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Somebody please help. I have died but my body is still moving (just).

(46 Posts)
MaverickSnoopy Sat 21-Jan-17 09:37:48

I am on my knees with exhaustion, my body is in pain all the time, my muscles ache, my head pounds, my throats hurts, I have mouth ulcers, I am seeing things and can't remember basic things (I can't remember where I put the baby or where the mugs live etc). I often don't feel safe looking after our children. Today is one of those days and I can't stop crying because I am SO very tired.

DD2 was challenging in the early days refusing to nap at all unless in someone's arms (many people tried). Eventually I found out that she would nap in the sling. Now at just over 6mo this is still the only way she will sleep and it's wrecking havoc with my unresolved pregnancy related sciatica and PGP. My physio says that no matter how much physio I do, it will not get better unless I can rest and repair though some sleep too. Now when she's in the sling I'm limping and dragging my leg behind me in pain. I can no longer walk long distances. She also won't let me sit down when she's asleep in the sling, waking the second I sit down. If I stand up she will have three naps each day - 1.5hr, 40m - 1hr and 30m to 45m.

At 9wo she started self settling at bedtime and in the night. At 12wo she started sleeping through the night some nights and others waking at 1am for a feed and then 5am for a nose around and then settled herself back to sleep. Just before Christmas she got bronchiolitis and everything changed. She stopped self settling and would only sleep in our arms at night. We let her because she needed the sleep to get better. As soon as she was better we started putting her down again but she would only sleep for an hour or maybe an hour and a half at a time (and usually only if she dozed off in our arms). We didn't have a chance to crack this because a few days later she got a tummy upset and so again wouldn't let us put her down at night. Once she was better we tried again but this time she was waking hourly. Then a couple of days later she got a cold and cough (which she still has) which kept her up and night and the cycle repeats. In the middle of the week she also suffered from massive constipation (having moved her to follow on Milk - which we have now taken her back off of). That's fixed now, but now she has a tummy upset again.

The trouble eat she doesn't really eat much or get enough deep sleep and this is why she is so ill. When she is ill she doesn't want Milk and so takes forever to get better. Yesterday she had 23oz all day. She had Milk at 1am and then I offered again at 8am and she literally jus had 3oz. She just refuses anymore. Fair enough it's just her and lots of people don't feel like eating when she's poorly but we're stuck in this vicious cycle. We started weaning just over a week ago and we had a couple of days where she sort of humoured us trying a bit but she's decided food is not for her, so she just keeps her mouth clamped shut. I know it's still early days and I'm not worried in that respect but for some reason she just doesn't like eating very much.

The sleep has got so bad that last night she was up every twenty minutes. I am on my knees. DH is at work today so I've got DD2 asleep in the sling as we speak and DD1 is stuck in front of the tv with colouring. I feel that she's being neglected because of this but I have no energy. DH and I have been dealing with this in shifts but I have always needed 9 hours sleep a night to function and 8 hours to scrape through so anything else isn't enough. I seem to get between 3-4 hours of broken sleep a night. DH says he should do more but I don't feel he should. As tired as I am, he is in a manual job which has life threatening elements and needs to be able to focus. He is also exhausted. We have tried cosleeping but get even less sleep that way (I just don't feel comfortable with it so never manage to actually sleep).

The trouble is we are now so exhausted that we can't function in the night and don't feel "with it" enough to sleep train. We are literally like zombies and just can't focus so find ourselves muddling through. I wake up and don't even know what I'm doing. I also don't know that now is the right time to sleep train...she still has a cough and had a dodgy bottom again this morning!

That being said we have tried some sleep training but nothing has worked and she is just beside herself, hysterical with masses of tears no matter how gentle we are about it (i.e. Not done CIO). I know she needs to learn to self settle again and has bad sleep association but she is poorly and so I feel stuck.

I can't carry on like this. Thank you if you have made it this far (apologies for the essay). All ideas very very welcome!!

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Sat 21-Jan-17 09:40:09

Cosleep. It's not the perfect nights rest but I was much the same as you and need a lot of sleep. It was the only way that I could even attempt to be human.

MaverickSnoopy Sat 21-Jan-17 09:44:46

We have tried but I can't physically go to sleep. I lie there awake worried that I'm going to roll onto her or that she's going to roll out of bed. Even when I did fall asleep I kept jumping awake. I have kept trying but it just doesn't work for us. Ultimately I was getting even less sleep. hmm

Isadora2007 Sat 21-Jan-17 09:45:28

Homestart volunteer to come let you nap?
Trying cosleepinng again with some pillows round you so she can snuggle in as if She is being held then get put down a bit to give you space but her some snuggle room.
Can you go to bed for 2-3 hours when your DH comes in from work then let him sleep in a different room at night so he gets better night sleep then he takes wee one for an hour before work to let you sleep?
A babysitter at the weekend to let you catch up on sleep.

beargrass Sat 21-Jan-17 09:45:46

Some things you could try...

Ergococoon swaddle
White noise
Check for lactose intolerance, in which case something like colief might help
Check for some form of reflux, it could be something like that which is causing some issues
(Controversial) Follow G Ford/similar. Lifesaver for me. And get help from your mum/wherever to try to establish this and to give you some emotional support

I feel for you. Sleep deprivation is awful and unless you've experienced it, you have no idea what life is like

Isadora2007 Sat 21-Jan-17 09:47:13

If you had the bed just for you two would that be less worrying? Tuck a rolled up towel under the fitted sheet at her side so she can't roll out (we took the side off the cot and pushed it up against the bed) and you're unlikely to roll onto her and Shen isn't a teeny baby any more.

IHeartKingThistle Sat 21-Jan-17 09:48:50

RTFT Jeremy, she's tried that! Co sleeping is not the right answer for everybody.

Op this sounds horrendous. I'd probably start with the sling but it sounds like she's really used to it. Do you have any family / friends locally who could let you get some sleep for a few hours so you can feel.more human?

mando12345 Sat 21-Jan-17 09:51:39

Oh lovely, really feel for you. As you are not breastfeeding, can not a friend or family member take the baby for a night so you can get one decent nights sleep. People might not offer as they may not realise how shattered you are.

This will pass though.

Isadora2007 Sat 21-Jan-17 09:58:36

And could the tummy upsets be food related or milk related making her more unsettled?

PurpleMcPants Sat 21-Jan-17 09:59:29

I really feel for you, this is exactly what the first year of my DSs life was like, I felt like a complete zombie just going through the motions. I couldn't understand how I could be soooo tired and yet keep moving.
Can you each do a whole night on duty once a week so that you each get an unbroken night?
In My DSs case, I also didn't have the energy to do sleep training and had no help as DH was chronically ill at the same time too so just muddled on as best i could. I did gradual withdrawal when he reached 1 and was still up 5-6 times a night, plus did shh/pat to extend his nap times because he'd only sleep 45 minutes at a time. Eventually with a combination of that and him outgrowing it it did improve but he didn't sleep through until he was 2.5.
It's a distant, horrible memory now, but it does make me sad that I basically don't remember most of his first year because of it.

Tournesol Sat 21-Jan-17 10:01:46

My DC3 was like this, I won't lie the first six months were hell and I was so sleep deprived I felt completely loopy and broken.

But. Once she got properly on solids and I was able to start gentle retreat sleep training things improved and by the time she was 9 months she slept through.

It all seems like a bad dream now and at 4yo she is an amazing sleeper still.

I just wanted to give some hope, it can go from total shit show to normal.

LoveDeathPrizes Sat 21-Jan-17 10:02:09

You poor thing. This sounds so hard.

Try not to think of her not getting food and sleep as a reason she's getting ill - it just fuels your frustration every time she wakes or doesn't feed enough. Being frustrated takes a lot of energy that you don't have.

We coslept. It was hard at first. I was anxious too but after a week or so it gets easier and it has to be better than getting up every twenty minutes.

When times are this desperate, don't put too much pressure on yourself. For your DD1, make it your goal just to be pleasant. If you try to do too much, you'll end up burnt out and snappy and feel ten times worst.

PleaseNotTrump Sat 21-Jan-17 10:22:59

Cranial osteopathy worked wonders for us flowers

ElspethFlashman Sat 21-Jan-17 10:28:45

I had this after bronchiolitis. Hell.

What worked for us was taking the side off the cot and lashing it to our bed then "co sleeping" in her cot then sliding myself away to my own lovely lovely bed.

ElspethFlashman Sat 21-Jan-17 10:32:11

Have you tried putting her to nap in arms then lying the two of you down on the bed?

Often on a bed, with a blanket over them, they'll go into a deep enough sleep that you can remove yourself. It was the only way I could detach during naps for months. Then bring the video monitor downstairs. The sling isn't sustainable anyway so you have to try some other thing for naps as she's only going to get heavier.

WheresTheEvidence Sat 21-Jan-17 10:38:42

Im a nanny.

I would suggest seeing if you could get someone in to help you out maybe a couple of mornings a week. Mothers help/nanny a local a pair whose kids are at school/local grandmother in the village. I know not everyone can afford this but I would definitely try and see if you can get some help in.

I would also work on sleep training again even if it's you/do sleeping on a camped next to her cot . I think gradual retreat or cio are probably better but not if you're not ready for that. I would start on daytime naps ether in cot/pram and work from there.

toptoe Sat 21-Jan-17 10:46:12

Yes what Elspeth says regarding the cot on the side of your bed, with a nice comfy mattress. Then you won't worry she'll roll off the bed and you won't roll in.

Regarding your pgp, I found mine greatly improved once I stopped carrying baby on my hip. The extra weight has a huge effect on your pain, and you only realise when you stop doing it. I don't know what the solution is for you - have you tried having the buggy in the house and rocking her in that to get her to sleep? Or a stroll around the block (not too far as you know with pgp you can't walk far).

Regarding pgp itself you need to limit movement so small steps, go upstairs one foot at a time so good foot goes up and bad leg joins it then coming down bad leg first and good leg joins it. Plastic bag on car seat and bum in first, then swivel legs in. Don't carry heavy things (throw the washing down the stairs). I'm sure your physio has told you this. It does improve if you combine restricting movement and the strengthening exercises. Little things can have a big effect, such as carrying baby a lot.

I hope this helps a bit but I know how horrible it is and how frustrating. I can't imagine how hard it must be combined with a baby who won't be put down as they've been ill.

SingingSilver Sat 21-Jan-17 14:37:18

Have you tried Homestart? Or if you can afford it, employ someone to do the childcare for a few hours in the day while you sleep (you might need to buy a white noise machine too). Or could your DH take some leave from work, so you can care for her in shifts? Or do you have any friends/family locally? It's quite surprising how many people are willing to help if you can be honest. My sister-in-law had a terrible time with her third dc, and I never knew. I was unemployed at the time and only 20 minutes away. I would have been more than happy to help, but she decided to struggle on alone instead.

At this point - where you've literally been brought to your knees - you just have to do whatever you can to take care of yourself. It's the oxygen mask scenario, you have to help yourself in order to be able to help your dc's.

user1474026214 Sun 22-Jan-17 09:52:41

Just to say that I know what you are going through.
My husband took a week off work so I could catch up on sleep and share the night wake ups. In that week, we let baby get to sleep wherever and however she needed to so that she was happy and well rested. This gave me and her the energy to begin sleep training a week later. Sleep training whilst I was that sleep deprived was never going to work. We got through it and so will you x

MaverickSnoopy Sun 22-Jan-17 10:05:56

Thank you everything. I didn't expect so many responses but it helps immensely to have some ideas and some emotional support making me feel like all is not lost.

I will try cosleeping again and in the day time too which I think is a good idea. The person who said about getting her to sleep in my arms first, good idea but we want to move away from this so I don't know if it's worth a try because then she'll be asleep on the bed, or if it will just reinforce habits we're trying to get rid of. Could someone describe to me how to do it safely and stop her rolling out/getting squished because I can't picture where to put pillows etc. I can't put the cot next to our bed because our bedroom isn't big enough unfortunately.

White noise doesn't seem to work, we've just introduced a dummy but I think it's made things worse having initially made things better. We're suspect reflux and have just started giving gaviscon although not seeing much difference yet. Will look into lactose intolerance. This morning she has had 2oz and that's it! But she's had 3h 30m sleep since midnight and if she doesn't sleep then she simply doesn't eat and everything gets worse. It's just the way she is. I have questioned what she eats since she was about 8wo. She was eating really well up until that point, then she had her jabs and ended up with a water infection and she's never eaten the same again. HV has weighed her and she's thriving and so hasn't been concerned.

I don't really have anyone who can help/offer support. It's just my mum really and she gets unwell when she does too much. I will look into a babysitter/childminder for some respite. I hadn't even thought of that. I will also phone the health visitor tomorrow for some support. I'm also gong to look up cranial osteopathy. My friend tried this so I will definitely look into this.

Re taking it in turns for a full nights sleep. I'm not sure about this. DH is amazing and wants to do more than his share but emotionally he finds it very difficult on his own past a certain point and needs me to have a turn so I think our current set up works best for us. Although I will bear it in mind if this looks like a long term thing.

LoveDeath, make it your goal just to be pleasant. How did you know?!! It feels like a constant battle when you have no energy.

Every time I have tried sleep training previously it makes things worse. When she recently had a short period of wellness I moved her first nap of the day to the buggy (she'd previously rejected this) and it worked. However then the nighttime waking got worse. When she was 4mo and her nighttime sleep was fine the HV tried to help me get her out of the sling but encouraging naps in the crib. She gave me guidance and assured me that the length of the naps would start stretching out. After a week she was still taking an hour to get to sleep and only napping for 10 mins in the crib. She also started frequently waking at night and became a shadow of her former self, looking with drawn, not talking and staring through people. As soon as I put her back in the sling and gave her a decent amount of sleep she started sleeping at night again. For her, sleep feeds sleep, I just can't get any real deep sleep into her a the moment so we're stuck!

Last night I read that when a baby is put down in the cot asleep and they wake there and not in your arms, it's like us waking up to find ourselves in the garden and is very alarming for them. We tried a new bedtime routine on Friday and Saturday which involves putting her down awake and the fire night it took about 40 minutes with a medium amount of fussing, last night it took about 20 mins with no fussing. So I decided to follow the same steps during the night. With grim determination we stuck with it and it did work a couple of times although took a long time. However she only had three and a half hours sleep since midnight! The last time went to sleep DH had to get her to sleep in his arms because she'd been refusing for two hours (although in clear desperate need for sleep) and DD1 was about to get up for the day. Now she is asleep in the sling.

I need a plan. I don't know how to get her to settle in the night. I had a lie in this morning and I feel ready to tackle this (sort of!). She's just so flipping stubborn! I did gentle retreat with DD1 and sat on the floor last night holding DD2s hand but she still got upset and took ages to settle. I didn't actually manage to settle her at all, it was all DH! He doesn't really know how he did it. Aside from the gentle retreat what are the gentle sleep training options, CIO is not for us, she is too stubborn.

So I decided that

DorotheaHomeAlone Sun 22-Jan-17 10:13:34

I think a sleep consultant to help you sleep train is probably the answer if you can afford it. It's so hard to make and follow through a training plan when you're already in your knees. Hire someone, get their advice, arrange for DH to take a couple of days off so you're a bit less exhausted. Then just do it. flowers This is so hard.

BIWI Sun 22-Jan-17 10:19:43

It sounds really tough, and you have all my sympathy.

One thing that jumps out at me, though, is that you're trying all different kinds of things, not just with the sleeping but with the feeding as well. Perhaps you're confusing her?

Try doing one thing, and sticking consistently with it past just a few days to see if you can create a new routine with it.

And definitely get some help! I'd recommend, if you can afford it, that you hire a really good nanny so that you and DH can go and have a night in a hotel so you can both get a good night's sleep.

tricornel Sun 22-Jan-17 10:23:09

Can you afford to put them in nursery for a day a week and just sleep all day?

MaverickSnoopy Sun 22-Jan-17 10:49:32

Yes we were considering a sleep consultant so I'll look into that too. I do feel like there's not enough consistency at the moment. There was, but now we're in firefighting mode everything is so blurred. I don't see how we can stop weaning though. She's 6.5 months with pretty much no interest in food or milk. My understanding of weaning is that whilst it's fun for now and milk is important, it's also important to get them touching and feeling food and that they do need to learn to chew. Also if she's not having much milk (and not sleeping because of it) surely we need to keep trying with the weaning. My other feeling is that we always say we'll wait for her to get better before trying something new, but it's one thing after another and it's lack of sleep which is preventing her from getting better (and lack of food that's stopping her from sleeping), so if we wait then I don't see the situation improving.

For som further context I have a record of all sleep and food since she was about 9wo and there is a clear pattern that when she has more than 29oz a day she sleeps 14 hours out of 24. I wonder if I need to shift her schedule but then I think that's me clutching at straws!

I like the nursery idea but unfortunately we can't afford it as I'm just going on smp, at least I don't think we can but we'll look into it.

toptoe Sun 22-Jan-17 11:07:05

tbh my dp has always had better luck getting dc off to sleep at night as with me they want to cuddle and feed - they associate me with milk. Dp does give bottles too, but they don't seem to associate him with producing the milk. So dp took over putting dc to bed and it worked wonders.

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