Tuesday, July 9, 2013
You've Got Your Own Bed
Co-sleeping is probably the only early parenting issue Superman and I were unable to come to an agreement on before Onyx was born. We both knew she had to be breastfed and cloth diapers were just a given, but we had widely different ideas as to where our little girl would sleep. Each of us had opposite experiences and opinions. After co-sleeping with four babies, I couldn't imagine laying my baby down in an empty crib to sleep alone. He had never shared his bed with an infant and insisted that he was not about to start. When he set the play pen up next to our bed I didn't argue, but in my heart I hoped never to use it.
On our first night home with the baby, Superman saw my exhaustion and sent me to bed with her. That night I hoped he had resigned himself to sleeping with baby in the middle at least for a few months. I had only slept a few hours when I realized that my husband was laying on the other side of the bed stiff as a board and wide awake. Groggily, I asked him what was wrong and the disgruntled man informed me that he was unable to sleep for fear of rolling on our daughter. A few minutes later he packed up his pillows and moved to the couch. At the time I was too tired to do anything other than promptly fall back asleep, but when I woke up in the morning to find him gone it was all I could do not to start crying. I still hoped it would get better, but the next night was the same and just before sunrise I found myself trying to transfer Onyx to the play pen so my husband could come back to bed. I say "trying" because he had no sooner settled himself back into the bed when she started crying and he headed off to the couch once again.
If nights were bad, days were worse. It seemed as if the baby and I were taking refuge in the bedroom while Superman holed up in the living room, leaving the kitchen and bathroom as a shaky no man's land. While we hadn't so much as argued over the new sleeping arrangement, it seemed as if we were at war. The distance was excruciating. I wondered if I had been naïve to think that I could be a good mama and maintain my relationship both. As much as we loved our new baby, both of us just wanted the us we knew to come back and the only way to get there was to reclaim our bed.
Night three was exhausting. I knew that I had to teach our little girl to sleep by herself, but I am not the kind of mama who can let her baby "just cry it out." Over and over I nursed Onyx to sleep only to have her wake up yelling the moment I laid her down. We paced the tiny kitchen, snuggled on the couch, listened to music, sat in front of the computer; yet no matter how deeply she seemed to sleep it just wouldn't last. Finally when I was just about to my breaking point, I laid her down and she simply sighed. I held my breath just waiting for the insulted screams, they didn't come. I tip-toed to the bathroom just hoping for enough time to relieve myself, but the silence remained long after I had reemerged and stood over the play pen expectantly.
Finally, I slipped into the living room to retrieve my husband. He was skeptical too and we both held our breath while climbing under the covers. With a strange mixture of tiredness and relief I curled up against him and I could feel the tension of the previous days melt away as he wrapped his arms around me. "That's better," he mumbled into my hair and sighed. We were back where we needed to be and thank God, the baby was asleep.