know. Stupidity? Naivety? Wishful thinking? I sought out the advice of friends, strangers and books. I wasted alot of peoples time who listened to me whine, cry and complain. ( Thank you to all my Facebook friends who listened to me every.single.day) I cut out the swings for sleeping and spent hours upon hours bent over the playpen shushing my babies as they cried and rubbed their tummies while trying to get them to suck on a pacifier. (Oh, and we also carry the "our babies don't like pacifiers gene" and have passed that on as well) And to fall asleep "on their own".
Where did it get me?
It got me unhappy, stressed and a whole bunch of anxiety attacks. Yep, that's right, anxiety attacks. For the past 5 days now, I've been dealing with heart palpitations, sweats, and headaches.
Let me tell you, it SUCKS.
It got me in tears every day. Sobbing by nightfall and finding myself resenting my own babies.
Nice. Let's NOT say that out loud, shall we?
It got me babies who cried way more than I thought was ok. Way more.
It got me babies who DIDN'T SLEEP.
Now, I'm not saying it doesn't work for some people or that it won't work for us someday. But it's not working NOW. It's not working TODAY. And I have to take things "One Day At A Time" or I'll go nuts with the planning and scheduling. Most MOM's (Moms Of Multiples) will tell you that if you don't keep the babies all on the same schedule, you'll go crazy. Well, I'm the Odd-Multiple- Mom- Out. Scheduling and forcing things not natural (such as a baby sleeping alone) on my babies, is just not working for us. If you look at all mammals, they sleep WITH their babies. They nurse them to sleep. Most sleep with their babies ON them. We are no different. I won't start in on today's society and their unrealistic views of how a baby "should" be, but really? A baby is carried 24/7 for nine months, then you expect them to not need that attachment the minute they are born? Nuh-uh. Doesn't even begin to sound right to me. My triplets are not on the same schedule. At all. Sometimes, they end up that way, but most times not. No, I don't ever get "a break" but it's ok. I do get a small one at night. Somehow they all seem to end up asleep at night at pretty much the same time. (Gwendolen even has slept through the night 4-5 times! And I'm talking 10 hours straight!) Trying to get a break wasn't worth it. I got me some anxiety, (still dealing with it actually, but hopefully it will go away very very soon) but no breaks.(In case your wondering how I got all this blogged, 1 is asleep, 1 is nursing and 1 is laying next to me. and the toddlers are still asleep)
Oh right. Your waiting for my Epiphany Moment. Well, I kind of said it all up there, but here it is on the quickie version:
I am here to meet the needs of my baby. If my baby needs a swing to sleep, she will have one. If my baby needs to nurse to sleep, she will. If my baby needs to cuddle to sleep, she will. The fact that I had 3 babies at one time, does not change their needs, it just makes things more of a juggle for me. But that is my job. I am their Mom.
What are we doing differently? I am nursing them right before they go to sleep. I do make sure they are awake when I lay them down so they don't wake and not know what's going on. If they fuss and let me know that they aren't ready to lay down, they get more nursing (if another baby doesn't need their initial nursing, this is where they have to "give a little") If the boobs are occupied, they snuggle with Daddy or go in the swing. Usually the swing is what they want, just the motion that they are so used to in the womb. Or Daddy will snuggle for a few minutes then put them in the swing. I've had to let go of the guilt of the swings. Matter of fact, we are buying a few more for upstairs so I can get the heck outta my family room!
My baby's now go to sleep with a little smile in their face instead of a frown.
Will I regret this later? Maybe. But it's what is working for NOW. For TODAY. And with triplets, that's about as far ahead as I can get.
"You are not managing an inconvenience, you are raising a human being" -Kittie Franz