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So stressed I almost had a bathtime panic attack

(18 Posts)
Sparklycurtainpole Wed 05-Apr-17 20:50:42

Title says it all really.
I have three dC aged between 10 months and 6.
OH works away during the week so I'm parenting on my own.
Middle D.C. Has multiple medical issues which require constant doctor and hospital visits.
Baby has never slept more than 2 hours at a stretch day or night and also has medical issues which are being investigated but for which we don't have any treatment which works as yet.
My mum became disabled shortly after my second D.C. was born so she can't help me out. MIL is already a carer for her own mum and also has to support her own daughter a lot with her other grandchildren as her daughter has significant mental health issues.
I've just handed my notice in at work and although I'm returning in a few weeks after maternity leave, I'll be leaving as I can't see how I'll cope with work in the mix too and I'm devastated to be leaving a career I've devoted myself to for over 20 years.
My children are beautifully behaved and a true joy but they're exhausting. The lack of sleep (none have ever slept past 5am in their lives and the middle one's medical issues regularly have me up 3-4 times every night alongside the baby's hourly/2 hourly wake ups.
I'm absolutely on my knees but outwardly everyone thinks I'm coping. I've tried talking to my gp, HV and friends/family but they all seem to either say things along the lines of
This too shall pass
That's what having three young kids is like
Can't you get some help
Can't someone have them for you to give you a break

I already have a cleaner once a week and some help with ironing but I'm still drowning in it all. Fitting in school runs, playgroup drop offs, nap schedules, hospital and doctor appointments as well as the fact our house is currently being renovated so there are workmen here all the time is starting to tip me over the edge.
I've not seen any of my friends since the baby was born as I'm so exhausted that when OH comes home, I just want to catch up on chores then try and rest if I can (which is never as the chores are endless).
I've not been out in the evening for over a year and I used to love exercising and managed to do so with just two D.C. but can't seem to fit it in with three.
The medical issues the two youngest have mean that they can't be left with just anyone or in a crèche etc and I feel so guilty that often it's my eldest that gets farmed out as she's 'easy' and then I miss her so much and feel terrible that she doesn't get the same 1-1 time she used to.
Today was just horrific. Baby didn't sleep for more than 40 mins at a stretch all last night, middle D.C. was up six times too and today workmen have been drilling and crashing in the house all day as well as the gas board choosing today to dig up the road outside my house.
Baby refuses to sleep in the pram or car and has been known to scream for over two hours solidly when we've tried that before. Also refuses to nap at anyone else's house in a travel cot as just screams non stop.
I haven't eaten a single meal from start to finish uninterrupted for over a year (I realised this the other day) and have only had three hours on one morning since baby was born where I haven't had at least one of the children with me 24/7
Today out of nowhere I suddenly started panicking during bathtime. I had this overwhelming urge to just run out of the house but knew I couldn't as the two of the kids were in the bath and the baby was crawling around the bathroom. It took literally all my strength to remain in there and I felt so claustrophobic and couldn't breathe properly.
Eventually I managed to calm my breathing and get the kids into bed, breastfeed the baby and stop shaking but it's really spooked me.
The oldest D.C. has also developed what looks like a nasty skin infection so I'll need to take her to the doctor tomorrow and it was spotting this and the thought of juggling yet another medical appointment with them all in tow which set me off.
I've tried contacting my Hv repeatedly to try and get some support and she has visited me at home before but basically said until the treatment regime for the baby is sorted then there's no advice she can give me to help them sleep and I'll just have to tough it out.
I'm not even sure why I'm posting this as I've gone round and round in my head as to how I could improve things but it's got to the point where I'm so exhausted I feel like I can't see the wood for the trees.
I simply couldn't love my kids anymore than I do and they really are my world but at the moment I'm just a bit broken and feel dreadful.

Vodkamartine Wed 05-Apr-17 20:53:52

I know you can't handle work but have you thought about a part time job just to cover the nursery so you get a few days or even one day of adult talk and child free time during the week

Imbroglio Wed 05-Apr-17 20:59:10

Have you told your husband about how tough things are for you at the moment?

Could he take a couple of days off to give you a chance to rest?

It's incredibly hard to see a way forward when you are so exhausted. flowers

Sparklycurtainpole Wed 05-Apr-17 21:02:19

He knows how I'm feeling and bless him he's trying his hardest to be home as much as possible and to help out as much as he can but he's already used up all of his holiday as he took loads of time off when the baby was born (and we found out baby was so poorly) and now he can't take any more until October.

tissuesosoft Wed 05-Apr-17 21:05:47

flowers for you, OP, sounds so hard!
Have you contacted Home start? They really could make a difference- even if a volunteer pops round once a week. I have used them and they were invaluable

hangingkebab Wed 05-Apr-17 21:07:02

Oh OP that does sound tough. Well done for not running away.

If you are going to have to go to GP anyway for oldest DC, could you also tell them what you've written here?

Are there any charities/forums/groups related to middle DC's medical issues where you could get support or advocacy?

Sorry I don't have much to offer for ideas but didn't want to read and run.

Hang in there.

Petalbird Wed 05-Apr-17 21:07:42

Can your oh not find a job closer to home as two of the kids need a lot of care?

Sunshineandlaughter Wed 05-Apr-17 21:08:13

Can you move to where your oh work if you aren't working anymore?

Other things that can help is precooked ready meal food deliveries (cook etc)

Can the baby sleep in with you? Mine sleep better if they cosleep

You have my sympathy - I completely know how you feel

bonzo77 Wed 05-Apr-17 21:08:17

Sounds like a total fucking nightmare. Will the baby go in a sling? Won't help you rest but will free your hands up to do other stuff. Is there anything you are currently doing that you can get away not doing? School lunches instead of packed? Fewer baths for everyone? Let everyone re-wear slightly grubby things rather than washing clothes so often? Change beds less often? Ready meals? Ssshhhhh.... formula for some feeds for the baby (so someone else can do them)? I have 3, admittedly with no significant health issues. The 3rd was indeed the game changer, and my oldest has indeed been the one to be farmed out a little. I did everything above. And sleep trained. It's much better now, youngest is 19 months, but we are still on ready meals, he's in a sling and I'm still not exercising!

Imbroglio Wed 05-Apr-17 21:11:50

Oh no. That really is tough.

I imagine you've already thought through all the options.

If there is any spare cash I'd suggest a mother's help or someone with some childcare experience to come in for a few hours a week?

Marzipants Wed 05-Apr-17 21:12:44

Oh dear, that sounds so horribly stressful. Is the baby ready to start solids yet? Hopefully that'll help with the weaning.

Do you have Home Start near you? Haven't used them, but heard great things. [https://www.home-start.org.uk]

Also, don't do jobs you can out source. So, breast feeding, cuddling your kids - all on you, laundry, cleaning, even cooking, can all be done by someone else.

I found that I had to sacrifice time with DH for sleep, just to stay sane. So although it seems like a good idea to eat together and maybe watch a bit of telly in the evening, sometimes you just have to eat with the kids and hand him the baby when he gets in so you can get your head down.

Good luck, it is a cliche but you will get through it by asking for and getting help.

Sparklycurtainpole Wed 05-Apr-17 21:18:13

Oh's job means that he travels all over the country as he is reponsible for a huge region of a nationwide company. It's also within the hospitality trade so is awkward hours and he's always away at major high days and holidays too as it's the company's busiest times.
I can't do a sling anymore as baby is too heavy and I've got damage to two vertebrae and so suffer with awful back pain.
Already batch cooking like a crazy lady (I'm having an affair with my slow cooker 😉) and laundry and bathing is unavoidable as the medical issues my youngest two have involve multiple changes of clothing and bedding per day. I'm constantly drowning in laundry.
When OH is here then he does do some formula feeds for me but I've got to keep breastfeeding until baby's medical issues and treatment are properly resolved according to my hospital consultant.
I'm going crazy trying to think of short cuts and solutions but keep coming up against brick wall after brick wall 😢

JennyHolzersGhost Wed 05-Apr-17 21:27:11

Get some nannying help that will allow you to go and sleep for a fixed number of hours. Seriously. If your DH has that kind of role then surely it's not unaffordable ? Half a day every other day for example. Just go and sleep.

SleepWhatSleep1 Wed 05-Apr-17 21:29:17

A lot of that sounds very familiar xx you have my sympathies.
I also have 3 under 6. Eldest has HFA and anxiety, and asthma. Middle one gets skin infections and eczema and massive separation anxiety - she screams when I'm in the shower ffs, and playgroup is not going well - she's only managed 2 mornings so far.. and she still wakes several times a night. Doesn't nap and screams if i try to nap. And still in nappies.

Baby has allergies, eczema, reflux, wakes every hour or so and never naps for more than an hour - which MUST be on me apparentlyhmm he lives in the sling unless he's happy pulling everything out from everywhere.

I also don't have help from family. Dh isn't that much help although he doesn't work away for a variety of reasons. I don't have a cleaner either
My life seems to consist of school runs, nappies, washing and cooking bastard meals that don't get eaten anyway.

The lack of sleep is such a killer. My eldest wZ the same - woke every 45 minutes until almost 1 year old, then every 2 hours until 3 years old. She now sleeps grin

I have no solutions
I have major anxiety issues which I'm sure is made worse by lack of sleep.

I want to enjoy this part of my life but it's so fucking hard on no sleep.

Sorry I'm no help, but you're not alone flowers

MarzipanPiggy Wed 05-Apr-17 21:51:27

That sounds so tough.

Agree with getting a nanny / mothers help / any assistance with childcare that is affordable.

Lower standards in terms of housework / food to the minimum possible.

Any time that does get freed up from assistance / DH being at home on weekends (?) goes on you and the things you love to do. Even if it is having an uninterrupted cup of tea. A run. A chat with a friend.

The best thing you can possibly do for your DC is invest in yourself as you are the most valuable thing they have!

The sleep must be so hard. Our issues are nothing in comparison but our eldest is and always has been a terrible sleeper. When things get too much for me DH 'offers' me a night in the spare room - door closed, any nighttime antics dealt with by him. It's bliss. Appreciate that's hard if you breastfeed at night though.

Splurgle Wed 05-Apr-17 22:03:47

I really feel for you op.
My dh works away a lot and always has done. Trying to juggle kids, work, no sleep with no real support is torture. Mothers shouldn't be left to cope in isolation like that.
A mothers help 2 evenings a week for a couple of hours or even a college student who could watch the children would be a huge help. Sometimes it's the relentless responsibility of being the only adult which is just exhausting. Everything falls on your shoulders.

Discuss how you're feeling with your husband, your mil might be able to offer some help if she knows how you are struggling.

Sounds like you're doing the best you can, but you need help.

Sunshineandlaughter Thu 06-Apr-17 07:52:22

Sometimes there just isn't any more you can do - it's just a shitty patch. when swimming in shit keep Swimming!

I think you'll have to make some compromises if you want the status quo to change - hire a nanny or mothers help even if you can't afford it. This will be a short term shit phase so if you can take the financial hit for 6 months things will be better after then.

Personally I wouldn't have given up work. Does your dc's illnesses involve a lot of appointments? That's the only reason I would give up otherwise getting them to nursery and you to work would give you a break.

Do you want to talk about their illnesses? People might have some suggestions for managing that too?

RedLemonade Thu 06-Apr-17 19:48:34

God you poor thing. I'm on my own just for this week and with just two (one 2 hour wakes baby like yours) and I feel like I've been sucker punched.

The one thing that's saving my sanity is getting out to work for 4 hours a day. I honestly would lose the plot without it. Even with DH around in the evenings I still really rely on the mental health break that is working outside the home. To be able to have a whole 15 minute coffee break all to myself is heaven. And to pee on my own! I really would re-think resigning from your job if there's any ANY possibility you could make it work.

Also if you could afford it I would absolutely get someone to cover your theoretical work hours plus one hour extra for just a bit of headspace (cuppa on your own, run to shops, admin for home, or just a fricking snooze in the car!).

I don't know what else but I'm sending you a massive hug and a big mug of tea for being a goddam herobrew

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